So excited to share a round-up of the best natural, clean beauty foundation for women over 40. I’ve narrowed these top picks down to three products: a light coverage option, a medium coverage option and a buildable to full coverage option. Come see why these are my top picks and why they will work for you too. BONUS: These picks work FOR ALL AGES!
By: Lisa Fennessy
I am 45 years old and when it comes to makeup, I don’t want the same things I wanted in my 20s and 30s. Not only that, but my skin is a lot different than it used to be and my needs have changed. I want a refined, understated, polished, effortless, natural look. And I have a feeling I am not alone. That’s why I’m sharing my top picks for the best healthy (aka clean beauty) foundations and BB cream.
Here’s the thing though: Even though I may be adjusting my makeup as I get older, these picks are NOT just for those over 40. Nope, they work FOR ALL SKIN TYPES AND AGES. Why? Because who doesn’t want to look refined, understated, polished, effortless, natural?
You can skip right to my review if you want the down and dirty ASAP or you can read through for the who, what, when, where, why.
- Best BB cream: INIKA Organic BB Cream
- Best light-medium coverage foundation: ILIA Beauty True Skin Serum Foundation
- Best full coverage foundation: Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick in VII
If you are going for the full scoop, let’s start with a little foundation(al) knowledge.
BB cream vs. foundation
Foundation is a product designed to even skin tone, correct blemishes and eradicate redness. Depending on the one you choose, it will provide coverage from sheer to full, but the sheerest is typically still more coverage than a BB cream will provide. The sticking point with foundation is that you need to make sure you get the correct shade for your skin.
So what is a BB cream? In comparison, a BB cream is used to even out skin tone and reduce redness. It provides lighter coverage than a standard foundation, but more than a tinted moisturizer.
There are so. many. benefits here, but one huge one is that the color range is more forgiving. Typically you will only see 2-4 shades of BB cream from one line and that’s because one shade can work for many skin tones.
Who should wear a foundation vs. who should choose a BB cream?
If you are someone who typically wears foundation or likes a medium-ish coverage, try my foundation picks.
If you are someone who likes a lighter coverage or maybe you are new to using foundation…maybe you think to yourself…foundation isn’t for me…I’m not used to it…I don’t know how to apply it…I never wear makeup and I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard…whatever it may be, start with the best BB cream.
Also important to note: As we get older, our skin’s overall texture changes. It’s impacted by both endogenous (genetics, cellular metabolism, hormone and metabolic processes) and exogenous (sun exposure, pollution, ionizing radiation, chemicals, toxins) factors.
Together, these can lead to cumulative structural and physiological alterations AKA, thinning skin, fine and deep wrinkles, dry skin, discoloration, laxity, dullness, and roughness.
That’s why as you get older, I recommend that you STEP AWAY FROM THE POWDER AND MATTE FINISH FOUNDATIONS.
They can accentuate deep and fine wrinkles, play up dullness and highlight skin texture. A dewy finish is always in, and it can help skin look alive, vibrant and, well, at it’s best.
Best natural foundation pro tips
Pro tip #1
Make sure you blend foundation and B.B. Cream down into your neck—there is nothing that looks more odd than an olive face and a white neck.
Pro tip #2
You can apply most foundations with your fingers or a beauty blender but my go-to is a foundation brush. I specifically love a good kabuki. Applying with fingers and then blending with a brush ensures product is applied evenly and gives a beautiful polished look.
Pro tip #3
Pro tip #4
Make sure skin is primed and moisturized before applying. You can use anything from a face oil like the Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil to a true foundation primer like ILIA’s True Skin Radiant Priming Serum to my current obsession; Iris&Romeo’s The Reset. This will ensure product goes on even and smoothly.
RELATED: Check out my favorite clean beauty makeup brushes.
Best Organic BB Cream: INIKA Certified Organic BB Cream | $49
Okay if you haven’t heard of INIKA, where have you been!? INIKA was started in 2006 and is based out of Sydney, Australia. They are 100% vegan, use certified organic ingredients, and are cruelty-free. I’ve pretty much loved everything I’ve tried from this line (with the exception of their liquid eyeliner).
The INIKA Organic BB Cream contains 80% certified organic ingredients which is higher than the NOP and the Australia Organic Food Chain’s certification threshold of 70%. I also love that it has prickly pear oil, pomegranate, avocado and jojoba oils to help moisturize as well. I mean when my makeup also doubles as skincare, I’m ALL IN!
This formula goes on pretty sheer but it JUST WORKS. You can see how my freckles, hyperpigmentation, and a few of my broken capillaries show through but it evens out everything just enough to look put together and polished.
It doesn’t scream, Hi, my name is Lisa and I wear a ton of makeup! It’s more like, Hi, my name is Lisa. Don’t I have great skin?
Just as an example, the day my sister started wearing this to work and one of her coworkers, who she never really talks to, commented that she “looked pretty.” But you see, they weren’t like, Sweet foundation girl! It’s just one of those things that pulls your look together without being a thing.
Beige works for me but I can make Honey work too.
- Lightweight coverage that just WORKS
- Highlights what you want and downplays what you don’t
- Evens out skin tone enough to look pulled together and polished (kinda perfect for a WFH day!).
- Super natural, breathable and has a sateen finish
- Adds a little radiance
- Easier to get a color match because one shade will suit several skin tones
- Packaged in plastic
- Comes in very few shades
RELATED: Read my full INIKA review.
Best light-medium coverage foundation: ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation | $54
If you are looking for a clean beauty foundation that breathes life and glow into your skin, girl, THIS IS IT! This weightless, light-coverage, liquid foundation delivers a natural look that truly mimics how your skin looks and feels. I mean, it’s literally undetectable to the naked eye when applied, which is by far my favorite part. I have it on here. I’m talking FLAW-LESS.
True Skin Serum Foundation (aptly named btw) also has some skin-benefiting ingredients like aloe to help soothe irritated skin and plant-based squalane to help balance and improve elasticity.
This foundation comes in several shades so if you need help color matching, email [email protected] for pro help.
- A formula that breathes life into your skin via a dewy finish.
- Lightweight coverage that’s buildable to medium coverage.
- A true “your skin but better” finish.
- Does not dry out skin or dry cakey.
- Fragrance free (just smells like makeup, no added scents).
- Goes on even and blends easily with fingers or a brush.
- Vegan, which means if you’re avoiding animal byproducts, this one is for you.
- Packaged in glass.
- Comes in 30 shades
- The top easily unscrews, so just beware if your makeup bag is often on the go
- Formulated with silicones, which are non-biodegradable
Best full coverage foundation: Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick in VII | $68
My husband literally said my makeup looked good when I was wearing this for the first time. (And he never comments on stuff like that!). This is perfect if you want a dewy finish with the option to build more coverage.
- Medium coverage that’s buildable; wear a little, get a little coverage, wear more, get more
- Mostly a seamless finish (as I build it, I can see it around my nose like most foundations)
- Dewy finish
- Comes in a stick (not liquid)
- Love the packaging and magnetic top
- No scent
- Comes in 21 shades
- On a personal note, I don’t think this is the exact color match for me. It reads a bit yellow.
- I can see it collect around my nose as I build coverage
What is your go-to clean beauty foundation or BB cream?
TNK Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.
Common questions about foundation and BB creams for women over 40
Liquid foundation with a dewy finish will leave skin looking healthy, glowing and alive. These are my top two recommendations.
INIKA’s organic BB cream is a barely-there cruelty-free BB cream that uses certified organic ingredients. Read my review here.
BB cream is a makeup “beauty balm” or “blemish balm” that provides coverage and skincare benefits while foundation typically only provides coverage. Read about my top pick here.