"The biggest issue that arises when using foundation on mature skin is that foundation does not go on smoothly," says Trish McEvoy, a makeup artist and founder of her eponymous makeup line. "This often happens because our skin becomes drier as it ages, and our cell turnover slows down." Because of this, you'll want to look for foundations that are specifically formulated to account for those issues. To help you suss out what that means, we tapped a panel of makeup artists and dermatologists to share their favorite foundations for mature skin. Keep reading for what they had to say.
Why your foundation needs change as you age
"As you grow older, your skin loses some of its moisture and elasticity, so one issue that arises for women selecting a foundation for mature skin is that their skin may appear textured and dry," says makeup artist Sharandy Osei-tutu. Because of this, the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a foundation for mature skin is the product's texture. “You don’t want it to make your pores look bigger, and the wrong product can bring out the wrinkles instead of diffusing the wrinkles," Sandy Linter, a celebrity makeup artist, previously told Well+Good.
To have more natural finish, Osei-tutu suggests, "staying away from products that advertise themselves as matte and powdery," and instead looking for options that are moisturizing and lightweight, which tend to include words like "hydrating," "luminous," "buildable coverage," and "weightless" on their labels. "On mature skin, the finish is so important," says McEvoy.
As far as formatting goes, it's really a "dealer's choice" situation. "Liquid, creams, and sticks all work—it just depends on the texture that you like," says McEvoy. "With powder, you have to be aware that the formula can settle into fine lines and give the skin a dry appearance." To avoid this, she recommends looking for a translucent options that add a slight glow to aging skin.
How to use foundation on mature skin
No matter which type of foundation you're using, it's important to start your makeup routine with proper preparation. And the name of the game, says makeup artist Cara Lovello, is moisturizing. She suggests using NARS Radiance Primer SPF 30 ($35), which combines hydrating ingredients with SPF to create the perfect canvas to layer foundation on top of.
When it comes time to apply the foundation itself, you may want to consider mixing some primer or moisturizer with your product—especially if you're using a full-coverage foundation. "This makes it lay a little thinner, and look more skin-like on skin," says Lovello. Finally, you'll want to finish things off with a setting powder. "Although powder can make foundation feel heavy or cakey, it’s necessary so the foundation doesn’t crease up in fine lines," says Lovello, who's a fan of Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Under Eye Powder ($28) for setting product in place.
Just because you're getting older doesn't mean you can't maintain your youthful glow. With no shortage of options, below you'll find your next best foundation for aging, mature skin.
Best foundations for mature skin
As Osei-tutu puts it, “this foundation looks like skin, and doesn’t settle into fine lines.” While it does have a matte finish, it won’t cake or crease, and is made with proprietary skin-care ingredients that help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, it’s concocted with technology that provides an immediate cooling feeling, making it perfect for the summer months.
The marula oil in this formula makes it ultra-hydrating, and gives it a dewy, radiant finish that helps combat dullness. It offers medium coverage, and won’t cake, flake, or set into lines.
Lovello calls this one of her “all-time favorite” foundations. “It’s buildable so you have a lot of control over the coverage level you want,” she says. It comes in 50 shades.
McEvoy is a fan of foundations that offer an elastic-like texture, and this one, from her own line, fits the bill. “It moves with your expressions, but doesn’t sink into lines, wrinkles, or pores,” she says. “I can use a very small amount to correct any uneven pigmentation, and then use a moisturizer on top to get a luminous finish.” It’s made with photo-luminescent technology that allows for full-coverage with a lightweight finish, and comes with a sponge-tip applicator that enables targeted application that can then be blended out.
This skin-tint-meets-foundation gives you the best of both worlds. It’s ultra-hydrating, the way a tinted moisturizer would be, but also offers the same sort of coverage that you’d expect from a foundation. It’s got skin-nourishing ingredients like squalane and rose oil, and has antioxidant protection to protect skin from the elements.
This foundation offers a triple threat of hydration, staying power, and medium-to-full coverage. It glides on easily and melts into skin, giving it a luminous, dewy finish that lasts all day long.
Part skin care, part makeup, there’s a reason why this SPF-infused foundation has stood the test of time. It’s made with nourishing chia seed extract, soothing probiotic technology, and hydrating ion-charged water, and clinical testing has shown that it helps to reduce redness and irritation while also hydrating skin and protecting against pollution. It offers full—yet breathable—coverage, and is proven to stay on for 12 hours without ever smudging, caking, or flaking.
This 24-hour foundation is lightweight, has buildable coverage, and is recommended by Dr. Jeannette Graf, a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mt Sinai School of Medicine. “This is a cult classic for a reason,” she says. “Since it is a lightweight formula, it does not make your skin look cakey and has a natural, matte finish on the skin.
This tinted serum is made with clean ingredients and is oil-free, fragrance-free, and comes in a ton of colors. Dermatologist and Sobel Skin Rx Founder, Dr. Howard Sobel adds that it’s made with hydrating ingredients suited for dry, mature skin (shea butter, niacinamide, aloe, allantoin). “I like that it contains a mineral SPF 40 for built-in protection,” he says.
This is a clean, tinted moisturizer, sunscreen, and light foundation all in one. It has a mineral matte medium coverage and reef-safe SPF 30 protection against UV rays and blue light. “The vegan formula is infused with anti-aging peptides and skin brightening Vitamin C + E to nourish and protect dry, more mature skin types,” says Dr. Sobel.
Not only does his powder foundation have buildable coverage, but it also self-adjusts to match your skin tone so you’re not left with streaks or lines. Says Dr. Sobel, “This offers color-correcting pigments that help to address uneven skin tone and redness which more mature skin is prone to. It also contains antioxidants (white tea) to combat the signs of aging.”
Although this is a lightweight foundation, it contains a heavier pigment than a traditional tinted moisturizer, says Victoria Stiles, a celebrity makeup artist and Creative Director at ShikSona Beauty. It has buildable coverage, clean ingredients, and it also “contains ceramides to add hydration to the skin and plump and the natural skin-finish helps diffuse the appearance of imperfections.”
For those longer days, this NARS foundation has 16 hours of fade-resistant and breathable wear. “This product packs a heavier punch in the coverage department but with its lightweight formula, it glides on top of skin and doesn’t settle into fine lines, leaving a radiant natural finish,” says Stiles.
This foundation will provide lightweight coverage, is suitable for sensitive skin, and won’t break the bank. “This is especially great for mature skin because it contains hyaluronic acids and moisturizers which keeps your skin glowing, and it doesn’t settle into fine lines,” says Elena Duque, an esthetician & certified makeup artist.
If you have combination or oily skin, this foundation helps absorb oil while leaving your skin looking even and smooth. It leaves an airbrush finish that erases pores, and Duque adds, “I also love the fact that it has a powder finish, so there’s no need to add a setting powder.”
Give your skin a nice, silky look with this oil-free Armani Beauty foundation with medium coverage. Stiles says “it’s loved by many beauty pros because it is buildable, leaves a skin-like flawless finish, and doesn’t settle into fine lines.” Its also a favorite of Duque’s, who says it’s lightweight but truly covers lines, and almost gives you an Instagram filter. “I love how breathable this foundation is too,” says Duque.
For more tips on how to apply foundation so that it looks flawless for your next Zoom meeting, check out the video below.
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