THE IN-TRAY

Our top foundations for teen, millennial and mature skin

In 10 years—no matter how many steps you have in your skincare routine—your skin will look and feel different to how it is today. So, like that pair of jeans that you loved once, to expect one foundation to continue to serve you the way it always has is unfair not only to the foundation, but to yourself.

With new problems to solve (and trends to follow) each decade in which we gracefully age, we’re taking the struggle out of trying to find a new foundation by breaking down our very best formulas for each skin age. After all, your age and thus experiences are a key factor in shaping your Beauty ID. Keep scrolling.

JUST A HINT OF TINT FOR YOUR TEEN YEARS

Skin age: 15 to 19 years old

Take it from us (and not from your Instagram feed): embrace your skin as it is. You have the natural bounce, plump and glow that the rest of these age groups are striving to emulate, so don’t cover it up (instead, brag while you can). If you do want a hint of coverage to even out the appearance of redness or lingering acne marks, try a super lightweight tint like Morphe’s Hint Hint Skin Tint. A personal favourite of Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, this water-like tint delivers on a second-skin finish, so you can trust you’ll never look cakey or feel covered-up. It’s water, sweat, and transfer resistant (guaranteed to last through a party or TikTok dance tutorial), and also non-comedogenic, so you can trust that it won’t clog your pores or bring on a breakout.

Prime with: Mecca Cosmetica Lit From Within Primer. It’s got super subtle light-diffusing particles for an extra hit of glow and hydration without looking like a disco ball. You could even wear it on its own.

On your cheeks: Stila Heaven’s Hue Highlighter. One word: Euphoria.

Set with: Urban Decay All Nighter Ultra Glow Setting Spray. Achieve fresh, dewy perfection with his glow-getting and skin-quenching mist.

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SOMETHING LONGWEARING FOR BUSY MILLENNIALS

Skin age: your 20s through to your early 30s

You might be critical of it—especially after a night of martinis (or if you’re in Melbourne, quarantinies) with the girls—but with a robust routine and understanding of your skin’s needs, your face is pretty great. Lines are yet to set in, and your natural collagen production hasn’t abandoned you just yet, so you want a foundation that makes you look and feel fresh, glowy, and put together. Enter Shiseido’s Synchro Self Refreshing Foundation: it’s far from the foundations of your matte mousse days, giving you a flawless, skin-like finish with a formula designed to not only resist heat, humidity, and oil, but even facial movement. You can laugh, smile, frown or cry (it’s 2020, you’re permitted), without your makeup taunting you with premature lines. It feels like nothing on the skin and will last from your early-start office job through to your 2am Uber home.

Prime with: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. On extra-long days, reach for this cult classic primer and consider it insurance. Plus, it’ll blur the look of larger pores and pesky imperfections.

On your cheeks: MECCA MAX Off Duty Blush Stick. The swipe-and-go solution for both the millennial high-achiever and the lazy and proud.

Set with: M·A·C Cosmetics Fix+. This refreshing setting mist is loaded with caffeine and what works for you in the morning is going to be equally as effective on your face. Plus, it’ll give you an extra hint of glow, especially good for a 3pm pick-me-up.

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TRIED AND TESTED COVERAGE FOR SKIN SHOWING SIGNS OF SMILING

Skin age: 30s to late 40s

You’ve likely experimented with dozens of foundation formulas in your time, and you’re at a point where you want a formula you can rely on day in and out. With some newly discovered lines and a potential change in skin texture, a foundation that never settles or creases—and rolls with the punches of your 30s and 40s—is exactly what you need. Fresh off the back of yet another MECCA Beauty Election win, NARS’ Sheer Glow is your beloved beacon of hope. A consistent winner for its perfect application on all skin types, this tried and true foundation leaves the skin with a glow that looks hydrated and never shimmery, brightening the skin as it evens thanks to a hit of vitamin C and turmeric extract. Dehydration can often enhance lines and a loss of elasticity, so the glycerine in this formula together with its luminous finish makes it the perfect product for more mature skin.

Prime with: Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer – Illuminating. Light reflecting pearl pigments will help to blur the parts where you don’t want to focus on, while brightening your complexion for a more hydrated look.

On your cheeks: Stila Complete Harmony Lip & Cheek Stick in ‘Lilium’. A soft cream blush will keep your skin looking fresh with a youthful glow.

Set with: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. Like the dimness of a candlelit room blurs the appearance lines and imperfections, this colour-correcting powder casts a luminous blur over the skin to soften skin imperfections, pores, and wrinkles.

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A smart foundation that’s skincare-but-better

Skin age: 50s through to late 60s

As you get older, your skin slows in its production of skin plumpers like collagen and hyaluronic acid, resulting in a loss of elasticity, lines and wrinkles, and general dryness. The perfect foundation for older skin needs to combat these changes (as well as any hyperpigmentation or sun damage you might’ve picked up along the way), calling for a formula that’s visibly plumping and hydrating, and won’t settle into lines—fine nor deep—throughout the course of the day. We recommend Ellis Faas’ bestselling Skin Veil Foundation. With a medium coverage and naturally radiant finish, this MECCA-favourite for all skin types calls on sodium hyaluronate and vitamin E to hydrate the skin and protect against environmental damage, resulting in skin that looks healthy, even, and diffused of fine lines and wrinkles. It will not fail you.

Prime with: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base. It doubles as un ultra-rich moisturiser, perfect for dehydrated skin in need of a smooth, nourishing base.

On your cheeks: ILIA Multistick. This cream blush stick swipes on a healthy flush with a cream-to-powder formula for easy placement. And, being a multistick, you can use it to add colour to your lips, too.

Set with: Hourglass Veil Setting Spray. Like the flick of a magic wand, this undetectable mist blurs the complexion for a soft-focus look while keeping your makeup in place for 24 hours.

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A SILKY SERUM FORMULA TO HYDRATE AND PROTECT

Skin age: 70 years and higher

Gracefully lined skin calls for a base that’s flexible, longwearing and spiked with efficient hydrators—older skin is inherently dry (not just dehydrated), so heavy and mattifying foundations can create patchiness or enhance lines which can further age the appearance of the skin. There’s also the fact that your skin thins as you get older, and its rate of turnover decreases, making firm, glowy skin even harder to achieve. That’s why we’d recommend a serum-like foundation that’s just as hydrating and nourishing as it is effective in the coverage department. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, sweet almond oil and glycerin, By Terry’s Hyaluronic Hydra Foundation SPF30 is truly a match made in heaven for all skin types, and especially suited to those over 70. Blend it into your skin with a brush, sponge or your fingers, and you can expect instant radiance, an even tone and all-day protection from environmental aggressors.

Prime with: Juice Beauty Phyto Pigment Illuminating Primer. This vitamin-rich primer blurs the look of fine lines, wrinkles and imperfections while nourishing and protecting the skin.

On your cheeks: Mecca Cosmetica Hydra Cheek Tint & Illuminating Balm Duo in ‘Plum’. With a buttery balm texture and a surge of vitamin E, this easy-to-blend tint leaves the perfect amount of dewy flush on the cheeks.

Set with: By Terry Hydra Powder. Unlike any other setting powder, this unique formula effectively plumps fine lines and fills in pores for a youthful, soft-focus complexion.

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