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Since the launch, I’ve been receiving Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder recommendations left, right and centre. I was fortunate enough to spend the day with celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder, who was all raves. You must have it, she said. That was the last straw.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation Review & Swatches

Packaging, size, price

Travel friendly tube, easy to squeeze out the desired amount – thumbs up there! The Light Wonder Foundation contains 40ml/1.35floz of product can be purchased off Beautylish for 45USD.

Shade range

Ten shades available, I have #4 (~NC25) which is a fraction too deep for me so I’ll definitely need to buy a paler shade eventually but I keep some deeper foundations in my arsenal for full body photoshoots (my arms are a little tanned, gotta consider the limbs!). Out of the tube, #4 looks neutral enough to match my olive skin but it oxidises to a slightly warmer hue – nothing major but something to consider.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation Review & Swatches

The Bourjois Healthy Mix #52 and Koh Gen Do Aqua #213 are my best matches, more olive and paler than the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder #4.

Consistency & coverage

The consistency is on the runny side; not quite as fluid as Chanel-Vitalumiere-Aqua-breeds but it will slide down your arm given the chance.

The coverage I would describe as sheer, buildable to a medium. To achieve a medium coverage in the photos below, I had to use a good dollop (mebbe the size of a nob of garlic? Bad analogy, I apologise) and that’s against my no-foundation-foundation nature so I kinda wish it had a bit more coverage so I could apply less product overall.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation Review & Swatches

It does have more coverage than say, a tinted moisturiser. The after photo illustrates the foundation alone, no powder/primer/concealer.

Fragrance

Noticeable upon application but fleeting, the scent is somewhere between clean and floral. A deliberate addition.

Finish

Very dewy, similar to the MAC Face and Body in that it imparts the skin with a slight gloss. I actually don’t love a gloss all over, I find it catches the light on the t-zone to make it look more textured than it actually is. I much prefer the foundation once the t-zone has been powdered.

In fact, the finish is so tacky that you’ll need a generous helping of powder in order to apply powder blush/bronzer/contour and have it lay evenly – I tend to layer cream products instead, to avoid excessive powdering. This is an example of how the foundation looks once the t-zone has been set, I used the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Powder #2 (which only mutes the gloss, as opposed to mattifying the skin entirely).

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation Review & Swatches

I suspect that this formula is abundant with light reflective particles (not shimmer) as it deflects shadowy areas – very ‘youthful’.

Application

With sheer bases, I find fingers to be the best tool for buildable coverage. If you’re opposed to fingers, a Real Techniques Contour Brush does the job quite nicely. Application isn’t tricky so to speak, the product spreads like a dream but building coverage in problem areas (for me, around the nose) is a bit tedious; lots of patting motions as opposed to swiping. Problem-area-close-up? You got it!

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation Review & Swatches

Longevity

At the five hour mark, I’m craving a blot and I’m normal to dry. Paired with the dewy finish, I predict that the Light Wonder Foundation would register best on dry to mildly combo skins – oilier skin types will be blotting every hour, ain’t nobody got time for dat.

Aside from the little extra sheen, it wore beautifully. Where some foundations look downright unsightly towards the end of the day, the Light Wonder doesn’t awkwardly cake up, separate or sink into laugh lines.

Worth noting that, as with most dewy bases that don’t set bulletproof, the Light Wonder Foundation will transfer without much encouragement. Keep hugs to a minimum, yeah?

Separation/Pore emphasis/Flaky emphasis/Texture emphasis

If I were to skip the powder, the sheen would draw attention to microscopic lumps and bumps (am I looking too closely? Maybe) but a dusting of powder and the finish is very flattering on texture. It doesn’t settle around the crevice of my nose, woo-freaking-hoo! Everything settles around my nose.

There is adequate emollience in the formula to disguise dry or flaky patches and it’s relatively kind to pores (although it’s not a silicone-laden-pore-filling-formula, a la Armani Foundations).

Photofriendly/SPF Test

Now, it boggles my mind that cosmetic creators keep adding token amounts of SPF to foundations – in this case SPF15. That’s not enough to provide sufficient sun protection (don’t be fooled, apply a decent sunscreen underneath) AND THEN it poses a photography risk. Just why.

Good news: I wore the Light Wonder on a photoshoot recently, lots of flash equipment and no discernible ghost-face, the world didn’t end. If you’re working in natural light, I highly recommend it! Pictured beautifully in the full face shot above, if I may say so myself 😉

In a nutshell

Out of the foundations that I’ve tested as of late, the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder is up there – four out of five stars, perhaps? My only critique is the coverage, ultimately it’s a sheer coverage base and I prefer medium buildable, to minimise the amount of product I have to load on ma face. This product does mix very well with the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, occasionally I’ll add a drop to offer greater coverage and lift the shade a touch.

The Light Wonder is my current go-to for a luminous look (at times, a little too luminous but y’know) and it is indeed very skin-like.

Have you tried the Light Wonder Foundation? What are your thoughts?

xxkarima

Complete list of products mentioned

Light Wonder Foundation
Light Wonder Foundation
Custom Cover Drops
Custom Cover Drops
Aqua Foundation
Aqua Foundation
Face and Body Foundation
Face and Body Foundation
Healthy Mix Foundation
Healthy Mix Foundation
Lasting Silk
Lasting Silk
* Denotes products sent for consideration. I’m always honest with my reviews :)

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  1. My t-zone is pretty oily so, unfortunately, I will skip this foundation. Which I’m sad about because I love dewy foundations so much, I think it would be my favourite type of finish, but my t-zone doesn’t want to cooperate πŸ™‚ Sometimes jelous on dry skin ladies who can wear foundations like this! πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Petra,
      Yeah I’m not sure I would recommend this foundation for oily skins, I imagine you could use a primer? Have you tried MAC Face and Body? That’s a good dewy foundation that will work better on oily skin types.
      xx

  2. Eh I swatched it and wasn’t crazy about it. I prefer koh gen do moisture foundation. Great pkg, nice coverage and nicer to combo skin types. It has a nice satin finish with no shimmer, just a soft glow.

    1. Lips = Charlotte Tilbury Lipliner in Pillow Talk + Lipstick in B*tch Perfect
      Eyes = MAC Pearlglide Eyeliner in Black Swan + Viseart Matte Neutral Palette
      Bronzer = Makeup Forever Bronze Fusion
      xx

  3. I actually love this foundation and always come back for it! I have normal to dry skin and it provides me with just the right amount of glow, not shiny at all. Love it!

  4. Your skin is so beautiful! This looks really great, especially for my dry skin so I want to check this out! Gives a bit more coverage than a tinted moisturizer too which I like.
    Erin |

  5. Interesting read..thankyou. Have you had a chance to form an opinion on the new MAC Prolongwear Waterproof foundation?

  6. I tried this in store and the palest shade was way too dark! I was really suprised considering how pale Charlotte Tilbury herself is… Ah well, it’s a tough life being ivory-skinned;) I’m heading to the US in a few weeks (I live in Germany) and would SO appreciate some recommendations for absolute must-buys that you can only get in Sephora! What would your top 5 (or more…) product picks be? Thanks a million, Karima!! Liv xx

    1. Bummer πŸ™ Sorry to hear that.
      Not sure where in the US you’re going by brands that you might not be able to get at home: Surratt, Milani, Real Techniques, Laura Gellar.
      xx

  7. Hey Karima,

    I finally got my hands on one and tried it last week (thanks to your recommendation from a previous post) . I love it! I do have combination skin, so I def. used powder to set it just on the t-zone and I was all set. I don’t use high coverage foundations so this was right up my alley. The only downfall is that since I liked it so much, I’m gonna have to try more CT products and that’s not a good thing for my wallet!!! πŸ™‚ Hope you have a great day! xo

  8. I really like this foundation, I find that even if I’m not having a great skin day (but not a completely awful one) it makes my skin look better. Love the glowiness and combined with her Wonderglow primer, the result is beautiful! xx

  9. I love weird analogies. The garlic nob one was a great one!
    How does the light wonder compare to the Sunday Riley tinted primer. Is the coverage similar or is there a big difference? Thanks!

  10. Am I the only one who hears your voice as I read? Clearly I’ve watched your YouTube video’s too much. Great, detailed review.

  11. I LOVE this foundation, but I do agree the coverage is light. I usually add in a few of my Cover FX Custom Coverage Drops. Especially to where I may need more coverage. Adding the drops also seems to help the foundation dry down a bit more so it isn’t tacky.

  12. I had actually been considering the Charlotte Tilburry, so I’m glad I read this before! I’m always glad when I look a little further than that first immediate impulse to just buy because it looked really beautiful on someone else (and it feels so good to put it in the cart).

    Also, just wanted to thank you Karima! I recently broke out very badly, and (in an attempt to hide it) my makeup was looking super cakey and just… mask-like. And separating. But the lovely way you do your foundation has made me rethink my approach to my face and my foundation is so much nicer (I tried the Koh Gen Doh Aqua foundation and I looove it). My face and those who see it thank you πŸ™‚

  13. Hi Karima – it looks great on you – I love when you do foundations reviews – as I have very similar skin texture, as well as shading/ color – so great for me – as so far all the products I bought based on your rave I love.
    Now question: how would you compare the coverage with MAC Face and Body – I have C1 – does it have a but more coverage? (as that is what I’m looking for – similar feel just more coverage)

    And second question – are you still planning to do the review on MAC Prolongwear Waterproof foundation? I would love to hear your thoughts as full coverage with nice finish is always great to have available in the drawer πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Ivanka,

      The Charlotte Tilbury offers a similar amount of coverage to MAC Face and Body, I’d say. Also the MAC Face & Body has strong fill formers, while the Light Wonder is a standard foundation consistency.

      I will report back on the Prolongwear when I get a chance πŸ™‚
      xx

  14. I tried this foundation. Have combo skin with very oily forehead in summer esp and drier cheeks in winter. The coverage was meh. I like dewy foundations, but there are better coverage versions out there that sit better on my skin, have a nicer glow and don’t require blotting every five minutes. Koh Gen Do Aqua, Chanel Vitalumiere and Vitalumiere Aqua, the LancΓ΄me and many of the Korean-cushion foundations, Chanel CC cream, Burberry Sheer base, and MAC face and Body are all superior in those areas, at least on my skin. Wasn’t worth the hefty price tag…back it went.

  15. For a Chanel 24 dupe, try the Amazing Cosmetics Concealer Brush! Also, have you tried the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brush?

  16. I wonder what will you when the foundation past the expiry date. I own a lot and I definitely won’t use them up before expiry date…

  17. I wish you could review every foundation because you’re da best. <333 Armani Lasting Silk is my all time favorite, although they just continued my shade #4.75 (heartbroken). I got rid of a bunch of old foundations recently and bought some new ones: Zelens youth glow and Cle de peau cream foundation.

    Are there any other foundtions that you haven't tried yet that are on your radar? <33333

    1. I plan to slowly make my way through my foundation collection and review each in this format πŸ™‚
      I fell in love with the La Prarie Skin Caviar foundation but a) no shade match and b) they’re discontinuing it, I try not to buy those products because I can’t use them in tutorials πŸ™

      Also have a sample of the NARS Luminous Weightless Foundation which I’m keen to try, although I suspect it will perform better on an oily skintype, as opposed to my dry skin!
      xx

  18. Amazing! I absolutely love your reviews Karima. So informative and helpful. I’d love it if you could do a top 5 foundations detailed post. Really want to know which foundations you’d recommend for a very natural and skin like coverage. Lots of love from England xxx

  19. I love how honest and thorough your reviews are! It’s great to see before and after photos as well. The foundation looks beautiful on you!

  20. Karima,
    Thanks for this review, I already own this one, in the shade 4 Fair too, I think it is fine, nothing special though. I have heard so much about the CT Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder and am contemplating buying it. However, I am very uncertain if I should go for shade #1 Fair or #2 Medium. The shade 4 of the CT foundation is a tad too orange for me and I am a shade C1 in MAC Face and Body (NC20 i guess, not sure). Do you find the shade #2 Medium too dark for you, all over the face or is it fine? I really don’t want this powder to oxidise on me, and turn orange as I intend to wear it all over the face including my under eye area?
    Thank you! πŸ™‚

  21. What shade would anyone suggest for a light to light-medium like nw20 to nw22 in mac? I have a lightish with a cool undertone so i was thinking #2 would that be best? Thank you for the great review i truly love your blog!

  22. I absolutely LOVE your blog. I mean it is going to be my go to all the time for reviews. Awesome!!! You are Awesome!!! About to review more Charlotte Tilbury. I’ve kind of gone off the deep ed with her products. All powder products are so finely milled it’s amazing. I have Dolce Vita, The Uptown Girl and Golden Goddess and must admit, as you said, not so thrilled. They last forever, don’t crease but the colors are so opaque that I wonder how she gets such dramatic looks. I don’t always want WOW eyes, but i’ll build, build,, build to no avail. Do I sound crazy? They way you write is a little nuts, I love that though, so I’m sure you understand. Love this site!!! Oh, yes everywhere I turn, Charlotte Tilbury shows on my screen. EVERWHERE!!!! Feels like Big Brother. Haha

  23. Hi Karima
    I’ve enjoyed watching lots of your makeup tutorials. They have inspired me to try more products I’ve never tried before and have learnt many new ideas in general. Thanks for including the links on where to buy the makeup or items you used in each of your tutorials. Without your attention to this detail it would be very off putting to search through the whole internet trying to find where to buy the products. You’ve made life so much easier for me. Thank you. PS (Could you please do a review on the Shu Umera lightbulb foundation, the INGLOT HD Foundation and the ELLIS Faas full coverage skin veil foundation? I would like to see what its like on you and your opinion on them.)
    Thanks, Grace

  24. Hi! Thanks for your in depth review. I really appreciate how you mention how the foundation did in flash photos. Not many reviewers do this, so thank you! My question is, do you prefer the Light Wonder or the MAC face & body foundation? Thanks! πŸ™‚