It’s an annoying truth that finding the right foundation for mature skin can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility. Maybe you’ve discovered the perfect level of coverage, but the formula settles into fine lines. Perhaps the color is a match, but the finish makes your skin look parched. Or, you’ve encountered the greatest frustration of all: the foundation formula you’ve used for years is just not working for you anymore.

You’re not imagining things—as we get older, our skin has different concerns and needs, most notably rougher texture (largely from fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores), discoloration, and dryness, the latter of which begs for a thirst-quenching formula. But that’s not to say that finding the right foundation is an impossible task. Before even searching for a formula, you have to switch up your application. 

“Application of makeup for mature skin requires a more nuanced approach, a bit more restraint, and plenty of moisture,” says New York City-based makeup artist Natalia Thomas. While you may previously have slapped a bunch of pigment on bare skin with success, “mature skin requires just a bit more priming to ensure the skin is thoroughly hydrated and prepped for color.” This includes following a true skincare routine loaded with skin-plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid, a rich moisturizer, and patience for allowing it all to soak in.

Then, you have to use a foundation formula that supports your skin goals. While beauty products of yesteryear may have only offered color, today’s cosmetics are often loaded with good-for-you ingredients. “Using ingredients that help nourish the skin you’re applying it to leaves the wearer looking and feeling more pampered and luxurious,” explains Thomas, who notes that some indulgent and nourishing ingredients she’s been seeing in foundation lately  include the aforementioned hyaluronic acid, plant-derived squalane (both great for moisturizing!) and brightening licorice root.

Lastly, take care with how much product you use. “My general theory for foundation definitely applies to working with mature skin,” says Thomas. “Foundation should be a thin veil of color that corrects and tones the skin; for anything that requires more coverage, reach for your concealer.”

Now that you’re armed with these tips, you’re bound to see a major improvement to your complexion routine—once you’ve found the right formula, that is. Read on: Through careful trial and error and with Thomas’s expertise, we’ve rounded up the best foundations for more mature skin.

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