29 Jul 2014

Clarins True Radiance Foundation - review

Clarins are seriously impressing me the last few years.  Their Extra Comfort Foundation is one of the “most quietly beautiful” foundations I’ve ever used.  I’m reviewing another foundation of theirs today, the True Radiance Foundation.  This one is due to land on-counter from 01 September, so this is a quick preview-and-review-in-one.


This is a decent medium coverage, but one of those new foundations that have been appearing in the last few years for which “medium” still means “lightweight on the skin”.  It mainly achieves the coverage by impressive usages of optical trickery at the pigment level, meaning that light bounces around a bit more on your face and blurs fine lines and wrinkles and some pigmentation/discolouration “issues”.   It’s not quite whisper-soft, but it’s silky and very barely "feel-able" :-)  Clarins call it "coverage without thickness" and this is a good description.


This is a lovely satin-with-a-glow finish (Clarins call it an "illuminating foundation" - that it is).  It’s not dewy per se, it’s not matte.  Again, that pigment shape helps bounce light off your skin a bit more so the “dead matte” look isn’t evident.  It also features opalescent pigments, which introduce pink, green, silver and pearlescent light reflections, rather than just monochrome reflections.  Of course you’re not going to see any of this, but it does mean that overall, your skin just looks a little more “normal”, even though you’ve effectively homogenised it with a slick of foundation.

Best Suited To

Everyday wear when you just want to look like “yourself but better”.  Much as I have come to resent that expression, it’s a great way of explaining it.  Just look at that gorgeous campaign visual!  It’s a lovely work-a-day every-day, every-person foundation.  It should be fine for younger and older alike, but given the volume of silicones, I’m not going to recommend this for anyone with a skintype on either extreme – it’s unlikely to suit very dry, or very oily skins.  That said, I haven’t had a chance to verify this yet, but it’s my gut feeling based on the ingredients’ listing.  On my own skin, it was fine on the oilier areas, it was fine on the dryer areas.  But I’m more or less a “straight combo” :-) in terms of skin.


This was the only caveat to this one.  While a little goes a long way, while it has a beautiful feel and finish, it is not a long-lasting foundation.  I seriously struggled to get more than a half-day out of this one.  It’s so silicone-rich, I can’t see a primer particularly elongating its lastability either.  It does, however, layer nicely (in terms of top-ups later on).  I have found that powdering it in place is definitely a necessity, especially on oilier areas where (like most foundations) it can transfer otherwise.  It wears more or less uniformly too – it wears on both dryer areas and oilier areas of my skin around about the same amount.

Shades & Undertones

102.5 Porcelain,  103 Ivory,  105 Nude,  107 Beige,  108 Sand,  109 Wheat
110.5  Almond,  110 Honey,  112.5 Caramel,  113 Chestnut,  114 Cappuccino

I’m using #112.5 Caramel and it’s maybe a smidge darker than my skin if I’m being very picky, but nothing a few swipes of bronzer-to-the-neck can’t fix.

L -> R: Clarins True Radiance #112.5 Caramel (a) splodge, (b) blended-in

There are eleven shades, and given that I’m NC25ish at the moment in MAC, and Caramel features far down the list, this would suggest to me that the shade range isn’t particularly great if you’re anything other than Nordic-to-Mediterranean in terms of skintones.  Caramel is more or less neutral based.


Heavy on the silicones, this one.  You’ll see that if you use it yourself – it has that silky, slinky, silicone slip.  It ships in a glass bottle with a pump – I prefer these as they’re more sanitary than jars, that said they’re also a pain when you’re trying to get the very last bits out of the bottle.  That issue is a while away though.

Best Applied With

I like a flat paddle brush for this one.  The buffing brushes, even my absolute favourite Shu Uemura that I used seemed to just drink up most of of the product I put on the back of my hand, rather than spreading it terribly effectively on my face.  Fingers will work fine.  I haven’t tried it out yet with a sponge (dry or otherwise).  This was a few-days-in-a-row usage and I have had a few people asking me about it, so I wanted to get a review up asap.  Given, however, what I’ve seen buffing brushes do with this, I can’t imagine sponges working terribly well (but that remains to be seen).

SPF, Skincare, Price

This one is available on-counter in all good Clarins concessions from the first week in September at the decent price of €31 (RRP) for 30ml.  It has an SPF of 15.  Clarins claim that this foundation assists with "24-hour moisturising", given that I wouldn't leave it on this long, I can't attest to this - and given its silicone levels, I'd be skeptical.  I do recommend it, I think it’s lovely, but it’s not a long laster.  That won’t bother everyone, but no harm in mentioning it.

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