Makeup Situation: Foundation Exaggerates Wrinkles

I'm over 40 and beginning to wrinkle slightly just around the eyes and mouth, and my foundation seems to exaggerate the wrinkles. But I don't want to give up foundation, because it evens out my complexion. What can I do?

I so know! And I'm always getting excited with new promises of age-defying or age-erasing foundations, but I must be honest: None seems to stand the test. Foundations of all kinds seem to accentuate my wrinkles. Hey, makeup companies, prove me wrong! In the meantime, here are my thoughts:

  • Don't give up foundation. It's a great tool for evening out the complexion (and a shout out goes to Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup — it's my absolute favorite), but I have to concede that, in my experience, you're better off not using it above your mouth and around your eyes and your nasolabial folds (the lines that run from the bottom of the nose to the chin, also called the "marionette lines"). Wrinkles in these areas seem to stand out the most when foundation is applied. Just make sure your foundation matches your skin color exactly, so it's not noticeable. If your foundation is darker or lighter, it will look strange if you avoid certain areas of the face!
  • As an alternative to foundation, I love the new "glowing" moisturizers. They give just a hint of impressively uniform color and don't enhance wrinkled areas at all. Use them just like you would a moisturizer. I especially like Olay's Touch of Sun Moisturizer, which I use about twice a week, alternating with my regular moisturizer.
  • Another alternative to cream foundations are loose powders made from ground-up minerals that lie evenly and lightly on the face. In my experience, these work best on normal to dry skin and do not increase the look of wrinkles as much as liquid and cream foundations do, but I still maintain you should skip the distinctly wrinkled parts of your face; the powder can settle into creases.
  • If you have areas of darker pigmentation that you'd like to cover, you might consider trying a product with hydroquinone, which is a lightening agent. Hydroquinone works by increasing the breakdown of melanin pigment granules in the skin's pigment cells (melanocytes). Murad makes a good one, which I've recommended below.
  • I know I've said this a hundred times, but foundation (or foundation alternatives) will only lie as smoothly as the skin underneath it, so to look its best, skin must be well moisturized and exfoliated regularly — you might like to look for a moisturizer with light-diffusing properties; they'll reflect light to make the area appear brighter and smoother.
  • Recommended Products:

    Olay Touch of Sun UV Facial Moisturizer
    This is a great, great product that imparts a smooth, even, heightened color to the skin — plus, it's easy to blend, smells nice and is lightly moisturizing.
    Price: $11.99
    Available: Select retailers

    Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Peel System
    Wow! I love this product. I couldn't stop stroking my face afterward, which felt as smooth as a rose petal! It's a two-part procedure: an exfoliating mask with fine crystals, over which you apply an activating serum. Highly, highly recommended.
    Price: $29.99
    Available: Select retailers

    Murad Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Gel
    This awesome preparation contains hydroquinone and glycolic acid, which help to fade unwanted pigmentation while exfoliating the skin to even out skin tone.
    Price: $55
    Available: Select retailers

    Murad Eye Treatment Complex SPF 8
    Dr Murad's wonderful treatment lotion with glycolic acid and antioxidants (vitamins C and E and grape seed extract) gently exfoliates, and in doing so reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
    Price: $55
    Available: Select retailers

    Perricone Concentrated Restorative Cream
    Dr. Perricone's glycolic treatment cream combines a high concentration of vitamin C Ester with his patented NTP Complex and is one of the highest-quality creams available.
    Price: $95
    Available: Select retailers

    Elizabeth Arden Allergan Prevage
    Elizabeth Arden coupled with Allergan (the pharmaceutical company that makes Botox and the original Prevage, available only in doctors' offices) to create this version, which contains the same special ingredient, Idebenone, but at a lower percentage than the product you can get at your dermatologist's office.
    Price: $150
    Available: Select retailers

    Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup
    This is the best, the lightest and the most fluidly blending foundation I've ever tried, and I've tried a lot (though I still skip the wrinkled areas of my face).
    Price: $38
    Available: Select retailers

    Bare Escentuals BareMinerals SPF15 Foundation
    This natural mineral foundation (free of preservatives, talc, oil and fragrance) has an extremely light texture and evens out the complexion.
    Price: $25
    Available: Select retailers

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