The 6 Best Foundations to Wear If You're Over 40

Kosas’ Tinted Face Oil offers lightweight coverage for a natural look.

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Foundation for 40+ Skin
Photo: Courtesy/InStyle

Have you noticed that your trusty foundation is no longer creating the even base it once did? That may be due to changes in your skin that occur naturally as you age which affect the way makeup appears on your face. For instance, skin often becomes thinner and drier over time. A decrease in collagen makes skin less elastic, and extended sun exposure causes hyperpigmentation. Because of this, the makeup you used at 25 may no longer give you the results you're looking for.

However, that doesn't mean you can't get the look you love; it simply means you should look for products that address your mature skin's needs. I researched and tested to find the best foundations for over-40 skin. Some of the features I sought were a generous amount of SPF, hydrating qualities, and a light formula (thick foundations will often settle into fine lines and emphasize them). One standout was the Tinted Face Oil from Kosas because it is impressively lightweight and comfortable.

The following are the best foundations for over 40 skin.

Our Picks

1. Kosas Tinted Face Oil Comfy Skin Tint

Best Foundations for Women Over 40
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This barely-there Kosas foundation is perfect for everyday wear. It is extremely lightweight, has just enough color to even out your skin tone, and — because it's an oil — is incredibly moisturizing. I love how smoothly it goes on, and it has surprisingly good staying power for such a light foundation.

It comes in 16 shades, which is a smaller range than some of the foundations I tried. That said, options are labeled with specificity with titles like "light with cool undertones" and "rich deep with warm undertones," so you can confidently select the shade best for your complexion. Plus, because it's a light coverage foundation and easily buildable, the color match doesn't have to be as exact.

2. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation

Best Foundations For Women Over 40
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In the past, I've steered clear of full-coverage foundations because they can often look cakey and overdone. But that's not the case with this Charlotte Tilbury foundation, which is the rare full-coverage foundation that gives your skin a smooth, uniform appearance without feeling like you're about to walk the red carpet. It's got Replexium in it, which is full of peptides to hydrate and smooth the skin, as well as MossCellTec, which is also a hydrator. I recently put it on half of my face and got on a Zoom to see what it would look like and the difference was mind-blowing — the half of my face with the foundation on didn't look like I had Makeup with a capital M on, but it did look like I had suddenly developed beautifully creamy, even skin. Plus, it comes in 44 shades, with a wide range for both light and deep skin tones.

3. Uoma Beauty by Sharon C Flawless IRL Skin Perfecting Foundation

Best Foundations for Women Over 40
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This medium-to-full coverage foundation is chock full of good-for-your-skin ingredients like cold pressed green coffee extract to plump the skin and dandelion extract to brighten it. Plus, I love how buildable it is: one thin layer is more than enough to get you through the day, but for anything where you might want a higher coverage look, another layer will get you there. Use the shade finder on Uoma's website to find which of their 30 shades is right for you.

VIDEO: 7 Expert Tips on How to Apply Makeup on Dry Skin and Avoid Flakes

4. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare

Best Foundations for Women Over 40
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Trust IT Cosmetics to come up with a foundation that promises to improve your bare skin in two weeks. With hyaluronic acid, aloe vera extract, vitamins E and B5, and hepes acid, this foundation-meets-serum is something of a revelation for skin over 40. It accomplishes the neat trick of feeling barely there while actually offering true medium coverage. It comes in five shade "families" (fair, light, medium, tan/rich, and deep), with a total of 40 different shades.

5. L'Oréal Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation Sunscreen

Best Foundations for Women Over 40
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Designed specifically for "mature" skin, this product does it all: it's a foundation that's also a serum that's also an SPF 50 sunscreen. This is a perfect foundation for someone who doesn't want to spend a lot of money on separate products, but is looking for a lightweight, hydrating foundation with light to medium coverage at a great price point. The sunscreen does, however, have a bit of a scent, so if that's something you're sensitive to this might be one to skip. It comes in 15 shades that are concentrated on the lighter side of the spectrum, although it does offer several deeper shades as well.

6. Tower28 Sunny Days Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Tinted Sunscreen

Best Foundations for Women Over 40
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This sunscreen foundation from Tower28 is one of the few I've encountered that is a mineral sunscreen foundation — and the formulation, in my opinion, is brilliant. This is not the mineral sunscreen of yore, with its thick, goopy texture and white cast; this is a smooth, creamy, lightweight foundation that just happens to also have a great sunscreen in it (without the distinct scent of chemical sunscreen). It also has the National Eczema Foundation's Seal of Acceptance, so while it isn't explicitly marketed to people over 40, it's formulated to be extra-sensitive, which is ideal for aging skin. Tower28 suggests applying with your fingertips for lighter coverage or with a brush or beauty sponge for medium coverage; I liked wearing it as a light coverage foundation and I feel like the sunscreen component held up well in the Los Angeles sun. It comes in 14 diverse shades.

The New Age is a column about beauty over 40, written by women who are over 40. Revolutionary, when you think about it! Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir are the hosts of Forever35 Podcast. Doree's memoir, THANKS FOR WAITING: THE JOY & WEIRDNESS OF BEING A LATE BLOOMER, is out now, and Kate's rom-com, IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, will be published in March. Learn more at doree-shafrir.com and katespencerwrites.com.

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