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7 serum foundations that are perfect for no-make-up make-up

Throughout my career, I’ve interviewed many skin experts and make-up artists, and one of the most common pieces of advice I hear is that the secret to making your make-up base look good is in skin prep (opens in new tab). You can have the very best foundation (opens in new tab) to hand, but if you’re not giving your skin the very best skincare ingredients, your base can only work so hard. And that’s why serum foundations are such a game-changer.

Containing a plethora of skin-loving ingredients, serum foundations tend to be skincare-infused, resulting in a healthy, natural-looking base. And as a bit of a foundation-phobe, I’m big into serum foundations. Dominic Skinner, Global Senior Artist at MAC explains, “Using a foundation that contains high levels of skincare ingredients means that you are not only getting the benefit of coverage and an even-looking skin tone, but it also means your skin is benefitting, too. Over time, the skincare ingredients will help make your skin look and feel better.”

Slightly different from tinted moisturisers (opens in new tab), serum foundations tend to be lightweight and don’t just contain hydrating skincare ingredients. In fact, the calibre of ingredients in some serum foundations is really impressive. As someone with combination skin, I often find foundations for oily skin (opens in new tab) too mattifying and foundations for dry skin (opens in new tab) too greasy, but serum foundations fit just right. 

Shannon Lawlor wearing a serum foundation

Shannon’s skin without any foundation.

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

They’re great for busy people, too. While we would never recommend skipping your skincare routine (it is, of course, the basis of any beauty routine), if you struggle to work actives into your routine, the right serum foundation can help keep your skin ticking over. “If you struggle to fit

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