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Five Best foundations

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
Reviewed by Marta June 9, 2009 13 Comments
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
  • June 11, 2013

    by SusanG

    Marta, I was surprised to see that Tarte ReCreate was not among the latest 5 best foundations. It seems like not that long ago, Tarte ReCreate was all the rage on TIA. Has it fallen out of favor with the TIA gurus?

  • November 1, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    I used liquid foundation, when I used makeup at all, for the majority of my life... up till about 5 years ago when I went on a mineral makeup rampage. I must of sampled 30-40 different brands of loose minerals to find the right blend and perfect tone for my skin. Plus it was fun. I pretty much scoured the market for brushes, as well. I'd never go back to liquid. For one, I spend too much time and money on product that do their work on my face, and it feels just wrong to work a coloring lotions in on top perhaps messing with my labors. But honestly, I love how a dusting of loose mineral powder looks when finished. And I never worry about the ingredients; least not in the brand I use: Sterling Minerals. Peace ~jk

  • November 1, 2011

    by SusanM

    Marta,
    I am really, really looking forward to your updated list.
    Currently, I'm using Lancome's Teint Miracle (the newest of that brand) and have liked it and received compliments. I refuse to look at the ingredients list. :)
    Always open to trying something new and, hopefully, better.

  • November 1, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Cindy, I agree. And at the beginning of the article I say, these are far from idea.This article was posted in 2009 and we are long overdue for an update. We have found far better foundations since then I will put together a new Five Best list as soon as possible.

  • October 31, 2011

    by Cindy

    I have been researching the ingredients in foundation for awhile now, to try and find one without so many harsh chemicals. I read the top 5 foundations listed, and Im not sure why any with parabens or dimethicone would even make the list, let alone the other harsh chemicals listed. They do not rate very well on the cosemetics database.

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