Glowing For Gold

Dull skin in need of a lightbulb moment? Sali Hughes gives you the skinny on three new light-reflecting foundation launches

sali foundation


Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation, £35, out February, Space NK

WHAT: The new, light reflecting base from foundation specialist Mercier. Designed to add flattering, soft glow to the skin.

PROS: Characteristically good, inclusive, colour range (24 shades), high SPF, noticeable glow minus glitter (this is much less shimmery than her Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser which, though I personally love it, can highlight uneven skin texture in acne and rosacea sufferers), natural-looking medium coverage for those who don’t like to feel too ‘made up”, pump dispenser, flattering finish, inclusion of antioxidants, good blendability, feels lightweight on the skin, unlikely to aggravate sensitive types.

CONS: Glass bottle may prove impractical for frequent travellers and gym goers, product needs layering for what I’d class as a medium coverage, dry skins may feel they need more moisture.

TIP: Apply with a brush. I loved how it looked when I took care over its application, but this is not a “slap on and go” formula. I found it too easily absorbed by sponges (a common problem).

SUITABLE FOR: All skin types, all ethnicities – though the very dry may crave a little more moisture. Especially good on dull skins and those who want more coverage than a tinted moisturiser, but less than a full base. Would also work well as a first foundation for those who’ve previously avoided it.

VERDICT:  A solid gap-filling addition to Mercier’s reliable foundation range, and one I’ve kept on my dressing table for future use. I’ll wear it for meetings, lunch with friends and other daytime functions.


Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation SPF25, £36, Feel Unique

PROS: High SPF, beautiful packaging, pump dispenser, sliky lightweight texture, oil free, very good blendability and easy, slapdash application, sheer coverage and matte texture for those who want it. Light coverage means that shades are flexible – you can go a little darker without looking unnatural.

CONS: Glass bottle will be impractical for some, limited shade range, perfumed (albeit very pleasantly) formula, finish not as glowy as one might hope (I felt it was a tiny, weeny bit chalky), coverage sheerer than many tinted moisturisers.

TIP: Apply any old way you like – this is a cinch, but for noticeable glow, you may want to start with a light reflecting primer.

SUITABLE FOR: Young, clear skins. Particularly suited to under-served oilier types, as the finish is matte – unusual in a glow product. Those who want increased warmth and colour, but little coverage.

VERDICT: I love the Les Beiges franchise overall, but I’m not overwhelmed with love for this particular product. For the same coverage with greater glow, I’m inclined to suggest the Les Beiges fluid and powder instead, or Vitalumiere Aqua from the main stable. But in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of any sheer coverage foundations (the notable exception being Givenchy’s fantastic Teint Couture Balm), as I’d generally prefer to get the best of both worlds – glow and sheer-to-light coverage – via a tinted moisturiser. Nonetheless, this was pleasant to use and I’ll probably wear it again.


Guerlain Parure Gold Fluid Radiance Foundation SPF30, £55, John Lewis (main picture)

WHAT: This is a full coverage base with double-sided gold light reflecting particles, form Guerlain’s most high-end makeup colelction.

PROS: High SPF, superior blendability allowing for application with sponge, fingers or brush (I’ve been applying with fingers, then buffing with a clean duo-fibre face brush), noticeable glow minus glitter, excellent coverage that covers most things in one application, beautiful bottle with practical pump.

CONS: The usual French double act – limited colour range (of 12 shades) and fragranced formula that may aggravate sensitive skins (I’ve had no problems at all and love the smell). The opaque black bottle gives no indication of how much is left. Some may also find glass impractical for travel. High price point.

TIP: Not to be confused with its sister, Parure Gold Fluid Foundation in the curved bottle, at a slightly lower price point, from the same range. I tried it with high hopes, and it doesn’t blend anything like as well. The finish was patchy and a little cakey. I’d avoid.

SUITABLE FOR: Women of 30+, melasma/chloasma and (non-sensitive) rosacea sufferers, anyone in need of full coverage. Dull or sagging skins, any skin type but very oily.

VERDICT: After eight untouchable years, it’s finally happened: I’ve found a foundation I love every bit as much as Suqqu’s classic cream formula. Yes, really. The Guerlain is a product I genuinely look forward to using – I hauled ass to a dinner I didn’t fancy the other night, just so I could put on my foundation. It blends like a dream and the finish is perfect. I layer Dior Glow Maximiser underneath, and Bobbi Corrector and Bare Minerals Bare Skin concealer over the top, but truly, I’ve found I need less cover up than ever before. Lasts all day with no touch up. An exceptional foundation that deserves a resounding TEN.

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  • mrs doyle

    In the interests of science (ahem) I wore half face suqqu, half face Guerlain parure gold. I had to double conceal spots on the Suqqu side (with Nars rcc) as the coverage was noticeably lower, but then after that the general consensus was the two sides were identical and both equally wonderful. The only difference I noticed was after around 10 hours the Guerlain side where I had used concealer had gone patchy and flaky, whereas the Suqqu side was nearly perfect. A tiny difference though and overall I agree it’s a wonderful foundation. I will probably buy it for days I want more coverage than suqqu. And yes it is an absolute joy to apply. So a nine and a half from me 🙂

  • Gaynor Chart

    I now need the Guerlain and the BM concealer!! What shades are you wearing in both please? Thanks! x

  • Amy K

    Oooh, now I have to try the Guerlain!

  • lovestruck

    i love the style of this review – this is smashing! been wondering about these new foundations for ages. the guerlain is going on my list to try, as is that bare minerals concealer. i loved that this was a review of not one but three products too. love love love.

  • Bekahbea

    The Guerlain sounds amazing. I’m going to have to check it out.

  • Pauline

    Great info thanks!
    Please please could you do a review like this on the new under eye concelars there are so many !!

  • Madame Elizabeth

    I have a sample of the Laura Mercier foundation coming in my next Sephora box. I’m not generally a foundation person, but I like to have packets around for auditions. I’ll have to remember to use a brush.

  • PlumPie

    “After eight untouchable years, it’s finally happened: I’ve found a foundation I love every bit as much as Suqqu’s classic cream formula.” I genuinely read this and said “shit it must be good” outloud. Am very intrigued!

  • Dana

    I have this Chanel foundation and I really love it. I’m not young (43) but prefer something a little less dewy and it looks extremely natural I think -like your skin. Plus it is the world’s easiest foundation to apply! Great pre work. But I guess I do wear something illuminating either underneath or over the top. I have this Guerlain one but I actually prefer the Chanel (but I’m not a huge fan of the Suqqu either!). I think the Chanel is more medium coverage but I’m not a fan of full coverage so maybe that’s it. Oh and I love the Givinchy balm!

  • SminkeSusan

    I’m going to need that Guerlain foundation aren’t I? Can’t wait to give it a try. Love these reviews as well.

  • Alkistis

    The Guerlain is a beautiful foundation, but the palest shade is sadly too pink for me…

    • Gaynor Chart

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 🙁 This means bad news for me too.

      • Diana

        All guerlain foundations/bb creams are too dark and pink for me usually but i tried old(curved) parure gold in pâle 00 and it’s perfect. Unfortunately, hard to get hold of in the UK 🙁

  • Violet Beauregard

    Double thumbs up from me for the Guerlain Parure Gold. Exquisite, and even more so on top of their Meteorites Oxygen Care Moisturizer & Radiance Booster *gasps for breath*

  • kiran clair

    So frustrating about the limited shade range because it seems like it has everything that I need in a foundation

  • Susan

    What shade do you use in the Guerlain ?

  • Susan

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