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Choosing the best foundation for sensitive & eczema-prone skin

Make-up is an absolute minefield for someone with sensitive skin.

Whilst I've never been overly into make-up - growing up with two brothers it was the least of my worries - I enjoy getting dressed up as much as the next girl. I like false eyelashes, I like glittery eyeshadows and I'm getting into the scary world of lipsticks. The problem is, your skin is most of your face - look in the mirror, it's all over your face. Eczema-prone skin means dry, scaly skin. What I would give to be able to simply cover it with foundation; paint over it and forget it exists until the end of the night. However, it's not quite that simple.

Whilst doing its best to cover your blemishes, foundation has a way of highlighting them at the same time. None more so than flaky cracks in your face. So although this is a post about finding a suitable foundation for eczema skin, the best advice I could give would be to LET YOUR FACE BE NAKED. 

This is something I'm getting better at in my old and wise mid-twenties but it is a mental obstacle that takes a while to overcome. When you're bombarded with images of flawless, dulux-paint-airbrushed skin every day, it is difficult to see the beauty in a pale, uneven complexion with patches of dry skin, spots or scars. That being said, on the days I wake up and don't feel like I need to take sandpaper to my face, it is such a joy to be able to go about my day without a layer of warpaint on.

So aim for nothing - just a simple layer of moisturiser - but for the days that just won't do, here's what I've come up with...

First things first, speak to the workers at the make-up counters. It can be intimidating when they have inch-thick foundation on and their eyebrows are screaming at you but I find if you scare them with words like "highly sensitive" and "eczema" they retreat a little and have to think past their usual selling spiel.

Beauty counter assistants are famed for their pushy selling techniques but if you explain your skin issues they are quick to understand that you'd rather take a tester home to ensure you have no adverse reactions.

Below are the five products I researched, spoke to the counter assistants about and took home to try. 

Bare Minerals - Original SPF 15 Foundation - £26.50

This one was a bit of an automatic no simply because it's a powder. I wanted to try it because, naturally, Bare Minerals is supposed to be a great make-up brand for people with sensitive skin. I think if I had problems with acne or scarring, I would love this foundation. It blends really well, has really nice coverage and does feel weightless. Just not made for me and my eczema.

Bobbi Brown - Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF 35/40 - £40

This was the priciest foundation I looked at but it was so good I very nearly considered forking out for it. As it says on the tin, the formula is supposed to act as a skin serum as well as a foundation. It has a silky smooth feel on the skin and had good coverage without being thick. Bizarrely it also smelt really nice which was not something I was expecting. This was very nearly a winner for me.


Laura Mercier - Tinted Moisturiser SPF 20 - £34

This was a pretty hum drum, run-of-the-mill tinted moisturiser. I felt like it was a bit claggy on my skin and was not the "light" coverage it promised. For someone with normal skin it'd be a nice alternative to a thick foundation but for £34 it was not the winner for me.


Nars - Sheer Glow Foundation - £31

Now I have to admit my opinion of this product was tainted by the dismissive and downright rude behaviour of the counter assistant. However, I had heard really good things about this foundation and had constantly seen it on beauty blogs and in magazines so was excited to try it. The Nars counter only had one colour available as a sample so I knew it wouldn't look right on my skin, I just wanted to see the consistency. Perhaps it was a really old sample, or perhaps my judgment was clouded, but I found it had a runny consistency and look patchy on my skin. Not the genius product I'd hoped for.


Clinique - Supermoisture Makeup - £23

Clinique was one of the places I was certain I wanted to visit as doing the best to look after your skin is essentially their tagline. The lady I spoke to was very accommodating and I believed she tried her best to find the best product for my skin. This foundation feels like a moisturiser, a thick moisturiser. It blends in well and provides a light coverage, which is all I wanted. Now it's not a miracle product, and when I have cracked dry skin, it shows the cracks. I don't think anything is going to manage to solve that problem but for now - for the occasional night out face of make-up - this is my go-to.

If anyone knows of any niche brands that they would recommend, I'm all ears. 

All in all, as with most things in life, naked is best.