We’ve spent months testing almost a hundred foundations to finally discover the best foundation for mature skin over 40, 50, 60 and beyond
With so many products these days touting a multitude of anti-ageing benefits, it can be difficult to cut through the noise, particularly when looking for the best foundation for mature skin.
Very few foundations are marketed exclusively for mature skin. This is, in part, because the skin is classed as “mature” as young as 25. This is when collagen and elastin production begins to slow down.
It’s also because there are many, many foundations that will work as well for teenagers as they would for the over 50s or 60s. You can read more in our guide on how to prevent wrinkles.
This means that while it is true foundations aren’t reserved for young, or mature skin, if you’re over a certain age you’ll need different ingredients, and are likely after different coverage.
To help add a bit of objectivity to this hunt for a great mature skin foundation, we recently started a long-running series on TikTok in which we’re testing as many foundations in the UK as we can.
To date, we’ve tested almost 100 and we feel we’re now in a good place to be able to finally recommend which foundations are best for different skin types, from dry to oily and mature.
FURTHER READING: How we test foundations | How to find your perfect foundation match | MUA explains how to get flawless makeup | How to use concealer on mature skin | How old does your skin REALLY look? | We’ve reviewed and ranked the best Charlotte Tilbury foundations, the best MAC foundations, and the best No7 foundations
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best concealer | Best makeup brush | Best foundation brush | Best eyeshadow palette | Best foundation | Best foundation for dark skin | Best foundation for oily skin | Best foundation for dry skin | Best contour kit | Best lip gloss | Best lip liner | Best mascara| Best primer| Best anti-ageing cream | Best neck cream | Best eye cream
£18 | Buy now
Watch the full TikTok video here
For an albeit pricey £29, you get the choice of 67 shades – the highest of any foundation we’ve tested – and SPF 15.
It exceeded expectations on the orange, performed as expected on the strawberry and let out almost an indeterminate amount of oil from the blotting paper. This makes it particularly great for oily skin.
That’s not to say people with dry skin shouldn’t wear it; the consistency makes it great for blending without sticking to flakes, you just need to make sure your face is well-prepped. This foundation does also have a noticeable, perfumed smell which isn’t unpleasant but it could irritate sensitive skin.
It’s a firm favourite for many and this is likely because it offers a medium consistency, with a medium, soft-matte finish. All with a small amount of dewiness, and with the ability to build the coverage as and when you should need to.
This makes it perfect for mature skin because it fills in the fine lines and wrinkles, covers the red and dark spots, and dark circles, but you can control how much you need so it doesn’t fell cakey or heavy on the skin.
In our hydration test, this foundation did drop the hydration of the skin by a high 23% and we’d put this down to the fact it’s a matte foundation.
MAC claims this foundation will last 24 hours but our oily nose did peek through by mid-afternoon. It’s not as bad as others we’ve tested, though, and a small amount of powder sorts it right out for the rest of the day.
Our biggest complaint (and granted it’s actually a minor one) is that the bottle doesn’t come with a pump. You either have to shake it out – which is difficult and caused us to regularly waste foundation by pouring too much – or you can buy the pump separately.
Adding on an extra fiver to an already high price.
You can read more in our full MAC Studio Fix Fluid foundation review
£9.99 | Buy now
View the full TikTok video here
Why we love it: L’Oreal True Match is a fantastic cheap foundation for mature skin, and ticks a lot of boxes in the hunt for the best foundation for older skin.
Not only is it affordable, but it comes in 40 shades making it much more inclusive than other foundations we’ve tested.
It offers buildable sheer to medium coverage, which is not too dissimilar in consistency and coverage to Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder.
All with the added benefit of SPF.
In our mega foundation group test, this foundation exceeded our expectations in the orange and strawberry tests and released an average amount of oil and humectants.
Thus providing it with a very impressive overall score, and coming top in our hunt for the best foundation for mature skin.
The reason it didn’t take out Editor’s Pick overall, however, is because there are some downsides and sacrifices you need to make for its cheaper price.
In our hydration test, this foundation dropped levels by 19% which is slightly above the average of 17%.
The brand is also not vegan or cruelty-free so if that’s important to you, we recommend you give this foundation a miss.
£36 | Buy now
View the full TikTok video here
Why we love it: We recently put the best Charlotte Tilbury foundations to the test and the Beautiful Skin foundation scored very highly.
Charlotte Tilbury’s Beautiful Skin is a rare foundation because it’s water-based – as opposed to silicone- or oil-based.
This means it’s super hydrating which makes it the best Charlotte Tilbury foundation for mature skin.
In fact, the water in this foundation comes from apples – a part of the Pyrus Malus fruit family – which are loaded with proteins, vitamins and sugars.
These sugars, which include fructose, glucose, and sucrose, are great for moisturising and smoothing the skin while the acids (malic and gallic acid) is a mild exfoliant that helps brighten the skin.
Its hydrating qualities were proven in our mega foundation group test when this foundation caused hydration levels to drop by just 1.5%.
By comparison, the average drop for foundations we have tested sits around the 17% mark.
However, having a water base also means that you have to pair it with a suitable water-based primer.
There have been some complaints about this foundation causing texture and yet we’ve never had this problem when we’ve used either the water-based primer or skipped the primer stage and made sure our skin was super hydrated with serums and moisturisers instead.
Due to the addition of skincare benefits in this foundation, you can also get away with not using primer at all.
Over time, the skincare benefits of this foundation can also help reduce the appearance of pigmentation and dark spots. This is ideal for mature skin because it gives lightweight medium coverage of such imperfections in the short term while helping to reduce them in the long term.
That said, this foundation does have a tendency to slide off during the day on oily/combination skin. This means you’ll need to use a setting spray or similar to keep it in place. It lasts much better on dry skin, helping to hydrate and plump up the skin while also relieving dryness.
Performance-wise, this foundation blends well and a little goes a long way. It does oxidise a little, meaning it dries down darker than it goes on. With this in mind, we recommend you opt for a slightly lighter shade than you think you need.
Read our full Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin foundation review here
Price: £39 | Buy now
View the full TikTok video here
Why we love it: For months, our best foundation for dry mature skin was the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder foundation but sadly it’s been discontinued, so we’ve had to opt for our second-place choice – the NARS Light Reflecting foundation.
It’s great a NARS foundation for mature skin because it offers a medium, buildable coverage with a natural finish.
Its oil base is then great for dry skin because it doesn’t feel too heavy or cakey and it doesn’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles as much as more drying, or matte foundations.
This makes it particularly great for anyone perimenopausal too, as perimenopause can cause the skin to get much drier and more dull than it was before. The NARS Light Reflecting foundation helps nourish as well as brighten the skin, without making it look shiny or greasy.
This performance largely comes from the fact it contains skincare ingredients that help to protect the skin and repair the skin’s barrier.
This also makes it for anyone with sensitive skin, or skin prone to redness.
Another thing going in NARS’ favour is the fact it offers 36 shades. It’s not the highest shade-range foundation for mature skin, but it’s a good amount that covers a wide range of skin tones.
Sadly it doesn’t come cheap but it really is worth the investment, if you can afford it.
Read our full NARS Light Reflecting Foundation review here
Price: £6.49 | Buy now
View the full TikTok video here
Why we love it: If you’re of a certain age – and judging by the fact you’re on the best foundation for mature skin, you most definitely are – you’ll remember Collection being a staple of the high street.
Back when makeup counters were tiny and the choices were limited.
The brand recently rebranded and relaunched its entire range and we’re yet to find a product we don’t love.
This is why we weren’t surprised when the Collection Lasting Perfection Matte scored so highly in our best foundation group test.
Despite the fact it’s a matte, full-coverage foundation, it doesn’t feel heavy or cakey.
This makes it the best foundation for oily mature skin because it reduces shine without drying it out, it helps cover breakouts, dark spots and capillaries, and it’s super affordable.
In our orange and strawberry tests, this foundation performed as we’d expect for a full-coverage product because it evenly and effectively balanced the complexion.
It released hardly any oil on the blotting paper, yet it only reduced hydration by a relatively minimal 1.3 percentage points.
Again, as we’d expect from a matte-finish foundation.
A little goes a long way with this foundation and it doesn’t dry too quickly, meaning it blends well. What’s more, it contains SPF 30.
It doesn’t offer a huge number of shades, but with 20 to choose from it’s not a bad selection for such a cheap foundation.
£20 | Buy now
View the full TikTok video here
Why we love it: Another cult favourite, and for good reason; Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint is the perfect wash of colour that won’t sink into fine lines and doesn’t look or feel like a mask.
It is formulated with Diamond Powder that delivers a soft-focus finish, blurring any appearance of enlarged pores or fine lines.
Whilst we don’t recommend this product for those looking to flawlessly cover dark spots or redness, it is the perfect moisturising and breathable foundation for all-day natural wear.
This makes it a particularly good foundation for mature skin over 40 which may be showing the early signs of peri-menopause and changes from one day to the next. You can read more about this in our What happens to skin and hair during menopause? guide.
In our hydration test, this skin tint did drop the hydration levels of our skin by 3.9 points (12.5%). Not a huge drop, but noticeable if you have dry mature skin and ideal if you have oily skin.
This also suggests that to get the full hydration benefits of this skin tint, you use your fingers (rather than a beauty blender) due to its thin, easily absorbable consistency.
Elsewhere, the Perfecting Skin Tint is vegan, cruelty-free, and comes in an impressive shade range, which makes it all the more loveable!
From £27 | Buy now
View the full TikTok video here
The Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation is one of the best foundations for mature skin over 50 that we’ve ever tried.
It stands out due to its ability to provide a radiant, yet silky finish and even medium coverage.
Most luminous or radiant foundations tend to give a sheer and shiny appearance, which doesn’t suit oily skin types or older, more mature skin.
While foundations that smooth and mattify the skin usually result in a flat complexion that can be drying for skin over 50, due to its tendency to err on the dry side.
Somehow, the Luminous Silk foundation manages to achieve both, giving a natural-looking and healthy finish while also making the skin look youthful.
This is coupled with the foundation’s lightweight formula which means it won’t settle into wrinkles or fine lines.
In fact, the subtle luminosity brightens the eye area while lifting other shadows across the face, creating a more youthful and refreshed appearance.
If you prefer or need fuller coverage, this foundation can be layered to give coverage where it’s needed most.
The only downside is that it doesn’t come cheap, but a little goes a long way so at least it’s good value.
What’s more, you can buy a travel-sized version for £27 if you want to give this foundation a go without buying a full-sized, £45 bottle.
You can read our full Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation review here.
£28.50 | Buy now
Why we love it: Clinique’s Redness Solutions Makeup is the ideal option for mature skin over 60 and particularly if it’s prone to redness and irritation. This is because its oil-free formula works to colour-correct discolouration, dark spots and redness while providing a lightweight, natural-looking medium coverage finish.
And it wouldn’t be Clinique without some impressive skincare benefits; not only does it contain SPF 15, but it also has probiotic technology which boosts the skin’s natural skin barrier, providing hydration without a shiny finish.
This is particularly great for older skin because as we age, our skin barrier becomes weakened and this makes it prone to irritation and redness.
You can read more in our Everything you need to know about your skin barrier guide and our pick of the best makeup for over 60s and people with mature skin
When searching for the best foundation for mature skin in the UK, we judge them based on:
Due to an increased number of fine lines, wrinkles and texture as we get older, lightweight foundations that create dewy and natural-looking finishes are better suited to older skin.
That’s not to say you can’t use thick, full-coverage matte foundations, but unless applied with a light touch it could make you look older, not younger.
Mature skin also benefits from SPF – although all skin needs SPF so this isn’t a standalone category when looking for the best foundation for mature skin. We also recommend incorporating a face sunscreen of SPF 50+ into your morning skincare routine – regardless of your age – to ensure maximum protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
As we age, applying makeup in order to get flawless foundation on mature skin can change from the techniques used in your 20s, 30s or even 40s.
Damp beauty blenders can help gently blend both foundation and concealer into textured and mature skin, without leaving it looking cakey. When applying makeup to older skin, you can also use your fingers.
The heat from your fingers can help make the application both easier, and more natural-looking. You can also be more precise and only place makeup where you think you need it.
If you’re going to use a foundation brush on mature skin, be aware that it can cause the product to sit in enlarged pores or fine lines. What’s more, overly aggressive brush strokes – if you’re applying in a hurry for example – can pull at the skin, emphasising any signs of ageing.
You can read more in our How your skin changes in each decade of your life – and what to do about it
Victoria is founder and editor-in-chief of mamabella, freelance journalist and Mum. She has a passion for empowering people to feel beautiful whatever their age, size, skin type and budget