Whilst I continue my epic deliberation over whether I like or dislike Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Weightless Foundation (even after eight weeks I simply can’t make up my mind) I’m going to turn my hand to reviewing face bases that are total no-brainers. The ones I’ve loved instantly, the ones that have a clear advantage when it comes to finish or longevity or oil-control, the ones I look forward to putting on. Like jeans that make you feel less lardy in the middle region, or bras that don’t squeeze your ribcage like a boa constrictor, these will be the foundation marvels that have wowed me and made their way up to take permanent residence on the bathroom shelf.
And I will start with the Even Better Glow* foundation from Clinique, which is the perfect spring-summer base for anyone wanting to look as though they have healthy, hydrated, even-toned skin. This is the latest addition to Clinique’s Even Better line, which targets dark spots and uneven skin tone. There are serums and correctors and sunscreens and eye things to tackle the underlying skin tone issues, and on the makeup side, two foundations that help to instantly brighten and even things out.
The original Even Better foundation has a creamy, medium coverage that looks quite luminous in natural light – but a velvety, soft luminous rather than anything that could be called glowy; the new Even Better Glow has a sheer-to-medium coverage that could absolutely be called glowy. It’s a very clever little foundation, actually, because it looks so real that it tricks you into thinking that it’s one of those barely-there, juicy-skin complexion enhancers. It tricks you into thinking that it’s merely adding some polish and shine to your skin, when in fact it’s doing a lot more than a bit of basic skin tone correcting.
The coverage is misleading; sheer-ish but with pigments that are luminizing and so reflect light away from imperfections rather than having to camouflage them, meaning that the resulting finish is sheeny and delicate rather than heavy and opaque. Skin looks real rather than airbrushed – this won’t cover lots of pigmentation but it will look believable, healthy-looking and fresh.
Here I am, then, before the Clinique Even Better Glow – usual bits of redness around the nose, minor blemishes, dark-ish circles (though I seem to have caught myself on a reasonably good day!), one eyelid that seems in danger of actually folding over on itself :
And here I am after one sheer application, applied using both fingertips and brush because I like to see what works best (both methods are excellent with this foundation):
And closer in, before and after – look to the chin if you want an idea of coverage level, there’s an (admittedly small!) spot there:
And then one for those who are really pedantic about how a foundation looks on the skin at extremely close range – you can see that this is smooth, doesn’t cling to any dryness and doesn’t have any oily residue:
It’s just beautiful and dewy-looking, without the oil. Actually, one of my favourite things about the Even Better Glow is that it looks as though you’ve had a facial with a load of hydrating serums and masks – there’s that quenched, plumped sort of appearance to the skin – but it’s purely cosmetic. I wouldn’t say that it’s a drying foundation, not by any means, but it certainly doesn’t seem to hydrate the skin in any significant way. It’s all visual trickery.
Which makes this quite universally appealing – those with dry skin can layer it up over the top of their serums and creams and so on and will appreciate the “hydrated skin” look, those with combination or oily skin will love the oil-free formula that has rather impressive longevity, really, considering the lightweight formula and juicy-Lucy sheen. Although I’m still not sure it’s the best choice for very oily skin if you’re after targeted oil control – something like Effaclar BB Blur or the Dior Mousse foundation would be good, just off the top of my head, if you’re after a weightless, perfected finish that’ll keep shine at bay.
I’ve just found some notes I made for this Even Better Glow foundation – I must have written them when I first tested it. Initial impressions, if you like. I wrote “the finish is so juicy and delightful that it really gives the appearance that the skin is mega-hydrated. Quenched. Clinique do the whole skin-quenching thing really well and this makeup feels to me like the cosmetic answer to their own Moisture Surge range. Almost like a cheat for hydrated skin.”
A cheat for hydrated skin. Is that a thing? Should it even be a thing? Probably not. There’s no substitite for nicely hydrated skin. But hey, anything that gives me a one-step youthful glow gets a big tick in my book. It’s more of a low-key glow than Laura Mercier’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser, less high-maintenance in terms of blending than something like Lancome’s Teint Idole and a gloss to challenge that of Chanel’s Les Beiges Gel Touch Cushion but with more in the way of coverage.
What else? Convenient, lightweight packaging that travels well – just a simple squeezy tube with a sensible nozzle – and no scent to the product, if that’s important to you. The formula boasts longer-term benefits, including Vitamin C to help with pigmentation and brightness and sunscreen to help protect from further damage, but in all honestly I would be looking to my skincare to provide those things.
I’ve used shade CN20 here (top swatch in the photo above), but I also have WN04 (bottom swatch) and that doesn’t look too ridiculous, so I have no idea what my true match would be. Both are fine, CN20 makes me look a little bit warmer and healthier, so that’s the one I’ve been using. I suppose the sheerness of the formula means that you can be a little more relaxed with the shade (there are 30 altogether, which is great news), but if you’re wondering what you’d be and can’t get to a counter, I’ve just seen that Clinique are doing a free 10 day sample on their website here. Might be worth a shot – also if you know your shade and just want to give the new formula a try.
UPDATE: at the time of writing, some shades are half price at FEELUNIQUE*