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The Best Foundations, as chosen by Sali

Here’s part three of my series for Harvey Nichols, who asked me to judge the best in bases sold in-store and online at harveynicols.com. After weeks of sampling luxury foundations for all skin types and ages, this is the third shortlisted foundation in my final selection of five favourites. Each Monday for the next couple of weeks, I’ll post another of my shortlist, with the winner announced later this month. Here’s my latest choice.

Delilah Time Frame Future Resist Foundation SPF20 (shortlisted), £34

 

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I do so love a nice surprise, and that’s exactly what I got with this, a quietly brilliant little foundation from understated British beauty house, Delilah. Having worn it lots in the past six or so weeks, I’m at a loss as to how there’s been so little fuss about it until now.

Firstly, Time Frame comes in the perfect packaging. I mean, really, why can’t all my favourite foundations come in an unbreakable plastic, handbag-friendly travel tube with a drip-free pump dispensing the right amount of product? No oxidation, no added bacteria, no smashing, spilling or bleeding over the sides of a bottle or jar – this is literally all I require in one elegant package.

Secondly, Time Frame’s application is a cinch. I mostly applied it with fingertips, over a rich moisture balm, then patted over a damp Beautyblender to smooth. I layered on more where I wanted extra coverage (in single layer, I’d personally class it as a light/medium base) but even when I did, the whole thing took no more than a couple of minutes. That said, it offers a good amount of playtime before setting, and corrector, concealer and creme blush all blended well over the top. Despite its soft finish, the staying power here is excellent. It went the distance from an 8am application to a 10pm cleanse, with only a couple of touch-ups of face powder to mattify.

But what makes this foundation really quite special is the finish. It is exceptionally flattering and and natural looking – imagine the texture and protection of a tinted moisturiser combined with the coverage of foundation and that’s basically what we’re dealing with. It gives wonderful freshness and glow (entirely without sparkle), and has an ever so slightly dewy finish that makes it especially lovely on mature skins (I recently gave some to a 56 year old and she declares it the best foundation she’s ever used). Its creamy (rather than sparkly) finish makes it ideal for uneven skin surfaces common with acne and rosacea. The reassuringly high SPF didn’t bump and peel against the four different primers I tried it with (Nars, Estée Edit, Charlotte Tilbury and Tom Ford). It’s very comfortable on the skin – lightweight, flexible and moist without shininess and even on the very oily or menopausal, it shouldn’t oxidise and change colour.

But while we’re on the subject, a note on colour: there are just eight shades to choose from here, which, while more limited than one would expect from bigger brands than Delilah, does at least go from very pale to medium-dark. Almost all the shades are yellow-based (very yellow, in fact), with the exception of Lace (a true porcelain) and Shell, which has more pink but still emerges more neutral than rosy.

All in all, this is a perfect foundation for any woman who thinks she hates foundation, or who has neither the time nor inclination for painstaking application, nor the lifestyle for clunky, breakable packaging. It won me over, and all without a whisper of self promotion. Delilah’s Time Frame is the silent assassin of foundations, and it romped through to my top five.

Next Monday: My fourth shortlisted foundation. Do check out the results in other categories via the social channels of my fellow judges, including dear friend of SHB, makeup artist Mary Greenwell. Just search for the #HNHolyGrail hashtag on Twitter or Instagram for more posts.

To see all the shortlisted products across other beauty categories in the Holy Grail Edit, as chosen by my fellow judges, click here.

The SHB promise: We will always choose commercial partners with integrity and great care. We will never, ever say we love something when we don’t. No exceptions, ever.

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  • Helen Moore

    What shade do you use Sali? Handily for me, i am the same shade as you 🙂 This one sounds lovely – can’t wait to try it.

  • Claire_M

    I love Delilah makeup, understated, glamorous and a doddle to apply, a very British take on quality and style.

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