What Is the Best Foundation for Mature Skin? Here Are 8 That Women Love
As far as shopping for beauty products goes, finding the right foundation has always been one of the more challenging tasks. Which is why many of us tend to stick to the same formula for years (and years), even as we try different lipsticks and eye shadows and pretty much everything else.
However, if you’re finding that your foundation just isn’t going on as evenly as it used to, or it settles into fine lines as the day wears on, then it may be time for a refresh.
As we age, our skin naturally becomes drier and thinner. It’s also common to experience “age-related changes to the skin, such as fine lines, discoloration and enlarged pores,” says makeup artist Jenny Patinkin, founder of Lazy Perfection.
But lest you start to feel deflated, we’re here to help—along with Patinkin and Kelli J. Bartlett, the artistic director for Glamsquad—with some tips for finding and using a foundation that works for your skin.
Where do I even begin with my foundation?
Repeat after us: A little bit of prep goes a very long way. Before we even touch on which foundation to use and how, it’s important to get your skin in prime condition first. Bartlett recommends prepping your skin “by using a light exfoliating pad, like Peter Thomas Roth’s Max Complexion Correction Pads, and swiping it over any areas that tend to have dry, flaking skin, like the crevices of the nose and along the T-zone.” Next, you want to “take a few moments to massage a super hydrating moisturizer into your skin and allow it to fully absorb.” (Bartlett swears by Weleda Skin Food and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream.) Last but not least, be sure to seal in your moisturizer with a lightweight layer of primer, which will fill in any uneven or textured areas of skin and give your makeup staying power.
Do you have any other tips for me?
“While it might seem logical to use extra makeup in an attempt to cover and camouflage, that approach can actually backfire by accentuating things instead,” says Patinkin. “I prefer to mix a medium-coverage foundation with a few drops of liquid highlighter and then buff it into the skin with a soft, dense makeup brush. Thinning out your foundation this way gives you a dewy, brightening effect while still delivering coverage.”
OK, now that we’ve got our bases covered, let’s move on to the main event: choosing the best foundation for mature skin.
Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick
For an easy application (and portable packaging in case you need any midday touchups), we love a stick formula. This one, by Hourglass Cosmetics, is a go-to for Bartlett when she’s working with older clients. “I love it because it’s creamy and full coverage, which helps to hide dark spots and broken capillaries, yet the lightweight finish doesn’t settle into lines. It just gives your skin a more even appearance.” We recommend starting slow and dabbing a little onto any areas where you want coverage before buffing it in using a synthetic foundation brush (synthetic fibers don’t absorb as much product as natural bristles do). In 32 shades.
Sisley Phyto-Blanc Cushion Foundation
If you have very dry skin and don’t like the feeling of foundation on your face, you’ll love this lightweight and supremely hydrating formula that includes vitamin B5 and phytosqualane to boost moisture while imparting the softest glow. (Editor’s note: My mother, who is over 65 and lives in the California desert, says this is the only foundation that truly makes her skin look fresh and healthy.) To use, simply push the button on the clasp of the compact to dispense a dollop of foundation, then tap the makeup onto your skin with the enclosed sponge. In three shades.
Surratt Surreal Skin Foundation Wand
This ingenious wand features a built-in brush applicator that sits atop a reservoir of creamy foundation. To use, just click the bottom of the brush to dispense the product and buff to your heart’s content. The formula delivers light to medium coverage that easily conceals any blotchiness without clinging to dry patches. In 15 shades.
Beautyblender Bounce Liquid Whip Longwear foundation
Another top pick from Bartlett is this long-wearing formula from Beautyblender (the creators of that pink egg-shaped makeup sponge you might have seen around). “This formula has a weightless finish, while still delivering full coverage for evening out the tone and texture of the skin. A little goes a long way, so apply sparingly. Plus, it doesn’t require powder to set, which is key for mature skin because it prevents your makeup from looking cakey.” In 40 shades.
L’ORÉAL PARIS AGE PERFECT RADIANT SERUM FOUNDATION
Finally, makeup that is made specifically for mature skin—and at drugstore prices. With a serum-like consistency (thanks to an actual hydrating serum within the formula), this emollient foundation glides on smoothly and evens out any discoloration without settling into lines throughout the day. Plus, it has SPF 50 for extra protection against the sun. Remember: When it comes to aging skin, less is more, so start with a small amount of foundation (no more than a dime-sized dollop) and blend carefully around the eyes, nose and mouth, where makeup tends to settle the most. In 30 shades.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
This is what the kids would call the G.O.A.T or “the greatest of all time.” (Try dropping that casually into conversation the next time your daughter calls.) Since it launched more than 13 years ago, this cult-favorite foundation has remained a steady pick for many because of its lightweight but high-coverage formula. As the name implies, it makes your skin look more luminous and feels like silk going on. Thankfully for us, the color selection has been expanded.In 30 shades.
Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation
If ingredients are of concern to you, we’d recommend this creamy stick formula from renowned makeup artist Gucci Westman (who, fun fact, used this exact foundation on Gwyneth Paltrow on her wedding day). Packed with natural antioxidants like camellia seed oil and vegetable-derived squalene, it glides and melts into skin upon application. All that’s left behind is a fresh and dewy finish—sans any silicones, parabens or synthetic fragrances. In 12 shades.
IT Cosmetics Your Skin but Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
If you’re looking for a multitasker, this CC (i.e., color correcting) cream is a true workhorse. Packed with SPF 50, as well as peptides, collagen, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid (to name a few of its star ingredients), it lays down full coverage without creasing, caking or cracking as it wears throughout the day. In fact, we’ve found the opposite to be true: It goes on seamlessly and instantly diffuses the appearance of enlarged pores or fine lines, while leaving a soft glow. For best results, we recommend starting with one pump in the center of your face (where there tends to be the most discoloration) and blending outward using a fluffy, synthetic makeup brush. In 12 shades.