Skin Q&A: Picking the Right Products

Learn how to reduce redness, choose a foundation, and more

how to apply foundation

Photo by: RenČ Shenouda/Corbis

The Basic Picture

The overall effect you want is dewy, to help compensate for any drier-looking or rough-textured skin. Check out "light reflecting" foundations, which deflect light from lines and crinkles, visually filling them in.

To find—and apply—your perfect foundation:

1. 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 with age. A product that contains moisturizing glycerin or hyaluronic acid will help remedy dryness. Avoid cream foundations that dry-out your skin, and make your skin's texture rougher and accentuate lines. Those 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 (and we don’t want that). If you require 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Try these recommended products:

Chanel Lift Lumiere Firming & Soothing Fluid Makeup

Clinique Pore Refining Solution Instant Perfector

Goodskin Labs Z-Pore Instant Pore Refiner

Avon Anew Age-transforming Foundation

La Prairie Anti Aging Foundation