How to Find the Perfect Anti-Aging Foundation

It’s not called base for nothing: The right foundation sets the stage for your whole makeup palette. The overall effect you want is dewy, to help compensate for any drier-looking or rough-textured skin. Here are some simple steps to help you find—and apply—the perfect foundation.

Choose a Fail-Proof Formula

A hydrating or satin-finish liquid foundation is your best choice, especially as hormone levels dip and your skin gets drier. A product that contains moisturizing glycerin or hyaluronic acid will help remedy dryness. You may be tempted to reach for a cream foundation, but these can actually be more drying — and that will make your skin’s texture rougher and accentuate lines. Thicker, creamier formulas are usually made to provide fuller coverage for uneven skin tone, age spots, and more, which means they’re packed with pigment. They may start out looking fine, but as your skin absorbs the hydrating ingredients the pigments can start to look cakey. However, if you like a creamy formula’s coverage, try using it with a richer face moisturizer or a hydrating primer. You may also consider a foundation with added antioxidants and peptides, anti-agers that can boost your makeup’s performance.

Pick a Warmer Shade

The rule that says your foundation must exactly match your skin tone doesn’t hold up any more. Your complexion tends to grow paler with age, so a matching shade can leave you looking pasty (or, in the case of brown skin tones, ashy). “Today, if I put on the ivory tone I wore in my 20s, I’d look like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” says Sandy Linter, makeup artist and Lancôme’s beauty-at-every-age expert. Warmer base shades have fewer pink undertones, so they counteract ruddiness in light-skinned women. Linter keeps the life in her skin by using a slightly warmer tone that’s a shade deeper than her old one. If you’re wary of going up a full notch, mix your current shade with the next darkest on the back of your hand, and then apply with a foundation brush.

Apply All Over

Using a damp sponge or brush, smooth foundation over your entire face — including under the eyes, on the eyelids and brow bones, along both sides of your jawline, and onto your neck.

Exfoliate Regularly

The anti-aging bonus of regular exfoliation? Your skin will absorb more moisturizing plant oils, collagen/elastin boosters, and antioxidant ingredients from your other skin-care products, such as cleansers, moisturizers, and serums. Your makeup will also go on more smoothly, so you’ll need less and look more fresh-faced. Start your facial clean-sweep today and get ready for the compliments!