Aug23

The Best Lightweight Foundations for Aging Skin

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If you’ve been here a while, you knowI’m a makeup junkie. My makeup routine changes quite often since I’m always on the hunt for high-performing products to add to my rotation (and I prefer brands that are clean and safe!). When it comes to foundation, I look for a formula that evens out my skin tone, has staying power, and doesn’t dry out my already dry skin. For everyday wear, I tend to gravitate toward cream formulas over powders. And in the warmer months, I prefer products that are more lightweight for a natural, dewy look.For years, my go-to foundation was Beautycounter’s Dew Skin, but as I got closer to 40, I found that it was hydrating enough for my skin.. Since then, I’ve tested out lots of options and feel like I finally have multiple lightweight foundations I love.

I’ve always had dry skin, and as I’ve gotten older, it’s continued to become more and more dry. As we age, it becomes increasingly important not to use products that are too drying because foundation can settle into fine lines, making signs of aging more pronounced. Additionally, a foundation that’s too drying for your skin type can create cakiness and look unnatural. The goal is to find that second-skin feel while providing the coverage you’re looking for. 

So today, I’m sharing my favorite  lightweight foundations for aging skin! If you want to see how many of these look when they’re applied, you can see them in this YouTube video about my favorite foundations. It’s embedded below as well.

What are the benefits of a lightweight foundation?

Foundation doesn’t need to feel heavy on your skin. Even lightweight formulas can provide beautiful coverage by blurring imperfections like redness, discoloration, and minor blemishes without feeling heavy or sticky. A good lightweight foundation will give a subtle, healthy glow while still looking like your skin. 

Most lightweight foundations won’t hide blemishes completely like full-coverage foundations do, but paired with a solid concealer (this is my favorite concealer), you can create a nice base for the rest of your makeup. Another benefit of a lightweight foundation is that the shades are relatively forgiving, making it easier to transition between seasons. Lightweight foundations are the perfect solution to even out your skin tone while still letting your natural features (like freckles!) shine through. 

The Best Lightweight Foundations for Aging Skin

There are many great options on the market that narrowing down to one option can feel overwhelming..

I’ve broken it down a bit to help you find the best one for your personal makeup preferences and desired finish. 

Best Lightweight Foundations

  • Best Oil Free: Chantecaille Future Skin Gel Foundation
  • Best Dewy Finish: Tarte Maracuja Juicy Glow Tint
  • Best Skin Care–Makeup Hybrid: ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint 
  • Best Sheer Finish: ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation
  • Best Natural Finish: Beautycounter Skin Twin Foundation
  • My Top Picks: For a natural finish, The Beautycounter Skin Twin is my favorite (# ___ on the list below). For a glowy finish, I’d pick the Tarte Maracuja Juicy Glow.

1. Chantecaille Future Skin Gel Foundation

The Future Skin Gel Foundation may sound like it’s designed for oily skin since it’s oil-free, but it’s actually a great option for dry skin.It’s thicker than you might expect but it blends easily.This clean, vegan, cruelty-free, and oil-free formula is also incredibly hydrating, so it’s also great option for winter months when skin is even dryer.  

It’s on the pricier side, but you don’t need much of this product, so it will last you a while.  The one thing I don’t like is that it comes in a little tub so you have to stick your finger or a brush in there. I prefer a pump dispense for sanitation’s sake. 

It’s made up of 60% water, giving it a super lightweight, gel-like consistency. It contains aloe vera, arnica, rosemary, and green tea for a soothing formula that’s full of antioxidants to protect the skin. It provides medium to full coverage, so if you’re looking for a heavier-duty look that still goes on lightweight, I’d recommend this. I love it for the winter months! I have a full Chantecaille makeup review if you’re interested in testing out any of their other products.

2. Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer

The Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer product was my first introduction to the world of clean beauty, and it was my go-to foundation for years. It was also the first Beautycounter product I ever tried! Beautycounter products are all vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic, and safe- there are over 2,800 chemicals that they vow to never include in their formulas. The Dew Skin’s sheer coverage hydrates and evens out your skin complexion while providing SPF 20.

As I’ve gotten older, it’s become a little too drying for me.However, if your skin is normal or less on the dry side, this product is amazing. It leaves the prettiest glowy finish and a little goes a long way. 

The formula contains peony root extract, black currant seed oil, and vitamin C for a brighter, more even skin tone. If you’re thinking about trying it out, my Beautycounter Dew Skin review shares all of the details on this product.v

3. Tarte Maracuja Juicy Glow Tint

The Tarte Maracuja Juicy Glow Tint has been my go-to lately. I love that it has a very natural-looking finish with just a little bit of glow.  If you struggle with dull skin, you’ll love this. In fact,all of the products from the Tarte Maracuja line are super hydrating so look for those products if you also have dry skin. It provides medium coverage and gives aglowy, fresh-faced look. This vegan foundation also has strong staying power, which I appreciate, especially during the hot summer months. 

It contains over 10 superfruits, maracuja oil, grapeseed oil, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and illuminating flower extract for added hydration, elasticity, smoothing, and protection from free radicals. It also reflects light to blur the appearance of pores and fine lines for a soft, glowy look. All Tarte products are cruelty-free and made without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, and gluten.

4. ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 

I first tried the ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint in the fall of 2022 at a work conference, and it has become one of my favorites for sheer coverage. It gives a little more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, but it’s still very sheer! ILIA makeup is clean, cruelty-free, and doubles as skincare, which I love. 

I love this product when I’m looking for a no-makeup glow. The only drawback in my opinion is the scent – it has a subtle smell, that reminds me of dog food. Yuck. It fades after a couple of minutes, but I had to mention it as a heads-up. The product performance is so good that it’s still worth using. It’s hydrating, natural-looking, and stays all day long. You can read more about the coverage in my full review.

The vegan formula contains non-nano zinc oxide SPF 40 and shields against sun damage, pollution, and blue light. It uses hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and plant-based squalane to hydrate, improve skin texture, and minimize the look of pores. The active skincare ingredients make this one of the best lightweight foundations for aging skin. You can see more ILIA products I love in my review of ILIA Makeup.

5. ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation

After I got hooked on the ILIA Serum Skin Tint, I wanted to try their regular foundation and I also really like this product. It provides medium coverage and blends very easily. It also has a wide range of shades to get a perfect match.One of my favorite things about this foundation is that it’s buildable, so you can choose your coverage depending on the day. It’s natural-looking, breathable, and extra hydrating for dry skin. I have a separate ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation review if you’re looking for the full run-down of this product. 

It’s made with active skincare ingredients like niacinamide, allantoin, and aloe to soothe, nourish, and improve skin texture. It gives a lit-from-within look while still looking like you. 

6. Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Oil-Free Foundation 

The Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Oil-Free Foundation is amazing if you’re looking for fuller coverage that still feels lightweight. It’s a cult classic in the makeup artist community, and for good reason. It truly gives a “satin glow” effect. It helps improve dullness by illuminating the skin,  improves skin texture, and creates a glowy filter to blur imperfections without any cakiness. 

Despite it being a medium- to full coverage foundation, it still gives a natural and radiant finish that lasts all day. The only downside is that this formula isn’t as clean as some of the others on this list. However, if you’re looking for an oil-free foundation that doesn’t feel heavy or dry but still provides full coverage, this is one of the best lightweight foundations for aging skin.

It uses Micro–fil & trade technology which is a patented process that allows the pigments to sit flat on the skin for blendable, natural-looking coverage.

7. Nars Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation

The Nars Light Reflecting foundation is a natural-finish foundation with buildable coverage. . I like that it provides a little bit more coverage than some of the sheer options on this list, but it still feels and looks like your skin. 

It’s another one that multitasks as foundation and skincare. It’s made with biomimetic oat, Japanese lilyturf, cacao peptides, and milk thistle. Those ingredients help soothe skin, improve skin clarity, reduce redness, strengthen skin’s barrier, hydrate, and protect against blue light and other environmental stressors. 

It’s vegan, fragrance-free, and made without mineral oil, silicone, talc, alcohol, parabens, SLS, SLES, phthalates, PEG, or gluten. 

8. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint

This lightweight liquid foundation is made specifically with dry skin in mind, so it’s a perfect hydrating option for aging skin. The water-gel formula is made with hyaluronic acid for a boost of moisture. It’s oil-free, so it’s great for acne-prone skin since it won’t clog your pores. It gives a natural-looking finish and provides subtle coverage to even out your complexion while still looking natural.

This formula is super long-lasting and doesn’t settle into fine lines. The only drawback is that it’s also not as clean as some of the other foundations on this list. Ingredient list aside, this is one of the best lightweight foundations for aging skin, especially if your skin type is on the drier side. I haven’t tried this one in a very long time to vouch for it, but it does have good reviews online.

9. Beautycounter Skin Twin Featherweight Foundation

Beautycounter Skin Twin is lightweight, buildable, and one of my all-time favorite full-coverage foundations.The formula is breathable, long-lasting, and provides solid coverage without feeling heavy. It’s blendable and melts into the skin for a natural, gorgeous finish.

You can layer it for buildable coverage without it getting cakey. This foundation is sweat and humidity-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it rubbing off, even without a setting spray. This is a great option if you’re looking for a little bit more coverage than a no-makeup look, but still want a foundation that’s lightweight and natural. The Skin Twin also has an impressive shade range so you can find the perfect match. I have a full Beautycounter Skin Twin review on my blog if you’re thinking about trying it for yourself!

 It’s made with hyaluronic acid, jojoba esters, and hydrophobic pigments for added hydration, staying power, radiance, and anti-aging benefits. This vegan, non-toxic formula is the among cleanest of any foundations you’ll find on the market. 

10. Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Medium Coverage Foundation 

The Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation is a great lightweight option if you’re looking for medium coverage. This foundation is long-lasting and holds up all day. The formula is made hydrating enough for normal-to-dry skin types but is also suitable for oily skin. (But, if you have really dry skin like me, I would go for a different product!) I love that it’s infused with skincare ingredients and doesn’t feel too heavy. It creates a solid base without completely hiding your skin, so you’ll still look natural and glowy. 

It’s made with hyaluronic acid, rose complex, and Bix-Activ to hydrate, brighten, and minimize shininess and the look of pores. It’s made without parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, sulfates SLS & SLES, triclocarban, or triclosan. Plus, it’s vegan and cruelty-free. 

11. IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Full-Coverage Foundation

This IT Cosmetics CC+ cream has heavier coverage, but it’s buildable, so you can start with a lighter hand. Even though it’s full coverage, it smoothes the skin without looking or feeling too heavy. 

I love this option for aging skin because of the anti-aging serum and extra hydration that it provides. It also has SPF 50, which is a win. Although this product is cruelty-free, the ingredients aren’t as clean as other foundations on this list. If you’re on the hunt for a full-coverage option, this one still looks natural and has active ingredients that are beneficial for aging skin. 

It has hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin E to hydrate, reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, minimize discoloration, brighten, and soothe the skin. 

Is it better to apply foundation with a brush or sponge?

Whether you use a brush or sponge to apply foundation really comes down to personal preference. Lately, I’ve been loving the Tarte Blur Brush. It makes the product so easy to blend right into my skin. I don’t put a ton of product on, and I focus on the center of my face since that’s typically where I need the most coverage. Then, I blend it outwards using circular motions. I find that this technique helps the foundation melt into my skin in a really seamless way, but sponges can also be effective when used correctly. In the past, I’ve used both a brush and a sponge. It just depends on which application technique you like!

Can you use just concealer instead of foundation?

Using foundation helps blend your whole look to create a more seamless finish. If you’re not into foundation, try the Supergoop! Glowscreen SFP 40. It provides barely-there coverage while still creating a nice base for your other products. I use it before applying foundation; it adds the perfect glowy touch without looking greasy. 

If you’re on the hunt for a good concealer, I’m a long-time lover of the Tarte Shape Tape concealers. Their new Shape Tape Radiant Medium Coverage Concealer has made it onto my list of all-time favorites. It’s brightening and concealing, so it’s great for the under-eyes or blemishes. I like to use it to conceal dark circles, and then I take it up to the corners of my eyes to create a lifted effect. 

What foundation is best for a no-makeup look?

If you’re going for a true no-makeup makeup look, I would pick the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint. It provides more coverage than tinted moisturizer, but still looks like skin. It creates a gorgeous filter-like effect that melts into your face while enhancing your natural features. This is a go-to for me on days when I want to look fresh-faced, but natural. It’s a minimalistic base that adds the perfect healthy glow! If you want a bit more coverage than that one provides, I’d go for the Beautycounter Skin Twin.

If you’re looking for more no-makeup makeup inspiration, check out my summer makeup routine. It’s a mix of my favorite natural-looking products and it takes less than 10 minutes!

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