April 10, 2020

Top Foundations for women 40+

Updated April 10, 2020

Best foundations for a glowing, healthy complexion

*AFFILIATES DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. I only link to products that I have personally used or use and endorse. You can review my full policy here.

Having that perfect shade of "go-to" makeup foundation is as essential to most women as a favorite pair of jeans, boots or earrings.  

I have tried so many foundations since giving up my old standby, Estee Lauder, years ago!

When you have "the one," it's easier to feel pulled together, pretty and ready for your day. And make up can be a life saver if for any reason, you didn't get a good night's sleep. Don't you agree?

In the past decade, my skin has changed. I'm still getting used to being "normal" instead of "combination."  By normal, I actually mean normal to dry, sensitive, with slight oiliness on my nose and some dry patches on my cheeks. And while my skin is good overall, I also have some broken capillaries and redness on my cheeks and nose.

I sometimes go "foundation free" thanks to 302's Mineral Moisturizer, which evens my skin tone nicely, plus a bit of Hynt Beauty Duet concealer (www.detoxmarket.com). But sometimes I need to look more polished and want a traditional foundation for a flawless look.

Since my skin is relatively clear thanks to proper skincare, I use a light hand with make-up. I don't apply foundation to my entire face except for a special occasion or modeling photoshoot.  For this reason, it is essential that the color matches or blends really well, while toning down redness.

In addition to shopping cruelty-free, I avoid ingredients that might irritate sensitive skin or clog my pores. I still get a few tiny whiteheads and excess oil around my nose and don't want to make it worse!

So this means no mineral oil, parabens, PEGs, Phtalates, sodium laurel sulfates or synthetic fragrances. I also avoid chemical based SPF and stick with 100% mineral formulations without nanoparticles.

Foundations I've tried over the past year include:

  • Charlotte Tilbury -Magic Foundation
  • HourGlass- Vanish Seamless Finish (stick)
  • Tarte - Amazonian clay full coverage foundation SPF 15
  • Ilia - True Serum Foundation
  • W3ll People - Foundation stick
  • Vapour Beauty - Soft Focus Foundation
  • Alima Pure - Mineral powder
  • Kat Von D - KVD Vegan Lock-It Foundation
  • Bare Minerals - Powder and liquid
  • IT Cosmetics - Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+
  • Chantcaille - Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer

The good news is, there's a suitable foundation out there for everyone. It does take some time and effort to see how each looks and feels, both when applied and a few hours into your day.

It comes down to:

  • Clean, quality ingredients
  • The right finish (matte, satin, dewy, natural)
  • The right shade (very close to your facial skin color, which can change)
  • Your skill in applying the product

As with all things beauty, your expectation is also key. Do you want to look like yourself, just a bit smoother or with your skin tone evened out? Great.

If you expect to look dramatically different, you may want to either hire a professional to get you ready for a big event, or explore treatments or services at a med spa to improve your skin's health and appearance.

#3: HourGlass Vanish Seamless Finish

I did not buy this one, but tried it on at Neiman Marcus. While I normally prefer liquid, the salesperson had other ideas!

I was surprised to find I absolutely loved the feel, finish and look of this make up. My skin was dewy but not greasy, flawless and the color was perfect. Every imperfection was gone, but my skin still looked fresh and real. This is as close as I will ever get to the "super model" look! My skin looked as healthy as a small child.

This is an excellent brand that offers amazing eye make up as well. I'll save that for another blog!

Shop at https://www.hourglasscosmetics.com

#2: Ilia True Serum Foundation

This is a clean, luxurious formula, a light texture, and very forgiving on mature skin. It comes in a nice range of shades, and Texel is perfect for me. I like the way it looks and feels, though the coverage is light and doesn't completely cover my redness.

The Ilia site says "Aloe leaf, rosehip, jojoba and marula oils soothe irritations and tame redness, plump fine lines, and ensure the formula effortlessly melts into skin for a more even, luminous appearance."

It also contains silicone, which many foundations do. I like to avoid silicone if possible, but it can be useful in make up in that it helps with the feel and texture of the product.

Shop at https://iliabeauty.com/products

#1: IT Cosmetics - Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+

In the end, my favorite every day is from It! Cosmetics, a company I discovered through my Ipsy subscription.

The light/medium color is my perfect match, and it covers imperfections well. I used a tiny amount on my cheeks and nose to minimize redness. It matches my skin nicely and stayed in place all day without becoming heavy or oily. It also contains a mineral SPF 50 and moisturizing ingredients to improve your skin's appearance. 

If your skin is dry like mine, do remember that you need to moisturize properly or it can emphasize dry areas. It is a bit thick so must be applied sparingly.

Overall, it's a fantastic product! I'm thrilled to have it in my make up bag. Bonus points for the travel size.


The right foundation with your ideal shade and texture can make you feel flawless, youthful and beautiful! Take the time to try out as many brands as you need. Many companies offer free or inexpensive samples to help you in your process.

Most brands have liberal return policies if you keep a receipt and return within 2-4 weeks.

If you have questions,  please let me know in the comments below!

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Note: I only share products I've used personally and wholeheartedly recommend.  All products are Cruelty-Free.

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