Some years ago, when {Cult Beauty} was little more than a glimmer in her eye, one of the co-founders mentioned that foundations would be one of the products on offer. I laughed. ‘Alexia, no one’s going to buy a foundation on the internet, unless they’ve used it before!’

Well, I’ve been proved wrong. More and more women are rebelling against beauty-counter tyranny – you know, when someone who could be your granddaughter (but wearing two-inch lashes) insists on plastering your chin with foundation. And then you peer at it dubiously under the fluorescent lighting, and end up buying the wrong shade anyway.

Now, people just click and presumably hope for the best. So I decided to have a go…

I have fairish skin and suit yellowy tones. After some rumination, I chose four foundations in what seemed like the closest colour match, then used them on and off for six months. Only one of the four turned out to be slightly too pale, but not so much that I didn’t use it.

Until I tried these brands, I’d spent two or three decades alternating between a couple of the priciest on the market. I’m pretty fussy when it comes to foundations. They have to provide sufficient cover for thread veins and blotches, but have enough luminosity to give the illusion of younger skin.

BECCA {Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation} in 'Fair', £34

This blurs pores, skims over wrinkles and gives a radiant glow. Not greasy, though you do have to like the dewy look. Best feature: I swear no one could tell I was wearing foundation, even in unforgiving sunshine.

Of the four, this gave the lightest coverage – so avoid if you have dark patches or a crop of thread veins.

BY TERRY {Terrybly Densiliss Foundation} in 'Natural Beige', £78.50

What a ridiculous name – and, boy, is this expensive! Never mind: this was my miles-ahead favourite. It did everything that the Becca did – looked invisible in sunshine etc - but with better coverage, a silky texture and a good built-in moisturiser. No quibbles at all.

Charlotte Tilbury {Magic Foundation} in 'Number 3', £30

Promises to give you flawless, poreless, youthful skin, but otherwise it’s the odd one out. For a start, it’s the only one that includes an SPF. But an SPF 15 isn’t going to protect you fully from sun damage, so I can’t see the point.

Coverage is extraordinarily dense - perfect, I imagine, for under-35 selfies. The first time I tried this foundation, however, I was slightly appalled: it settled in my wrinkles and made me look about 70. Damn.

Still, the solution was simple. Instead of waiting for my moisturiser to sink in, I slapped on the foundation straight away. Result: barely a pore or wrinkle in sight. I wouldn’t wear this for daytime, but it can hardly be beaten for a night out.

DNA Renewal {DNA Sheer Defense Tinted Moisturiser SPF 50} in 'Fair', £40

It’s crucial, of course, to use an SPF if you want to avoid developing deep wrinkles and sun blotches. I’ve tried many, and this is my favourite. Expensive, but lasts for ages.

Can be worn on its own or under foundation, and dries without a trace of greasiness. The SPF kept my freckles at bay, even by the seaside.

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