As a beauty editor who doesn't consider herself a major foundation wearer (despite having tried hundreds of formulas), I feel pretty confident in saying there's a YSL foundation for everyone. Whether you like a full-coverage finish or something more lightweight, one of these formulas will suit you. They're pricey, but they're cult classics for a reason.
Before we get into this review of the entire YSL foundation offering, I'd like highlight that I'm not a big foundation wearer. You see, as a beauty editor of over eight years, I've tested a fair few foundations in my time. In fact, I test and trial different formulas day in, day out in a bid to find the very best foundations out there. And I think it's probably because of this that, when it comes to my day-to-day life, I like to leave my skin bare or instead opt for a tinted moisturiser.
Me telling you this doesn't mean I don't know my stuff, mind you. Instead, it's my way of demonstrating just how picky I am when it comes to foundation. For a foundation to become a mainstay in my make-up routine, it's got to be good.
My criteria for finding the perfect foundation is simple—it should both look and feel skin-like, be quick and easy to put on (I'm truly rubbish at knowing how to apply foundation) and require zero touching up throughout the day. Is that really so much to ask?!
And while I'm no doubt fussy when it comes to my foundation choices, I also know that there are some brands I can rely on to deliver stellar formulas—not just for my tastes, but for everyone's. Because while I prefer my coverage to be light and natural-looking, I know that others prefer something heavier and matte. And this is why YSL really stands out to me as one of the best make-up brands for foundation.
The brand offers a concise edit of three formulas: Touche Éclat Le Teint, All Hours and Nu Bare Look Tint. Each formula promises a totally different finish. While All Hours is matte, long-lasting and full-coverage, Touche Éclat Le Teint is glowier and fresher, while Nu Bare Look Tint aims to deliver a skincare-infused veil of coverage.
As a beauty editor, I can tell you it's no secret that YSL's foundations are good. Some of the most successful make-up artists and editors I know consider a YSL formula to be their favourite. But as someone that very much stays in her foundation lane, I've never given them a truly critical review, and with my skin very much throwing its toys out of the pram with the change of seasons, I figured now's a good time to see if there's a formula in the line-up for me.
In a bid to find myself a new foundation for winter (and to see if YSL's foundations really live up to their hype), I tested all three formulas out for myself. I've taken coverage, finish, price, packaging and shade offering into account to create definitive reviews for each, so you know exactly what you're buying. Here's my verdicts...
YSL Touche Éclat Le Teint Foundation SPF22
Best for a natural-looking finish
I want to caveat that the points in the 'against' section of this review are only there because I'm being really picky. This foundation is nothing short of stunning. The creamy formula applies like a dream (particularly if you have a hydrating moisturiser underneath) and doesn't cling to any areas of dryness. It doesn't feel in the slightest bit tacky on the skin (as a long-haired girl, a sticky formula really irks me) and basically melts into the skin for a totally natural-looking finish. If you like a super-high-coverage finish, you'll need to build it up with a couple of layers. However, if you're in the market for an everyday, skin-like foundation, this is it.
- Natural-looking finish
- Healthy-looking glow
- Easy to blend
- 40 shades
- Bulky packaging
- Creased a little
- A little pricey
YSL Nu Bare Look Tint
Best for a barely-there finish
This is a lovely skin tint. As someone who really understands the joy of slathering on a skin tint when you're short on time and just want your skin to look a little bit better, trust me when I say Nu Bare Look Tint ticks the boxes. My problem with it? It is just a little too hydrating for my oily skin. If you have dry skin and don't want to go whole hog with your base, you will absolutely adore this. However, if your skin is prone to oiliness and breakouts like mine is, you probably won't get on with the extra hydration it packs. Because my skin already had a layer of oil on it before I applied, it meant my concealer sat on the top of the tint, resulting in under-eye creasing. However, it was nothing that a bit of powder couldn't fix. To the other points, I absolutely adore the lightweight packaging and loved how easy it was to slap on with my fingers. Oh, and a 20-shade offering for a skin tint that is beautifully stretchable is very impressive indeed.
- Very hydrating
- 20 stretchable shades
- Contains plumping skincare ingredients
- Easy to apply with fingers
- Lightweight packaging
- A little greasy in finish
- Not very long-wearing
- Doesn't layer very well
YSL All Hours Foundation
Best for a full-coverage finish
Again, my against points here are only there because I'm splitting hairs. If you're after a full-coverage foundation that doesn't look cakey, has a skin-like finish and lasts all day long, All Hours is the formula for you. Believe me when I say the fact that I like this foundation as much as I do is some sort of beauty miracle. Typically, I detest full-coverage formulas, but the way this matte finish still lets the skin's natural glow come through is truly exceptional. The only reason I haven't given All Hours the full five stars is because I don't wear matte finish, full-coverage formulas every day—if I did, I'd give it a 6.
- Cake-free finish
- 40 shades
- Skin-like finish
- Pretty bottle
- Bulky packaging
- Could be a little glowier
- A little pricey
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Shannon Lawlor is the Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. With nearly a decade of experience working for some of the beauty industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear, Glamour UK, Stylist and Refinery29, Shannon’s aim is to make the conversation around beauty as open, relatable and honest as possible. As a self-confessed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for hard-working perfumes, fool-proof make-up products and does-it-all skincare.
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