Foundation has never had a place in my make-up bag. Assuming I can find one my shade - and that's a big assumption - I just don't like them. No matter how light they claim to be, I end up feeling like a walking oil slick. That said, my skin is far from flawless, and there are times when my moisturiser and powder routine isn't enough.
This is where tinted moisturisers come in. Much lighter than foundations, they are a great way to even out skin tone and hide any blemishes, imperfections or late nights - without leaving you looking like a good surface on which to fry an egg. Relatively new to the make-up counter, not all cosmetics companies offer tinted moisturisers and - surprise, surprise - even fewer have shades suitable for dark skin.
As with foundation, getting the right tone is paramount, so it's worth shopping around. Testing on the back of your hand is fine, but since you'll be wearing it on your face, don't even think about buying without trying out the colour properly. Don't be tempted to go for the first one you see in a dark enough shade - just because it's dark doesn't mean it's right. And, above all, don't be fooled by the women at the counter; if it doesn't look or feel right, it probably isn't.
Look for a light consistency, as little perfume as possible and, crucially, a shade that is absorbed immediately.
"A good tinted moisturiser should enhance your natural complexion and make your skin appear radiant and fresher looking," says Anne Richardson of Lancaster, whose Sunny Bloom is a lovely deep brown. Sisley, Hard Candy and Marks & Spencer also do great tinted moisturisers in darker shades.
As their name suggests, tinted moisturisers can be used alone, instead of your moisturiser; or, if you have dry or combination skin, apply them over your regular moisturiser - either as a make-up base or under powder for a more matte look. If you are going to use powder on top, don't be too heavy handed: the whole point of tinted moisturisers is to give you a healthy glow and let your natural skin tone shine through. Their other advantage is that they are easier to apply than foundation. Using your fingers or a make-up sponge, simply dot the moisturiser on and blend in lightly.