Future Foundations: The Best Foundations Decoded

Emma-Charlotte Bangay

Beauty and Lifestyle Expert

It’s foundation, but not as you know it. Cosmetic technology continues to stride ahead to ensure the best foundations are getting better with time – so you can too.


The new generation of foundations are more comforting, longer lasting and beneficial to skin than ever before, notes Caroline Negre, YSL Scientific Director, who says that the brands most recent foray into foundation has meant “pushing its technical limits even further,” she explains, “combining long wear, comfort and lightness.”

Like YSL, beauty behemoths are going one further to provide flawless finish, invisible application, durability, bespoke colour matches and comfort for every foundation lover – or loather.

“The reason behind innovation is to make women’s life easier and offer perfection at their fingertips,” explains Françoise Lehmann, General Manager Lancôme International, describing the companies latest ‘complexion makeup’ as “a “hybrid accessory,” rather than the traditional one-hit wonder of coverage many consumers relate to foundation.

Kylie O’Toole, Australian Hair Fashion Awards Makeup Artist of the Year agrees that foundations have come in leaps and bounds in her experience. “There are a lot of foundations on the market today that have perfected the lighter textures without sacrificing their staying power,” she highlights.

Technology Thesaurus:

Here are some strong key terms coming to the fore in foundations to look out for:

Modern Matte: Mattes are nothing new, but bespoke mattes are. The modern lilt on this old foundation favourite sees targeted ingredients – most notably plankton extract – come into play to control sebum without reducing light reflection on the entire complexion. This ‘blurring’ effect is the result of tireless research into light pigments and targeted coverage levels.

Polymer Pigments: This refers to polymer technology, which allows pigments to ‘synchronize’ with the skin, but remain visible and flexible. NARS is a big player in this area, with creator Francoise Nars saying; “We waited for the right moment, when true weightless innovation was finally available. It had to be comfortable, high-coverage, and incredibly long lasting—the formula really had to be perfect. It’s high-performance, but still very soft and natural,” he says.

Custom Coverage: Advanced insight into skin tones are allowing product developers to create foundations in far more wide-reaching tones. Recently Sephora teamed up with Pantone to pilot an on the spot ‘Colour IQ’ complexion matching service in some US stores. Customers could have their photo taken at counter and be immediately prescribed their perfect foundation match from over 1,500 options. Stay tuned for this type of technology on home-soil soon!

Cushioning Contours: The buzzword is ‘Cushioning’ when it comes to coverage, and Lancôme are leading the charge by introducing oxygenated sponges to optimize formula absorption, and deliver the exact dose of foundation required each time. “Foundation sponges are really starting to make their mark on the industry thanks to the “airbrushing” effect that they have,” notes Kylie. “People are starting to have a much higher focus on their blending!” Cushioning formula’s are designed to remain in exact osmosis with the complexion at all times, so there is no separation of textures and therefor, any flatness or flaking is successfully avoided.

Liquid-to-Pigment: Liquid-to-pigment is vastly different from liquid-to-powder as they transform from fluid to a colorant in seconds, so the tone – rather than the texture – is altered on contact with the skin. For YSL, this has been achieved via the delivery of pure-milled pigments – each with a micro coating –, which can successfully merge with the skin tone and ‘bloom’ allowing colour to develop naturally.

Top Shopping Tips:

Here are Kylie’s top tips for finding your perfect foundation:

  • Try before you buy: “Walk around and try and check it outside in the daylight with a hand mirror.”
  • Take home a small sample and spend some time ‘in it’ to see what happens when it settles. “This will also help you get the feel for the foundation to make sure you’re happy with the weight of it on your skin,” adds Kylie.
  • Test to see that the foundation works well with your skincare routine or are you doubling up on skincare ingredients or incompatible textures.
  • For older skin put it on your knuckles and see how it looks on the lines. “The more titanium in the formula the less natural-looking and forgiving it will be,” advises Kylie.

RESCU Recommends

YSL Fusion Ink Foundation, RRP $85, has a lightness of texture crafted to deliver the optimum dosage of foundation without visible surplus on the skin.

Dior Skin Nude Air, RRP $79 is free of talc and loaded with volatile oils that evaporate instantly upon application, leaving only the essential light, velvety feeling coverage on the skin.

Elizabeth Arden Foundation Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin Matte Foundation, RRP $50, controls shine – especially in the T-Zone – without masking your natural luminosity everywhere else.

Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation,RRP $64 delivers long-lasting humidity-resistant coverage that is breathable, blendable and feels barely there.

MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, RRP $54 offers the duplicity of a foundation and concealer in medium to full coverage. Available May, 2015.

Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation & Concealer in 1, RRP $50 glides on like a foundation but corrects and conceals like a concealer. So hot right now, it’s already sold out in some shades.

Lancôme Liquid Cushion Compact, RRP $60, (on counter June 14 2015) is the first of its kind in Australia, containing the cutest, spongiest cushioning which – when pressed – releases the perfect dose of tinted, water-light fluid fresh and ready for application.

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF 25, RRP $85 smashes the traditional take on coverage by introducing a luxe hybrid foundation, combining a fusion of intensive skincare ingredients and complexion compatible pigments.

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