Finding a foundation that suits your needs is key to creating an age-defying complexion.
20s: Your Motto
You've got it, so flaunt it with formulas that let your youthful skin shine through.
If this is your decade, when you look in the mirror you pretty much see the skin you were born with—and you still love it. "Twentysomethings have skin with good elasticity and supple texture, so they only need minimal coverage," says Frank Guyton, celebrity makeup artist. "But it is imperative that they use sun protection every day." Choose a base that both enhances your naturally dewy skin and protects from future damage.
These easy-to-use gems give skin a subtle boost with a hint of color. It's like bare skin, only better! The newest versions come in oil-free formulations and some are infused with SPF (#gottahaveit). They seamlessly meld into your skin for a natural finish.
These hardworking "beauty balms" are light and airy and give more coverage than a tinted moisturizer. "A BB cream is like having a primer and vitamins all rolled into one, and they give a skin-softening effect," explains celebrity makeup artist AJ Crimson. The downside: Many brands don't offer the shade range to accommodate our broad spectrum of skin tones.
Not all twentysomethings have blemish-free skin; acne can follow you out of your teens. A liquid foundation will help to conceal without looking cakey. "For a natural finish, use liquid makeup to layer over blemishes only," advises makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff. It's definitely the best way to go to conceal without creating a mask, which will only make blemishes more obvious.
30s: Your Motto
Step up your game with foundations that deliver natural-looking coverage.
"I find that as women enter their thirties, their skin starts to find its groove and can actually look better than when they were in their twenties," says Sheriff. This is also the time when you are making major career moves, and that calls for foundation that produces a polished look.
During your thirties, your body is going through changes. Hyperpigmentation starts to surface on the cheeks and forehead. Increasing your coverage to medium will help to even out your skin tone. And medium-coverage formulas have more staying power than tinted moisturizers or sheerer liquids.
For a woman on the go, sticks are a no-brainer. The packaging offers convenience and control, making it ideal for spot coverage. Creamy emollients give skin a luminous appearance, too. Black Opal foundation sticks top our list for price and range of shades.
Dark undereye circles may be more prevalent now, and a good concealer will keep them under wraps. Guyton says women in their thirties should choose a creamy concealer that matches their skin tone (instead of going lighter). Most of our undereye darkness is purple or brown, so opt for a concealer that's warmer than your complexion (think peach or orange) to cancel out the cool tone of the discoloration.
40s: Your Motto
Multitasking is the name of the game, and your foundation has to work as hard as you do.
Hormone changes, stress and the ticking of your biological clock can begin to take a toll on your skin. It all manifests in the form of blotchiness and a skin tone that has lost some of its natural luster. The antidote: foundation formulas infused with antiaging technology and a finish that brings vitality and radiance back.
They look more natural and youthful than their matte counterparts, and still allow your natural skin to come through. While you don't want the shine, 100 percent matte foundations can look too severe and end up making skin look dull; that's definitely not cool at 40 as skin cell turnover continues to slow down. The goal is to create a subtle sheen. Oily? Dab powder foundation on oily areas only to control shine.
As you enter your forties, creams offer hydration and suppleness to the skin. The mid-to-heavy coverage is long-wearing—especially useful when your makeup has to take you from day to night. "The cream dries down to a powder, which neutralizes the oil and keeps you from having to touch up during the day," says Guyton.
Although women of all ages can use primers, women in this age bracket can really capitalize on the benefits. We love how they allow all makeup that follows to glide on seamlessly. Many formulas provide skincare benefits like sun protection and long-lasting wear.
50s+: Your Motto
To look your best, do less.
For the most part, our melanin keeps major wrinkles at bay, but fine lines may have started to creep in. To be 50 and fabulous, turn to primers to fill in those fine lines, and follow a skincare regimen to keep skin in tip-top shape. Opt for foundation formulas that infuse the skin with hydration and create a sexy finish.
Skin-Blurring Primers and Powders
Hollywood starlets aren't the only ones who want to be ready for their close-up. Silicone-based primers and powders with ultrafine particles give the illusion of a soft focus, instantly illuminating skin and smudging out pores and fine lines. As you mature, use powder strategically. "Just add powder to the areas that need it," advises Williams.
CC, or Color Correction, creams are the next generation of BB creams. BB creams contain a bevy of ingredients to help the skin and give coverage. The newer CC creams dig a little deeper and aim to correct imperfections like uneven skin tone and sallowness, which may show up as you hit the mid-century milestone.