I love a good foundation—that blank canvas to try any contour technique or blush shade imaginable—in a range of finishes and coverages to mix it up each day. And if I had to pick one favorite foundation brand, it would hands down be Charlotte Tilbury. (Trust a redhead to create foundations for people of the pale persuasion.) The qualities of each product check all my boxes and each launch gets better than the last.
Now, if you have deeper skin, finding a shade can be more difficult (and we’ll get into that more below), however her newest launches have become much more thoughtful and inclusive in their ranges and it is worth giving the formulas a chance.
Whether at first launch or with renewed interest from TikTok, each of Charlotte’s foundation formulas (there are four currently) have gone viral. Based on coverage, finish, shades, or performance, this review will explain the merits and demerits of each formula and help guide you to the one that is best for your skin type and makeup style.
Below, a Charlotte Tilbury foundation review of Hollywood Flawless Filter, Light Wonder, Beautiful Skin, and Airbrush Flawless Foundation.
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
It’s a multi-use product
Very little coverage
May be too much for oily skin
Goes out of stock often
The first question to answer: Is Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter a foundation? While falling under the foundation umbrella, I find the product to be more of a mix-in. It has the ability to change up the look of any product used before or after it, but doesn’t contain enough pigment or coverage to be a true foundation. Personally, I like to combine this with a more matte foundation to give it some radiance or apply it before foundation to give my skin that lit-from-within glow.
This product went mega viral on social media and it can be tricky to find your color in stock, however the shades are flexible. Plus, 12 shades for a highlighting product like this one is impressive.
Price at time of publish: $46
Size: 1 ounce | Shades: 12 | Finish: Glowy
Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation
Feels light on the skin
Only SPF 15
Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder is an everyday base makeup product in both coverage and finish. It provides just enough coverage for Zoom meetings and running errands, without being heavy or detectable on the skin. The shades are sheer and adaptable—my true shade 1 was out of stock, but I was able to make shade 3 work just as well. It would be close to a perfect score from me if the SPF factor was higher than 30 (it is SPF 15). As is I put a separate sunscreen on before applying, but a true one-and-done product is goals.
Launched back in 2013, the shade range does leave something to be desired. It has nice options for fair, light, and medium tones, but dark and deep shades are non-existent. This is my plea to Charlotte herself to expand the line—I love the formula and want more people to be able to enjoy it.
Price at time of publish: $46
Size: 1.2 ounces | Shades: 12 | Finish: Radiant
Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Liquid Foundation
Buildable medium to full coverage
Dimethicone may clog pores
If I had to pare down my collection to just one—after much deliberation (and probably some tears)— this Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation would be my pick. It offers medium coverage, that’s buildable to full, in a pretty, radiant finish that toes the line between dewy and matte. Thanks to hyaluronic acid and some fruit waters in the mix, the blend keeps skin supple and hydrated throughout the day.
The shade range is fairly expansive, although, like always, more deep shades would be appreciated. Also worth noting, this formula contains dimethicone, which gives the product its silky texture, but may clog pores or cause irritation for anyone who is sensitive or allergic to the ingredient.
Price at time of publish: $46
Size: 1 ounce | Shades: 30 | Finish: Natural
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation
Humidity, sweat, and waterproof
Can look powdery on the skin
Dry skin may not like this
Contains dimethicone and fragrance
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation is the definition of a full coverage foundation. The formula is matte, yet somehow not flat, and skin-loving ingredients, like peptides and Charlotte’s proprietary blends prevents the product from looking or feeling too dry. This formula is my go-to for weddings or big events, because it is transfer resistant, plus humidity, sweat, and waterproof—you can trust this will not budge until you take a cleansing balm to it.
This foundation also has the largest shade range and the best spread of undertones and colors from dark to fair. The formula does contain both dimethicone and fragrance, which may be irritating if you are sensitive to either of those ingredients.
Price at time of publish: $46
Size: 1 ounce | Shades: 44 | Finish: Matte
Coverage: A range from tinted to total coverage
Hollywood Flawless Filter falls into the primer or no-makeup makeup category: It gives a pretty glow to the skin or any product applied over it, but does not have much coverage on its own.
Light Wonder is an ideal skin tint, IMO, the coverage is actually sheer with just enough color to cover redness, but not so much that it paints over your features. Anyone who has tried a tinted moisturizer or CC cream and been disappointed when it turns out to be a fuller coverage foundation, knows what I mean.
Beautiful Skin is a medium coverage foundation that can be built to fairly full coverage with additional product. Whereas I reach for Airbrush Flawless Foundation when I want to look like a poreless cherub with not a pimple or dark spot in sight. There’s a little bit of magic in this bottle that wipes out texture and discoloration in a single swipe and gives you a super smooth, even canvas. To see the coverage range in action, the image below shows Airbrush Flawless on the left side and Flawless Filter on the right.
Finish: The full spectrum from gleaming to matte
Named appropriately, Hollywood Flawless Filter is truly the Instagram Paris filter come to life. It has no noticeable shimmer or glitter, just an outrageously pretty sheen that’s unlike many products on the market. Light Wonder is a notch down on the glow-o-meter—the finish is dewy, but not overly greasy on my combination-oily skin.
Beautiful Skin and Airbrush Flawless fall on the natural to matte end of the scale. Beautiful Skin, also aptly named, has a radiant, skin-like finish, while Airbrush Flawless is matte.
Skin Type: A formula for all—from dry to oily
Much about foundation comes down to preference—are you looking for a glow or a matte finish, a skin tint or more coverage? However, also keep skin type in mind when making your selection. Hollywood Flawless Filter may be too glowy on its own for oily skin and dry skin may have issues with the matte finish of Airbrush Flawless Foundation looking or feeling powdery. The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream may be a potential solution for this issue—the hyaluronic acid-infused formula casts a little spell over skin to give it a dewy appearance and deeply hydrates to prevent cakiness.
More sensitive skin types should also look at ingredient lists as some of these foundations contain common irritants, like fragrance.
Value: The special sauce justifies the cost
All four of the Charlotte Tilbury foundations are $46 for around one ounce of product. I find each of these formulas to be worth every penny. The skin-friendly ingredients infused in the makeup, such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, and oils, nourish your skin throughout the day.
Many drugstore products are still lacking in their shade ranges—missing undertones and colors from both the dark and fair ends of the spectrum. When I find a brand that has not just a good enough shade, but a perfect match, the higher cost is justified. Charlotte Tilbury foundations also stay the shade they appear with little to no oxidation over time. Aka I can avoid the Oompa Loompa orange foundation effect I unknowingly rocked through the early 2000’s.
The fuller coverage products will last you longer as one pump is plenty to cover your face and neck. If you use Hollywood Flawless Filter or Light Wonder daily, you may go through the tubes much more quickly.
What You Can Expect to Pay
In the best liquids foundations test in our lab, the winners ranged in price from $13 to $70. Charlotte Tilbury foundations sit smack dab in the middle of that spread and the quality is in line with that price tag. When deciding on your budget, you should factor in the coverage, how often you will use the product, and the formula aspects that mean the most to you.
Each Charlotte Tilbury foundation has a unique finish, coverage level, and use case—and the right one for your needs deserves a spot on your vanity. Ultimately, the quality of the formulas is unmatched. The glass bottles and golden caps on Airbrush Flawless and Flawless Filter are display worthy and the plastic squeeze or pump tubes of Light Wonder and Beautiful Skin are easy to store or pack for travel.
The shade ranges could use some expansion for a few of these selects—Airbrush Flawless and Flawless Filter have the most inclusive ranges to shop right now. But if you, like me, have ever described your skin tone as white paint—all of these formulas are going to be a dream come true for their undertones and shades.
Is Charlotte Tilbury foundation water-based?
Flawless Filter is water-based. And while it does contain silicones lower in the ingredient list, Beautiful Skin would also perform as a water-based foundation thanks to water and fruit waters being the first two ingredients. Light Wonder and Airbrush Flawless Foundation are both silicone-based foundations.
How do I find my foundation shade?
Foundations are grouped my depth of shade, such as deep, tan, medium, light, and fair. Start with what group you think you might be a part of to narrow down the options. Then consider your undertone—cool, warm, or neutral. Cool foundations often have a blue or pink base, warm have a yellow or golden base, and neutral are a mix of both. Your veins can help you determine your undertone—veins that appear blue are cool, green are warm, and veins that appear both or neither colors are neutral. Charlotte Tilbury also has a foundation finder on their website to guide you to the best shade match.
Why Trust Byrdie
Shannon Bauer is a beauty journalist with seven years of experience, as well as a certified makeup artist. She is a beauty tester extraordinaire and has (too) many thoughts about those products. Bauer tested all four of these foundations (and many other products from the Charlotte Tilbury brand) before writing this story, plus considered skin tones, skin types, and makeup preferences.