I depend on foundation as a security blanket due to my constant acne and the inflammation it's left behind. Even on days when my skin isn't that bad, I cover it in a layer of makeup—anything to bring back the confidence years of acne has taken from me. The problem is, despite owning over 20 different bottles of the stuff, I've never found a foundation I truly love.
That's because most foundations that give me the full coverage I want are cakey and drying, and they look unnatural. Fuller-coverage foundations also have a tendency to crack apart on my skin as the day goes on, ruining my attempts to have that elusive "no-makeup makeup" look. The result: I often sacrifice the high coverage I want for a more natural finish and lighter formula. My skin looks more "real," but that means the spots I'm trying to cover up still come through.
The first time I applied Charlotte Tilbury's new Airbrush Flawless Foundation, however, I nearly cried tears of joy. That may sound dramatic, but I saw years of redness and acne scars vanish in front of my eyes. I was left instead with a clear, even canvas—something I haven't seen since I started middle school. I was instantly obsessed—it was a miracle for someone who never likes foundations on the first try.
But if there's anyone who understands the power of good makeup, it's Tilbury. Even her husband hasn't seen her without her signature smoky eye. “Makeup and everything, so much of it’s emotional. It’s about a feeling,” she tells Glamour. “So many people are suffering. To be able to put something on and have that flawless feeling, it’s such a wonderful thing.”
The Airbrush Flawless Foundation does exactly what its name suggests: It made me look airbrushed and flawless. The formula feels weightless on my skin, and it doesn't look too heavy or done up. Although the brand describes the foundation as having a natural matte finish, I found it to have more of a satin finish—like natural skin. Another bonus: The foundation has a luminous look. Not like it's full of shimmer, per se, but more like I'm in incredibly flattering lighting. Best of all, it keeps my acne covered for hours and moves with my skin.
It makes me feel pretty. And when you're so used to hating your skin, that's no small feat.
According to Tilbury, the foundation contains "serum levels of skincare ingredients" in order to prevent wrinkles over time, and it moisturizes skin for up to 24 hours. That explains why my dry skin is able to tolerate the heavy coverage. A bit of a warning, though: This stuff is hard-core, so a little goes a long way. The first time I applied the foundation, I used too much, which resulted in its gathering around my nose and hairline. A tiny pump is all you need for your whole face. I like to use a damp Beauty Blender so a tiny bit of my skin shows through. If you want more coverage, use a brush.
To develop the shades, Tilbury did a study of 650 men and women across various ages, skin tones, and skin conditions, including severe acne and rosacea. The foundation comes in 44 shades, in four "overtones" (fair, medium, tan, deep) and three undertones (cool, warm, and neutral).
Most foundations are made starting with the lightest shades, and the white pigment base is stretched to cater to the darkest shades, which is why so many foundations can look ashy. "We went into the laboratory and said 'Guess what, we’re going to manipulate these undertones and overtones based on our study, and we’re going to start with the deep skin tones,'" says Tilbury. "We can stretch it so they never go ash."
The new campaign showcases the foundation on a wide range of people, including Joan Collins, Miss Fame, and Tilbury's mother, Patsy. It also features before and after photos of real women and men with wrinkles, acne, and rosacea. It's refreshing to see such a range of skin tones, ages, and gender identities represented, and the photos illustrate Tilbury's motives behind the foundation: to make everyone feel flawless. I know I do.
Bella Cacciatore is the Beauty Associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
Originally Appeared on Glamour