10 best foundations for olive skin

Don't let cakey cosmetics dull your naturally bronzed complexion

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The Independent Online

Having genetically tanned skin is a blessing in the beauty department – no fake tan required, a summer glow all year round and often only a little make-up is needed to accentuate your natural beauty.

But if you’re on the hunt for the perfect foundation that keeps your sun-kissed skin glowing, make sure you find the right colour match for you. Although they may all look pretty similar, each foundation will have slightly different colourings that match specific skin undertones. If you don’t know what your skin’s undertone is, a quick way to find out is by looking at the colour of your veins. Although it doesn’t work for everyone, the general rule is blue veins mean you have a cool undertone, green means warm and if you can’t tell you’re neutral.

Olive skin is usually warm or neutral, with a greenish or yellow hue but it does depend on whether you’re on the lighter or darker end of the olive skin spectrum. We’ve tested a whole range of foundations though, in stick powder and liquid form, to find out which ones are best at enhancing bronze complexions.

1. Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation: £22, John Lewis 

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Mac is known for cosmetics that give you a flawless finish and this powder foundation is no different. There are 50 shades to pick from with a large number that suit olive skin tones. We found it brought out our natural glow and evened out any blemishes. This powder is easy to apply with the sponge provided, feels smooth and light on the skin and lasted a whole day without fading.  We think this compact is great for keeping in your handbag for day-to-night use and although suitable for all skin types, it’s aimed at those with oily skin and we found it really did take away shine. 

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2. Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow!: £26.50, Benefit

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This liquid foundation, although a little bit runny compared to others, gives you a healthy-looking finish and has SPF 25 included. Aimed at giving light to medium coverage, it’s a good day time base but for those with blemishes or redness, you’ll need a concealer to achieve full coverage. We found for olive skin ‘beige’ blended perfectly, leaving no foundation lines around the neck.  

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3. Clinique Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick: £23, Clinique

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Clinique makes sure all their products are created by dermatologists and tested against allergies, so you know you’re getting a safe and reliable product. Its new foundation stick feels like it’s moisturising your skin as you apply it and blends easily. You can use it as your main foundation, by sweeping across the skin and blending with your fingers, or as a concealer for touch ups around blemishes. ‘Voluptuous vanilla’ is a good shade to start with. 

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4. La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation: £146, John Lewis

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Although the price tag may alarm you at first, if you have the budget you won’t be disappointed with this two-in-one foundation/concealer combo from Swiss brand La Prairie. The larger than normal tub might soften the blow, as well as the application brush and sponge that are also part of the package. The hatch at the top contains the concealer, which is a dream to apply and combined with the foundation, leaves you with a dewy, fresh complexion that doesn’t take away your natural warmth. It also has SPF 15 to protect against the sun’s rays.  

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5. Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation: £7.99, Boots

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This budget-friendly liquid foundation from Rimmel is just as good as the more expensive options. It provides full coverage – no need for a concealer on top and is easily applied with your fingers. It makes your skin look flawless and blends well with naturally bronzed complexions, giving you a healthy looking glow. You can also rely on it to last you the full day, or night. We used ‘natural beige’ but there are plenty of shades for you to try out. 

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6. Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick: £28, Estée Lauder

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This is a great time-saver foundation. To use, you twist the base of the stick until drops of foundation start to appear (twist back if you bring up too much), dot onto your skin and blend using the sponge. It’s ideal if you don’t want to buy another make-up brush to apply with or you don’t like using your fingers. For olive skin, we used ‘honey bronze’ which gave a natural looking finish.  

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7. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick: £29.50, Bobbi Brown

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Here’s another stick foundation, but this time from beauty experts Bobbi Brown. This one is also great for olive skin, blending seamlessly and available in a range of olive-type tones (we picked ‘honey’). It’s fairly lightweight so your skin doesn’t feel clogged with cakey make up and can be built up to create the level of coverage you’re happy with.  Although pushing into mid-range budget, it’s worth adding to your make-up collection. 

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8. Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation: £36, John Lewis

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This liquid foundation from designer brand Chanel is well-worth splashing out on. Although fairly light, it still manages to cover any imperfections and gives you a natural looking finish. And for warmer skin tones it really does enhance your glow rather than dull it down. It will last all day at work or form a great base for night out beauty. There’s a good range of warm shades to pick from too. 

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9. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation: £29.50, Charlotte Tilbury

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Charlotte Tilbury has a celeb cult following, with her Instagram full of famous faces such as Blake Lively and Kate Moss who are wearing her long-lasting foundation. And when we tested it out, we could see why. For olive skin it certainly adds extra warmth to your complexion and leaves your skin looking free from imperfections. It’s a good base for a night out too, as it takes easily to other products being applied over the top. We used ‘8 medium’ but there’s a range of suitable options for warmer skin tones. 

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10. Sensai Total Finish Powder Foundation: £30, Harrods

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Luxury brand Sensai promise all its products will give you silky-feeling skin and this powder compact certainly made our skin feel smooth and look flawless. It’s easy to apply and can be built up from light to full coverage. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling saturated like some liquids can either, meaning it’s a good base layer to add other make-up to. We tried ‘natural beige’ and it matched warm undertones perfectly. It’s worth noting though that if you want to buy the compact and sponge to go with it, it’s an extra £15.

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Verdict

Mac should be your go to brand if you’re olive-skinned and looking to highlight your natural beauty but if you’re after slightly fuller coverage, try out Rimmel London Match Perfection foundation. For touch ups, Clinique’s Chubby in the Nude foundation stick is the winner.