You are perhaps now familiar with the drill. An unexpected meeting has you covering your pyjama top with something vaguely resembling outdoor clothing, shaking out the default scrunchie-bun and hurriedly changing your Zoom background from Madonna at Wembley, 1993 (maybe just me). But what about our faces? How can we slather on something fast, with neither aptitude nor care, to make ourselves look instantly better, as though our complexions have seen more than a thimble of fresh air all week? I have three corkers, all under £13.
For normal-dry and dry skins, look no further than Miracle Touch Second Skin (£12.99 for 30ml) from Max Factor, of all places. If you’ve found some of its previous foundations chalky and too pink (I have), then I urge you to wipe the slate clean. This is terrific, offering a sheer to medium coverage and an instantly pulled together, polished look with almost zero effort (everything here can be applied with fingertips or brush). Coconut milk gives the finish a moist dewiness I love, the shades are inclusive, and there’s bonus sun protection, too.
Oilier skins will prefer the latest from L’Oréal Paris. Skin Paradise Tinted Water Cream SPF20 (£10.99 (30ml)) is just the thing if you long for that dewy, glassy finish but find most tools for the job too greasy for your already oil-blessed skin (drier skins will find it too light). This feels so comfortable as to be undetectable, while giving better than expected coverage to even out mild redness or sun damage. It remains smooth and hydrated all day, and has very good staying power for something so light. The shades are extremely forgiving, and each spans several tones, which helps at a time without on-counter testers.
Also great – and versatile for all skin types – is NYX’s Bare With Me Skin Veil (£10, 27ml). This vegan formulation has markedly less coverage than the other two, making it a good choice for teens, men or anyone who wants to look instantly better without appearing at all made up. The texture is light and ungreasy, feels somehow elastic on the skin but, unusually for a tinted moisturiser, there’s no SPF, so do layer over your favourite sunscreen.
I enjoyed wearing all of these during lockdown, but if cash is too strapped for even high street makeup, switch on your Zoom beauty setting (bottom left corner of your screen), pinch your cheeks, and sit well back.