As the years pass us by, the texture on our faces changes: Sunspots reveal the time we’ve spent on the Amalfi coast, and smile lines remind us of all the laughs we’ve had. As much as we appreciate our life’s story on full display on our faces, the products we grew up using may not be working the same magic that they used to. And similar to how we upgrade our skincare routines, we find it best to evaluate how our favorite go-to foundations are still serving us. And if you think it’s time for an upgrade, we found these best foundations for mature skin to add youthfulness to your complexion.

That’s why we tested dozens of foundations on women with varying skin concerns, like dry skin, redness, wrinkles, dull skin, and sunspots. Did they settle into creases? Did they brighten our faces? Did they have additional perks like sun protection and hydration? Through an extensive testing period spanning over two days (16 hours) and over 20 InStyle editors, we carefully jotted down our findings on coverage, feel, and finish. We took note of whether they felt hydrating, provided a matte finish, could be built upon for additional coverage, and most importantly, if the makeup pilled. All the details, from how lightweight it felt to the range of shades offered, were considered before narrowing down our selection to these best foundations for mature skin.

Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation


What We Love: A little product goes a long way, covering all blemishes and discoloration in a single layer.

What We Don’t Love: Although there are 36 shades available, the majority of them cater to fair skin, and only a small handful are for darker skin tones.

The Dior Backstage Foundation left us completely creaseless, greaseless, and speechless. One single swoop across the face was all it took to look as though we’d been professionally touched up in Photoshop. Adult acne, uneven complexion, and patches on the cheeks were quickly covered in an even layer. We can’t express how delighted we were to discover the redness under the nose and chin to be completely hidden. Using a sponge or our fingertips (a brush took slightly longer to fully blend), the foundation glided smoothly across our skin, and even covered the dark circles under our eyes despite not using any concealer!

Once on, it felt incredibly smooth and invisible. It did not leave a greasy or heavy feeling on the skin, but rather a lightweight and airy one — a surprise to us, considering the full-coverage look it created. When we dabbed our skin with some blotting paper, it revealed how the foundation matted down our oily complexion to create a beautiful and healthy glow instead. The overall effect? Looking naturally younger rather than caked up. We love this foundation so much that we wish it came with more shade options for darker skin tones. Although there are 36 shades offered, the majority of them cater to lighter skin tones, with only a handful catering to darker skin tones.

Coverage: Full | Shades: 43 |  Size: 1 oz

L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation


What We Love: It has built-in SPF protection.

What We Don’t Love: If you layer it, it begins to settle into creases after half an hour.

Tried and true, we can always rely on L’Oréal to deliver quality products in an inclusive color range. When we tried this Radiant Serum Foundation (which, by the way, comes with an additional 50 SPF sunblock), we learned it held a medium coverage fit for blurring over our complexion in a single sweep. If we wanted a little extra coverage, as we did for our red cheeks, we were easily able to build over it with additional applications. We’re happy to report that the extra layering didn’t weigh down the formula or begin to feel cakey.

In order to create this “radiant” look that the foundation is named after, it does have a bit of a wet appearance to it. That doesn’t mean it’s runny, simply a little oily. We would want to set this up with a primer or finish it with a setting powder for a more matte finish. After about half an hour, it also began settling into the creases around our eyes, particularly if we had built on a few layers. A single layer kept the overall look pretty smooth. We think this would be a great summer foundation, considering the inclusive color range, medium coverage, and added SPF.

Coverage: Medium | Shades: 30 |  Size: 1 oz

Chanel Ultra Le Teint Flawless Finish Foundation


What We Love: It doesn’t require a lot of product to cover the whole face.

What We Don’t Love: It dries down quickly, so a moisturizer might be useful for people with dry skin.

You don’t need much else once you’ve covered your face in this Chanel foundation. The luxuriously soft formula glided smoothly over the skin, requiring minimal effort to blend over the whole face. It had a matte, full-coverage finish without feeling caked on, patchy, or bumpy over our wrinkles and acne. Truly, we got great, natural-looking coverage with minimal product.

Despite this fabulous coverage, the formula felt light and creamy on our faces — not necessarily hydrating, but not drying and heavy either. It settled in quickly without creasing, and it maintained its soft and silky look throughout the day. We were happy to find something that gives a pore-refining finish, eliminating blemishes and dark spots without combining three different products. The Chanel Foundation did it all in one go.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shades: 35 |  Size: 1 oz

Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation


What We Love: You can build it on without feeling caked up.

What We Don’t Love: You need a concealer to target specific imperfections.

If you want something to aid your skin in looking its best naturally, then you want a light coverage foundation. This best-selling option from Giorgio Armani created a beautiful silky finish, veiling any imperfections and reducing redness. It’s pretty sheer, but we could build on it without ever feeling cakey on areas that needed a little more coverage. That being said, you’re definitely going to want to go in with a concealer to cover any hyperpigmented areas (like old scars and dark under-eye circles).

The hydrating formula felt like a real treat on the skin. It’s almost cooling and soft, providing a watery and silky touch. It comes out in a delicately soft, almost serum-like consistency that simply glides over the face with little effort. It was neither patchy nor did it cling to any area. Even when we exaggerated our expressions, it did not crease into our fine lines. The dewy look was beautiful, particularly in the summer. When we wanted a little more coverage, we patted it down with a powder.

Coverage: Low | Shades: 40 |  Size: 1 oz

Nars Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation


What We Love: Despite feeling featherlight, it did a great job of fully covering any blemishes.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not as buildable as some may like.

The Nars concealer is a famed favorite, so we were excited to test it and see whether their foundation lived up to the hype. To no one’s surprise, we instantly fell in love with this silky, full-coverage foundation. To start, it’s very liquidy, so it only required one pump of the perfectly opaque foundation to cover the full face. Despite it being so rich with color, it didn’t look cakey or obviously made-up on the skin. It simply looked like our skin, but much better, as if it merged with our complexion to look well blended and uniform.

On top of how great it looks, it also feels invisible. It’s featherlight, so it doesn’t weigh down or feel sticky. It creates a dreamy natural finish that doesn’t require a powder afterward (unless you like a really matte look). It’s formulated without mineral oil, silicone, or parabens, so we can feel good knowing we’re doing good as well. Thanks to its fresh feel and moisturizing capabilities, we believe it would make for a great summer foundation.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shades: 36 |  Size: 1 oz

BareMinerals Original Liquid Mineral Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20


What We Love: It does a wonderful job of blurring out any inconsistencies while feeling lightweight.

What We Don’t Love: It transfers onto clothing if not properly dried.

Foundations with built-in SPF are just *chef’s kiss* for extra protection. At an SPF of 20, it’s a nice amount of extra coverage to build on your sunscreen (The American Academy of Dermatology recommends SPF 30 or higher). We loved how smoothly and evenly this foundation glided on. There were a couple of dark spots that still required some touch-ups with a concealer, but overall, it did a great job of blurring away any inconsistencies. On mature skin, professional makeup artist J Guerra prefers the combination of medium coverage and concealer rather than full-coverage, as it “will give a more natural finish, allowing you to build up in areas where you need more coverage with a fuller coverage concealer.”

We recommend using a brush over a Beautyblender when applying this foundation. The brush did a much better job at evenly spreading the formula, requiring fewer pumps to cover the entire face (two, to be exact). Once on, the medium coverage foundation had a slightly drying effect, so we suggest layering some moisturizer underneath first. The formula feels lightweight with a satiny, almost powdery finish, so there’s no need to layer on a pressed powder afterward.

Coverage: Medium | Shades: 30 | Size: 1 oz

BLK/OPL True Color Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation


What We Love: No matter how much time passed, the foundation did not settle into our creases.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not particularly hydrating.

For nearly 30 years, BLK/OPL has been offering affordable makeup to darker skin tones, and in these three decades, they have perfected the Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation. It only took one pump of this full-coverage foundation to cover the hyperpigmentation on our face, creating an evened-out appearance without looking heavily made up.

The foundation blended seamlessly into our skin, drying pretty quickly into a smooth finish. It felt like our own skin, but better, thanks to its lightweight nature. If we needed to, it would be easy to layer any other product over it. The foundation achieved a smooth finish with minimal manipulation, even covering creases on our foreheads and around the eyes effortlessly. No matter how much time had passed, our fine lines remained hidden under the foundation. We even noticed how our pores around the nose and cheeks were no longer as noticeable as before.

The more it dried, the more natural it looked, and we felt confident and radiant over our complexion. That being said, it’s not particularly hydrating, so we do recommend layering some moisturizer underneath first.

Coverage: Full | Shades: 12 |  Size: 1 oz

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation


What We Love: It dries quickly and is easy to build on.

What We Don’t Love: It may feel too matte for people with dry skin.

One thing Fenty Beauty is going to have is an extensive color range, so rest assured you’ll find the perfect hue-match here. For our best over 40 foundation, we picked this medium to full-coverage option that conceals without caking. The formula is lightweight but highly pigmented, so it felt and looked good on. We used less than two pumps to achieve our desired look: A soft matte complexion with all our dark spots perfectly covered. Anything that needed additional coverage was easy to build on, as the foundation dried quickly, and the second layer blended on naturally.

We had to appreciate how all of our forehead lines, creases around our eyes, and nasolabial folds were expertly blurred over without looking obviously caked up. Because it matted down so quickly (not to be mistaken with looking dry), there was practically zero transfer onto our fingers or clothes. Our skin looked normal and not tacky, hydrated yet not wet. It also stayed put throughout the whole day without getting runny or falling into the bumps on our skin.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shades: 50 |  Size: 1.08 oz

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare


What We Love: Skincare ingredients help to soothe and heal old scars.

What We Don’t Love: It bunches around acne scars if not blended properly.

This foundation fuses skincare and makeup into one formula, providing skin health benefits on top of a smoothed-out, beautiful complexion. Wearing this medium-coverage foundation made us look and feel healthy, natural, and glowy.

The formula features hyaluronic acid, aloe vera extract, vitamins E and B5, and hepes acid, which hydrates and heals sun-damaged skin and improves elasticity. It didn’t sink deep into the skin, nor did it sit afloat on the surface — it felt like the perfect balance of not being intrusive, yet covering our imbalanced skin.

We preferred using a sponge over a brush to blend this foundation out, as it helped cover up some of the acne-scarring a little better this way. It would occasionally clump around the scars without proper blending, so we spent a little more time stretching the foundation over those areas. Once applied, it created a dewy finish with a beautiful glow. Thanks to its fast-drying qualities, it didn’t transfer onto fingers or clothing either. Overall, we were very happy with all that this foundation provided.

Coverage: Medium | Shades: 40 |  Size: 1 oz

Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection

Pat McGrath Labs

What We Love: It doesn’t settle into fine lines, even after hours of wear.

What We Don’t Love: You will still need a concealer to cover dark spots.

Pat McGrath’s Sublime Perfection foundation has an array of winning points. The first is that the lightweight formula is buildable, so we were able to customize our look from little coverage to full-coverage, and we did so without getting a heavy or stuffy feeling on the skin. The second is that the formula glided right over our forehead creases, nasolabial folds, and bumpy chin, concealing any unevenness. Even after several hours of wear, the foundation never settled into those fine lines. Lastly, it’s oil-free, so our pores felt clog-free, and it gave us a clean feeling throughout the day.

We would still require a concealer to go over some dark spots if we wanted to stick to a single or double layer. In other words, the foundation isn’t a one-stop shop for perfect coverage. But we didn’t mind since a concealer is already part of our everyday makeup routine. The final look is a satiny finish, which looked radiant and beautiful on its own. However, it could use powder for a more settled look. Considering the wide range of shades Pat McGrath offers, the lightweight feel, and the ability to cover fine lines the whole day, we think this would make a fantastic everyday foundation for women over 50.

Coverage: Medium | Shades: 36 |  Size: 1.18 oz

Kosas Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation SPF 25


What We Love: There’s mineral SPF included in the foundation.

What We Don’t Love: A setting powder might be needed for a full-coverage look.

Dark spots can be tedious to cover, and their shades can range from deep to light. We recommend this buildable and well-pigmented foundation to even out your look and hide any discrepancies. Although it applies quite light at first, it settles and dries very nicely. It’s not oily and almost absorbs moisture instead, so we recommend this for people with oily and combination skin types. Once on, it feels soft, gentle, and breathable, covering up any redness around the cheeks and darkness under the eyes. Despite feeling weightless, its opaque coloring leveled out inconsistencies and brightened our complexion. Did we mention it comes with a mineral sunscreen of SPF25 protection? A true win.

We also loved how it didn’t settle into any fine lines or wrinkles. The product almost moves along with our facial expressions, without sinking into our pores. And while we love the dewy finish of it on its own, a nice setting powder might be the cherry on the cake for a perfect look.

Coverage: Medium | Shades: 36 |  Size: 1 oz

Make Up For Ever Reboot Active Care Revitalizing Foundation


What We Love: The skin looks and feels soft and hydrated.

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t have any SPF in it.

We love a good two-in-one foundation. Thanks to its hydrating ingredients, this option left our skin supple, smooth, and hydrated, even after removing the foundation. With the help of ginseng, camellia japonica, and mondo grass, this foundation created a visibly softened and moisturized look well after it was wiped off the skin.

Overall, the coverage was light yet buildable. We needed one layer to even out skin texture and remove redness and a second layer to cover up dark spots and darkness under the eyes. With two layers, we had the perfect coverage that created a radiant and smooth glow. Even with two layers, the formula never felt heavy or cloggy. Instead, it felt lightweight, almost watery, and held a pleasant scent, thanks to the skincare ingredients, making the application process feel luxurious. If only it included SPF, then this would be the perfect foundation.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shades: 24 |  Size: 1.01 oz

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Soft Radiance Foundation SPF 50


What We Love: It creates a beautiful and natural powdery base.

What We Don’t Love: The combination of an additional powder will feel too chalky on the skin.

Those with oily skin often seek out a matte finish for their foundation. The Tom Ford Foundation takes mattifying a step further by drying down our oily complexion and minimizing excess moisture. We preferred using a sponge to pat down this formula, as it created an airbrushed effect for us. It covered the whole face and settled in quickly, leaving zero residue or transfer onto clothes and fingers. As for the coverage, it did a great job at blurring over most of our sun spots and redness. For any darker blemishes, we touched them up with some concealer.

Almost instantly, the foundation dried down to a powdery and lightweight feel on our skin. It created a great neutral base to layer on any additional products, particularly if we wanted to add some of that targeted illumination on the cheekbones. As for additional powder, we’d advise against it as the two powdery consistencies might create creasing.

Coverage: Medium | Shades: 40 |  Size: 1 oz

Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick

Violet Grey

What We Love: It’s moisturizing, easy to build, and travels well.

What We Don’t Love: It requires additional products to complete a full look.

Westman Atelier’s Vital Skin formula works both as a foundation and a concealer. It can achieve a minimalist look or be built upon for maximal coverage. Add on the fact that it travels well, and you’ve really got a one-stop shop for most of your base makeup needs.

We were impressed with just how creamy and easily we could sweep this magical stick across our skin. The consistency allowed us to cover blemishes, redness, and the hollows around the eyes to create an evened-out and enhanced look. We found using our fingers the best to spread the creamy formula. For more targeted areas (like under our eyes), we dabbed the sponge around and used the stick as a concealer. Overall, the formula blended well around the face, and we were able to achieve the look we desired, which was a natural, skin-like finish.

Don’t worry; It did not look patchy, nor did it cling onto the dry areas of the skin — we didn’t even notice any creasing on our foreheads. It almost melted into the skin to create a very natural yet bright look. We will say though, it may be beneficial to add on a contouring stick or a bronzer to fully round out the overall look, as this serves more as a light base.

Coverage: Medium | Shades: 21 |  Size: 1 oz

Gucci Éternité De Beauté SPF Foundation


What We Love: The full-coverage foundation doesn’t look cakey or feel heavy while expertly smoothing out the surface.

What We Don’t Love: We recommend using a brush or hands, as a sponge absorbs a lot of the product and doesn’t spread evenly.

We have to give it to Gucci here; they truly did not hold back on creating one of the most impressive and luxurious foundations on the market. Though, this is a full-coverage foundation, which may not be to everyone’s liking. Still, we only needed one pump to cover all our imperfections, concealing our darker shadows, uneven skin tone, and bumpy textures to create a smooth surface. While it’s noticeable that we are wearing makeup, it’s not cakey or overly dewy either. The opaque formula dries down almost instantly to reveal a matte, natural-looking layer over the surface. All it took was one pump and one sweep and we looked as though we were touched up by a professional makeup artist.

Despite its full-coverage and matte finish, it’s neither heavy nor drying. As a matter of fact, it’s impossible to detect any kind of feel on the skin other than a comfortable, breathable sensation. It was easy, therefore, to go about our day without the foundation beginning to run, melt, or dry up. It remained perfectly intact, hiding our pores and creases expertly without requiring touch-ups. We do recommend applying this with either your hands or a brush, however, as we found a sponge would absorb too much of the product.

Coverage: Full | Shades: 40 |  Size: 1 oz

Bobbi Brown Intensive Serum Foundation SPF 40/30

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

What We Love: It didn’t transfer onto clothing.

What We Don’t Love: It’s a little drying.

We’ve been having some rosacea around our cheeks for some time now, and it’s been a little tedious trying to cover it up. Finding the best foundation for redness took a little more effort, but this Intensive Serum Foundation from Bobbi Brown made no hassle out of blending right over our hyperpigmentation. If one layer wasn’t enough, we could easily build on top of it without feeling heavy. It also never settled into fine lines, no matter how much we layered as time passed.

Bobbi Brown has an excellent color selection, so it was easy to find a shade match for our skin tones. The finished result had a dewy glow without looking too oily or wet. As a matter of fact, it felt more drying than anything, so we still recommend setting the skin up with some moisturizer firsthand. Thanks to its dry nature, however, it doesn’t transfer onto clothing that easily and stays on the whole day impressively.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shades: 23 |  Size: 1 oz

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation


What We Love: It blends skincare ingredients with foundation coverage, making us look and feel nourished and hydrated.

What We Don’t Love: They don’t have the most inclusive color range.

We tested this foundation on our post-menopausal skin, which features fine lines and wrinkles throughout, It passed with flying colors! Since heavy foundation tends to settle into creases, this lightweight formula was just perfect. It evened the redness around our nose and between our eyebrows, covering some of the hyperpigmentation on our cheeks. Not once did it create a patchy look or cling onto any bumps. Instead, it smoothed over the surface in a single luxurious pump, blurring imperfections and camouflaging shadows to create a look that resembled our real skin, but ten years younger.

A quick blotch test with our fingers and blotting paper revealed that there was no transfer either, which is quite impressive. That’s because the formula sunk into the skin in a moisturizing and nourishing way. The brand, which originated as a skincare line, blends skincare benefits into the formula to create a 360-degree beneficial product. We only wish more people could benefit from these results, as the foundation isn’t offered in a wide range of colors.

Coverage: Light to medium | Shades: 10 |  Size: 1.01 oz

Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation SPF 45


What We Love: It’s incredibly hydrating and even plumps up the skin.

What We Don’t Love: It takes a while to dry; otherwise, it can transfer onto clothing.

Fighting acne amongst all the other stressors in life can be tedious, but we found a foundation that’s non-acnegenic (aka it won’t clog pores), is dermatologist-tested, and is paraben, phthalates, alcohol, and mineral oil free. Now let’s dive into how it looked on the skin.

The first thing we noticed was how liquidy the formula was. The sponge did a much better job at spreading the cream as a brush created too many streaks. We also needed about two layers of this buildable foundation for a full-coverage look. Once blended, a dewy complexion reminiscent of a post-beach glow was revealed. Because of how wet the product is, it did take a good five minutes to fully dry, otherwise, it would transfer onto clothing. Make sure to set it with a powder if you want to mattify the look a little.

As a little additional bonus, the cream felt very lightweight and hydrating. It even plumped our skin a little, giving us an overall healthy look.

Coverage: Medium to full | Shades: 28 | Size: 1.2 oz

What to Keep in Mind

  • Coverage: Makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks believes that coverage is a make-or-break consideration for mature skin, and always recommends light to medium formulas. “Heavy foundations can sometimes emphasize fine lines and wrinkles, while light to medium coverage helps create a more natural and youthful appearance,” says Sheriff-Kendricks. “This coverage level helps even out the skin tone without looking heavy or cakey.”

    Guerra chimes in that “overly matte or powder-heavy products can accentuate texture and dryness as well, which is why liquid formulas with sheer, buildable coverage tend to be more forgiving.”

  • Application: During our test, we used both a brush and a Beautyblender to see how the formula blended into our skin. Sheriff-Kendricks says that brushes “can provide even coverage as well as precision application, helping to minimize the risk of tugging or pulling on the skin, which is important for mature skin that is more delicate.”
    That being said, brushes can also create the look of streaks, depending on the formula. On such occasions, we found the use of a Beautyblender to be much more effective.

    As a third option, Sheriff recommends using your fingers. “The warmth of your hands helps to melt the product into the skin, giving a natural finish,” she says. “Gently pat and press the foundation onto the skin, focusing on areas where you need coverage the most.”

  • Ingredients: As our skin ages, it becomes more and more beneficial to opt for foundations that provide skincare benefits on top of coverage. “Our skin tends to become more sensitive and dry, along with more pigmented and textured,” explains NYC-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Teresa Song. “Therefore, foundations for mature skin should be minimalistic yet nourishing, with ingredients such as, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin, niacinamide, and soy.” She adds that antioxidants like “vitamin C, mandarin extract, ginseng, and aloe” help protect against sun damage as well.

    If you want to take it a step further, foundations with built-in sunscreen are a fantastic option as well. There are several options on this list across a range of SPF levels, from serious protection at SPF 50 to your indoor-appropriate level of coverage at SPF 20.

Your Questions, Answered

What foundation type is best for mature skin?

Women with mature skin should opt for lightweight foundations with low to medium coverage, says Dr. Song. “Liquid and light creams are preferred over powder and heavy creams because they will blend and stay on the skin better, while powders tend to be too drying and heavy creams may lead to build up and pilling.” Not only pilling, but Guerra reminds us that heavy creams might “settle into fine lines or wrinkles.”

As for the finish, you typically want a “dewy or satin finish,” says Sheriff-Kentricks, which typically comes from “foundations that offer hydration.” Guerra seconds this statement, saying that “going for lightweight, hydrating, and luminous foundations is typically best to ensure a radiant, dewy finish as this gives the skin a youthful glow.”

What foundation will not settle into wrinkles?

From all of the foundations we tested, we made sure only to include the ones where we did not see any creasing occur, even after 30 minutes of wear. Still, Sheriff-Kendricks and Guerra have a few tips and tricks to further ensure the foundation will not settle into wrinkles.

To prep the skin, Guerra recommends starting with a “rich moisturizer that plumps the skin” to reduce the risk of foundation sliding into creases. Next, he layers on a primer to help makeup last longer and create a smooth base that “fills in fine lines and prevents foundation from settling or caking.”

He stresses opting for “light and buildable coverage,” usually in the form of liquid or serum foundations, as they’re “generally better at avoiding creases.” And as a final tip, you can also “blot any excess oil to prevent buildup in creases throughout the day.”

Why Shop With Us

Bianca Kratky is a commerce writer with over two years of experience covering fashion and beauty stories. In order to write this story, she dove deep into the insights provided by the testers and had one-on-one discussions with them in order to learn more about their experiences with each product. She then consulted board-certified dermatologist Dr. Teresa Song from Marmur Medical, and professional makeup artists J Guerra and Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks to get a better understanding of what foundations are best for mature skin.