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Beauty: silicone foundations

Silicone – anything on ingredients lists that ends in “-icone” – is in a vast number of beauty products. It’s added to moisturisers, foundations, primers and serums for its ability to sort of laminate the skin and make it smoother, plumper, less lined (albeit temporarily – silicone washes off and never has long-term benefits). It also gives great grip, like carpet underlay.

The problem with silicones – and I speak as someone who uses them a lot – is that they’re prone to giving makeup a slightly dull, flat look and, worse, often cause products to “bump” against each other, causing them to peel. I’ve rejected hundreds of products for this column over the years purely on that basis.

But occasionally a silicone product comes along that so brilliantly overcomes its challenges, you wonder how we ever wore makeup without it. This spring brings two. Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (£32), is a mouthful, but entirely accurate. Like most silicone foundations, it is watery, firming up upon application. But unlike so many others I’ve tried, it has remarkable coverage. I can cover almost anything with a second layer, and the finish is the best I’ve seen in a few years – glowy, even and long-lasting. I apply with fingers, then buff with Real Techniques duo fiber face brush (£23.99 for three). The second is YSL Touche Éclat Blur Perfector powder balm (£31.50), which really isn’t a powder at all. You dab it over any shine, and it retains the dewiness and glow that traditional powders would stamp out. It also stops that cakey powder buildup that plagues oilier and perimenopausal skins. Both are suitable for all skin types.

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