As we age and our hormones begin to dip, our skin requires new products in order to look youthful and radiant. So, just as you switch up your skin care routine, you should also consider updating the contents of your makeup bag, specifically your foundation. Using the wrong type can enhance fine lines and wrinkles. Applying too much can leave you looking like a Real Housewife. But apply too little, and you’ll come across unpolished. Tricky stuff, foundation. That’s why we went to top celebrity makeup artists to learn how to choose—and use—the best foundation for aging skin.
“Most women choose formulas that are too sheer, and then layer on excess amounts in order to hide redness, sun damage, or uneven skin tone,” says celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor. Instead, go for buildable, full coverage. “It’s better to have a foundation that effectively conceals imperfections than one that requires you to apply lots of layers, making skin appear cakey,” he adds. Remember that a little goes a long way with full-coverage foundation, so use only what you need to even out the complexion without adding texture or weight to the skin.
Aside from coverage, consistency is key. The older you get, the more dehydrated your skin becomes, so opt for a moisturizing liquid foundation. “You may be tempted to reach for long-wear or ‘24-hour’ formulas, but these can be very drying and can emphasize lines and creases,” says celebrity makeup artist Jo Baker. “I think it’s youthful to have a beaming glow to the skin, so I tend to look for serum-enhanced formulas.”
Foundation that is too pale can age you, says celebrity makeup artist Kristofer Buckle who created the eponymous makeup line. Because we are so keen on protecting our faces from the sun (and with good reason!), our complexions are often a little lighter above the chin. So, for a seamless finish, Buckle suggests selecting a shade that matches your chest and arms—and don’t forget to blend it down the neck when applying.
The pros agree that a luminous finish is best for aging skin. Micro-reflective particles can create a smoother-looking complexion, says Buckle with caution: “Just avoid using sparkly or frosted products on areas that are more wrinkled or textured, such as large pores.”
For a natural-looking finish, apply foundation using a stippling—or dabbing—technique instead of painting it on. Sotomayor suggests using a brush made of tightly-packed soft synthetic fibers, like the one from Revlon. Finish by using your fingers to blend and feel where the foundation needs to be smoothed out, typically around your nose and on your chin, says Baker, and follow with a clean powder brush to buff the face for a soft-focus finish.
Ready for a foundation refresh? Keep scrolling for pro-recommended picks.
CoverGirl Vitalist Healthy Elixir Foundation ($12; ulta.com)
“This is the first drugstore makeup I’ve found that has full coverage and a fresh finish,” says Sotomayor. “It is loaded with creamy pigments that hide signs of aging.” Plus, the vitamin-infused formula contains antioxidants and SPF to help prevent future damage.
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ ($38; sephora.com)
This color-correcting cream provides full coverage while increasing hydration, smoothing the skin’s texture, and boosting brightness. “It allows you to build up the coverage to hide imperfections yet has a texture that feels comfortable on the skin,” says Baker. “And it doesn’t crease or lose its fresh look, even after hours of wear.”
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($44; nordstrom.com)
This foundation is as close as it gets to magic. The full-coverage liquid is incredibly blendable and surprisingly weightless when covering everything from dark spots to redness to acne scars. Also nice? It’s enhanced with anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.
Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation ($78; nordstrom.com)
This stuff is composed of 60 percent charged water, meaning it moisturizes without the addition of an oil or emulsifier, and contains reflective pigments for a naturally-radiant finish. “Its featherlight gel formula is super hydrating and is almost invisible to the naked eye, so skin doesn’t look masked or heavily covered,” says Baker.
Estee Lauder Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Serum Makeup SPF 25 ($48; sephora.com)
This pick provides medium to full coverage and a satin finish. Its anti-aging serum technology hydrates, brightens and reduces the look of fine lines. The serum gives an extra layer of elasticity underneath foundation, explains Baker.