Best Foundation Makeup for Women Over 50 in 2021

When it comes to foundation makeup for the aging complexion, matte (non-shiny), is much better than shimmer–at least in the center of the face. Why? Creating a matte base is much more flattering and gives a more youthful appearance because it diminishes contrast.

This is different from anything else you’ve heard or read, right?

The accepted wisdom in makeup for older women is that shimmery foundation — also known as soft-focus — blurs the lines and makes an older face appear more youthful.

For the most part, I disagree. There may be exceptions, but more on that later.

The idea behind soft focus is exactly as it sounds. A trick photographers use to film older faces is to blur, or soften, the focus slightly, which diminishes hard shadows and line definition. Another trick is to overexpose or increase the light, or to film through cheesecloth.

The makeup industry responded by creating soft-focus makeup, makeup that has a bit of shimmer. The theory is great. The reality is that it increases contrast and does the opposite of what it is billed to do. Shimmer in our foundation actually increases the look of age, by increasing the contrast.

Using the theory of my last post (check it out) the mature face has increased contrast at the center of the face, in other words, greater degree of difference between light and dark, because of the wrinkles, bags and creases. Conversely, the outer part of the older face, the jaw line and under the chin, has decreased contrast as the skin sags.

Adding shine increases contrast. Take a look at the apple pictures. The apple that has less shine has less contrast.

Shine it up and notice how much more contrast it has once it is shiny.

Many cosmetic professionals tell us we should eliminate shimmer and sparkle, yet the most common advise is that the best foundation makeup for older women is a bit shimmery to soften the look of lines and creases.

My premise is exactly the opposite. It is best to create a base that reduces facial contrast as much as possible. Eliminate shine! (You can add sparkle later, in other places. We’re still going to glow, ladies.)

Here are before and after pictures, shiny vs. non-shiny.

You decide.

Notice how in this picture, the soft-focus, or shimmery, finish actually increases the look of the under-eye bags, cheek pooches, larger pores, and deep creases.

Notice how in this picture, the soft-focus, or shimmery, finish actually increases the look of the under-eye bags, cheek pooches, larger pores, and deep creases.

(You can click on the pictures to view them full screen.)

Makeup monologue old women Shimmery Face

In the next picture, the matte, non-shiny, finish diminishes the look of larger pores, under-eye bags, cheek pooches and deep creases. The matte finish evens out skin tone, decreases contrast and gives the face a more youthful appearance.


There may be exceptions. For women with very dry and/or very lined skin, soft-focus makeup may actually work better. Otherwise, shimmery foundation will increase the look of age, by increasing contrast, especially if you have any oiliness. Either way, I am still convinced that eliminating shine is the best approach.

If you love shiny and sparkly, don’t despair. We’re going to both shine and sparkle and I’ll show you how. The next few blogs will go into these techniques and I think you’ll love it.

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