These Are the 13 Best Foundations for Anyone Over 40

Updated 10/19/18

Graphic by Cristina Cianci

It's true that after puberty, when we take the most time to experiment and learn to use makeup, we don't relearn application skills based on our age. Many of us don't even update our products as the years go by. But there's something to be said for continuing your makeup education, as various skin concerns come up as we age. For example, the makeup that looked great on my 20-year-old skin doesn't entirely hold up now that a decade has passed and fine lines and sallow skin are my new reality.

We all know that our skin becomes drier as we age, losing lift and tone where supple, bouncy skin used to lie. And that's okay! But there are also ways to keep things looking fresh and youthful too. For example, your foundation. The formula is so important, as it creates a canvas for the rest of your makeup. So we asked a makeup artist, a cosmetics company co-founder, and a woman who specializes in makeup education for women over 40 to offer up their foundation recommendations.

Amazing Cosmetics AmazingConcealer Foundation
AmazingCosmetics AmazingConcealer Foundation $28
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"It's not only a color foundation but a skin treatment as well," says Sue Katz, the co-founder of AmazingCosmetics. She notes that the formula includes the herb cassia angustifolia, peptides, and chamomilla flower extract to help your skin retain hydration for a full 24 hours, as well as repair and protect skin. It's a buildable, lightweight formula that works with your skin to add coverage but without feeling like a mask of makeup. She adds, "I find less is more as you age."

BareMinerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation
BareMinerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation $30
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"It is practically weightless," Katz says, adding that it houses ingredients great for your skin, as it offers a coconut-derived base with jojoba-coated mineral pigments and non-chemical sunscreen. "It protects against free radical damage, which is a must for aging skin," Katz notes. 

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation
L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation $13
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"It's a lightweight yet full-coverage formula," says Katz. This foundation blends together ingredients to offer up that ever-elusive youthful glow. Its satiny texture illuminates your features, allowing for skin that looks bouncy, healthy, and lit-from-within. 

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation $47
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Butterfly Studio makeup artist Francesca Roman suggests using this sheer offering from Nars, as it's "blendable and creates a more radiant, sheer look." She says when you're in your 40s, it's best to look for formulas that can really get your skin glowing. This one is exactly that. 

Trish Mcevoy Beauty Balm Instant Solutions
Trish McEvoy Beauty Balm Instant Solutions $87
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"This product works as a primer, sunscreen, and foundation and provides a lighter coverage," says Elise Marquam-Jahns, who specializes in makeup for women over 40. She notes it's best for normal to oily skin and that it's incredibly easy to apply. Plus, it works to prime, brighten, even, and hydrate your skin while it controls oil and rejuvenates with each wear.

Eve Pearl HD 50:50 Dual Foundation
Eve Pearl HD 50:50 Dual Foundation $55
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"I never thought I'd enjoy or recommend a cream foundation," says Marquam-Jahns, "but I'm a huge fan of Eve Pearl's HD 50:50 Dual Foundation ($55). Pearl has won seven Emmy Awards and created this foundation for the women whose makeup she does on The View so their skin would look flawless after the advent of high-definition television." It contains coconut oil, vitamin E, and esters, and according to Marquam-Jahns, it melts into your skin to produce the most flawless, natural-looking finish. She adds, "If you have oily skin, I recommend setting the foundation lightly with a powder, but otherwise, powder is not needed."

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation
Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation $70

"This one has light-reflecting properties and is always recommended by celebrity makeup artists," says Katz. We know firsthand that she's right about that, as dozens of makeup artists have offered up this specific formula as their go-to. However, our favorite part is the fact that it's formulated with the brand's Gloss Film Powder, which helps it fit onto skin and softly brighten areas of dullness.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation $64
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All three of the women I asked recommended this heavy hitter. It has a cult following of models, celebrities, and makeup artists alike—and for good reason. Roman explains, "The formula, which is a liquid cream that is neither heavy or greasy, perfectly provides medium coverage with any of the buildup or pore-clogging properties." Marquam-Jahns adds, "It works very well for dry to combination skin, but if you have oily skin, you may want to use a mattifying primer first."

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation $44
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If you have dry skin and you're looking for medium to full coverage, Magic Foundation is your new best friend. Marquam-Jahns recommends it vehemently.

Look for formulas that have the same anti-aging benefits of skincare products. This ensures you are giving your skin as much care as possible.

Chanel Sublimage Le Teint Foundation
Chanel Sublimage le Teint Foundation $135
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"It's whipped and so creamy," gushes Roman. "It has medium to full coverage, and I love it because it provides a nice, healthy glow to the skin—no matter what." We'd have to agree. This product offers the ultimate sensorial touch while remaining effective and totally buildable. It houses ingredients like vanilla planifolia for anti-aging, diamond powder for luminosity, and essential oils to leave your skin radiant and super hydrated.

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation
Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation $78
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"This one is great for oily skin, as it's an oil-free, gel-based foundation that is super lightweight," says Roman. See, the formula is composed of 60% charged water (as well as aloe, chamomile, arnica, rosemary, and green tea), which transfers skin-soothing moisture into the skin without the use of oil as an emulsifier. 

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 $45
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"This one is a favorite of many top professionals in the business," says Roman. "It is lightweight with a creamy consistency, and it's packed with plenty of vitamins C and E to protect your skin from environmental stressors and sun damage." 

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation $42
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Estée Lauder's Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation ($42) is great for oilier skin types, says Marquam-Jahns. The 24-hour liquid foundation is both oil-free and oil-controlling, made to keep your skin shine-free even in humid weather. 

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