22 January 2016

Flawless Foundation for Women 40+

Flawless Foundation for Women 40+: tips to help give you the flawless foundation that you used to get and thought you'd never have again!

When you're over 40 (or in my case, over 50), applying foundation can be tricky. It becomes much more difficult to get that flawless finish! Ladies who are over 40, you know what I'm talking about! Maybe your skin is oily, maybe it's dry - but you've probably noticed that your pores appear larger, and the texture of your skin isn't quite as smooth. Your makeup settles into pores and every crevice, accentuating them instead of making them look better.

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what foundation and application techniques work best for my skin, and I thought I would share some of what I've learned with you. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and your skin may not be like mine, so you might need to tweak things a bit to find what works best for you.

UPDATE 1/4/17: As some of you may experience yourselves, I've had to revamp how I get a flawless finish! While I still think it's important to prep the surface (exfoliate and moisturize), what happens after that is now different. If you'd like to read my new routine, you can find it in the post: How I Finally Made My Foundation Last All Day!

You may have heard this analogy before - prepping your skin for makeup is like prepping a piece of furniture for paint. If you want that paint to last, you need to prep the surface. You have to be willing to prep your skin in order to get your makeup to last.

So here's what I do:

Exfoliating your face is an important step in achieving a flawless foundation application!

EXFOLIATE. I had one of the makeup artists at Sephora tell me that the number one reason women have issues with uneven foundation application is that they aren't exfoliating properly. The method you use is up to you. I actually use a combination of chemical and mechanical. I cleanse my face with a konjac sponge twice daily, apply Paula's Choice 1% BHA Lotion twice daily, and use Aveda Tourmaline Charged Radiant Skin Refiner once a week. That sounds like a lot, but those methods are all actually quite mild, because my skin is sensitive and won't tolerate anything more. There are a lot of great products out there, those are just the ones that work well for me. Right now, I'm trying out PoreDermabrasion ™ Pore Perfecting Exfoliator and Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant from Dr.Brandt®, so there will be reviews coming up on the blog about those in a few weeks.

Moisturizing your face is an important step in achieving a flawless foundation application!

MOISTURIZE. Whether your skin is oily, normal, combination, or dry - you need to moisturize. Especially if you're over 40. Trust me on this. I use a moisturizer twice daily (in addition to anti-aging products), and a hydrating sheet mask 1-2 times per week. I tend to use a lot of different products because I'm always testing new ones, but some of my favorites are I Feel Pretty Pearlfection Cream, Origins Three-Part Harmony Oil-Infused Serum, Belif the True Cream Aqua Bomb, Tony Moly Snail Hydro-Gel Face Mask Sheet , boscia Tsubaki Hydrogel Mask.

Using the right type of primer is another important step in achieving a flawless foundation application!

PRIME.* The type of primer you use is going to depend on a few things - your skin type, your sunscreen (it can cause the primer to pill), and the type of foundation. Some foundations work better with a water-based primer and others work better with a silicone-based primer. I recommend getting samples if you can, because not all primers are made equal. When you find the right one (or two - sometimes you need different ones for different seasons or different foundations), it's like someone turned on the sun and cued up your favorite dancing song. I like Laura Mercier Foundation Primer for when I need a water-based primer - another one that has worked well for me is Cover FX Illuminating Primer. My favorite silicone-based primer is Miracle Skin Transformer . A lot of the silicone-based primers leave my skin oily and cause my makeup to separate so that it looks worse than if I used no primer at all - and yes, Smashbox Photo Finish, I'm looking at you! I do have a sample of the new Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water , so I'm anxious to give that a try to see if it's any better for me since it's silicone-free. I have a few other primers here that I will be testing, so those reviews will be coming, too.
*If you're using a foundation like Diorskin Nude Air Serum , you might find that it works better without a primer.

Mature skin tends to look best when you use a foundation with a lightweight consistency that won't settle into fine lines! Get samples or purchase from a store with a return policy because everyone is different and you just have to try the products to see if they work for you!

CHOOSE YOUR FOUNDATION. I could go on forever discussing the different types of foundations. Everyone has their own needs and favorites. What I will say is that "in general", women over 40 tend to look better in foundations that are more lightweight. Before you get all up in my face, I'm not saying you can't have medium to full coverage foundation. I'm saying it will look a lot better if it has a lightweight consistency. Heavy foundations tend to settle into pores, lines, and wrinkles and end up looking like a caked-on mask. That doesn't look good at any age. But - I've also had this happen with lightweight foundations - so again, I recommend getting samples. If you have a Sephora nearby, you can ask for samples of anything. They may only give you one foundation sample at a time, but honestly, you really should only test one at a time anyway. They usually give me enough for a week. If you purchase a drugstore foundation locally, most stores have a liberal return/exchange policy. I have a few foundations that I use on a regular basis: Diorskin Nude Air Serum , Sephora Teint Infusion, Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless , Rimmel Lasting Finish w/ Comfort Serum. The first two are lightweight serum foundations that meld with the skin and dry to almost a powder-like finish (the Sephora is more dewy, much more affordable, contains no fragrance, and comes in a truckload more colors). The last two are drugstore products that are a medium consistency and coverage.

The application method you use to apply the foundation can make a huge difference in way the foundation looks on your skin!

APPLICATION. How you apply the foundation matters! I've discovered that depending upon the foundation, the best application method differs. Sometimes, your fingertips work best. Sometimes, a foundation brush works best - however, as I've aged, I've found this to be the least likely way for the foundation to look good unless it's a serum foundation. And sometimes, a Beautyblender sponge is your best friend. If you don't have one - invest in one. If I use a super lightweight foundation, like Diorskin Nude Air Serum, I use my fingertips or a foundation brush to apply, and then blot any areas that need it with a damp Beautyblender. With a heavier product, like Maybelline Fit Me or Rimmel Lasting Finish, I apply with a damp Beautyblender. It thins the foundation out just a bit and applies it so smoothly it looks amazing!

Tip: A damp Beautyblender sponge is perfect for removing a little makeup from fine lines or pores. Just gently press it to the area and it will remove some of the foundation and smooth it out.

A setting spray can be your BFF if you're over 40 - it can keep your makeup in place all day (or night) and no more settling in fine lines or creases!

THE FINISHING TOUCH. And my last tip for foundation is apply a setting spray. Seriously, this has been a revelation. Don't skip this step - especially if you have issues with makeup settling into fine lines or creases. Just use the Beautyblender or a soft brush to remove any excess makeup from fine lines, then spray your face with the setting spray. It will keep foundation in place all day long! No more settling into lines! I was so happy I wanted to cry when I discovered this. And then I wanted to smack myself because I was like "Self, why didn't you think of this sooner? It's not like you've never used a setting spray before!" I like Urban Decay All Nighter . I have a couple of others here to test, so those reviews will be coming up on the blog.

One thing I didn't cover was a setting/finishing powder. That's up to you. I do think that if you choose to use a powder, it's best to go with one that is finely milled so that it is very translucent and sets your makeup without leaving much of a trace. Heavier powders tend to end up making your makeup look caked-on and/or migrating into fine lines and creases - both things that we're trying to avoid. I didn't take a picture, but I like tarte's Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder . It's virtually invisible, but sets my makeup nicely, and does double-duty by also "blurring" my pores.

So just to go over the steps to flawless foundation one last time:

Flawless Foundation for Women 40+: tips to help give you the flawless foundation that you used to get and thought you'd never have again!

These steps have made a major difference in the way my foundation looks, and I hope they help you, too! If you have any tips, I'd love to hear them!

What tricks do you have for "flawless foundation over 40"?

P. S. You may wonder why this post addresses women over 40 when I'm over 50. There's actually a good reason for that! My issues with getting a flawless foundation application started back when I was in my 40's, and technically 54 is over 40! Plus I didn't want to title the post "women over 50" and then have an entire group of women (those in their 40's) who could benefit from the information skip over it because they thought it didn't apply to them!

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