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  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

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Foundation makeup for aging skin

Looking for the perfect foundation for your skin? We’ve got you covered

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jun 3, 2024 • 9 min read
Woman with black hair in green shirt touching face with hands against a neutral gray background
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jun 3, 2024 • 9 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

We all know how tricky it is to find a foundation with the right color and texture for your skin, let alone when you’re working with fine lines and wrinkles. If a smooth, even canvas is what you’re going for, it’s annoying (to say the least) when makeup settles into those creases. Luckily, there’s makeup out there designed to work for your skin—it just takes a bit of digging to find. That’s what we’re here for!

As skincare-obsessed as we are here at Curology, we’re always on the lookout for the best products that won’t irritate your skin, clog your pores, or settle into creases. To make it easier to find the right foundation for you, we’ve researched the best foundations for every skin type and analyzed their ingredients—because we’ll only ever recommend products whose ingredients we can get behind.

We aren’t affiliated with any of these brands, FYI. We just want to offer you all of the best options on the market that won’t clog your pores or irritate your skin!

How to choose the best foundation for your skin type

Finding a foundation with the right texture that won’t crease can feel like finding the Golden Ticket in a Wonka chocolate bar. The first trick to finding your perfect makeup match is knowing your skin type, and which formulas work best for it. The next best trick is to find the right way to apply it to get the final result you want: a foundation’s finish can differ depending on how you apply it, whether with your fingers, with a brush, or with a sponge (i.e., the Beauty Blender). Also, if you use a primer underneath, your foundation will go on smoother and stay on longer—but we’ll leave primers for another guide.

As for choosing a foundation that’ll suit your skin type, it’s actually pretty intuitive. If you’ve got oily or combination skin, a lightweight foundation with a matte finish is likely your best bet. If you’ve got dry skin, either a tinted moisturizer or foundation with a natural, glowy, or dewy finish (i.e., one with moisturizing properties) would be a good place to start. If you want to cover up anything like age spots, redness, fine lines, or hyperpigmentation, opt for a foundation with buildable, medium, or full coverage. The better coverage and finish your foundation has, the less concealer you’ll need to use to achieve your desired result—concealer often has a thicker or cakier texture, so less is always more.

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Best foundation makeup for fine lines and wrinkles

These are your best bets for buildable coverage: they’re lightweight, provide a decent amount of coverage with just one layer, and you can add on as needed in areas where you want more. Better yet, these are formulated to reduce unwanted creasing, making it easier to conceal fine lines and wrinkles if you so desire. Of course, we’re not saying you should cover them up—we believe in wearing any lines on our faces with pride, as a sign of a life well lived. So whether you want a smoother look or want to keep things au naturel, you do you!

We recommend…

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation

  • Non-comedogenic (good for acne-prone skin)

  • Buildable, medium-to-full coverage

  • Natural finish

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

  • Sheer, buildable coverage to create a natural finish

  • Contains vitamin C for antioxidant protection

Simply Ageless + Olay Liquid Foundation

  • Reduces appearance of wrinkles and visibly evens skin tone

  • Moisturizing formula

Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Gel Foundation

  • Oil-free gel foundation

  • Ultra lightweight texture

  • Buildable formula with adjustable coverage

  • Light-reflecting pigments

  • Contains no phthalates, sulphates, mineral oil, petrolatum, palm oil, synthetic colors, synthetic fragrances or GMOs

Chanel Les Beiges Eau De Teint

  • Natural, bare-faced finish

  • Lightweight, hydrating water-based formula

  • Tamarind seed extract is known to have moisturizing properties

  • Soothing neroli flower fragrance

Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation

  • Rich in antioxidants and formulated with active ingredients that help with redness, calm irritation, even out complexion, and boost moisture

  • Texture melts into skin for a radiant, natural finish

  • Includes coconut oil, so we don’t recommend for acne-prone skin

  • No silicones, parabens, PEGs, talc, pthalates, or synthetic fragrances

  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation

  • Nourishes skin with minerals from the deep waters of Bretagne, France

  • Four types of powders create buildable coverage and prevent cakiness

  • “Moist Drop Powder” helps keep skin hydrated

  • Contains a blend of jojoba oil, olive squalane and shea butter to leave skin soft and supple

  • Suitable for all skin types

  • Natural, dewy finish

  • Sheer to medium buildable coverage

  • Formulated without artificial colors, synthetic fragrance, mineral oil derived from petroleum, or parabens

  • Cruelty-free

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Gloss Film Foundation

  • Contains coconut oil, so we don’t recommend it for acne-prone skin

  • “Gloss Film Powder” provides a seamless, comfortable, weightless feel

  • Soft focus pigments impart a radiant finish that blurs the appearance of pores

  • Hydrates and nourishes skin with a blend of jojoba oil, olive squalane and shea butter, hydrolyzed silk, and collagen

  • Suitable for all skin types

  • Natural matte finish, sheer to medium coverage

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Best lightweight foundation

For those who don’t want to feel like they’re wearing foundation but want to even out their skin tone, cover up dark circles, or just brighten up the appearance of their skin in targeted areas: these foundations are for you. Some of them even double as tinted moisturizers with beneficial skincare ingredients, all while leaving your skin looking smooth and polished with a weightless finish.

We recommend…

ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation

  • Contains vitamin C to help protect the skin from sun damage

  • Aloe leaf, rosehip, jojoba and marula oils soothe and hydrate the skin

NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation

  • Lightweight formula

  • Up to 16 hours of fade-resistant wear

  • Buildable, medium to full coverage

  • Breathable, fade-resistant formula is infused with raspberry, apple, and watermelon extracts to help smooth and improve the look of your skin

Lancôme Dual Finish Multi-Tasking Powder Foundation

  • Can be applied wet or dry, depending on desired effect

  • Buildable, sheer-to-full coverage with a weightless feel

  • Convenient compact for on-the-go touch-ups

  • 35 shades

Clinique Even Better Glow Light Reflecting Makeup SPF 15

  • Lightweight formula delivers a luminous, flawless finish

  • Includes SPF 15, plus vitamins C and E for antioxidant protection

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Best full-coverage foundations

For those who want full-on coverage that hides fine lines and pores, these foundations are right up your proverbial alley.

We recommend…

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

  • Full coverage with up to 15 hours of wear

  • Sweat, humidity, water and transfer-resistant

  • Coated pigments glide on to even out skin tone and minimize the look of pores, spots, and lines

  • Controls the appearance of oiliness (immediately and throughout the day)

  • Matte finish without looking dull, flat or cakey

  • Weightless texture for a second-skin feel

  • Oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and dermatologist-tested

Lancôme Teint Idole 24H Ultra Long Wear Foundation

  • Oil-free formulation

  • Buildable, natural-looking coverage stays matte for up to 24 hours

  • Available in 45 shades

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

  • Combines the coverage of a concealer with the blendability of a liquid

  • Long-wearing, waterproof coverage that blends seamlessly with skin

  • Convenient stick formula for travel and on-the-go touch-ups

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Don’t forget the sunscreen!

No matter where you are along this lifelong journey in your unique skin, it’s important to wear sunscreen—every day, no matter the weather or the season. It’s one of the best things to protect your skin from damage, premature aging (wrinkles are fine, but who wants them ahead of time?) and, of course, skin cancer. There exist a variety of foundations on the market with built-in sunscreen, which is great. But if your foundation doesn’t have SPF 30 or higher, you’ll definitely want to add additional sunscreen—and don’t forget the essential step: reapplying.

Powder sunscreens like ILIA Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20 are a great, easy way to re-up your sun protection throughout the day without messing up your makeup. Bonus: a little powder will also get rid of any oiliness that’s accumulated on your skin, making your makeup look fresh again!

Best foundations with sunscreen for aging skin

Although these foundations contain SPF, remember: that alone might not be enough sun protection, especially if you don’t want to reapply your foundation throughout the day. You could start with a layer of face sunscreen underneath your makeup, or reapply sunscreen on top of your makeup throughout the day (we recommend reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours at least). We recommend SPF 30, at minimum. Remember, even if your foundation does have SPF 30 or higher, SPF isn’t a one-and-done deal: you need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day for it to keep working.

Vichy Dermafinish Fluid Corrective Foundation

  • Long-lasting wear

  • Full coverage

  • SPF 30

  • A little goes a long way!

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+

  • Non-comedogenic (good for acne-prone skin)

  • Great built-in sun protection

  • Long ingredient list, so maybe avoid if you have sensitive skin (or if you’re a minimalist)

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20

  • NOT the oil-free version—it contains ethylhexyl palmitate, a comedogenic ingredient

  • Blends skincare with makeup to hydrate while providing sheer coverage

  • Contains vitamins C and E to protect skin from free radical damage

  • Contains sodium hyaluronate to hydrate skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and dry skin

  • Protects with SPF 20

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

  • Lightweight tinted moisturizer that imparts a natural, glowing finish

  • Contains vitamin C derivative to reduce the appearance of dark spots

  • Combines hydration with SPF 30

Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen

  • Corrects uneven pigmentation and softens the look of fine lines and pores

  • Contains sodium hyaluronate to maintain long-lasting hydration, plus vitamins and minerals to protect from free radical damage

  • 100% mineral-based SPF 35

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Best powder foundations

What’s the deal with mineral makeup? It typically contains ingredients like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica, and iron oxides, which serve different purposes from giving the skin a matte finish, to hiding the appearance of pores, to blocking the sun’s harmful rays. Mineral foundation tends to have fewer ingredients, which is a good thing for people with sensitive skin. But if you have oily skin, it might not be compatible: when mineral powder combines with oil, it may appear cakey or clumpy — not a good look.

We recommend…

Alima Pure Satin Matte Mineral Foundation

  • Light to medium coverage

  • 45 shades

  • Vegan, nut-free, gluten free, cruelty free

bareMinerals Blemish Rescue Loose Powder Foundation

  • Contains acne-fighting salicylic acid and soothing oat protein

  • Buildable formula allows for breathable, natural-matte finish

Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation

  • Offers buildable, sheer-to-full coverage

  • Comes in 40 shades

  • Contains kaolin clay to absorb oil and maintain an all-day matte finish

Glo Skin Beauty Pressed Base Foundation

  • Safe even for sensitive skin

  • Contains vitamin C and vitamin E to provide antioxidant protection

  • Delivers customizable, sheer-to-full coverage with a semi-matte finish

PÜR 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 15

  • Long-lasting, matte finish

  • Contains vitamin B3 to treat uneven skin tone

  • Built-in SPF

Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation

  • Vitamins C and E for antioxidant protection against free radical damage

  • Aloe vera and cucumber to soothe irritated skin

  • Triple-milled minerals for silky, blendable coverage

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Best drugstore foundations

These are foundations you can buy at the drugstore (or online, but for drugstore prices) as opposed to “high-end” foundations with higher price tags—which some consider totally worth it, which is fine! We just want to make sure you can find the right product for you, whatever your preferred price point. Whether or not high-end foundations are worth the premium is totally up to your personal preference; as always, the quality of the foundation depends on the ingredients in each product. High-end makeup products aren’t necessarily “better,” and these foundations prove it.

Physicians Formula The Healthy Foundation SPF 20

  • Lightweight feeling with medium coverage

  • Satin finish that mimics the look of skin

  • SPF 20 with an antioxidant blend of vitamins C and E

e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation

  • Comes in 40 shades

  • Lightweight formula delivers an all-day, semi-matte finish

L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup

  • Wide range of shades to match skin color and undertone (cool vs. warm)

  • SPF 17 (you’ll want to wear a higher-SPF face sunscreen underneath for full protection)

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint

  • Oil-free formula

  • Contains hyaluronic acid for intense, 24-hour moisture

  • Natural finish that won’t settle into fine lines due to hydrating formula

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How to check if a product has potentially pore-clogging ingredients

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the ingredients of any products you use—makeup, included. Luckily, there’s a (free!) tool that makes it easy to check any product for ingredients that can clog pores. Check out our quick-and-easy guide to checking products for pore-clogging ingredients!

Note on the different types of alcohol in cosmetics

One rule of thumb: try to avoid foundations and any product that contains alcohol, denatured alcohol (aka “alcohol denat.”), or isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol doesn’t clog pores, but it can be very irritating and drying—and it can exacerbate any pimples that are already red and inflamed. Some products have very small amounts of alcohol (found towards the end of the ingredients list) which might not irritate skin, but it’s best to err on the side of caution if you’re particularly sensitive.

The exceptions: alcohols that are okay for your skin While denatured alcohol (aka “alcohol denat.”) or isopropyl alcohol are best avoided, there are other types of alcohols used in cosmetic products—including cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol—which are non-irritating, and are used to give a pleasing texture and help keep ingredients stable in products. Stearyl alcohol has a long history of safe use in personal care products, with no evidence of comedogenicity.

Coconut alcohol is another kind found in skincare and cosmetic products that is an exception to the “no alcohol” rule. Derived from coconut oil, coconut alcohol is an emulsifier with emollient properties. It’s considered a non-comedogenic (i.e., won’t clog pores), non-irritating, safe and effective ingredient.

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Don’t be afraid to break up with your makeup

We know it isn’t easy to choose a foundation that checks all the boxes: the right texture, color, consistency, finish (matte or glowy?), and a formula that won’t crease. Each and every one of the foundations we recommend here has a unique look and feel, so you’ll probably want to try out a few to find what works best for you. But take it from the experts: a product’s ingredients should be your #1 concern before putting anything on your skin, especially if you’re prone to irritated skin or adult acne.

If all these choices seem overwhelming, or your skin doesn’t seem to like wearing any foundation, there’s absolutely no shame in forgoing foundation! It can be beneficial to give your skin a break from makeup (even non-comedogenic makeup). You could just use a little concealer here and there, instead—or a tinted moisturizer or BB/CC cream (check out our guide to BB and CC creams on the blog).

If you’ve gotten this far and you feel ready to break up with makeup altogether, try the minimalist approach: just smooth on some face sunscreen in the morning, and you’re golden. Your skin will thank you—especially since you’ll have more time to hit the snooze button.

Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

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