Face spackle
January 8, 2015 3:27 AM   Subscribe

Middle-aged and older women of Metafilter, what foundation do you recommend?

I'm 45 and buying new foundation today, having run out of foundation.

Can I get some recommendations? With make up I like to get to a point where I don't think about 'which lipstick to buy' every time I buy lipstick, I just get the Nars Matte Whatever. With foundation, I haven't found one that is totally perfect.

I like lightweight with good coverage. Despite the title, I really don't want to look like I'm wearing spackle. Like most people (I think?) I want it to look natural, and I don't want it to go out of its way to highlight wrinkles. I bought one once that looked and felt like I was wearing a thin layer of my-flesh-colored mud on my face.

I am currently using Dior Forever, but it's run out, and I found I went through it a bit too fast. I'd buy it again if it's the universal recommendation, though. I do not like Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer b/c I think the coverage is a bit too minimal and I don't want to have to 'build' it.

I am a white person and usually buy the next-to-most-fair shade. I have your average amount of skin imperfections I'd like to hide. I tend to wear natural looking non-dramatic make up, but I do like it to look nice as I am going to the bother of wearing make up at all.

Drug store or Sephora is okay, anything else might be hard to find.

Thank you Metafilter.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (41 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm not old enough to have wrikles (yet) but I have large pores and a few "ice pick" marks from acne. I love Benefit's Erase Paste. Just a little dab fills things in, and then any foundation (even a basic bb cream) covers and looks better.

They sell it at Sephora.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 3:51 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Makeup is an extremely low priority for me, but after some similar trial and error, I am happy with Clinique Repairwear.
posted by mmiddle at 3:55 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm older than you and I use Cover Girl Smoothers foundation. Seems to have lots of pigment to cover my blotchy, uneven skin, but it still feels light and doesn't look obvious. And it's creamy enough that I feel "moisturized" as well. Other brands I've tried, I feel like I need to put on more face cream after my makeup is done.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:10 AM on January 8, 2015

I really like L'Oreal True Match as a day-to-day foundation. The range of shades is pretty big, it contains sunscreen, it doesn't feel heavy, and it's available at drugstores. Here is a review. I usually combine the liquid foundation with a small amount of True Match powder, because my t-zone can get a bit oily throughout the day. But the liquid foundation provides nice, light-to-medium coverage on its own.
posted by neushoorn at 4:17 AM on January 8, 2015

I'm younger than you, but I can't recommend YSL's Le teint ├ęclat enough especially if you are looking for a light foundation to even out your complexion. It's not cheap, but now I swear by it. Part of the reason I love it though is that I did the Sephora color ID thing (it's free!) and it was one of the two foundations they recommended (in fairness to people who say it's fixed towards only the most expensive brands, another much cheaper brander was also a match). I would do the Sephora color ID and see what you get. It's amazing what actually having the right color foundation can do. I used Laura Mercier for years and it really wasn't a great match for my skin in retrospect. YSL definitely has more coverage than Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, but it's not heavy at all. I swear I use half the cover up I used to because the foundation just evens every thing out.
posted by whoaali at 4:40 AM on January 8, 2015

I love Dr hauschka -- I don't use it all over, just where needed (almost all over!) with pressed powder to even everything out:
posted by bwonder2 at 5:01 AM on January 8, 2015

I am 43, pale skinned white gal who also wears next-to-the-lightest color. I use a primer (tarte timeless smoothing) which is pricey but then I use Neutrogena's $12 healthy skin glow as my foundation.
The primer + sheer foundation combo really has worked for me.
posted by pointystick at 5:09 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I use Bare Escentuals and have for over 10 years. There are now two types: the powder type, and a liquid-to-powder type. I love their products because they are gentle, give amazing coverage, and are easy to use. I never look "made up"--I just look like I have amazing skin. This, plus a really nice retinol serum from Paula's Choice, gets me compliments all the time. I have fair skin with some redness due to rosacea, and I'm 36. I'd urge you to give it a try. You can buy Bare Escentuals products at their retail outlets, online, or at shops like Ulta. You may also want to try using a primer underneath your foundation to provide a smoother starting position and to blur skin imperfections and wrinkles--I use a silicone based primer from DHC that is really nice.
posted by FergieBelle at 5:26 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I really like Clinique's CC Cream. I have easily irritated, super fair skin with some problem spots. Bare Minerals is an option I wish worked for me, but it irritates my skin.

Since this is such an individual thing, it might be worth going to Sephora and trying out some samples and getting color matched. Sephora is great about returns if something doesn't work out.
posted by getawaysticks at 5:39 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love Lancome for my foundation. I never feel it on me. The last time that I was there for a color match, the salesperson sold me on something to put under the foundation, that keeps the foundation floating on the skin, instead of settling into fine lines and pores. Even if you can't get to Lancome, do look for a pore eraser.
posted by myselfasme at 5:45 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Armani Lasting Silk--lasts, looks fresh.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:47 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was coming in to recommend Dior myself. As an ultra-pale person it's the only line I've found whose shades look believable on me. I often mix mine into a little Cetaphil on my hand before applying, especially in winter. Maybe this would help it last longer for you?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:55 AM on January 8, 2015

I really like Clinique's CC Cream. I have easily irritated, super fair skin with some problem spots. Bare Minerals is an option I wish worked for me, but it irritates my skin.

This is what I use too and I was going to recommend either their CC cream or their BB cream, which is specifically marketed as an "anti-aging" cream. I've also used Smashbox Camera Ready BB cream and liked it a lot.
posted by capricorn at 5:59 AM on January 8, 2015

Disclaimer: I am a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant. I am not your MKIBC. If you would like to find a MKIBC, I am more than happy to help you do that. This is not an attempt to solicit business.

You say you want lightweight and good coverage. Mary Kay's liquid foundation, in both matte and luminous varieties, is absolutely outstanding. I've tried other foundations before, and have always felt goopy. I loathe feeling goopy. Goopiness will set off panic attacks. (Please don't ask why.) With MK liquid foundation (I wear the matte, because my face is OMG oily.) it feels like there's nothing on my skin. I use Foundation Primer (with SPF) first, then use MK's liquid foundation brush to brush the foundation on.

This picture (my Facebook profile pic) was a selfie at about 11pm, when I put makeup on at 7am, ate breakfast, drove 3 hours to a job interview, ate lunch, drove another hour to an outdoor swim meet, in July, with it raining, drove another half hour, ate dinner, unpacked my bags, then caught a look at myself in the mirror and decided I looked pretty darned good after all that, and wanted to document it. I used the foundation primer, an eye primer, and a lip primer before putting on my foundation and color cosmetics. No touch-ups were made once my makeup was on.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 6:08 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm 52, and I LOVE Revlon Colorstay Whipped.

It has beautiful light coverage, is nourishing and it's available at the drugstore, with a coupon.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:14 AM on January 8, 2015

It sounds like our skin tones are pretty close, and I really love the GOSH CC cream in the fairest color they offer. It goes on sheer enough that it doesn't feel like I'm wearing makeup or settle into wrinkles, but it has enough coverage to hide all the broken blood vessels on my face. It's a UK brand but is sold in some US drugstores (the fancier Walgreens stores tend to carry it).

I also quite like the Too Faced's BB cream (in Snow Glow). It has just a bit less coverage than the cc cream and is a smidge shimmery so I use it more for night/going out than everyday makeup.
posted by snaw at 6:24 AM on January 8, 2015

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer.
posted by ellenaim at 6:30 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I usually wear Smashbox's Camera Ready BB cream (they also make a CC cream). I find that it's a little heavier than most BB creams but not as heavy as a true foundation, so it evens things out but doesn't make me look like I'm Wearing Makeup.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 6:41 AM on January 8, 2015

I used to use Dior Forever in colder months and Bobbi Brown tinted moisturizer in the summer, but I switched to Dior Flash year round and I love it. Light with good coverage, and I thought applying it with a foundation brush (as was recommended at Sephora) would be a chore but it's not. Sephora has a house version that I haven't tried but is less expensive, I'm sure. For reference I'm late 30s/lightest shade.
posted by trixie119 at 6:47 AM on January 8, 2015

You're going to get 1 million different answers here, and it won't really tell you what works for you. I think the best thing to do is to go to Sephora and tell them what you need, and let them give you a few samples to take home that you can wear for a few days each.
posted by matildaben at 6:55 AM on January 8, 2015 [10 favorites]

I have the same coloring, as well as blotchy redness of annoying. Rather than use a foundation, I first use a quick brush of Physicians Formula Correcting Powder to even out my skin tone. Then a quick brush of PF's Mineral Wear Face Powder in Light Translucent. It doesn't settle into cracks, crevices and fine lines, but it gives a really finished, polished look. Added advantage is that it's easy to touch up, and it doesn't melt off your face when it's hot.
posted by headspace at 7:14 AM on January 8, 2015

Seconding the idea of going to Sephora (or the makeup department at a place like Nordstrom, if you find Sephora as overwhelming as I do), since there's so much personal variability in this. But I did want to recommend one drugstore brand: Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse. I'm younger and can't speak to the effect on wrinkles, but it's a really nice light, very natural-looking finish that gives good coverage. The only issue may be the shades (I also have pretty pale skin, and find that it's a little darker than I'd like...but when it's on, it's not obvious that it's not an exact match). Using a beauty blender to put it on makes it look even more invisible.
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2015

Dr. Jart BB cream, Estee Lauder Doublewear Light, Chanel Vitalumiere and Vitalumiere Aqua, Dior Forever Flawless, Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizing Balm if you are very dry.
posted by oflinkey at 7:49 AM on January 8, 2015

I'm very fair-skinned, and *cough* of a certain age, and I love Missha M's BB cream. They are a Korean brand but easily available in the US. Here is their US website.

I find that foundation or BB cream applies best with a brush, not fingers, and it's more sanitary to use a brush anyway. Sephora has good foundation brushes.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:21 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Smashbox Liquid Halo, Halo Powder and BB cream are what I use. I have all 3 because I can vary the coverage. The BB and powder might be enough for what you're looking for.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 8:22 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am very fair skinned too. I was going to recommend Laura Mercier, but when I read that you think it's not enough coverage, I thought of Clinique CC Cream. I use both, the Clinique when I want a little more coverage. It's also alot more reasonably priced than the Dior Forever.
posted by elvissa at 8:44 AM on January 8, 2015

Best answer: Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup.. You have to shake it up really well, but it blends on flawlessly even with finger tips. I am the same age as you and have the same concerns and this is great, it doesn't so much cover as seem to blend away discolouration and doesn't accentuate wrinkles. It is not super duper high coverage, but has more than BB or CC creams. Even if I layer this for stronger coverage I don't get that caked on look.

If looking for a good slightly heavier coverage I'd recommend a Clinique Superblanced Makeup as others have done.

Foundation is hard to recommend though as peoples colourings and skintypes are so individual, I'd recommend if you have the time going into a Sephora & getting them to help you colourmatch any brands that you might be interested in.

9/10ths of a good foundation is how you apply it. A primer is a must as you get older, I have good luck with the Smashbox photo ready one as it softens my wrinkes a little & fills pores but again this will vary depending on skin types and personal preference. Also get a Beauty Blender sponge if you don't use one, you can get the brand name, or buy cheap knock offs off of eBay, I've seen no difference between them. Wet the sponge until it has a jelly like consistency, squeeze out excess water and then pat it all over the foundation, check out YouTube if unsure how to use. This will help blend it into your skin & help it sit better around your wrinkles, I get a lot less creasing in the wrinkly & crepey skin around my eyes & mouth this way.

Avoid powder foundations if you have wrinkly or crepey skin and don't have time to get the hang of them But an every so light, fairys breath type light, dusting of Hourglasses Ambient Lighting powder in the right shade over a liquid foundation to set it can be very flattering to older skin. I get so many complements, when I use an oh so light dusting on my cheeks, this is definitely a less is more product.

Sorry I've rambled so long, I've only discovered make up in the last few years as I've reached middle aged, and as an older person I found good advice for our particular problems hard to find.
posted by wwax at 8:45 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

I have tried so many foundations and nothing comes close to the natural finish of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. Application with a foundation brush is flawless.
posted by WalkingHorse at 9:02 AM on January 8, 2015

I wear Benefit Hello Flawless powder foundation in Ivory and like it a lot. I put some sort of primer underneath (either MAC or Benefit's The POREfessional) and then a dusting of MAC powder before I apply the foundation.
posted by mogget at 9:52 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The best high-coverage foundation I've found that results in a reasonably normal-looking skin texture is the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour etc etc. They also have a zillion subtly different fair shades. I went to Sephora, had them pick the two best matches for my skin tone, pour me a generous sample of each, and then make me up with each one on half of my face (they were close enough that this wasn't obviously odd) and then I went through a whole normal day with a friend under lots of different lighting, and that's how I picked the right shade.

It definitely has a "feeling" on the skin, though -- I am definitely aware that I'm wearing foundation when I wear it. The best good-coverage foundation I've found that also is the lightest-feeling is Yves St. Laurent Fusion Ink -- I can literally forget I'm wearing makeup when I have it on. The coverage isn't as good as the Tarte stuff, but it's still pretty good. Downside: $60 a bottle. Apparently Bare Minerals makes a much more reasonably-priced dupe but I haven't tried it; I got a "deluxe sample" of the YSL stuff.

One thing I've become aware of is that "makeup needs makeup;" the higher coverage your foundation is, the more you need things like highlighter and blush and maybe contour powder and luminizer to make your face look like less of a flat mask. And then those things need to be subtle and gentle too in order to not make you look like an editorial model. It's a fine line.
posted by KathrynT at 10:31 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm in my early 40's and have some uneven/redness issues along with aging skin. After trying both drugstore brands and prestige brands, I finally found Lancome's Teint Idole 24 hour and love it. It goes on nicely without much drama. I don't need to use a primer and it doesn't look flat or cakey at all, so I don't have to use extra stuff on top. It also doesn't slide or melt off during the day. It doesn't settle into my fine lines or pores, either.

I use this cheaper brush (Real Techniques Expert Face Brush) that's highly regarded among makeup artists and it deposits a nice, thin layer that covers, but doesn't look cakey. I like it so much better than my expensive foundation brush.

Sephora is great because they'll give you samples to try. I did that to find my best match and see how things preformed throughout the day. It's no great achievement for foundation to look good when you first put it on. I want to see how it looks after I've been through my long day. You can also see which formulations oxidize on you and change colors.
posted by quince at 11:47 AM on January 8, 2015

Best answer: Give yourself a nice long time (at least an hour, maybe two.) Go to Sephora. Do not wear any makeup to Sephora - just do your regular wash/moisturize/whatever. Tell them about your needs, your skin type, etc., to give them parameters. They will probably use the color match thingy, but if you are like me, they may need to vary from the recs to get the best match. Try stuff on. See how it looks. Get samples of the most promising candidates and wear them for a few days each. Note how well it wears, how it feels, all of that stuff. Then go back and buy the one you like the best.

I ended up with an Hourglass Veil mineral liquid that costs $60, which I hate, but which looks amaaaaaaazing on, which I love. The match is fantastic. The coverage is a good level for me in that it makes my skin tone look even and nice without that masky look that heavy coverage gives.

Other good suggestions: primer/powder can make a huge difference in not only how well it wears but how nice it feels. I use the Make Up For Ever brand of both and they're awesome.

One of my recent revelations was to use a big giant kabuki brush to apply liquid foundation - it gives a nice light even coverage that goes on SO FAST, which takes care of one of my main objections to liquid makeup.
posted by oblique red at 12:19 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like the Neutrogena foundations a lot, both the tinted moisturizer and the real foundation, but it all depends on what shade and coverage you need. You might find Temptalia's Foundation Matrix helpful when choosing the shade of whatever foundation you select.
posted by dialetheia at 12:20 PM on January 8, 2015

Coming in late here, but I'm also middle-aged, and have been a bit of a foundation addict for decades. If it's out there, I've tried it - with the exception of the stratospherically priced foundations like Sisley and La Prairie. Every time a new foundation is heralded as the ultimate, I rush out and buy it (ahem, Armani). Inevitably I am disappointed. The only one that ever lived up to the hype was the second recommendation below.

These are only two products which have consistently remained in the rotation:

Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation


Cle de Peau Concealer

They both provide about the same coverage, even though one is actually a concealer. Both can be sheered out with your finger tips, or used more heavily to conceal whatever needs to be concealed. The Cle de Peau goes on like buttah, although it is almost in the stratospheric price range. The Bobbi Brown is a little more wallet-friendly.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 2:03 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm a bit late to this party, and I don't have a specific rec, but you might want to visit Makeup Alley - they have a huge database of product reviews (which you can filter by skin tone & age), and an amazing & helpful forum for questions like these. FWIW I keep their app on my iPhone and consult the reviews before buying any beauty product.
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 3:22 PM on January 8, 2015

I like NARS foundation, both the Sheer liquid and the tinted moisturizer. They're releasing a new formula that Tilda Swinton has been representing/wearing ("All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation"), so once that hits counters on February 1, it might be worth checking out.
posted by littlemisslaika at 5:55 PM on January 8, 2015

One more vote for letting the makeup folks at Sephora pick your foundation. I do this every few years when it's time for an update.

Anecdotally, I just turned 47 and am about due to do the face review again this year. My skin is similar to yours, perhaps a little less pale, and I wear the Smashbox Camera-Ready BB cream.
posted by immlass at 6:50 PM on January 8, 2015

I am 46, pale but occasionally ruddy, with large pores and crepey skin around my eyes. I got a sample of Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless Foundation and was pleasantly surprised enough by it that I bought a full size. I use Silk Naturals' really excellent Blur Powder as both a primer and/or just a finisher, depending on laziness and staying power needed. I've found the Weightless to be nicely buildable but occasionally a bit slick in the T-zone if I don't use a light dusting of powder to finish. It doesn't migrate into creases if I blot all oil with blotting papers before I use it- a great Wayne Goss trick. It has a slight sheen which appears very natural, and I soften it a bit with the Blur.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:59 PM on January 8, 2015

Chiming in to agree that Giorgio Armani foundations are the best, hands down. I've used everything from drugstore to high end, and nothing beats these.

Luminous Silk is my favourite, but Maestro and Designer Lift were made for over-40 skin. I'm not over 40, but I use Maestro because I love having coverage but love it to look natural (I feel the same as you about Laura Mercier's tinted moisturiser). A little Maestro goes a long way - and it stays on all day. I just apply with my fingers, because I'm lazy.

Another one I love for daily use when I don't want to use liquid foundation is Tarte CC Clay. It's called a primer but I just use it as a foundation, with a very light dusting of powder on top. Super easy - I scribble all over my face like a crayon, then blend. Takes under 60 seconds. Stays all day, and provides a very even complexion. Looks incredibly natural for the coverage it provides.
posted by shazzam! at 2:33 AM on January 9, 2015

For me, I realised that I don't care much about the foundation/bb cream, whatever. It can be quite light.

The magic ingredient, is the concealer stick (I use a Natio one). I just dab it on the skin imperfections, and gently under eyes, down sides of nose to the mouth, blending gently with a different finger to the one I applied with. At the end, my skin tone looks even, but natural enough you can still see me blush.
posted by Elysum at 7:38 AM on January 11, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I wound up going with Dior Nude, which is fine. It's got a pleasant texture and decent coverage. I would have liked to try Armani or Chanel but they don't carry them at the Sephora near us but I will try them the next time I'm in a department store and have the emotional resilience to hit the make up counter.

Thanks to those who made drugstore foundation recommendations -- I will definitely try them because maybe just maybe it's not necessary to pay fifty dollars for foundation (I justify this expense by '% to total face').

Re Sephora and the judgment of Sephora-ites and the little scanner thing they have: Make Up Alley and others do not have a high opinion of the little scanner, and furthermore my local Sephora has gone to Craptown. It used to be really low key and low pressure and nine times out of ten, if I asked for help I got a sales person I felt pretty comfortable with. Now I walk in there and it's like visiting the hounds of hell.

I know they're not on commission but man, at my store anyway, it does not show.

Re. MUA reviews: I actually did look there first but there just wasn't enough 'hive mind' behind any specific recommendations though there as well there was a lot of leaning toward the above brands - Dior, Lancome and Chanel.

Bitter-girl --I actually was cutting it with Cetaphil! To the tune of 50/50 and then overlaying smudges of with straight foundation--that's actually what made me feel like it was a real under-achiever quantity-wise, because I was trying to be frugal with it. Not least because I wasn't super-psyched about going to Sephora.

Anyway - thanks all. The Dior Nude is nice btw if anyone else is looking, one of the things I was doing as I rocked it middle-age style was looking at how it settled into a crepe-y area on my hand and it did a good job of working with the skin instead of settling into the cracks.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:40 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older What would be good career options if changing from...   |   Need reliable external HDDs to back up my data Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.