The 10 best foundations for mature skin

— by Jo Glanville Blackburn

Beauty writer Jo GB


While I generally feel that too much makeup is ageing, since lockdown I rarely step outside the front door without some layer of foundation to make me look a teeny bit more presentable. It’s the Zoom meeting effect. A true ‘skin minimalist’, I’m 57, Botox-free, and have worn SPF most of my days; but as a pale-skinned, sun-sensitive redhead, UV damage has given its fair share of uneven tone, age spots, and dry patches. And while a super-plumping skin prep ( a lovely serum or oil and a face cream) can’t be faulted, when you need an ‘out the door in an instant’, no-makeup look, you need a foolproof foundation on hand. What texture? Which shade? Foundations really are better than ever, as is the widening range of shades, but there are so many to choose from…

So, whether you’re looking for total cover or a zero-makeup effect, these top 10 bases will ensure you’re ready to leave the building:





The Speedy Stick Foundation

Convenient to reapply without spilling; who doesn’t love foundation in a stick, right? If you’re thinking they’re too heavy, check out this water-based bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating SPF25 Foundation Stick, £30 in 20 shades, which is super-light, builds cover easily but allows the skin to breathe. Glow-y, but never greasy, it’s not majorly long-wearing as some of the others here, but daytime touch up is easy when you avoid face powder…


The Concealing Foundation

A new favourite for all no-makeup, makeup-lovers, Monika Beauty Blunder Cover, £45 in 14 shades, is like a genius foundation-concealer hybrid that gives a natural look and lasts all day. Seriously handy, you can go super sheer and minimal, or build it up in areas that need more. The trick is to buff it on with a brush (sold separately) and just apply where you need it most, rather than all over, much like you would a concealer. I mix mine with my face cream on drier days to create my own tinted moisturiser. Adore.


The Lightweight Foundation 

BB creams, aka barely-there beauty balms, have made a serious comeback since screen time went crazy over lockdown. This is an easy base, smooth one of these on and you’re done (they’ll blur not cover freckles and blemishes). My favourites include: Max Factor, Ariane Poole, and Bobbi Brown, but the pricier Milk Sunshine Skin Tint, £39 in 14 shades, with a high SPF30, is vegan, coral reef-friendly, and packed with nourishing avocado and jojoba skin oils, to give your skin such a super-light dewiness you’ll be ecstatic.


The Sheer Skin Foundation

The name’s a total giveaway. Super-blendable, Il Makiage ‘Woke Up Like This’ Flawless Base Foundation, £36 in 50 shades, looks just like your skin did 30 years ago (almost). Perfect for older skins or blemishes, the blurring effect gives a smoother finish that minimises pores, lines and texture. It lasts beautifully throughout the day, controlling oil and shine without looking thick or caked on. Try the online shade matcher, it’s surprisingly accurate.


The Super Green Foundation

From the ultimate green caring cosmetics company e.l.f. Camo CC Cream SPF30, £14 in 30 shades, is as much skincare as makeup. One of the best collections of shades ‘for every face’, this covering cream contains vitamins, peptides, and hyaluronic acid to help deliver an even, natural-looking base and a decent SPF 30 protection.


The Budget Foundation

With its pore-smoothing, long-lasting, matte texture, Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation, £7.99 in 38 shades, covers well and perfects flaws making it the ultimate budget base that suits pretty much everyone. Plus it’s water-based, so you can keep it sheer for a lighter finish or layer up when you need more help.


The Rich & Famous Foundation

At the other extreme, if you fancy a splurge, Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation, £44.50 in 24 shades, is a beautiful foundation that will make you look like you were born with beautiful skin. This is the foundation found in every makeup artist’s kit; thanks to its blurring technology and oil-free, velvety smooth texture that blends effortlessly and makes skin look luxurious.


The Foundation for Sensitive Skin

For sensitive skin, you can’t beat IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF50+, £33 in 14 shades. From mild redness to acne, eczema, rosacea, or peeling from a recent tweakment, this foundation gives a high cover yet helps calm skin in the process. It looks thick at first glance but blends so easily that you can create an airbrushed finish with amazing coverage.


The Radiant Foundation

I genuinely think as Charlotte Tilbury gets a little older herself, her foundations get kinder and prettier for the rest of us, too. The new Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation, £34 in 30 shades, plumps, brightens, softens, and smooths skin while it covers, thanks to the addition of skincare benefits such as: rose extract, hyaluronic acid, and an anti-dryness complex. It’s also vegan-friendly and the tube can be recycled. Love it.


The SPF Foundation

If you’re looking to include a high SPF base in your skincare regime, check out La Roche-Posay Anthelios Hydrating SPF50+ Tinted BB Sun Cream, £17.50 (in one shade only). The SPF in most foundations is often a token amount and most of us don’t apply a thick enough layer to get the maximum benefit. This is a brilliant sun cream in disguise, ideal for ultra-sensitive skin and those with rosacea or pigmentation issues.


Mature Skin Tips:

Don’t skimp on prepping your skin. When skin feels softer to the touch and less dry, less makeup is needed.

Do experiment. If you have a foundation you love, but it’s nearly run out, try mixing it with your daily moisturiser or serum for a lighter cover. Less really is more with any makeup as you get older, as it loves to grab hold of dehydration lines and wrinkles.

Invest in brushes. The older I’ve become, the more I rely on brushes and blenders (I’m into MAC brushes). Fingers are great as they warm the product before applying, but for a more professional look try application with a brush for a different effect.

If you’re trying out a new shade, always test in daylight. We may be back in the stores again, but the lighting is still dire. Walk to a window and test it on your jawline (bend your chin to your cleavage so you know it matches YOU).


JO GB is an author, beauty wellness writer and founder of Jo GB Living. 


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