It’s as close as beauty will ever get to a Blur versus Oasis moment – only with better hair and added air-kissing. This week, the world’s two leading makeup artists, Pat McGrath and Charlotte Tilbury, launch new foundations – and they are all the beauty community can talk about.
McGrath’s long-awaited foundation, Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection , is step two in a three-product system (there is also a new primer and powder), but, for £60, it should be able to stand on its own two feet, so I wore it with neither of its flankers for a week.
I also skipped primer for Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Foundation (£34), although this formula sets to matt so fast that my drier skin needed heaps of thick, gloopy moisturiser before I could apply it. This will be a godsend for oily types, but a hindrance to those of us lacking natural slip. McGrath’s runnier, serum-textured foundation works on any skin type, minus the pre-greasing, but dull types may find it lacks McGrath’s trademark glow – I was hoping for the luminous finish of her catwalk skin, but got a more realistic, although not unpleasing, flush of good health.
Shade range in both the McGrath and Tilbury lines is very good, with 36 and 44 racially inclusive shades, respectively, of varying undertones.
Coverage and finish is where they are miles apart. McGrath’s foundation is buildable: at first blend, it’s light (literally – I barely felt it), sheer, almost naked-looking; another layer delivers a more polished medium coverage, but that is as far as it goes. Fans of a full, flawless matt coverage (not me) will want Tilbury’s foundation. This does precisely as promised, camouflaging blemishes and inconsistent tone with smooth, glowy, even colour – too even, in fact, for some. This is emphatically not a product for creating the natural look, but for high-octane, red-carpet skin.
Putting aside both brands’ claims of short-term hydrating properties (neither had any discernible effect on that front) and long-term skin benefits (I am never convinced by this from anyone – I don’t buy that modern women apply the same foundation seven mornings a week over a sustained period, or that they would work even if that were the case), and judging the two solely on application and finish, I would say McGrath’s is modern and fresh, while Tilbury’s is glamorous and perfecting. Each is the dream foundation for someone, although neither is my own holy grail. But then I was always more of a Pulp fan.
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