I’ve never been one to wear a full coverage foundation and even stopped wearing it entirely during the height of the pandemic, but lately I’ve been loving these lightweight formulas for so many reasons, mainly by how effortlessly flawless they make my skin look.
I prefer my foundation to be on the light side when it comes to coverage, but lately I’ve really been embracing a more sheer finish. Apart from how weightless this type of complexion product feels, I love that it evens out my skin without fully covering it up and looks so natural, even close up. It also provides a light layer of pollution protection — an unexpectedly welcome perk. Of course, you can always sheer out your current favourite foundation by adding in a couple of drops of face oil or even adding some to your moisturizer, and while that can work, it usually winds up with more slip and significantly less pigment.
Today I’m featuring the five versions I’m reaching for the most which all have that sheer factor, but with variations in both colour and texture — lighter for when my skin is less tanned, and darker for when I do sport a bit of a tan.
CHANEL Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint (reviewed here) first launched in 2019 and became a global hit — and is still often sold out at counters. This was my first foray into a sheer finish and as you can see by the bottle’s usage, it still remains my go-to today. This may be the most lightweight of the bunch, but leaves my skin tone so magically even-looking without ever appearing as if I’ve got anything on at all.
CHANEL Les Beiges Water-Fresh Complexion Touch (reviewed here) is the brand’s latest launch and while the format/texture is similar to the Tint, it’s slightly more pigmented and does double duty as both foundation & concealer. Personally, I can’t choose between the two because I actually adore them both, but I definitely reach for this one when I want the tiniest bit more coverage — it’s a barely noticeable difference, but I can tell, especially when layering any other makeup on top.
YSL NU Bare Look Tint (reviewed here) came out in the fall of 2021 and fits into the natural-looking skin trend. While it feels more balmy than the others shown and appears somewhat more orange-y in the swatch below, it actually blends beautifully into the skin and doesn’t show any signs of oxidation throughout wear. I really like this one on days when my skin feels more dry, as it provides a nice boost of hydration.
Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation is another relatively new launch and apart from it’s lightweight feel, it also contains a SPF 45 and comes in quite a broad range of shades (unlike both the CHANEL and YSL versions that are rather limiting that way). The tube also has a transparent window so you can monitor product usage, and while it seems to me like it has the most coverage of the group, you can blend it out easily to get a sheer finish that still provides evenness.
MILK MAKEUP Sunshine Skin Tint is my first foray with this brand, and apart from the sheer finish this provides and plentiful shade range available, it’s unique in that it dispenses via a roller ball. To be honest, I would actually have preferred a squeeze tube instead as I don’t find a roller ball as sanitary, but it’s redeemed by its lightweight texture and mindful ingredients — something worth noting if you’re in the market for a complexion product in this category.
These are the two brushes I prefer using for application; I find that they’re great for reaching all areas of the face — even around the nose, help spread and blend out the product easily, and provide the smoothest and most flawless finish. Of course, you can always use your fingers for application (too messy for me) or a sponge, but the latter does tend to absorb way too much product and thus makes it wasteful.
Pictured above: CHANEL’s Fluid and Powder Foundation Brush (still available), MAC’s Masterclass Oval 3 Brush (no longer available, but you can find something similar with several other brands)
Swatches of all products shown unblended, but they all blend out beautifully & evenly
Something tells me that the days over heavy coverage are behind us, and I for one couldn’t be happier. I don’t like feeling like I have a thick layer of makeup on my face — it only makes me itch to wash it all off. I also don’t like it when my skin tone looks uneven, so a sheer finish like any of these shown, is the perfect compromise. I mean, who doesn’t want their complexion to look flawless, am I right?