Once the plump (sometimes oily) skin of your 20s and 30s fades away, a new set of skin care challenges comes into play. Women of color start to see uneven skin tone caused by acne and melasma, while fair-skinned women of a certain age begin to deal with "discoloration, broken capillaries, fine lines and wrinkles caused by history of sun exposure," explains Dr. Rebecca Kazin, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University.
When skin loses elasticity, pigmentation and moisture with age, hydration becomes key. That means tossing your mineral makeup and pressed powders, which dry out the skin, and making water-based liquids your new BFF.
But that's not all. If you don't already, pay special attention to what you put on your face before your foundation. Moisturize your skin to keep it firm and nourished, and always use primer before applying makeup. Celebrity makeup artist Victoria Duke recommends silicone-based primers, which set and fill in the skin, so your makeup won't settle into fine lines or slip off throughout the day. (Try Boots No 7 Photofix Filler & Primer, $19.99.)
Now you're ready for foundation. We rounded up the 10 best dermatologist- and makeup artist-approved products for plumping, clearing, smoothing and otherwise making your skin look like the last decade never happened.
Image via Imaxtree
Best Foundation for Firming and Plumping
How to Use It: With most foundations your go-to technique should be to apply product to the center of your face and blend outward. With a dampened BeautyBlender Sponge, $15.95, dab foundation on the center of the cheeks and blend toward to the edges of the face and down the jawline. Unlike flat or domed foundation brushes, the Beautyblender allows for lighter and more buildable application, resulting in a natural, even complexion. Leahy says one of the biggest mistakes women make is applying too much product at once, which looks artificial on mature skin. Use a light hand, blending well and building coverage as needed.
If you need more direct coverage, follow up with a concealer that "includes serums or moisturizing properties, or one that 'depuffs' the under eye area," says Leahy. Try CoverGirl + Olay Eye Rehab Concealer, $10.64.
Best Foundation for a Healthy Glow
How to Use It: Moisten a BeautyBlender or sponge, and blend foundation from the center of the face outward. As needed, lightly use a hydrating concealer to cover dark circles or blemishes.
Best Foundation for Natural Color Correction
How to Use It: Put your toolkit away: You're best off applying this product with your fingers. "The heat from your fingertips will help seamlessly melt the foundation into all the planes of your face, without the lines or missed areas that [other tools] can leave," says Leahy. Squirt two pumps of foundation on the back of your hand, then take your middle finger and apply five light dabs of product down your nose, across your cheeks, forehead and chin. Gently use circular motions to blend from the center of the face outwards for seamless coverage.
Best Foundation for Intense Hydration
How to Use It: Use Jane Iredale's Flocked Sponge, $5.50, to apply product to the center of the face and blend out toward your ears, hairline and jawline.