When it comes to finding the best foundations for mature skin it can be a bit of a minefield. It has to be hydrating but not too heavy, dewy but not too shiny, have a hint of matte but not look too flat. That's why we've done the hard work and found the best ones for every price point and finish you might desire.

Finding your perfect base, especially if you’re looking for the best foundation for mature skin, can feel like the holy grail of beauty. You want it to give good coverage so that it covers enough of what you need it to conceal: pigmentation patches, redness in the skin or whatever impact the menopause may have had on your complexion (by the way, if you’re interested in the six things that happen to your skin in menopause and what a doctor says to do about it, then we’ve got you covered). But at the same time you don’t want your foundation to look too cakey, heavy or settle into fine lines, as that doesn’t scream youthfulness and radiance. It also needs to be seriously hydrating as we all know that, as we age, our skin gets drier. Sadly a lot of the best skin tints probably won’t offer the coverage you’re after, while our pick of the best-tinted suncreams won’t deliver the hydration factor. This means finding a dedicated foundation for mature skin is essential.

How to apply foundation on mature skin

Regardless of your age or skin type, how you apply foundation is a matter of personal preference. However, if you're finding your usual method isn’t working out for you as it used to then makeup supremo Val Garland has some excellent advice. "As skin ages, it gets thinner, and fine lines and wrinkles show up more under a heavy base. The more product you put on, the more it cakes and settles into those lines with time. Avoid this by applying your foundation with a pre-dampened sponge to ensure a lighter application. Or do what I do and try applying with your fingertips for the most natural application. The warmth from your fingers helps to blend and melt the foundation seamlessly into your skin.”

What foundation looks best on mature skin?

Of course, the best foundation on your skin is going to be one that works with your skin type and matches your skin tone.

Let’s tackle the latter first; finding your perfect shade. We got makeup artist Jesse Walker for her top tips on colour matching to perfection.

  • Find the light. “It’s always best to colour match in as much natural light as possible. That’s how you’ll get a true representation of the foundation you’re matching compared to how your skin looks in real life rather than under artificial light. I know that’s not always easy in shops but you can always just take a drop of the product and walk over to the nearest window.”
  • Neck is best. “Most make-up artists like to swatch foundation along the jawline but it’s quite hard to apply and see that on yourself so if you’re testing a new foundation, I recommend applying it on your neck. The other good thing about this area is that it’s quick and easy to cleanse in a shop so you can apply the foundation to clean skin.
  • Go cool. “If you’re torn between two shades I would recommend going for the lighter tone as you can always warm your skin up with bronzer.”

Now working with your skin type. “While mature skin tends to be drier than what it once was, it depends on the individual,” says celebrity make-up artist Lisa Eldridge. “I have quite oily skin so I like to use a tinted moisturiser or a lightweight foundation to keep some shine on my skin but then I go in after with a powder to bring my skin down a little without it looking too flat.” Lisa also says you don't have to use the same product all over your face. “What you don’t want is too much of one texture all over your face whether that's too much glow or too much matte so I use different products on different sections on the face.” 

This is a sentiment that fellow makeup artist, Zoe Taylor shares. “I like to build up coverage on mature skin by using a lighter base product that gives the skin a glower finish which will look more youthful and radiant. You can always use a concealer after where you need it.” So a lighter, hydrating, glow-inducing formulation is what you’re after. And that’s what we’ve hunted down for you.

15 of the best foundations for mature skin

Coverage: Light
Shade range: 19
Sitting in the space between a tinted moisturiser (this definitely has more pigment to it) and a foundation (this has a lighter, more hydrating consistency than traditional foundations) this is a great foundation for mature skin that’s having a good skin day and just wants a wash of coverage and an extra hit of moisture. It's eco credentials are good: the formula is vegan, it’s free from fragrance and minerals and the packaging is made with recycled materials.

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2. The luxury one: Chanel Les Beiges Eau De Teint Water Fresh Tint, £51

Coverage: Light
Shade range: 8
Think of this like a clear hydrating serum that has suspended pigment spheres that burst (quite literally) into action when you buff them into the skin. You can use your fingers to blend it in but it comes with a gorgeous tapered kabuki-style brush that we find moves the product around the face better. You might think it’s a bit watery to start, and it is, but the liquid sinks into the skin really quickly, leaving it feeling and looking hydrated. The pigment leaves a light veil of coverage that you can easily layer up or you might want to use a separate concealer for any areas of skin that need more coverage. Because of the type of coverage, the eight shades are surprisingly flexible across skin tones, and they range from light through to deep plus.

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3. The one for glow: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Care & Glow Foundation, £35

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 30
With its super creamy and silky consistency - thanks to it containing a serum blended with hydrating hyaluronic and wrinkle-softening mandelic acid - this blends and moves over the skin really easily, so a little really does go a long way. While it does have the word ‘glow’ in its description, there’s nothing shiny or sparkly about this. You will look fresher and more energised.

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4. The hydrating one: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare, £33

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 40
Whilst we’re a huge fan of the new It Cosmetics CC Nude Glow that’s launching next year, as it’s not on the shelves just yet the brand’s original foundation is a great option. It has a very fluid texture so there’s no risk of it feeling heavy and settling into lines and it’s packed with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and aloe vera extract, to keep skin supple. And the coverage it delivers is absolutely brilliant with a velvety soft finish that’s not too matte but also not too shiny. It also has a laudable shade range.

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5. The one that suits everyone: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £44.50

Coverage: Light
Shade range: 40
Every year this foundation wins beauty awards left, right and centre. And for very good reason. It’s like the everyman of foundation; suitable for all skin types and with an impressive shade range that means there really is one for everyone. As the name suggests it leaves a gorgeous finish that’s not too shimmery but makes the skin look super healthy and glowy. It is described as a light coverage but we think it’s a bit more than that, it certainly covers everything we needed it to.

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6. The one with the most extensive shade range: L’Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation, £9.99

Coverage: Light-medium
Shade range: 48
Made up of 20% colour pigment and 80% moisturising cream, this is a brilliant hydrating foundation that doesn’t sit in lines or end up looking too dry or too cakey. It already had an amazing shade range but L’Oreal has just added a few new ones that contain new colour pigments to account for some tones they felt they weren’t catering for. It’s budget-friendly and whilst it works for all ages, mature skins will love how light but hydrating it is.

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7. The skin-firming one: Clarins Everlasting Youth Fluid SPF15, £37

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 24
Combining Clarins’ expertise in skincare - this one contains chicory leaf to help firm and tighten the complexion and red jania that helps make skin look more luminous -  with a creamy consistency, this is a foundation that comes with long-term benefits. It has a medium coverage but it does a great job at reducing the appearance of pigmentation so you may not need to add any additional concealer.

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8. The flawless finish one: Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation, £36

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 30
Infused with skin-hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and coconut extract this also contains a clever pollution shield to prevent skin from getting clogged up with environmental debris. It has a fairly thick consistency but it sheers out as soon as you start applying it to the skin, and a little goes a long way. It leaves a really lovely, almost filter-like finish to the skin but not in an artificial way. Plus it doesn’t budge all day.

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9. The luminising one: Nars Light Reflecting Foundation, £39

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 36
Powered by skincare ingredients that not only help combat pollution but also the effects of blue light, this is a foundation that promises long-term change to the skin, by making it look more even and toned, as well as instant results - you look like you’re walking around with a beauty ring-light on you at all times. It has a light but creamy texture that blends to leave a natural finish so that your skin still looks like skin, just on a really good day. 

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10. The balmy one: Jones Road What The Foundation, £42

Coverage: Light
Shade range: 12
We reviewed the Jones Road What the Foundation as soon as it landed here in the UK and it’s a great foundation for mature skin. The reason why it works brilliantly on older skin is because how hydrating and balmy it is. Oily or perfectly hydrated skins may find this too hydrating and that it leaves their skin with a slight residue on the top, but drier skin will literally drink it up. it also has the ideal finish of being slightly satin and not at all matte which will make older skins look glowy and fresh. It is a light coverage so again, you may need to team it with concealer but on good skin days this could be all your skin needs.

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11. The non-creasing one: Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF15, £31

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 39
Not only does this have a gorgeous creamy consistency but it contains clever polymers that flex and stretch with your skin, so when you smile or squint it doesn’t settle in any creases or lines. The formulation is oil-free so it’s a great option if your skin is on the shinier side. It’s also sweat and humidity-resistant so once it’s on, it’s really not budging until you take it off.

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12. The skincare one: Max Factor Miracle Pure Skin-Improving Foundation SPF30, £13.99

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 20
Containing hydrating hyaluronic acid and brightening vitamin C, the best way to think of this foundation is like a brilliant skincare serum that just happens to contain make-up . You only need a couple of drops for the whole face and its silky texture means it’s really easy to blend in. It also contains a fantastic broad-spectrum SPF that will be protective enough during winter.

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13. The one for oily skin: Trinny London BFF Rebalance, £39

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 14
Created specifically for oily skins to keep shine at bay whilst also hydrating without overloading the skin - which is a constant balancing act for oilier complexions. It also contains wonder skin ingredient niacinamide which helps reduce the appearance of pores and balance out oil levels, and reduce redness over time. We also have to mention the finish because it manages to sit in that sweet spot of being glowy without looking too sparkly, and also being slightly matte without looking too flat. 

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14. The blurring one: Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation, £46

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 32
Part of the iconic Ambient range, which aims to make skin look like it’s being softly lit at all times, this serum-like, non-pore clogging and transfer-resistant foundation creates a gorgeous blurring effect on the skin. It's also infused with skincare ingredients that keep skin hydrated and protected from pollution and blue light. The coverage is excellent so apart from using a slightly lighter concealer under the eyes if you need it, this may be the only thing you need to put on your skin to make it look flawless.

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15. The slightly unknown one: Esse Skincare UK foundation, £57

Coverage: Medium
Shade range: 10
This is loved by Get The Gloss Editorial Director, Victoria, who says: “If you don’t know Esse, they are a great skincare brand that creates products that really do what they say they’re going to do. It's not the type of brand you would necessarily think of when seeking a foundation, which makes me love the fact that their one is so fantastic. It has been expertly formulated and the glow it delivers, while also offering amazing coverage, is unreal. I have been recommending it to all my friends.” The shade range isn’t as extensive as other brands but you can order a free sample pot before committing to the full size to ensure you have the right shade. It has a mineral-based formula that sensitive skin may tolerate better and it also contains prebiotic ingredients to help support and strengthen the skin barrier.

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