It’s now entirely possible to snap up a great base for twenty quid or less

Autumn and winter makeup calls for slightly heavier coverage from your base: those berry lips and seasonal, smokey eyes just work better against a more perfected canvas. A few years ago I’d have steered you firmly away from the chemist in your search for a good foundation – it’s too important to your overall look to get wrong, and when it’s bad, it’s horrid. 

But modern technology, advanced ingredients and the cascade effect from sister brands mean that budget beauty has never been better. It’s now entirely possible to snap up a great base for twenty quid or less; this trio is a case in point. 

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

With its thick, whipped-mousse texture, I was surprised by how light this feels on the skin.  It gives a soft, velvety, mid-coverage finish that, while matte, isn’t flat and unnatural. It’s more than a match for redness and pores and, unpowdered, keeps my oily t-zone fresh and shine-free for a good six hours. Shades are restricted to six and, while darker skintones aren’t catered for, paler gals should be ok: my shade is #200, Soft Beige, and there are four lighter shades in the range.

Like most matte products, if your skin is drier than Good Friday, I’d give this one a miss; otherwise, for €7.99, you’d be mad to pass it up.

Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation

Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation

Similar in texture, but lighter and more hydrating than the Rimmel mousse, this should be kinder to dry skins and appeal to those who prefer a real-skin finish. Medium coverage, the demi-matte effect is more satin than velvet (we love a good textile reference, frillseekers!) and, though long-lasting, feels featherlight to wear. Six shades again are on offer – mine is #50, Natural, which comes third in line from light to dark.

The dotey glass jar is portable and handy for travel (though personally, I’d rather a tube), while the oil-and-fragrance-free formula makes it a good pick for sensitive skin. For €12.99, that all strikes me as a pretty sweet deal.

Bourjois Happy Light Foundation

Bourjois Happy Light Foundation

So this one’s not named for dessert, but the latest liquid base from Bourjois is a real people pleaser nonetheless – it should work equally well for all skintypes. While by no means a dupe, there are definite similarities to (sister company) Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere, which I adore; both are longwearing but comfortable, with a pretty luminosity that makes them very flattering to wear. Demi-matte is the finish, medium –but-buildable is the coverage and I can’t actually feel either on my face.

Where Happy Light really falls down, in comparison to its spendier counterpart (we’re talking €16.99 as opposed to €44), is the shade choice. Shade 50, Porcelain, has a slight yellow tone which works for me because hey, so does my face – but it’s also the palest in the six-strong range. I’m never the palest in the range. Though if you’re lucky enough to find your shade match in the line-up, do snap up a bottle (or two).

Tried any of ‘em yourself? Thoughts?