The 7 Best Foundations for Dry + Mature Skin (+ fair skin shade swatches)

by Molly Gardner
the best foundation fair and light foundation swatch swatches for dry mature skin

Foundations are one of my most favorite makeup items to purchase and test out! For me, great makeup starts with a great base.  

I have dry skin and as I’ve gotten older, I have noticed that I really only like the look of certain foundations on my skin.  These are the seven foundations that I find myself using all the time!

 

Foundation “Musts” Checklist

1 | covers well (I have some redness and light acne scars)

2 | hydrates

3 | lasts all day.  I generally use a setting spray anyhow, but I need longer wearing foundation that won’t get patchy.

4 | looks like a second skin

5 | makes my skin look fresh and dewy, doesn’t accentuate fine lines

6 | keeps skin clear, doesn’t cause breakouts or clogged pores

7 | I must have used an entire bottle and purchased a second one

 

With those guidelines in place, here are the foundations that I reach for daily.  I organized them in order of cost and included my shades with my natural skin color (listed 1st) and when I faux tan (2nd).  I know a lot of people are similar skin tone to me as well, so I included some photos with each foundation on.

 

The Best Foundations for Dry + Mature Skin

 

1 |  The Ordinary Coverage Foundation, $6.90, 1 oz. {full post, swatch video}

  • shade 1.2P
  • shades 1.1 N mixed with 1.2N

What I love:  This foundation has a surprisingly skin like finish.  The name made me think this might be too full-coverage, but I was pleasantly surprised how natural it looks.  This is my go-to foundation for errands and day-to-day makeup, when I don’t want to use a high-end foundation.  The only downside for me is that this foundation doesn’t photograph well.  It looks great in real life, but average in pics.

How I apply:  Immediately after moisturizer, no primer.  I prefer to apply it directly following moisturizer so I get light-to-medium coverage.  If I apply it later, it tends to get too oily looking on my skin.

This is a liquid texture.  The bottle needs to be shaken before every use.

Shop online | BeautyBay

View more shade swatches in this video.

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation swatches 1.2p cool fair foundation

 

2 | L’oreal Infallible Freshwear Foundation, $14.99, 1 oz.

  • I mix shades 410 and 420

What I love:  This new foundation from L’oreal has, hands down, the best finish of any drugstore foundation I’ve ever tried.  It looks beautiful in person and in photos.   

I typically get skin irritation from drugstore foundations, which is why I can’t wear many, but the L’oreal leaves my skin feeling normal.  The only downside that I’ve found is that all the peach undertones I’ve tried have skewed a little too neutral/yellowish.  I wish they were more of a peach undertone!

It does seem to last all day as well, without breaking up in patches or fading.  This is truly a gorgeous foundation!  I highly recommend. 

How I apply:  I wear this foundation with and without primer.  I apply with my fingers or my IT foundation brush.  I “finish” the look of the foundation with my beauty blender pro and setting spray.  Apply one very thin layer and apply additional as needed on spots that need extra coverage (around nose, acne scars etc.).

Texture: This is a liquid foundation and will need to be gently shaken up before each use.

Photos to come, in the meantime, please see the foundation in action in this video (this video below will start the video right when I’m applying the L’oreal foundation, 7:46 minutes in.)

Shop Online | Ulta BeautyAmazon

 

3 | Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation SPF 15, $39, 1 oz.

  • shade Light Honey

What I love:  This foundation is a work horse!  I can put it on and work a 12 hour day in the heat and it stays put.  I love the satin finish, that is semi-matte and not too shiny or dewy.

It also doesn’t contain any junk ingredients.  My skin feels really healthy and fresh after I wear this, even after very long, humid days.  I love that it keeps my pores clear and doesn’t make my skin feel clogged.

I also like that this foundation has a light SPF.  I do still recommend wearing a separate SPF, because the SPF is makeup can vary depending on how much coverage you use.  But I love having extra SPF on my face.

I wear this foundation year round, but especially love it in the summer.  I wear this foundation to work a lot because of it’s longevity.

The only downside is that the first few times I use a new bottle, the foundation can be a bit too oily and this causes some separation around my nose, even with proper shaking of the bottle before use.  But after a few uses, the foundation gets it’s great long-wear, semi-matte texture that I love.  I don’t know why, but I feel like the foundation takes a few uses to really mix, no matter how much I shake it.  This is one of the few foundation that only gets better as it gets older.

How I apply:  I wear this foundation with and without primer.  I apply with my fingers or my IT foundation brush.  I “finish” the look of the foundation with my beauty blender pro and setting spray.  Apply one very thin layer and apply additional as needed on spots that need extra coverage (around nose, acne scars etc.).

This is a serum/liquid texture.  The bottle needs to be shaken before every use.

Shop Online | Tarte, Sephora.

tarte rainforest of the sea water foundation fair beige light neutral dry mature skin foundation best top pick beauty blog blogger los angeles

 

4 | Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation, $46, 1.4 oz. {post}

  • shade 3
  • shade 4

What I love:  This foundation makes your skin look radiant.  It is very lightweight and seriously adds so much glow.  It’s a great foundation for mature skin because it reflects light.  You don’t need to layer on product.  It really makes your skin look healthy and fresh in one light layer.

The only downside is it that because it’s such a lightweight texture, this doesn’t cover breakouts well.  You will need a separate concealer.

This foundation photographs beautifully and looks very natural in real life.  Great bridal foundation, just make sure to use a setting spray.

How I apply:  I wear this foundation with and without primer.  I apply with my fingers or my IT foundation brush.  I set with setting spray.  Apply one very thin layer and apply additional as needed on spots that need extra coverage (around nose, acne scars etc.).

This is a liquid texture.  The bottle needs to be shaken before every use.

Shop Online | Charlotte TilburyNordstrom, Beautylish, Sephora.

charlotte tilbury light wonder shade 4 swatch for dry mature skin

 

5 | Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, $64, 1 oz. {review post, swatch post}

  • shade 4.25

What I love:  This foundation is iconic for a reason.  It gives your skin full coverage without looking cakey, creates radiance, and lasts.  Once you try Luminous silk, it’s game over.

This foundation stays really fresh and light looking on my skin, it never settles into my fine lines or forehead lines.  I do wish the ingredients were a bit cleaner/more natural.  But that’s my only wish.  Other than that, this truly foundation truly has an incredible finish that can not be replicated.

This foundation photographs beautifully.

How I apply:  I wear this foundation with and without primer.  I apply with my fingers or my IT foundation brush.  I “finish” the look of the foundation with my beauty blender pro and setting spray.  Apply one very thin layer and apply additional as needed on spots that need extra coverage (around nose, acne scars etc.).

This is a liquid texture.  The bottle needs to be shaken before every use.

Shop Online | Sephora, Nordstrom.

View more shade swatches in this post.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation Best for Dry Mature Skin shade 4.25 swatch swatches review

 

6 | Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation, $66, 1 oz.

  • shade 112, 02
  • shade 113

What I love:  Koh Gen Do makes some of the best foundations in the world.  They blend in like a second skin, look flawless in photos and in high definition video (!), look great on every skin type, age, texture, and skin tone.

They have perfected their undertones and their foundations just stand out from the rest.  They have made the perfect foundations for people who hate the look or feel of traditional foundations.  These do just look like a second skin and feel almost weightless.

They have no unhealthy ingredients, Koh Gen Do has a very popular skincare line, so their foundations all contain skincare level ingredients.  Your skin will actually improve over time wearing them.

The Aqua foundation is great for all skin types.  It has a radiant, second skin finish.  It lasts me all day with my typical application routine below.  This has a lighter weight, traditional liquid foundation texture.

This is an excellent foundation for photographs.  I use this on almost all of my red carpet clients and it would be great for photoshoots, family photos, bridal, etc.  It looks incredible in pictures.

How I apply:  I wear this foundation with and without primer.  I apply with my fingers or my IT foundation brush.  I prefer to apply this foundation with my fingers.  I “finish” the look of the foundation with my beauty blender pro and setting spray.  Apply one very thin layer and apply additional as needed on spots that need extra coverage (around nose, acne scars etc.).

This is a liquid texture.  The bottle needs to be shaken before every use.

Shop Online at | Sephora, Nordstrom, Beautylish, Amazon (this is their official/authentic Amazon store).

View more swatches in this video.

koh gen do aqua foundation shade 002 fair cool toned skin swatch

7 | Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation, $66, .71oz {post}

  • shade 112
  • shade 113, 123

What I love:  There truly is no other foundation like the Moisture Foundation.  I’ve heard from people who were on accutane (a medication for cystic acne which can dry out your skin on an extreme level) that this was the only foundation they could use while they were on the medication.

This foundation keeps your skin looking so healthy and fresh all day long.  It just makes my skin look really young again, no matter how much or little sleep I’ve had.  It never settles into fine lines.  I swear it plumps them up.

It’s just a truly unique foundation on every level.   It’s a dry skin miracle foundation.

I use this on clients who are hungover, clients who slept 3 hours the night before, clients with mature skin who said they didn’t think wear foundation anymore because it emphasized texture or wrinkles too much, and clients who are on medication that causes skin dryness or sloughing.  On each of them, where other foundations have balled up, looked too heavy, or won’t blend because of skin issues, the Moisture foundation just sinks in and becomes one with the skin.

I also use this as a lightweight concealer on clients who want a super natural look, or on male clients.

I also love the shade 113 is my perfect match, no mixing required.

How I apply:  I wear this foundation with and without primer.  I apply with my fingers or my IT foundation brush.   I prefer to apply this foundation with my fingers.  I “finish” the look of the foundation with my beauty blender pro and setting spray.  Apply one very thin layer and apply additional as needed on spots that need extra coverage (around nose, acne scars etc.).

This is a liquid-cream hybrid, so I do shake and lightly massage the tube before I take the cap off, to mix up the product inside.  This is a concentrated formula, so start with a very small amount and build as needed.

Shop Online |  Beautylish,  Amazon (this is their official/authentic Amazon store), Nordstrom.

View more swatches in this video.

Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation shade 112 swatch and demo review

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Side-by-side swatches:

fair and light foundation swatch swatches for dry mature skin fair and light foundation swatch swatches for dry mature skin

fair and light foundation swatch swatches for dry mature skin

fair and light foundation swatch swatches for dry mature skin

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More Makeup Posts To Check Out:

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Thank you for reading!  As always, I hope these posts are helpful.  Leave a comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

xo –

beauty blog blogger los angeles best of reviews tutorials hair makeup

 

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7 comments

Lisa Burkhart April 2, 2018 - 5:07 am

I love your blog! Thank you for your research.

Reply
Girl Get Glamorous April 2, 2018 - 9:51 am

Thank you. Lisa!

Reply
Natalie April 2, 2018 - 6:27 am

Very well done! I think you’re fabulous and enjoy your YouTube channel and your blog posts. It is so hard to find a foundation that covers nicely, blends like second skin and gives a girl some glow! This was super helpful, thanks girl!!

Reply
Girl Get Glamorous April 2, 2018 - 9:53 am

Thank you, Natalie! I appreciate that! And I agree about foundations, it’s so hard to find ones that looks natural but also have coverage. These formulas are makeup unicorns!

Reply
Victoria Lo May 25, 2018 - 8:47 pm

I am seriously living for how detailed this post is and the shade comparisons all on your face! I really want to try the KGD Moisture Foundation, but I’m having such a hard time choosing my shade since the brand isn’t available in Canada.
If you would be able to help me I’d appreciate it so much! I’m 3.5 in GA Luminous Silk and Buff in Hourglass Vanish Stick, but I think that both of these foundations are actually a bit dark for me. I think I’m a 113, but I’m also considering 112?

Reply
Molly Gardner May 25, 2018 - 10:40 pm

Hi Victoria,

I’m so glad to hear that the post is helpful!! Thank you! It took forever to photograph them all and edit, but I felt like it was worth it because I can not shop without swatches. I really need pictures to help me figure out shades.

Are you more cool toned or neutral or warm? Armani 3.5 looks a bit more warm to me. I like Koh Gen Do in 002 and 112 for myself (I’m cool, sometimes neutral with a faux tan). Shade 113 is a great neutral to warm shade that I use on a ton of makeup clients. If you lean towards neutral or warmer undertones, I think 113 would be a good bet for you.

This video I made might be helpful also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de21bVi7p_w It has swatches of all the Koh Gen Do shades that I have.

xo – Molly

Reply
Kortney October 29, 2018 - 10:21 pm

Thank you SO much for the super thorough reviews!! I was looking into the KGD Aqua foundation to order for the Sephora VIB sale and couldn’t find color swatches anywhere until I came across this- I may need to pick up the KGD Moisture as well- thanks again!!!

Reply

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