Photography: Zaphs Zhang; Art direction: Sherli Chong
Show me some skin! You’re in for a nude awakening with this carefully curated selection of the latest and lightest liquid foundations, all of which are true “weightless wonders” – welcome watchwords indeed, given the constantly clammy clime of sweltering Singapore. For your perusing and purchasing consideration, please:
1. Ettusais Premium Amino Essence Foundation, $40
Absolutely adore the sexy second-skin smoothness afforded by Ettusais’ excellent new Premium Amino Essence Foundation, a fluid formula packed with thirst-quenching moisture magnets and pretty pearlescent pigments to “colour correct” patchy complexion. (Quick aside: I’m in love with just about everything in the Premium skincare suite from this criminally underrated J-Beauty brand; suss ‘em out for yourself the next time you’re traipsing about town.)
Another big plus: The perfectly respectable SPF25 PA++ rating means you’re shielding your sensitive skin from the rapacious rays of the sun; cubicle-dwelling folks can skip sunscreen if they like. For the rest of us, feel free to wear this on bare skin, throw on a tea-dress and pretend you’re a posh nosh-nibbling cool chick at Omotesando Hills.
2. La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation SPF15, $340
If you're new to the lovely pleasures of La Prairie, this pore-plugging putty is as good a gateway product as any. The high-coverage foundation comes with a creamy concealer compact in the cap – a darn good deal, if you ask me. Both foundie and concealer are stuffed with a new plumping peptide and the swishy Swiss brand’s signature caviar extract, said to be an amino acid-rich complexion amplifier; plus La Prairie’s ginseng-infused Cellular Complex, which promises to work overtime to boost the suppleness and density of the delicate orbital and mouth area.
Beautifying benefits aside, this luxe balm lends my skin a lustrous luminosity and a super supple finish that reads as “real”, even up close: No mean feat for a foundation that purports to offer full coverage. Of course, this being La Prairie, the packaging is perfection: The product is cocooned within a cool chrome-and-cobalt carafe that’s an objet d’art unto itself. Sure, you’ll be forking out a pretty penny, but once you go Swiss, you probably won't go back. Earmark this as a year-end bonus treat!
3. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation, $72
Clearly targeted at tech-savvy young’uns, this camera-friendly perfector promises skin that’ll pass the strict scrutiny of “ultra high-definition” smartphone screens (that’d be four times more unforgiving than full high-def, thank you very much.)
You stay matte, not flat, thanks to a skin-comforting surge of timed-release hyaluronic acid spheres. Expect a skin-friendly “stain” that’s virtually budge-proof – in my case, a good 12 hours of wear that did away with the need for reapplication, primers plus powders. I slapped this on before a sweaty sundown soiree and saw no need for mid-party touch-ups. Whoo-hoo!
Top marks for a standard transfer test, too: Virtually no transfer of product when I used tissue to blot my T-zone. I experienced no creasing, crinkling or pooling into pores, either, so hurrah for that. Slap this on if you’re one for patch-free and picture-perfect selfies, sans X-Pro II or Valencia.
4. MAC Studio Waterweight SPF30/PA++ Foundation, $62
Officially obsessed with M.A.C’s latest makeup marvel. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. For starters, there’s what I like to call the cosmetics equivalent of culinary “mouthfeel”; that is, the almost sensuous way a product slips and slides on my skin. This baby more than passes muster on that front: The dropper-dispensed, souffle-soft consistency affords coverage that flirts on the edge of sheer and medium for almost-nude skin that’s mine, only better.
No complaints on the colour front as well. I’m a vampiric NC15 on the M.A.C Studio Fix scale, so I can get away with pretty much any pale-to-light shade; if in doubt, ask your friendly M.A.C cabin staff for advice on the staggering 23 Asian-friendly hues carried in Singapore. As far as contenders for finest feather-light foundation go, this is a real heavyweight.
5. L’Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation, $30.90
Are you red in the face from stewing in Singapore’s sweltering heat (and sporadic haze)? Keep a cool head with the spruced up edition of L’Oreal Paris’ True Match Liquid Foundation, which works wonders when it comes to squelching the splotches of my ruddy skin.
Packed with pampering hydrators and redness-reducing vitamins, this comforting cream glides on like a dream for a dewy, perfectly polished finish. Even better, I’ve found that the pearlescent pigments in the new formula permeates my face with a dewy “day” glow, even in the dead of night – sort of like having a steady stream of sunlight trained on your face 24/7.
One gentle push of the hygienic pump dispenser is plenty for the whole face; two if you’re kiasu. While L’Oreal Paris doesn’t explicitly tout the prowess of the new True Match’s staying power, I’ve found that a dusting of translucent setting powder, sans primer, is all I need for it to stay put for a full workday. All things considered, this purse-friendly drugstore buy is a really reasonable choice for everyday wear; I’ll repurchase in a heartbeat!
6. Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer SPF 19/PA++, $52
OMG, Clinique’s clinched it for me again. This winner of a foundie is incredibly silky and sheer, with a delightfully satiny drydown that’s just dewy enough to read as “real” skin.
Even better, the Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer SPF 19/PA++ does double duty as yep, you’ve guessed it a foundation and concealer. The doe-foot applicator can be deployed any which way: Stipple it on all over your face and blend; then go back in with the angled tip and finish the job with precision dotting onto pimples and imperfections.
Multi-tasking aside, what I really, really love about this foundie is the incredible incandescence it lends my skin – fabulously flattering if you’re gunning for the glimmering mermaid makeup look. Just a few waves of the wand and bam, a budge-proof face that will have even the most jaded of beauty buffs doing a double-take. (I should know, given the number of compliments I get for my cough, flawless complexion.) Portable perfection in a purse, if you ask me.
Made your choice? Happy beauty shopping, and congrats on successfully laying the “foundation” of any makeup routine. You’re all ready to “face” the day!