Real Girl Foundation Recommendations

One day, as often happens when I find myself in a big group of women, the conversation in my friends’ group text turned to beauty and we all know how much I love that chat. One of the girls had experienced a reaction to the facial sunscreen she wears each day, and amidst recommendations for different brands to try, we ended up discussing the different foundations and tinted moisturisers we’ve tried and swear by. I figured if one question about sunscreen could provoke so much conversation, then there was probably cause to continue the conversation here on GFG.

Obviously everyone has different skin with different needs, and everyone reacts to products different and prefers a different finish. I’m a fan of a glowy, minimal make up look but also have friends who prefer a more matte finish. Among the group text were ladies with dark skin, pale skin, sensitive skin, combination skin, oily skin, warm tones, cool tones… basically everything you could possibly imagine as a factor. I then also consulted with several other friends to make sure I’d covered lots of bases. Here are the findings, including my own experiences with different products…Real Girls Recommend the best foundations on


Nars Sheer Glow Foundation – this is what I wear when I wear foundation and I love it. I’ve been wearing it for a few years and love it, with no issues with oxidisation at all. However, one of the girls mentioned it oxidised on her skin quite badly, meaning it went orange after being exposed to oxygen (I think said friend has cool tones in her skin so it was probably a bit too yellow for her as well). I have another friend who experienced the same thing. Another friend found it too ‘glowy’ for her skin type. My skin runs a little drier I think, I rarely have issues with being too oily and I’m up for any and all illuminating products. I also think the Sheer Glow has more of a warm base because I have friends who have cooler tones to their skin and they find Sheer Glow a bit too orange. I also find that the product lasts forever – I don’t use it daily so that probably helps but in the three years I’ve been wearing it I’ve only ever had to buy it twice.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk

The friend who gave big ups to this foundation is one of my beauty gurus (I have two friends like this, shout-out to Ruby and Amy Y!). While Ruby found the Nars Sheer Glow to be too ‘glowy’, this doesn’t seem to cause the same troubles so is a good option if you run a little oilier I think.

Clinique Even Better Glow 

“Long wearing, dewy, makes skin look flawless.” If that’s not a glowing endorsement then I don’t know what is, and it’s from Amy Y, beauty guru #2 mentioned above.

Mac Pro Long Wear

The verdict is that this base is very durable, lasting all day, but is heavy to put on. Reading up on it, it seems the heaviness could be because it can be used as either a foundation or concealer, so it offers more coverage. The friend who called out this one had used it for years but wanted to switch it up and try something a bit new, which brings us to… 

Inika Organic

The same friend who was previously a diehard Mac Prolong Wear fan has switched to Inika Organic foundation. Her initial thoughts are that it is lighter and isn’t bad, but sweats off during a long day especially compared to the Mac foundation she’s used for years.

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation

My sister and I recently spent a weekend in Sydney together, and she was talking about wanting a new foundation that was a bit more natural than what we have access to in our small country home town. She has entirely unblemished skin (seriously, I don’t think she’s ever had a pimple in her life, including through pregnancy) but does have a little redness and some concerns with sensitive skin. She finished up with Tarte’s Clay Stick Foundation which I think has a bit of a cult following. So far my sis really likes it so it gets a thumbs up.

Revlon ColorStay Make-Up

A more affordable foundation that I used for years before I ventured into more upmarket brands. I think it’s similar to the Nars Sheer Glow. My skin is light with yellow undertones – I tan easily and my visible veins look green rather than blue, which is the best way to tell if you’ve got pink or yellow undertones. Pink undertones/cool based skin tones will makes veins look a bit more blue and don’t tan as easily.

Highly commended:

Estee Lauder Double Wear

This came up in conversation a couple of times as one a couple of people wanted to try but no one had used it. It does get tops reviews though.

Diorskin Forever Fluid

Also came up as a foundation a couple of people wanted to try but no-one had made the splurge yet.

Lighter options – BB & CC Creams 

IT Cosmetics CC Cream:

Every girl and her cat recommends this and it’s constantly sold out so I’m yet to try it, but if the hype is that big then surely it’s good?

La Roche Posay Uvidea XL Melt-In BB Cream SPF50 

The gal who recommended this mentioned she hasn’t worn foundation in months because the coverage from this BB cream is so good. Her skin is quite fair, and this boasts SPF, which is a bonus for any other fair-skinned maidens and those with cool undertones.

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser

I’ve worn this for about three years on a day-to-day basis, and I love it. A tube lasts forever, it’s light enough to feel like your skin is breathing but gives enough coverage to still feel like your face is done.

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

This is really, really sheer – I thought it would have a bit more coverage than it does but I still really like it. I use it to even out skin tone and then I use RMS Uncover Up in problem areas or where shadows tend to occur, like under my eyes and on the sides of my nose. The skin tint sinks into your skin without blocking pores, giving that sort-after Glossier glow that it seems we’re all after.


A good foundation is nothing without a good primer. You’ll get so much more bang for your buck from your foundation if you layer it over a primer. Two of my favourites are Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer, and Mecca Cosmetica Lit from Within Primer.

I’ve also tried multiple samples of the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer but I just didn’t love it like I wanted to. I found it quite matte on my skin and I prefer to look a little more natural. If matte is your jam though, pick up a sample and see how you go. It’s definitely pricey so try before you buy.

Side Notes:

Not a make up girl? Never fear. One of my friends mentioned her guideline is that if the occasion calls for heels, then she wears foundation, which I think is an awesome rule to live by.

I never purchase foundation online because it’s so easy to get the shade wrong, and because I don’. However, when I was searching for the link to this foundation, I noticed that Sephora ask for your shade in other foundations so they can determine the best match for you. I’m probably way behind on this but isn’t that genius?! If you are after a particular brand of foundation but can’t access it to swatch shades IRL, this is a great alternative way of finding a good match.



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