Check out these barely there foundations for great coverage with the lightest of touches.

Just as we shed our winter knits, spring is all about lightening up our make-up layers, too. Foundations have come a long way in recent years and lighter formulas don’t have to mean compromising on skin-perfecting results. Instead, many offer impressive colour correction, hydration and dew-inducing benefits – all without the ‘mask’ of heavier formulas. Part make-up, part skincare, check out our round up of nine lightweight foundations for the new season, from the latest high-street formulations to science-backed, dermatologist brands.

Trinny BFF De-Stress

Anyone else feel like the strain of the last year is starting to show on their skin? Stress spots, dehydration, ‘mask-ne’, screen-induced wrinkles? Trinny Woodall’s BFF De-Stress formula is a clever serum/foundation hybrid in a great spectrum of shades, containing stress-busting Neurophroline, which works to tackle the short and long-term effects of the stress-hormone cortisol. Meanwhile hyaluronic acid provides long-lasting hydration to plump and smooth. Make-up with skin-boosting benefits: a win-win switch your skin will thank you for.

L’Oreal Skin Paradise

Enriched with a cocktail of aloe vera, ginger and witch hazel, this 70 per cent serum formula delivers quenched, healthy skin – the perfect antidote to dry, winter, dull complexions. There are antioxidants to protect and SPF20 in there, too. The lightweight, water-rich formula gives a surprising level of coverage, without smothering skin. Choose from thirteen shades. A great high-street buy.

Chanel Les Beiges Waterfresh Tint

The patented microfluidic formula of Chanel’s luxury Waterfresh tint encapsulates pigment in 75 per cent water, which then melts on contact with the skin, giving a burst of hydration and barely-there coverage. Containing tamarind seed extract for its moisturising properties and soothing neroli flower extract, the ultra-lightweight formula is a great summer skin quenching base when you just want a ‘your skin but better’ finish.

Lancome Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint

‘Foundation-infused skincare’ from Lancome puts the emphasise firmly on skin-boosting benefits with hyaluronic acid and Moringa tree extract to nourish and protect skin. Its latest ‘skin tint’ launches in time for summer, providing sheer coverage for a juicy, radiant complexion, with SPF 23 to protect and a water-rich formula that will ensure skin stays hydrated all day.

Nars Tinted Glow Booster

If your tired, winter skin is in need of a helping hand on the glow front, fake it with Nars’ Tinted Glow Booster. A hybrid colour-corrector and complexion enhancer, it offers a softening veil of colour and dewy sheen. Not quite a foundation, but so much more than a primer, the lightweight formula has jojoba oils to nourish and pearlescent pigments that diffuse light for a healthy, effortless glow. It can be worn along for a ‘no-make up’ make-up look, or layered under foundation when you need a little extra boost.

Erborian BB Crayon

A great, handy crayon from Erborian, the ‘BB’ formula offers both coverage and colour correction to even out skin tone and blur imperfections in a fool-proof, blendable formula. If you’ve had problems in the past with base sitting on top of your skin and in the creases, this is a great option; enriched with ginseng to soften skin, it’s a brilliant multi-purpose stick as a concealer, eyeshadow base or touch-up crayon to throw in your bag for when you’re on-the-go again.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturiser

Bare Minerals has a cult following for its lightweight powder foundations, but we love this tinted moisturiser cream in sixteen brilliantly inclusive shades (one of the widest ranges we’ve seen). Perfect for teens, or those who don’t want a full-coverage look, the gel cream formula has an impressive SPF30 (also one of the highest we’ve seen), with marine botanicals and mineral electrolytes to nourish and hydrate. A great quenching formula that let’s skin breathe.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur

From French pharmacy brand La Roche Posay, this BB Blur cream is brilliant for oily, blemish-prone complexions. Its ultra-light, breathable texture won’t clog skin but is just enough coverage to blur imperfections; reduce the appearance of pores; and even out skin tone. The balm-like texture offers a long-lasting matte finish, which is great on sunny days when you want to reduce shine yet still allow skin to radiate health.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder

Celebrity make-up artist, Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder foundation promises ‘youth boosting perfect skin’. It’s a big claim but one that’s clearly delivering, as her cult following attests. Ideal for foundation phobes the barely-there veil of colour is almost imperceptible once blended, cleverly camouflaging imperfections and enhancing glow. With a host of active ingredients – including a natural alternative to retinol – its anti-fatigue formula will perk up even the dullest of complexions adding just enough brightening and smoothing qualities, without feeling too ‘done’. A great holiday make-up bag addition, Charlotte suggests using it across the body too as an all-in-one skin perfector on newly unleashed winter limbs.

By Lydia Mansi
April 2021

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.