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The over 50s' guide to foundation, BB and CC cream

Don't know the difference between CC and BB cream? Not sure what coverage is for you? When it comes to makeup, there's a fine line between a great base and a cake face. There seems to be a product for everything at the moment, which is great...if you know what to do with each of them. With this wealth of options on the market, we decided it was time to hone in on how to properly choose a make-up base that suits you.


First, establish a skincare routine

We hate to say it, but whichever product you use, it can only do so much if you haven't paid proper attention to your skin beforehand. Remember to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise rigorously and you'll find that make-up sits better on your skin. You could throw in a good anti-ageing serum before your moisturiser in the morning as well, such as L'Oreal's Revitalift Laser Renew

Cleanse - Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser is a double-duty product that removes make-up and gently exfoliates at the same time (plus it smells lovely). 

Moisturise - Clinique Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturiser acts as a primer for make-up, blurs imperfections and will give you a matte finish.

Prime - if you're not using a moisturiser like the above, a separate primer will smooth skin and create a surface for make-up to glide and cling onto. Try Revlon's PhotoReady Face Perfecting Primer for an affordable option, or treat yourself to Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer.

Use a night cream - if you suffer from dark spots and hyper-pigmentation, Eucerin's (ok, pricey - but super-effective) Even Brighter Night Cream really works to reduce dark spots when used consistently. If it's glowing skin you want to wake up with, we highly recommend Superdrug's Naturally Radiant Glycolic Overnight Peel. Cheap, but so effective we're stockpiling it at GNHQ...


Then decide on your makeup base

What is BB cream?

BB cream is the best option for those lucky ladies who don't need much in the way of coverage. Standing for blemish balm or sometimes beauty balm, BB creams contain several products in one, including moisturiser, foundation and often serum - cutting down the number of products you need to use beforehand. Its light texture gives a natural look that nourishes skin at the same time as enhancing its appearance.

Avoid this one if you have more noticeable blemishes or unevenness that you'd like to cover up, but if you're in the market for a sheer skin-enhancing product, this is the one. They're also great for protecting and letting skin breathe during the summer.

Rimmel has a very affordable but good quality BB cream, 9-in-1 Skin perfecting Super Makeup, or try No7's mid-price, nutrient-rich option Beautiful Skin BB Cream, with formulas for normal, very dry and oily skin. If you fancy pushing the boat out, Estee Lauder's DayWear BB Cream contains anti-oxidants and hyaluronic acid, for the perfect skin-perfecting package.


What is CC cream?

CC creams are complexion correctors, designed to even out the skintone and provide slightly more coverage than a BB cream. If you have sallow skin, age spots or hyperpigmentation marks, a CC cream will cover them without looking too heavy. Bourjois's 123 Perfect CC Cream is another GNHQ favourite for brightening the skin whilst hiding imperfections, while Clinique's Moisture Surge CC Cream delivers great hydration. If you're keen on added anti-ageing benefits, give Olay's Regenerist CC Cream a go.


When to go for foundation

The most familiar of the bases, foundation provides full coverage, though the good ones no longer feel, or look, cakey. It's just a case of finding the right one for your skin type and knowing how to apply it well.

Whether you're going to a fancy do, are likely to be snapped in lots of photographs, or are just having a rough patch when it comes to your skin, a full coverage foundation is the secret to even and all-over cover. Here are some of our favourites...

Foundation for oily skin

Revlon Colourstay Foundation (pictured) for oily/combination skin is a great option for keeping your skin matte all day, plus it gives great coverage and is available in a wide range of shades. Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Foundation is also very good, especially for events you're likely to be photographed at, as it doesn't contain the light-reflecting particles that cause the white-faced look in flash photography.

Clinique Stay Matte foundation is another oil-banishing base, with the added bonus of feeling very light; and if you fancy trying something different (but excellent) bareMinerals Matte powder foundation is good for skin, and even better for oil-prone skin.


Foundation for dry skin

Diorskin Star (packed with hydration and with an SPF of 30) will keep dry skin feeling healthy, while NARS Sheer Glow foundation will, as the name suggests, give your skin a nice healthy luminescence while not being too heavy. L'Oreal True Match foundation is a creamy, but not clingy, texture which is easy to blend.


Foundation for normal skin

For normal skin, treat yourself to Estee Lauder's Double Wear foundation, which stays in place like nobody's business.

If you're looking for a brush to apply your foundation (and you don't have to), try Ecotools' Bamboo Foundation Brush for flawless coverage. While it's not a brush, the Beautyblender Classic Sponge is great for evenly applying liquid or cream foundation.


And don't forget...

  • Blend right into your hairline, around your ears and down your neck to avoid a tell-tale makeup tidal wave.
  • For full coverage, try a foundation brush for a more natural finish.
  • For CC creams, a beauty blender (pictured) is a great tool to ensure even application.
  • Choose the right shade for you. Don't match your foundation to the colour of your hand! Ideally, test the colour on your jawline - you're looking for the closest match to your normal skin colour.
  • Adjust your shade during the summer. Wearing a paler shade of foundation than you usually sport in deepest darkest winter seems a shame when you're all glowing from the sun, doesn't it? Looks a bit odd too...  










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