This cult foundation had 17,000 people on its waitlist: here’s how to get your hands on one

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Hanna Ibraheem
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Revered make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury has launched a new foundation as part of her eponymous beauty range. Here’s what happened when Stylist’s Beauty Writer, Hanna Ibraheem, tried it…

I’ve always believed that the key to your make-up looking good lies in the base – and growing up, I wasn’t exactly spoilt for choice when it came to foundations that matched my skin tone.

Nowadays, sure, the beauty industry is undergoing an incredible movement of inclusivity, and more and more brands are, rightly, making large foundation shades the norm.

But even so, foundation shopping can be a bit of a faff. Alongside getting the right colour match, you have to consider the right finish for your skin type (anything that promises a ‘glowing’ or ‘radiant’ finish is a big no-no for my oily nose), if the formula oxidises on skin, the level of coverage you like and whether that coverage lasts long enough for you.


Basically, as we like to say on the Stylist beauty desk: foundation shopping is the beauty equivalent of hunting down the perfect pair of jeans.

Working in beauty, we come across heaps of foundation launches frequently, many of which sound like your perfect base formulated neatly into a chic bottle. But for me, after testing a new launch, I’ve always reverted back to my one true foundation love: MAC Studio Fix Fluid. That is, until recently.

Last month, I was lucky enough to be one of the first to try Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Finish Foundation, £34, before its release. The product is packaged in the brand’s signature rose gold packaging and comes with a pump to control the amount you dispense.


The first thing to note about the foundation is that it comes in 44 shades, making it the brand’s most inclusive foundation launch yet. These span across four families; fair, medium, tan and deep and cover three undertones; cool (C), neutral (N) and warm (W). So, there truly is something for everyone – but, if you’re anything like me, it still might be tricky to find ‘the one’.

It took three make-up artists to colour match me – which is probably a testament to the range of shades and undertones on offer – but it did take a few attempts of swatching and re-applying.

For reference, I’m shade 9 in Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder and 9.5 in Magic Foundation, however when it came to Airbrush Flawless Finish, 9C looked too grey on me and 9W was declared ‘too vibrant’ for my skin tone. Eventually, we settled on 8W. So, if you already use a foundation from the brand, I wouldn’t advise using those to navigate your shade in Airbrush Flawless Finish as you could be an entirely different number.

Left: Hanna with no make-up; Right: Hanna wearing only Airbrush Flawless Finish Foundation

What I found quite interesting was that while I’m a cool-tone in MAC shades (44C), I was given a warm tone for this Charlotte Tilbury foundation. So, be aware that your undertone could be something different under this shade spectrum.

On first application, the shade appeared too light, but once buffed onto my skin, it just worked. If you’re able to, I’d advise visiting a Charlotte Tilbury store for a proper colour match, rather than trying to choose from one of the 44 shades on the website.

Hanna wearing Airbrush Flawless Finish and the rest of her make-up

Now, onto the formula itself.

After a few weeks of testing it in all conditions - including a 39-degree heatwave and torrential rain – I can honestly say, I love it.

It’s a matte finish and full coverage; two of the main points I look for when seeking out a new base. The liquid is a slightly thicker texture, so it’s important to buff it out immediately, as it does set quite quickly. One and a half pumps cover my entire face and neck and I’ve found the best way to blend it is a densely-packed foundation brush, as sponges soaked up too much of the product.

While fuller coverage foundations are usually associated with feeling heavy on skin, this Charlotte Tilbury option actually sits quite comfortably and settles into a result that looks quite natural, too. Once blended out, it gives skin a blurring effect to make your complexion seem even, in a healthy way. It even takes away the blue tones in my undereye circles, meaning I don’t need to apply much concealer afterwards. Plus, it doesn’t budge. It managed to withstand a particularly sweaty Central Line tube journey without dripping off my face. So I can skip setting my oily T-zone with powder, too.

Over my weeks of testing, the foundation has garnered a few compliments about how clear my skin looked - and I feel like my make-up generally looks better when I’m wearing it. While it hasn’t completely overtaken my love for MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid, it does sit equally alongside it. Which, for me, is pretty major.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Foundation, £34, is available from and in Charlotte Tilbury stores.

Main image: Hanna Ibraheem / Charlotte Tilbury