The 10 Best Drugstore Foundations for Mature Skin for Under $20 That Will Make You Glow

For many women, foundation is a non-negotiable in their makeup routine, but for those over 40, it can feel even more vital. As your skin ages and loses elasticity and bounce — and sun and age spots start rearing their unwelcome heads — wearing a layer of complexion-perfecting makeup can be an easy way to boost self-confidence. But with so many on the market, finding the best drugstore foundation for mature skin can seem difficult.

And finding a formula that won’t sink into fine lines and visibly age the skin can be extra tricky. So we talked to top makeup artists to find the best drugstore foundations that wear well on aging skin and create a stunning finish you can count on to look great in any light. Ready your virtual shopping cart with our picks that are all under $18! 

What can foundation do for women over 40?

Put simply: a lot. Foundation can be a part of a makeup routine at any age, thanks to its ability to erase areas of darkness and give you a great base for the rest of your makeup to shine. But it becomes even more useful as the years go by. 

According to celebrity makeup artist and founder of New York City’s Tomy Rivero Beauty Lab, Tomy Rivero, “As we age our skin gets thinner, showing more blue tones of our veins and discoloration from years of sun exposure.” And, he says, “Using a lightweight base with medium coverage can make you look not only more youthful but less tired and even-toned!” 

What are the best drugstore foundations for mature skin of 2023?

What to look for in a drugstore foundation for mature skin

“I recommend a lightweight to medium buildable coverage formula that has some luminosity to it,” says Rivero. This will help blur fine lines. His tip? “Look for keywords like ‘hydrating,’ ‘glow,’ and ‘dewy finish’ when choosing the formula.”  

Makeup artist Elaina Badro, who has worked with Carrie Underwood and Christina Millian, also suggests looking for a foundation with a thinner consistency than you might have gone for in your younger years. She explains, “The less ‘cakey,’ the better. Typically, mature skin tends to be dryer.” That means makeup has more of a tendency to crease on older skin, which can enhance wrinkles. That’s why, she says, “it’s best to apply a foundation that has a satin or dewy finish. This allows for a subtle glow while hydrating the face.”

Another key? “I suggest looking for formulas that contain some elements of skincare,” says Nyssa Green, an Emmy-winning makeup artist and founder of the Green Room Agency in Atlanta. “In addition to sunscreen, many foundations now contain ingredients like squalene, hyaluronic acid, argan oil and licorice root,” she says. This means your makeup will double as a treatment as these ingredients ward off sun damage, hydrate skin, brighten areas of discoloration and reduce redness. 

How to find the most flattering foundation shade

As for the shade you choose, Rivera has a rule of thumb: “As we age, color on our face tends to make us look healthier and energetic.” So you can try going one shade darker when choosing your foundation to add youthful color back to skin. He adds, “always make sure to bring down the colors to your neck and ears for a seamless match!” 

But to find your perfect color match, it’s best to swatch shades at the jawline down to the neck and go with the one that seamless blends in. It’s also help to determine your skin’s undertone when selecting a foundation as many shade ranges are labeled cool, neutral and warm. (Click through to learn how to determine your skin undertone.)

For more tips on how to match your foundation shade, watch the below video from makeup artist and YouTuber Nikkia Joy.

The foundation formula to avoid for mature skin

What not to look for, according to Green? “Mineral formulas are not the friend of mature skin. The formulas can come off looking shiny or greasy … or in some cases, the ‘minerals’ can look like big chunks of glitter!”

How to apply foundation on aging skin

  • Rivero says your first step is to exfoliate for a smooth surface. 
  • Next, apply moisturizer to hydrate and “fill in” any fine lines.
  • Then, “use a damp sponge to press in the foundation for the most natural finish.”  Stippling it on this way allows you to build the coverage you want without creating a heavy, cakey look.

Our top picks for the best drugstore foundations for mature skin

Best illuminating foundation
Revlon Illuminating foundation for mature skin.

Buy from Walmart, $11.48

Why we like it

  • Plumps fine lines
  • Wide shade range

Badro says this one is great because it is makeup and skincare in one, courtesy of the plumping 5% squalane and hyaluronic acid inside. She says, as you use it, “over time, you’ll begin to notice your skin getting smoother.” It also gets top marks for having a nice medium coverage, a gorgeous dewy finish with an illuminating quality to erase dark spots and 28 shades to choose from. 

Best full coverage foundation

Buy from Walmart, $11.99

Why we like it

  • Water- and budge-proof
  • 45 shades

For those looking for a full-coverage formula or prefer a matte finish, look no further than this foundation from NYX. The highly pigmented formula is budge-proof and waterproof— yet it’s light enough that it won’t settle into fine lines. Why it made Green’s list? “It offers amazing coverage and has shades for everyone.”

Best semi-matte foundation
Bottle of e.l.f. flawless satin foundation.

Buy from Walmart, $6

Why we like it

  • Wide shade range 
  • Low price

With 30 shades and a $6 price tag, it’s hard to say no to this best-seller. Green insists, “It looks beautiful on mature skin and is easy to build up the coverage you need.” Rivero agrees noting that he loves that it takes minimal blending to get a natural finish, explaining, it “melts into the skin without much fuss” and it requires no powder to set it.

Best brightening foundation
Bottle of Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless foundation for mature skin.
Covergirl + Olay

Buy from Walmart, $11.84

Why we like it

  • Ultra hydrating 
  • Brightening vitamin

Both Badro and Shara Strand, celebrity makeup artist and licensed esthetician at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon in New York City, picked this formula made with mature skin in mind as a must. That’s because it doubles as skin care with a blend of a hyaluronic acid complex and vitamin C inside to brighten and smooth skin. 

Fans love that it goes on sheer but is buildable, blends easily, and hydrates areas of dryness. It has a great color range to choose from to help you find your perfect match. And, Strand insists, “It’s good for all skin types, even the most sensitive skin.” 

Best serum foundation
Tube of L'Oreal Paris Age Perfect Serum Foundation.
L’Oreal Paris

Buy from Walmart, $12.08

Why we like it

  • Natural finish
  • Strengthens the skin barrier

“This one is wonderful for mature skin, “ says Badro, pointing to the formula’s vitamin B3 that helps strengthen the skin barrier to keep skin moisturized and irritation-free. Strand’s list of reasons to pick up a tube: “I love the SPF 50, light coverage and that it includes a hydrating serum.” It’s also incredibly lightweight and gives an ultra-natural finish.

Best multi-tasking foundation
Bottle of Maybelline Instant Age Rewind glow foundation.

Buy from Ulta, $13.99

Why we like it

  • Four products in one
  • Easy-to-use applicator

This illuminating formula acts as four products in one—it primes, conceals, highlights and evens out the skin tone to create a gorgeous canvas for the rest of your makeup look. Badro also loves that it has a built-in sponge tip applicator, explaining, “It makes it super easy to apply and touch up!” 

Best blurring foundation
Tube of Colourpop Sol Foundation.

Buy from Colourpop, $16

Why we like it

  • Light-diffusing powders
  • Nourishing ingredients

With a soft-matte, transfer-resistant finish that makes it ideal for both your face and body and light-diffusing powders that illuminate skin and make fine lines vanish, this is a one hard-working foundation. Green recommends it to her clients over 40 because “it’s infused with coconut water, papaya extract and more ingredients that offer major benefits for mature skin.”

Best lightweight foundation
Maybelline tinted serum foundation.

Buy from Walmart, $13.98

Why we like it

  • Ultra-natural finish
  • Brightening vitamin C 

It’s hard to find a dewy foundation that lasts— but this one manages to pull it off in spades. Thanks goes to its serum formula that stays put all day. In fact, Rivero calls it “my go-to for an ‘I have nothing on’ formula.” And with brightening vitamin C, it’s great for anyone who is battling age-related dullness or discoloration. 

Best stick foundation
Stick of BLK/OPL Skin Perfecting foundation.

Buy from Walmart, $10.94

Why we like it

  • Antioxidants 
  • Multi-colored pigments

This one is beloved by Green since it provides full coverage in an easy-to-use stick that makes for a swipe-and-blend application. It’s also great for tricky-to-match skin tones, as it has a special Shade ID technology made of multi-colored chromatic pigments that neutralize imperfections while blending into the complexion. And, finally, it’s enriched with antioxidants like vitamins C and E to nourish and enliven skin.

Best sweat-resistant foundation
Bottle of L'Oreal Paris Infallible long-wear foundation.
L’Oreal Paris

Buy from Walmart, $12.97

Why we like it

  • Built-in oil absorbers
  • Buildable coverage

Rivero says this formula is “great for long days out.” That’s because it contains oil-absorbing ingredients that make it sweat-proof and transfer-resistant. However, it’s ultra-thin, so it doesn’t crease or look cakey on mature skin, but it’s also buildable. This allows you to control the exact level of coverage you want each day. 

For more anti-aging makeup tricks and affordable products, click through these stories:

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