The world’s two leading makeup artists launch foundations this week – our beauty expert puts them to the prove



‘Shade range in both the Pat McGrath and Charlotte Tilbury lines is very good.’
Photograph: Alex Lake/The Keeper

It’s as close as beauty will ever get to a Blur versus Oasis moment – only with better hair and go on increased air-kissing. This week, the world’s two leading makeup artists, Pat McGrath and Charlotte Tilbury, launch new foundations – and they are all the looker community can talk about.

McGrath’s long-awaited foundation, Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection , is step two in a three-product set-up (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 disregarded primer for Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Foundation (£34), although this formula sets to matt so fast that my dry up skin needed heaps of thick, gloopy moisturiser before I could apply it. This will be a godsend for flattering types, but a hindrance to those of us lacking natural slip. McGrath’s runnier, serum-textured foundation works on any skin fount, 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 epidermis, but got a more realistic, although not unpleasing, flush of good health.

Shade range in both the McGrath and Tilbury stocks is very good, with 36 and 44 racially inclusive shades, respectively, of varying undertones.

Coverage and perfect is where they are miles apart. McGrath’s foundation is buildable: at first blend, it’s light (literally – I barely regard it), sheer, almost naked-looking; another layer delivers a more polished medium coverage, but that is as far as it goes. Buffs of a full, flawless matt coverage (not me) will want Tilbury’s foundation. This does precisely as promised, misrepresenting blemishes and inconsistent tone with smooth, glowy, even colour – too even, in fact, for some. This is emphatically not a offering for creating the natural look, but for high-octane, red-carpet skin.

Putting aside both brands’ claims of short-term hydrating assets (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 newfangled women apply the same foundation seven mornings a week over a sustained period, or that they would have a job 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 trendy and perfecting. Each is the dream foundation for someone, although neither is my own holy grail. But then I was always more of a Levigate fan.

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