These winners are not the ones that give the Korean dewy look (sorry!). Why? Because the latter are just not right for our climate. The ones we do love are the semimatte variety. They make us look fresh, radiant, and simply us.
GLOW-ENHANCING FOUNDATION (DEPARTMENT/ SPECIALITY STORE)
Kose Esprique Skin Care Foundation UV Kit, $51
The lightweight liquid reduces the appearance of pores and makes us look less tired. In two shades.
Shiseido Makeup Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Fluid Foundation SPF20, $74
Gives sheer to medium coverage, but still makes skin look like skin. Better on oily than dry skin, and lasts from morning to night. In 16 shades with fair to dark, cool to warm and red to yellow undertones.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick Radiant Makeup, $56
A lightweight liquid for a brighter and more even complexion. Its built-in sponge tip dispenses, buffs and blends the foundation. In eight shades.
GLOW-ENHANCING MAKEUP PRIMER (DEPARTMENT/SPECIALITY STORE)
Sisley Instant Eclat Instant Glow Primer, $106
A baby-pink, watery gel that evens out skin tone. Works on a wide range of complexions, from fair to dark.
The History of Whoo Cheongidan Hwahyun Double Radiant Base, $116
For a stronger glow, use this as a primer. For soft radiance, mix it with foundation; it can also make foundation last the whole day.
Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in #01 Nude Radiance, $70
Blurs imperfections. Skin immediately looks younger.
GLOW-ENHANCING MAKEUP PRIMER – WITH SPF (DEPARTMENT/SPECIALITY STORE)
Kanebo Glow Primer, $58
This baby-pink, watery gel makes skin look good – it’s brighter and more even-toned.
Nars Radiance Primer SPF35/ PA+++, $65
Dull, tired skin instantly brightens with a warm and rosy glow.
Laneige Water Glow Base Corrector SPF41/PA++, $59
This liquid is also corrective, with pigments that reflect blue light to create the appearance of translucence. In three shades.
BLEMISH-BLURRING MAKEUP PRIMER (DEPARTMENT/SPECIALITY STORE)
Nars Smooth & Protect Primer SPF50/PA+++, $65
This blurs pores, fine lines and wrinkles with a velvety matte finish.
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Primer Oilfree Poreless Skinperfecting Serum Primer, $62
Oil-free, with photo filter-like abilities and a smooth, matte finish – and it feels like skin.
Benefit Cosmetics The Porefessional Pore Minimizing Makeup, $53
The thin and watery tinted lotion makes skin look airbrushed. Use under or over foundation. In five shades.
CONCEALER (DEPARTMENT/ SPECIALITY STORE)
Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer, $60
Matte, not sticky, and doesn’t budge. One dot after foundation is enough for minor imperfections. For serious blemishes like rosacea or acne, use it before and after foundation. In six shades.
Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer, $46
It’s the brand’s highestcoverage concealer, but it still looks natural on skin, not dry or cakey – regardless of how many layers are applied. Its finish is slightly powdery. In 16 shades.
Kat Von D Beauty Lock-it Concealer Creme, $40
Transfer-proof and water resistant, this packs intense coverage and a dewy finish into a tube, yet blends into skin naturally. In 21 shades, including a white for mixing with.
ANTI-AGEING CUSHION FOUNDATION (DEPARTMENT/SPECIALITY STORE)
Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense, $105
Has buildable yet natural coverage, and pearl powder to give you that “inner glow”. In seven shades, for both pink and yellow undertones.
The History of Whoo Cheongidan Hwahyun Radiant Essence Lifting Foundation Cushion, $142
Offers medium coverage and gives skin a dewy, pinkish hue. It never feels oily or sticky. In two shades.
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation, $80
The thick, creamy formula allows for high coverage. But the compact always delivers just the right amount so we don’t OD on it. It gives a satin glow and blurs pores and imperfections. Best on dry skin. In nine shades.
Dior Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion, $78
This matte number does not oxidise (skin does not look darker after a few hours) or shift. What it does: give very sheer coverage and a slight glow which lasts until the end of the day. In six shades.
Etude House Any Cushion All Day Perfect SPF50+/PA+++, $32
A dewy-finish foundation that never makes you look like you’re wearing a mask, even if you’ve been heavyhanded. And the compact is very thin; it goes into a small purse easily. In six shades.
Lancome Blanc Expert High Coverage Cushion Foundation, $55
Even though coverage is high (one layer already conceals redness), it has a powdery finish and feels lightweight. Lasts four hours before you need to touch up. In 10 shades.
OUR MAKEUP ARTIST-JUDGES SHARE THEIR COMPLEXION-PERFECTING TIPS
Larry Yeo, makeup artist
“Mix any colourless primer with your foundation to reduce the level of coverage, on days when you require a sheerer tint.”
Clarence Lee, makeup artist
“Always choose a makeup base according to the type of finish you want. So, a matte primer for a matte look, and a glow one for a dewier finish.”
Bobbie Ng, makeup artist, and director of The Make Up Room
“I mix foundation and concealer together for areas where I want slightly fuller coverage, especially on the oily T-zone where the foundation wears off faster.”
NATURAL-FINISH FOUNDATION (DEPARTMENT/SPECIALITY STORE)
Editors’ Choice & Bloggers’ Choice
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-aging Foundation SPF30, $95
A medium-coverage fluid that makes skin look healthy and hydrated. It feels like tinted skincare and is sweat-resistant. In eight shades.
Shu Uemura Petal Skin Fluid Foundation, $68
Semi-matte and watery, it’s best applied as one thin layer. Gives a lit-fromwithin glow and a light airbrushed finish.
TRANSLUCENT LOOSE POWDER (DEPARTMENT/SPECIALITY STORE)
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Loose Powder, $61
Its mesh filter deposits the translucent powder when you press on it with a brush or sponge. This prevents powder from spilling out if you accidentally tip the pot.
Bloggers’ Choice & Readers’ Choice
La Mer The Powder, $160
It has iridescent particles that translate into an overall healthylooking glow.
PRESSED POWDER (DEPARTMENT/SPECIALITY STORE)
Editors’ Choice & Readers’ Choice
M.A.C Next to Nothing Pressed Powder, $46
What impresses us most is not its soft matte finish, smoothness, or four-hour lasting power. It’s the super-fine powder that gives a supernatural, airbrushed finish. In nine shades.
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Pressed Powder, $61
It blurs fine lines, pores and imperfections. In three shades.