Apparently, foundation is the new lipstick. There was a time when lipsticks were the best-sellers of cosmetic lines and sales were seemingly recession proof. Now the mantel has been handed to foundation and, especially, ones that claim to be anti-aging. Instead of simply masking blemishes, foundation is being marketed as an aide to skin health and there are more anti-aging foundations to choose from every year. Between 2006 and 2008 the number of new foundations containing antioxidants went from 112 to 406, according to Mintel’s GNDP Product Database.

They still have a long way to go before they do more good than harm. And in too many cases we are being age-washed by a roster of chemicals with a dab of vitamin E. Even some of the most promising are marred by silicones and titanium dioxide. Our Five Best foundation picks are far from ideal, but are heading in the right direction. Note that everyone has their personal take on tone, texture and covering-ability, so these foundations have been chosen mostly because they have enough ingredients to justify the claim that they may be doing something for skin health. If anyone has some better recommendations, don't hesitate to post.

Lorac Natural Performance Foundation ($38). This is one of the few foundations that I go back to. It is oil (and paraben) free, so it is feather light and not at all greasy. There are no streaks or smears, just a really good even cover. Best of all, it just looks like my skin only much better (the shade I use is NP3). This foundation is aimed at those with sensitive skin and I have had no adverse reactions at all. Rounding out the usual silicones are vitamin A, olive leaf extract and papaya leaf extract. Papaya should be used more often in cosmetics. It has an enzyme called papain, which is good for stings and irritated skin. It is also a powerful pain killer (there is a story that it was injected into Harrison Ford's back when he was treated for a slipped disc on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).

Calvin Klein Infinite Matt Oil-free Foundation ($32). I believe that this is the first time that I’ve come across a makeup product that has matrixyl 3000, which is made by combining palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. Giving another antioxidant boost is green tea. There is also gotu kola (centella asiatica), a plant grown throughout Asia that, because of its skin healing properties, was traditionally used to treat leprosy. Its abilities as a wound healer and rebuilder of type 1 collagen are documented in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

AmorePacific Time Response Skin Renewal Foundation ($90). This upmarket Korean brand has some good things going for it (I used their eye cream for the longest time). This foundation aims to "illuminate skin from within". This is one green tea fest! There are seven different green tea plant derivatives providing a high dose of antioxidant. Amore's foundation also has SPF18. Available at Neiman Marcus.

Cover Girl Simply Ageless Foundation. Cover Girl's collaboration with Olay lifts this to above average warpaint. Star of the show is Olay's signature anti-aging ingredient, niacinamide (a form of vitamin B). Data from a Proctor & Gamble study revealed that 5% Niacinamide applied to the face for 12 weeks resulted in reductions of fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing). But there are independent studies too: “Topical application of Niacinamide has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin, prevent skin from losing water content, and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis,” according to the British Journal of Dermatology in 2000.

Ecco Bella Liquid Foundation ($19.29). Here there is the added bonus of some of the ingredients being organic. Aloe vera gel features high up with ingredient list and along with vitamin E provides some antioxidant power. Unusually for a foundation, it contains a handful of botanicals. These include comfrey, which is comprised of allantoin (speeds up the replacement of cells), and St John's wort, which is an anti-inflammatory.

Ingredients in Lorac

(Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Titanium Dioxide, Isohexadecane, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Pentylene Glycol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Butylene Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Glyceryl Ethylhexanoate/Stearate/Adipate, Zinc Oxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Methicone, Disodium Edta, Ppg-15 Stearyl Ether, Retinyl Palmitate, Xylitol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract (Citrus Limonum), Carica Papaya(Papaya) Fruit Extract (Carica Papaya). May Contain/Peut Contenir: Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxide (Ci 77492), Iron Oxide (Ci 77491), Iron Oxide (Ci 77499)

Ingredients in Calvin Klein

All shades contain:Cyclopentasiloxane, Aqua/Water/Eau, Isododecane, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Trimethylolpropane Triisostearate, Polysilicone-11, Dimethicone/Divinyldimethicone/Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Centella Asiatica Extract, Camellia Sinensis Extract, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Sodium Chloride, Oryza Sativa Starch, Methylparaben, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Propylene Carbonate, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Butylparaben, Polysorbate 20, Sorbitan Laurate, Carbomer, Hexyl Laurate, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Propylene Glycol Laurate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate +/- (May Contain/Peut Contenir) Ci 77491, 77492, 77499/Iron Oxides Ci 77891/Titanium Dioxide

Ingredients in Cover Girl Simply Ageless

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Talc, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, Ozokerite, Acetyl Glucosamine, Silica, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Sorbitan Isostearate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Panthenol, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Stearic Acid, Methicone, Disodium EDTA, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, May Contain: Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide

Ingredients in Ecco Bella

Purified water, titanium dioxide, glycerine, isopropyl palmitate (From Palm Wax), organic aloe vera gel, saccharide Isomerate (natural Sugar), organic sunflower oil, tea palmitate (from Palm Wax), kaolin, magnesium Silicate, organic Extracts of comfrey, chamomile, st.john's wort, calendula, cetyl alcohol (emulsifier), lecithin, flower Wax, iron oxides, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A), methylparaben, propylparaben