The 12 Best Foundations for Mature Skin

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I've researched the best foundations for women over age 50, from cheap to steep

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Older woman. Ralf Nau for Digital Vision

We have done exhaustive research on the best foundations for mature, aging skin (this generally means over 50). The picks below range from drugstore brands to the most luxurious department store brands. And yes, there is a difference in quality when it comes to foundations. But all of these foundations share one thing in particular: they are tried-and-true, beloved by women over age 50 of all skin types.

How to Choose the Best Foundation for You

The perfect foundation will work with your skin type and will be the correct shade. That's it. You'll want creamy formulations for drier skin and lighter, oil-free foundations for oily skin. As for choosing the right shade, you'll want to test the color with the help of a friend or professional. Strong advice: try before you buy or buy from a place with a great return policy.

Use a Primer First

Just as you prime a wall with primer before you paint it, the secret to flawless makeup lies in makeup primer. Applying a layer of primer between your skin and makeup will help your foundation glide on more smoothly.

Use Different Foundations for Summer and in Winter

Our skin changes not only yearly, but seasonally. In winter months, you may need a creamy formula. In summer months you may find your skin becomes oily and a tinted moisturizer will do.

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Revlon ColorStay Whipped Creme Makeup, $11

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Revlon Colorstay Whipped Creme Makeup. Revlon

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One could argue that a good foundation is worth a splurge. But Revlon's ColorStay foundation, which can be purchased in drugstores for less than $15, is an exception. It is so popular among reviewers and beauty aficionados, even famed "Cosmetics Cop" Paula Begoun makes it a top makeup pick on her Website.

Works best for: All skin types. Women seeking a great foundation for good value.

Pros: Reviewers rave about the great color selection, the light, silky application and the price. Women who reviewed this product on Makeupalley, Amazon, and Ulta.com, like that this foundation contains no parabens, didn't make them break out and stayed put all day even in summer and on their oily T-zones.

Cons: The main "con" noted in our research on this product is the jar packaging itself. As you can see from the picture, you have to dip a finger or sponge in to get to the foundation. Some reviewers complained they went through the product much faster because of this and some women found such packaging unsanitary.

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Maybelline Instant Age Rewind, Under $7

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Maybelline Instant Age Rewind. Maybelline

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This is another excellent drugstore buy. The name itself tips you off that this is a product formulated for women concerned with aging. Ingredients include goji berry and caffeine, both of which Maybelline claims will "firm up" skin. Reviewers report this foundation provides light to medium coverage and does a good job covering up redness.

Note: Some reviewers and beauty bloggers claim this product makes a better contouring and highlighting tool than it does a foundation. You can see in this image that it is expected to be used in this way by Maybelline. 

We recommend buying it several shades lighter than your skin and dotting it on the spots on your face where you want to attract light. To do this properly, tuck your chin to your chest while looking in a mirror and dot the product on the shadowy spots. Then blend, blend, blend.

Works best for: Women of all skin types looking for a light to medium coverage. Great for covering up redness. Works as an excellent highlighter if purchased in a couple shades lighter than your skin tone.

Pros: Reviewers tout this as a wonderful, blendable foundation. Here's one of the best reviews: It doesn't "sink into lines like so many foundations do (making) you look a million years old."

Cons: While some women claimed it "lasts almost all day," others reported it does not. If you buy it, you might want to keep it in your purse for a touch-up or 2 throughout the day and make sure to set it with powder.

Buy from Amazon

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Boots No7 Dual Action Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15, Under $20

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Boots No. 7 Soft & Sheer Tinted Moisturizer. Boots

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Boots No. 7's tinted moisturizer is relatively new to the market and already getting rave reviews. It is one of several tinted moisturizer recommendations that "Cosmetics Cop" Paula Begoun makes.

Tinted moisturizers can be great for mature skin because the coverage tends to be sheer. If you have clear skin, a tinted moisturizer may be all you need, especially in warmer months. You can switch to a heavier foundation in winter.

Works best for: Women with clear complexions seeking light, sheer coverage.

Pros: Evens out skin tone and provides excellent coverage without leaving you with "cake face." It contains some SPF, but hardly enough to protect skin. We recommend always using sunscreen of at least 30 SPF under any foundation or tinted moisturizer. 

Cons: Most of the complaints found in researching the product were from women who preferred heavier coverage than your average tinted moisturizer will provide. They didn't like the sheer coverage and complained that this product didn't cover up under-eye circles or rosacea. An expert guess is these women made a poor choice in buying this product and should have opted for heavier foundations. In our opinion, this is not a reflection on the product, which is clearly for women who prefer light coverage.

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L'Oreal Visible Lift Serum Absolute Advanced Age-Reversing Makeup, $12

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L'Oreal Visible Lift. L'Oreal

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One woman on Makeupalley.com wrote that she tried 32 foundations and couldn't find a fit for her mature, dry skin with large pores. She liked this one. A lot. In fact, quite a few reviewers were big fans of this foundation, despite its odd packaging (it comes with a built-in brush). It gets high marks on all the big review sites.

One universal theme in the reviews: this makeup works best when applied over primer, otherwise your fine lines and wrinkles may be more visible.

Works best for: Women with normal, combination or dry skin looking for a dewy, youthful look.

Pros: Reviewers love that this foundation provides a slight youthful, dewy look which lasts all day. More than one woman commented that it requires little to no powder touch-ups, even in very hot weather.

Cons: Many reviewers complained about the built-in brush. We recommend skipping the brush and using a foundation brush or a foam sponge to apply.

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Iman Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup, $15

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Iman Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup. Iman

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For women with darker skin, you can't beat Iman's Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup. It comes in a dozen shades for darker skin, from light caramel to varying shades of chocolate. This foundation gets fantastic reviews on both Ulta Beauty and Drugstore.com review Websites.

Works best for: Women with darker skin looking for medium coverage.

Pros: One reviewer said she could "not say one bad thing about this product." Women love it for its natural, flawless look, its ease of use and staying power. It's also priced well (about $15).

Cons: The only real con we could find is that it doesn't last all day if not set with a powder and may rub off on clothes, linens, towels, etc.

Buy from Amazon

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Clinique Almost Powder Makeup, $31.50

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Clinique Almost Powder Makeup. Clinique

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Clinique is a brand that's been around for ages and has a stalwart following. Their liquid foundation has always been popular, but this powder foundation gets even higher overall ratings across review Websites, which scored it a placement on my list.

Works best for: Women of all skin types. A great pick for women with skin sensitivity. Reportedly covers up rosacea and melasma.

Pros: It's a compact, which means it's awesome for carrying about in a purse or for travel. It covers redness and creates a lovely even, skin tone. It comes in sample sizes, so you can try it out before you commit to a purchase.

Cons: Interestingly, most of the complaints are about Clinique's dated green packaging and not about the product itself, which is a good thing. There are a few women who complained the product doesn't last all day and another few who wrote it made them break out.

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MAC Face and Body Foundation, $34

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MAC Face and Body Foundation. MAC

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A sheer foundation that is both moisturizing and finishes with a satin, natural sheen. This foundation has been around for awhile so there are many reviews online, and the average review is very favorable. In fact, of more than 900 reviews on Makeupalley.com as of this publish, 77% of reviewers would buy it again. In beauty review land, that's a good grade.

You'll get sheer to medium coverage, and it's one of the foundations that claims to be buildable if you have spots that need extra attention. Reviews back up this claim. 

Works best for: Normal, combination and dry skin. Women with oily skin report it made their skin oilier.

Pros: Because it comes in a huge bottle, the value is excellent. And the reviews from women ages 55 and over are overwhelmingly positive, "It really takes on an airbrushed look that lasts all day," says one reviewer.

Cons: Some people report this foundation can be sticky once it soaks in, but this is offset by applying powder. Some reviewers with oily skin weren't happy with the product. If you have oily skin or are susceptible to break-outs, we recommend foregoing this product for oil-free foundations and blotting papers to soak up oils throughout the day.

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A Tinted Sunscreen That Melts Into Your Face, $34

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50. La Roche-Posay

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This is a daily-use sunscreen because the sun ages your skin faster than anything and this stuff works beautifully.

To even out skin tone, you will want to apply concealer to your dark or red spots.

Works best for: This doesn't provide the full coverage of a thicker foundation but is wonderful for women with great skin or who don't want to bother with too much product.

Pros: It's tinted so you don't get that horrible chalky, white skin that you can get from regular sunscreens. And the tint acts as a tinted moisturizer, so you don't need foundation. So basically, it's a 2 for 1, sunscreen and tinted moisturizer. Plus, it gets rave reviews from people who have tried and loved it. Sold!

Cons: It doesn't provide full coverage, so you may be disappointed if you want to erase redness or need something that will even out skin tone.

Buy from Amazon.com

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Bare Escentuals READY® To Go Complexion Perfection Palette, $49

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Bare Escentuals

This is the perfect compact makeup kit for your purse, your travel bag because it packs foundation, powder, bronzer, ​luminizer, concealer and brushes in a compact small enough to fit in your hand.

Brilliant.

Plus, it's a great way to try these products before you commit to the bigger compacts. All of these mini makeups if bought separately would add up to quite a lot.

Works best for: Mineral makeup is a great choice for older women because it's all natural and won't settle into fine lines and wrinkles.

Pros: The price is right at $49

Cons: The only downside is that you can't order refills, which is a bummer because you may run out of one thing before you do the others (always happens).

Buy from Amazon

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Chanel Perfection Lumiere, About $100

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Chanel Perfection Lumiere Fluid Makeup. Chanel

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While many older women have dry skin (happens naturally post-menopause), there are some who have oily T-zones or find their skin is oilier in the summer. Oily skin works best with oil-free foundations and this is a great one. It also contains 15 SPF, which isn't enough to protect your skin from the sun (always use a sunscreen with 40 SPF under your foundation), but does provide added protection.

Pair this with Chanel's Sheer Illuminating Base (buy from Amazon), which is an excellent foundation primer.

Works best for: Women with oily skin seeking heavier coverage foundation.

Pros: Reviewers love the range of 20 shades and the flawless coverage. They also liked that the coverage wasn't sheer, but rather heavier than a tinted moisturizer.

Cons: Women don't like the price tag, which is expensive. They also found this foundation to be drying, which is why it's best for women with oily skin. If you have combination skin, you definitely need moisturizer or primer underneath it, especially on your drier areas (think the cheeks and temples).

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Guerlain Parure de Lumiere Foundation, $59

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Guerlain Parure de Lumiere foundation. Guerlain

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This is a great medium foundation and is much beloved by reviewers on all review websites.

Works best for: Women with normal, dry and combination skin types.

Pros: Reviewers report a pretty flawless application. The makeup is lightweight, will last all day without touch-ups and leaves skin looking as if you aren't wearing any makeup at all.

Cons: There are only 8 shades from which to choose, which was a downer for some reviewers who couldn't find their perfect shade. It's also expensive ($59).

Buy from Amazon

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Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Lifting Makeup, $115

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Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Lifting Makeup SPF 15. Estee Lauder

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Estee Lauder's Re-Nutriv foundation gets rave reviews from older women on the big makeup review Websites, which is why it made this list and would be in the top spot were we rating foundations based on quality and grade and not price. It's not cheap (a whopping $75 at Nordstrom) and the jar packaging will not be loved by all women (see Revlon ColorStay's review above), but this is an excellent creamy foundation that is made specifically for mature skin. It also works well on skin with lots of issues including redness, fine lines, wrinkles and sensitivities.

Reviewers of this product strongly recommend applying primer or a heavy moisturizer before applying this foundation, especially if you have very dry skin. They also recommend applying it with a foam sponge (Laura Mercier makes an excellent one, read about it here) and allowing it at least 5 minutes to set. Once it's set, apply a finishing powder so your T-zone doesn't get oily.

Works best for: Women with dry or sensitive skin looking for a full coverage foundation, and are happy to splurge on a great product.

Pros: One older woman on Makeupalley.com writes in her 5-star review that the consistency is "so creamy, bordering on oily. Spreads like buttah (melted buttah)," and once the cream sets, you are left "with the most moist, glowy, dewy, young-looking finish." Another woman claims the product goes on "like air brushing." Still another woman says the product is perfect for menopausal women like herself with lots of skin issues.

Cons: Not all women are fans of foundations that come in a jar, like Revlon ColorStay (see above) and this one. Some reviewers who weren't fans of this product found it too rich and heavy. Others said it worked best for the winter, but wasn't a good foundation for summer, when they wanted something lighter. Others were turned off by the price tag.

Buy from Amazon