As the years go by, you grow older and wiser. Your skin changes too, thanks to hormonal shifts, slowed cellular turnover, decreased oil production, and a natural reduction of collagen and elastin, aka the fibers that give your skin its youthful bounce. This is all to be expected, and there's certainly nothing wrong with embracing it.
According to New York City-based makeup artist Taylor Fitzgerald for mature skin, a hydrating foundation is key to a supple finish. "A soft, dense, buffing brush applying the foundation in the center of the face first and working its way out will ensure a natural finish," she adds.
But if you prefer to keep those natural signs of aging under wraps, we recommend choosing your makeup as diligently as you choose your wrinkle-fighting retinol serums. There are certain foundations, for instance, that are specially designed with mature skin types in mind, meaning they're less likely to accentuate fine lines, age spots, dry patches, and more. More good news: We researched the most affordable of the lot, formulas you can find right at the drugstore.
Below, discover the best drugstore foundations for mature skin.
Best Overall: CoverGirl + Olay Instant Wrinkle-Defying Foundation
Glides over skin
Protects from free radicals
Various shades to choose from
Could use more staying power
When it comes to aging skin, CoverGirl and Olay are tried-and-true brands, and they teamed up to bring you our best overall pick. CoverGirl + Olay Simply Ageless Instant Wrinkle-Defying Foundation glides over your skin and reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It has vitamin C and a hyaluronic complex, which provide all-day moisture, protection from free radicals, and a youthful glow.
This foundation compact is available in 13 blendable shades. It also has broad-spectrum SPF 28 to safeguard your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
Price at time of publish: $14
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: Light to Beige | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.44 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Maybelline New York Dream Satin Liquid Foundation
Ultra smooth and creamy
Gives a poreless look
Not effective for those with rosacea
This is a drugstore roundup, so nearly all of the foundations on this list are budget-friendly. But perhaps none are as easy on the wallet as this Maybelline pick. It's a foundation by name, but it's also more than that. The formula contains a super-hydrating hyaluronic acid serum to make your skin look more plump and radiant. With an ultra-creamy yet breathable formula, this makeup delivers a cake-free, airbrushed finish while concealing fine lines.
Plus, it's available in 12 beautiful shades—ranging from cocoa to sandy beige to porcelain ivory.
Price at time of publish: $10
Coverage: Medium, Full | Shade Range: Ivory to Cocoa | Finish: Satin | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Dry Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint
Refreshes for 12 hours
Settles a bit into fine lines
If dry skin is a concern, reach for this guy. This creamy yet lightweight foundation has a moisturizing water-gel formula. It contains hyaluronic acid, the superstar hydrating ingredient that can hold up to 1000x its weight in water. In other words, it's like a tall glass of water for dehydrated, mature skin. You can expect plump skin, an even complexion, and less visible fine lines and wrinkles.
Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint is available in 10 shades—ranging from chestnut to ivory—and comes with a handy doe-foot applicator stick.
Price at time of publish: $14
Coverage: Lightweight | Shade Range: Ivory to Chestnut | Finish: Natural | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Oily Skin: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation
Large variety of shades
Not for sensitive skin
If your skin is on the oilier side, consider Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation. Containing shine-control micro-powders, the mattifying formula is ideal for oily complexions—so mattifying, in fact, that you can ditch the oil blotters. It goes on smooth and dries into a soft, velvety, powder-like finish without looking cakey.
This liquid foundation comes in an impressive 40 shades and can accommodate a broad array of skin tones—from espresso to toffee to fair porcelain. It's also oil-free and non-comedogenic.
Price at time of publish: $9
Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: Porcelain to Espresso | Finish: Matte | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Combination Skin: Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation
Goes on smoothly
May feel heavy to some
Combination skin can be tricky to deal with, especially when you're also trying to combat fine lines and age spots. For a double-duty product that'll address dry patches while preventing an oily T-zone, check out the Photo Focus Foundation from wet n wild. The liquid formula is mattifying and light-diffusing, and it doesn't cling to dry skin. It was tested in seven different lighting conditions, so you don't have to worry about light bouncing off your forehead when you step out the door or snap a photo with a flash.
This wet n wild foundation comes in 20 diverse shades. When you put it on, your skin will look smooth and matte without any visible dryness.
Price at time of publish: $7
Coverage: Flawless | Shade Range: Porcelain to Mahogany | Finish: Matte | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Sensitive Skin: Physicians Formula The Healthy Foundation SPF 20
Contains SPF 20 for UV protection
Infused with an antioxidant blend
Has a chemical smell to some
There's no shortage of anti-aging products on the market, but they can be somewhat intense on sensitive, mature skin. If your skin is known to react to liquid makeup, you can have peace of mind with Physicians Formula The Healthy Foundation. Free of harsh or irritating ingredients, this hypoallergenic foundation is safe for sensitive skin. So, what does it contain? The Healthy Foundation is formulated with vitamins A, C, and E, hyaluronic acid, and SPF 20.
It comes in 12 easy-to-blend shades and provides a satiny, youthful-looking finish.
Price at time of publish: $20
Coverage: Medium to Full | Shade Range: Ivory to Deep | Finish: Satin | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Foundation Stick: BLK/OPL True Color Stick Foundation SPF 15
Protects against sun damage
Too oily for some
For a convenient foundation you can keep in even the smallest handbag, we recommend the True Color Stick Foundation from BLK/OPL. The full-coverage formula corrects and perfects mature complexions. With vitamins C and E and SPF 15, it works to brighten and protect your skin from sun damage.
This BLK/OPL foundation stick is available in 16 true-to-tone shades, which can be used to cover, conceal, or contour.
Price at time of publish: $11
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: Honey to Ebony | Finish: Opaque | Size: 0.50 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best With SPF: L'Oreal Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation SPF 50
Great for mature and oily skin
Broad-spectrum UV protection
Infused with vitamin B3
May feel like it hasn't dried
If you want to prevent fine lines and wrinkles from forming, sunscreen is basically non-negotiable. For an age-defying foundation with serious sun protection, we suggest L'Oreal Paris Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation. Aside from broad-spectrum SPF, it has vitamin B3 and a special hydrating serum designed to keep your skin moisturized from morning till night. There are 30 shades to choose from, ranging from espresso to ivory. When you apply this foundation, you can expect lightweight, buildable coverage that smooths your skin and enhances your complexion without settling into fine lines.
Price at time of publish: $17
Coverage: Lightweight, Buildable | Shade Range: Ivory to Mahogany | Finish: Natural | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Long-Lasting: L'Oréal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation
Up to 24 hours of wear
Various medium shades
Hard to apply for some
Long-wear liquid foundations are great in theory, but many end up drying out and seeping into wrinkles and laugh lines after a few hours. But not L'Oréal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation. With a creamy, lightweight formula, this medium-coverage makeup conceals lines, age spots, discoloration, and any other imperfections. What you'll get is an all-day glow that's never greasy and a finish that looks just as good right before you take it off as when you put it on.
Infallible Pro-Glow comes in 12 shades and boasts up to 24 hours of coverage. Of course, you might not need a full 24 hours, but it's always nice to have insurance.
Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: Caramel to Cocoa | Finish: Natural, Radiant | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Age Spots: IMAN Luxury Concealing Foundation
Foundation and concealer in one
Contains vitamins A, C, and E
This full-coverage liquid formula is ideal for concealing spots, discoloration, and under-eye circles. It's buildable and easy to blend, so you can use it all over or just for spot coverage. This foundation is available in 11 shades to match an array of skin tones. With licorice, grapeseed, and pomegranate extract, it delivers an even, radiant complexion.
Price at time of publish: $16
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: Caramel to Cocoa | Finish: Flawless | Size: 0.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Firming: Revlon Age Defying Firming + Lifting Makeup
Little goes a long way
Lifting and hydrating
Slightly sticky feel
With a serum, moisturizer, and primer all packed into the formula, this liquid foundation goes on smooth while lifting, firming, and hydrating the skin. It has broad-spectrum SPF 15 to protect your skin from aging sun damage and conceals any existing wrinkles. It comes in 12 easy-to-blend shades and provides medium, buildable coverage.
Price at time of publish: $21
Coverage: Buildable | Shade Range: Ivory to Tan | Finish: Natural | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Shade Range: Juvia's Place I Am Magic Foundation
Very extensive shade selection
Evens out skin tone
Can be drying to some
With 42 different colors to choose from, Juvia's Place I Am Magic Foundation has the best range of shades for a drugstore foundation. But that's not the only good thing about it. This liquid foundation goes on smooth and provides a soft, matte, flawless-looking coverage. It evens out skin tone, blurs wrinkles, and covers age spots. And you can count on an all-day finish.
Price at time of publish: $22
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: Very Very Light to Deepest Darkest | Finish: Matte, Flawless | Size: 1.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What to Look for in a Drugstore Foundation for Mature Skin
Choose a formula that doesn’t contain any strong scents. That’s the best choice because, according to celebrity makeup artist Jenny Patinkin, “we tend to become more sensitive and reactive as we get older, and fragrance can contain any number of ingredients that might be irritating.”
To prevent caking or flaking, choosing a foundation with moisturizing ingredients is key. Hyaluronic acid and other hydrating ingredients do double duty for fine lines and wrinkles: they help moisturize the skin, and in turn can help reduce the appearance of lines.
Patinkin tells Byrdie that a thinner texture has less of a chance of settling into fine lines and wrinkles. Avoid foundations with a thicker texture for less chance of your foundation clinging to texture. Your foundation choice should feel light, not heavy.
Is matte or dewy foundation better for mature skin?
Patinkin says that matte foundations should be avoided for mature skin because it can make skin look flat and dry, and she also suggests avoiding ones that are too luminous. Patinkin suggests a radiant finish, which is right in between matte and luminous.
Why do my wrinkles look worse with foundation?
Is powder or liquid foundation better for aging skin?
You’ll usually want to choose a liquid foundation if you have mature skin. Powder is more likely to settle into fine lines and wrinkles. However, there are some powder foundations that are designed specifically for mature skin. If you want to use powder foundation instead of liquid, be sure to opt for one made for mature skin.
Bukhari SNA, Roswandi NL, Waqas M, Habib H, Hussain F, Khan S, Sohail M, Ramli NA, Thu HE, Hussain Z. Hyaluronic acid, a promising skin rejuvenating biomedicine: A review of recent updates and pre-clinical and clinical investigations on cosmetic and nutricosmetic effects. Int J Biol Macromol. 2018 Dec;120(Pt B):1682-1695. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.09.188. Epub 2018 Oct 1. PMID: 30287361.