The one makeup product we absolutely have to review and adjust as we’re getting older is our foundation. Lots of products which used to work beautifully on our young and smooth faces make us now that our skin is more mature, terribly old and grey! How is that possible? It’s so frustrating! We want to look as young fresh and full of energy as we feel! And I’m talking about myself here, too.
But the good news is: there are solutions out there. Not too many, but they do exist: foundations which make mature skin look silky smooth and even. Count on me to find them for you. 😉
As a professional makeup artist and Beauty Coach, teaching hundreds and thousands of women how to make themselves look their best, it’s part of my job to restlessly research and inquire for the latest and best products out there on the vast makeup market.
After many hours trying and testing foundations I put together this list of my current personal favorites, the foundations which I find perform best. And believe me, I’m a very severe judge. 😉
Which foundations should be avoided on mature skin?
Let’s quickly look at the foundations which don’t work at all on mature skin and you should therefore avoid. Why do so many foundations make mature skin look older, dry and wrinkly, make pores more visible and give you a dull and greyish look? The answer is in the texture.
The main problem are mattifying features. Even on young and smooth skin mattifying foundations tend to look heavy and unnatural. But on mature skin they’re just impossible to use, as they enhance every pore and every line. They also often leave your skin looking and feeling dry. Better stay away from them.
It seems kind of obvious that very heavy formulations are far from ideal, as they will settle in lines and wrinkles and look cakey.
But mineral foundations aren’t your friends either. Because of their higher powder content they can accentuate lines and pores.
What is a good foundation for mature skin?
When it comes to anti-aging makeup, texture is the key. We need it to be lightweight, hydrating and radiant.
Lightweight: Mature skin needs weightless formulations which are supple and elastic. They will stay put and won’t settle into lines and wrinkles.
Hydrating: Hydrating is always important but for mature skin it’s crucial. Moisture retaining formulations will make your skin look and feel fresh even hours after application.
Radiant finish: The more textured character of mature skin benefits from a silky radiant finish which will give you a light glow and optically smoothen your skin.
My tested favorite foundations for mature skin
Here’s my current list of foundations which I think work best on mature skin. They optically smoothen features, refine skin texture and soften fine lines.
What they all have in common is that they have extremely supple textures, which efficiently hide small imperfections, while providing hydration and radiance.
Some of the foundations on my list are not very cheap, I do admit. But as much as I like to work with cheap products, lipsticks, mascaras, etc. when they are good and efficient (find my article on my favourite cheap products here), I have yet to find a skin makeup product, like foundation, concealer or powder, at the supermarket.
What you should know is that these rather expensive products on the other hand often go extremely far, a tiny amount is enough for the whole face.
And as makeup on mature skin is not only about the product, but always goes along with the right application techniques, I also share with you some expert application tips. In order for you to effortlessly achieve this smooth and radiant skin-like look, we’re all after.
The featherweight solution for mature skin: MAC Face & Body foundation
For many years already Mac’s Face & Body foundation is a staple in the world of professional makeup. Backstage at the Paris fashion shows there’s probably not one makeup artist who doesn’t have this product in their kit. The reason is that its texture is probably as close to invisible as you can get.
Mature skin benefits from its super lightweight and hydrating formulation which never feels or looks dry.
As this foundation is very fluid, I like to apply it with my hands. Without too much pressure I smoothen it out from the center of the face outward. You can build more coverage by adding more product wherever you find it necessary.
The downside is (for some) the quite intense glow. You can control it through applying a bit of preferably colorless powder (like for example the Light Reflecting Setting Powder from Nars) over the T-Zone or other areas you find are too shiny.
Silky and light: Chantecaille Futur Skin
Chantecaille’s Futur Skin foundation is among my favourites for mature skin for a long time already. Its gel-cream texture provides silky smoothness and a subtle glow. And it stays put for hours and hours for an effortless no-makeup look.
The gel-cream textures melts when put in contact with the skin and spreads easily.
I always like to use my fingers for application, thereby warming the product for an even lighter coverage. But a stippling brush (see picture) will also work really well. Always make sure to work from the center of the face, where you probably need a bit more coverage, to the sides.
The drawback? I personally find the colors a bit too saturated for most. (Chantecaille, do you hear me? 😉) But if you’re fortunate and your skin tone is among the colors offered, lucky you!
A perfect substitute for a foundation: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
Technically Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer is not a foundation, but it looks and feels like one and can be used as such. And because it’s a really good product I wanted to include it in this list.
Depending on your application it’s of light to medium coverage and has a creamy texture which makes it super easy to apply. It melts into your skin for this effortless no-makeup look, your skin but better.
I always like applying foundations with my fingers, I just find it the most intuitive technique. I smoothen the texture from the center of the face to the sides and, where needed, add a bit more coverage with dabbing movements. If you prefer brushes, use a stippling brush (see picture) for this lightweight formulation.
The color range is with 20 shades really big for a tinted moisturizer and should cater to almost all skin tones.
The only downside of this product is that if your skin is very oily you might find that it gives you too much glow. But again, this is easy to control with a bit of transparent powder.
A bit more coverage: La Mer The Soft Fluid foundation
If you’re looking for slightly higher coverage, La Mer’s Soft Fluid might be your foundation of choice. This beautiful creamy texture provides true La Mer hydration but is also extremely stretchable and will give you a transparent and lightly dewy look. As it is also very easily buildable, use a buffing brush for a flawless result. Otherwise apply with your fingers or a stippling brush. (See picture for brushes.)
Undeniably not cheap, but a small drop goes a long way.
The drawback with this product is in mhy opinion again the color range, with shades which are a bit too desaturated and turn out a tad greyish.
A smoothening veil for your skin: Ellis Faas Skin Veil
The makeup line of Ellis Faas, the late Dutch makeup artist, is unjustly not very well known to the general public. Made in Japan, her high-performance Skin Veil foundation, is providing a second skin-like look. Pores and small lines disappear as if you’d be using a filter. Your skin, but in its best version.
Apply this foundation with your fingers or with a duo-fiber stippling brush (see picture). Stretch and smoothen the product from the centre of the face to the sides. If necessary, add a little more coverage in places, and blend the product into the skin by lightly tapping with your fingers.
If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury solution: Clé de Peau
Makeup artists in Europe will rejoice: this Japanese brand is finally available again outside Asia. Although even more expensive than all the other foundations mentioned above, I wouldn’t want to leave it out of this list because of its truly spectacular performance.
The Clé de Peau foundation, which is simply called Fond de Teint, is an ultra-luxurious, high-tech formula. It smoothens the skin, like an optical filter, perfecting it while remaining next to invisible.
If you prefer a more satiny, less glowing look this product may be the perfect solution for you.
It is enriched with a moisture-boosting complex for a lasting hydration effect. Typically Japanese, this foundation is more perfect than perfect. But apparently, the lab has been working on this formula for over 20 years…
Important for this product: Only use a micro-drop of this rich cream, a drop the size of not even half a pea will do for the whole face! You’ll be amazed at how far you can go!
Considering how little it takes to work the whole face, this foundation finally isn’t that expensive…
Spread and blend the foundation with a duo-fiber stippling brush for a more subtle look or a denser buffing brush for more coverage. (For brushes, see picture.)
Clé de Peau is a myth in the professional makeup world and for a reason.
Choose the right foundation colour!
Whichever foundation you use for mature skin, choosing the right color is paramount! The color that matches your skin tone perfectly will allow you to use a minimal amount of product, in order to achieve this barely-there look we’re out for.
How do you find your perfect match? Have a look at this post where I explain my own, very simple and foolproof method.
And don’t forget the anti-aging concealer…
… which must effectively hide dark circles, small imperfections and spots. But all the while remaining as invisible as possible… Find my article on my favourite anti-ageing concealers here.
But as new products emerge every day, this list is not final. I’ll always keep trying and testing and will update this post whenever I happen to find something that I deem really groundbreaking. So please check back in from time to time. 😉
For any personnalized questions, please get in touch! I’m always happy to hear from you! 😊
By Louise Wittlich
(Make-up on the pictured model: Louise Wittlich)
* All models in my blog photos are made up by me, unless otherwise stated.