Hi Christine, I’m sure you get a million questions, I thought I’d just try to see if this one might catch your eye. I love your blog, read it everyday and trust your opinion above all other blogs.
I have NOT been able to get an answer to this question, everyone I ask or every place I read says, “whatever.” I am 56 years old and have been using pressed powder foundation for many years. My skin is combination. Since I am on the mature side, do you think a pressed powder or liquid foundation would be best for me?
Thank you SO much! – J.
This is a question I’ve gotten quite a bit lately, which means it was definitely time to address this issue in a post! (AKA, ramble incoherently about foundation and my thoughts on it, in a not very organized fashion.) Keep in mind that I’m not a makeup artist (though, I do have access to this great book on makeup as you get older), though I read about beauty obsessively (obviously) and I have my own experience of aging to draw from.
I really don’t think that there’s a correct answer for this question. Instead, it depends a lot on how your skin has been aging and how dry/oily your combination skin is. It just takes experimentation with different products to see what works best for you. If the powder foundation is currently working, I’d stick with it. If you’re having some issues with the foundation settling into fine lines or wrinkles, it might be time to consider a liquid product. And if you’re having issues with your liquid, it might be time to reach for a lighter coverage formulation or consider trying out one of the new blur creams.
Typically as we age, our skin will get drier, we’ll lose radiance and fine lines and wrinkles will develop. Pores also become a little more prominent. All of it is enough to make anyone want to up their foundation coverage! My goals for foundation as I’ve aged have been to still be able to get a natural finish, cover up issues and avoid having everything settle into pores, lines and wrinkles (which, let’s face it, means you look a lot older at mid-day than you did pre-coffee in the am). And I’m trying to avoid that last bit, the settling into pores and lines. I do not want to look any older at the end of my day!
What will settle into your skin? Usually a powder is more likely to do it than a liquid. It can still happen with liquids, fuller coverage is more likely to do it than lighter coverage. If your skin has any dry areas, there are also settling issues with any dry patches, really highlighting them.
What about the whole combination skin thing? It depends on which end of the oily/dry spectrum your skin falls. In general, skin gets drier as we get older, and you’ll probably be more oily in the summer and drier in the winter. That’s definitely going to affect which foundation will work best for your skin as well. I’ve found that I can’t use a powder foundation in the winter simply because I seem to have dryness around my nose and it gets highlighted by the foundation. Otherwise it isn’t noticeable.
So, kind of a recap, for powder foundation: In general, if you have a lot of wrinkles, a powder foundation would sink into them throughout the day and make them more obvious. It does the same thing for dry skin, kind of emphasizing the dryness, especially if there are any dried flaky or cracked areas. I do think that powder foundations are a good choice for oily skin, so if your face is more on the oily side with just a few dry areas it should help soak up excess oil.
For liquid products: While fuller coverage products can have some of the same drawbacks as powder, most women tend to veer this way as they get older just because the lighter coverage liquid products tend to not settle into fine lines/wrinkles. As well, since skin tends to get drier as we age (something I’m looking forward to!), this helps avoid some of those same settling into dry spot issues that I mentioned.
I’m also combination, and at 37 I don’t really have a lot of signs of aging (I’m a good girl with my sunscreen!) But, I am prone to dryness around my nose, so there are days that powder foundation looks terrible on me. So, I usually use liquid products. Over the last 18 months or so I’ve been using lighter coverage products to avoid caking and settling into my skin as well. Usually for me this is a BB cream or tinted moisturizer, and I’ll sometimes mix in a little full coverage concealer to up the coverage if needed.
Finally, there’s new player in town that we haven’t even mentioned, blurring creams! Strangely enough, while it might seem like these creams are taking over the world, pretty much all of the “good” ones that I feel I can recommend are from brands owned by L’Oreal. They seem to know how to formulate these products the best, in my opinion.
These creams are meant to be worn alone, under makeup or even over makeup. The idea is that they help smooth out makeup, blur the light so your skin looks a bit more perfect… you get the idea. I think the results are pretty user dependent, but celeb makeup artist Brandy Gomez-Duplessis did share her great tips for working with a blur cream in this post. I think they work best alone or under a liquid foundation, I’ve tried them with powders and they just seem to have too much “grab” resulting in uneven application.
I hope all of this helps! If anyone has more input, add it in the comments!