The right foundation can go a long way in helping your skin look amazing, and the wrong foundation can, well, have the exact opposite effect. We asked beauty experts for their best foundation hacks to keep skin looking fresh and young.

By Rachel Wermager
June 26, 2019
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Foundation is the base of your makeup look but it can take some trial-and-error to get right. The wrong shade can leave your face standing out from the rest of your skin (and not in a good way), heavy formulas can look cakey or oily, and powdery finishes can settle into fine lines and accentuate them.

Image courtesy of Getty.

Ideally, when we wear foundation, we want it to look like we aren’t wearing any at all—that our skin is that smooth, young and flawless all on its own. We asked the experts to give their best advice on foundation to keep skin looking natural and young.

Find a Good Facial Moisturizer

Keeping skin healthy and moisturized is one of the most important steps in making foundation look its best. “Just like you wouldn’t paint on a wall that needs repair, you wouldn’t want to put makeup on unhealthy skin,” makeup artist Mandie Brice says.

Jeniece Trizzino, a beauty expert with Deck of Scarlet, recommends to always start with a moisturizer that is super hydrating but won’t leave skin feeling greasy or oily. We recommend this Ultra-Light Face Moisturizing Lotion from Cerave ($17.99, Ulta). Be thorough about moisturizing all areas of the face, and especially around the eyes, she adds.

Use Primer to Blur Out Imperfections

Next up, finding the right primer. For more mature skin (and for any skin, really), Trizzino recommends a blurring primer, or one that is made to cover the look of pores (as opposed to say, a color correcting or matte primer). “A good blurring primer will ensure your foundation does not settle into fine lines and wrinkles.” We like NYX No Filter Blurring Primer ($14.99, Target).

Trizzino also advises against any primers that are overly mattifying, as these can sometimes dry skin out. “Regardless of your age, the drier your skin is, the older it looks,” Trizzino says.

Related: The Best Concealers for Every Skin Concern

Choose a Lightweight Foundation Formula

When you’re picking out a foundation avoid thick, heavy formulas because they’ll exaggerate fine lines and wrinkles. Instead, look for a lightweight, buildable formula that you can layer to achieve your desired coverage. This way you’ll still maintain a natural finish, Trizzino says.

Sébastien Tardif, co-founder of Veil Cosmetics agrees. “Stay away from full coverage foundations,” he says. Instead, you should turn to a sheer to medium, buildable liquid foundation that is water-based, oil-free and is self-set—this means that you won’t have to add a setting powder over the top, and therefore won't make skin look dry and chalky.

And remember, mature skin tends to be drier, so always select a hydrating formula. Look for keywords like hydration, luminous, glow, and moisture, Trizzino advises. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation ($47, Sephora) is a great option we recommend that ticks all the boxes.

Brice recommends applying liquid foundation with clean fingers or a foundation brush, like EcoTools Classic Foundation Brush ($5.99, Target).

Avoid Glittery Makeup

Finally, be selective with bronzers, blushes, and highlighters that go on top of your foundation. “I would recommend avoiding overtly glittery, since sparkle often acts like a microscope to fine lines and wrinkles,” Trizzino advises. “Look for demi-matte or satin finishes in finely milled powders.”

Finding the right foundation can be tricky at any age, but with these simple tricks you can keep your complexion looking smooth, radiant, and natural all day long.

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