Most of us already protect our skin with SPF and antioxidants, but the best foundations also provide another tool in your anti-pollution armoury. A well-chosen base not only enhances the skin but creates a physical barrier to shield against pollution, along with a cocktail of active ingredients designed to fight its effects. These are the bases to buy for great coverage in the city, whether your skin is oily, dry and everything in-between.
PORTER’S PROTECTION PICKS
Best foundation for oily, breakout-prone skin
Great for skin that becomes congested easily, Chantecaille’s luxe, modern foundation offers a more flattering alternative to the overly matte offerings out there. The water-based gel formula balances oil but leaves skin dewy. Infused with green tea, a potent antioxidant to fend off city air, it offers a coverage that’s as protective and velvety as it is luminous.
TIP: Use a brush or damp sponge to apply as dipping fingers into a pot can be messy and spreads bacteria.
Best foundation for sensitive skin prone to redness
Perfecting delicate skin requires an intelligent base with skincare-standard ingredients, and 3Lab’s tinted moisturizer delivers exactly that. It contains regenerating apple stem cells and an SPF40 to protect easily irritated complexions in aggressive environments. For a tinted moisturizer, it does a surprisingly brilliant job of evening out ruddy color.
TIP: The coverage is impressive, but if you do need to build it up, use a sponge to apply an additional layer over targeted areas.
Best foundation for combination skin
Natura Bissé’s fluid base balances oil production (it’s oil-free so won’t exacerbate breakouts) and is infused with hyaluronic acid. This drip-feeds skin with moisture, stopping it from looking dull (often the problem with oil-balancing foundations) while also plumping out and softening fine lines. Plus, it has watercress extract to eliminate impurities.
TIP: Apply a sheer primer before your base to give it something to cling to – think of it like sticky tape.
Best foundation for normal skin
Elizabeth Arden has developed a tinted moisturizer for the 21st century, protecting complexions from urban environments with a combination of SPF50, antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients that also strengthen skin’s natural resilience. In a universal shade that suits most, if not all, skin tones, it creates a blurring effect and can be worn alone or as a base underneath foundation.
TIP: Reapply throughout the day for enhanced protection.
Best foundation for uneven or pigmented skin
When sun and pollution combine, skin pigmentation can increase threefold. This cream formula from Hourglass has double the amount of pigment for truly great coverage in just a few swipes. It won’t specifically protect skin from city air (so make sure you prime first with an SPF), but it is one of the best on-the-go foundations out there, and the high pigment content means it doubles as a concealer when layered. It’s waterproof, too.
TIP: This stick is precise enough to use as a contour or highlight. Combine two or three shades to get your exact color, going no more than one or two shades lighter or darker than your natural skin tone.
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