The blush of youth is one thing. But can makeup with retinol, antioxidants, soy, and other anti-agers turn back the clock? "It's a good way to round out what you're already doing with your skin-care routine," says Chicago dermatologist Amy Derick, M.D. In other words, pair an anti-aging cosmetic with your favorite serum or cream, and you'll be delivering a one-two punch to your wrinkles, age spots, and more. Dr. Derick is quick to note the best age fighter around is sunscreen, common in many of the latest cosmetics. And while it takes consistent, prolonged use of almost any treatment product (at least four weeks, derms agree) to produce results, most multitasking makeup delivers an instant youth-restorer as well: reflective particles that bounce and scatter light so fine lines and imperfections look less obvious (call it the candlelight effect). Of course, how you apply it matters as much as what you're applying. Here are the best tips for your personal complexion concerns.
Your Concern: Dryness
What the derms say: Nothing accentuates fine lines like parched skin, but dryness is easy to remedy. Look for a foundation that contains humectants, or moisturizers known for their ability to absorb and hold on to moisture from the air, says New York City dermatologist David Colbert, M.D. He's a fan of glycerin as well as hyaluronic acid, a substance that's naturally in our skin and that he calls a "super humectant," given that the molecule can retain up to a thousand times its weight in water. "The idea is to retain as much moisture as possible, especially since foundation can otherwise make skin look masklike," he says. And if you're really dry, avoid any base that contains salicylic acid, because the exfoliator sweeps away skin's natural oils, says Dr. Derick.
What the makeup artist says: Before you scan a package for any of the above ingredients, see whether the word "matte" appears anywhere on it. If so, move on to the next candidate, says makeup artist Kimara Ahnert, owner of studios in Greenwich, CT, and New York City. "A matte finish highlights dryness," she explains. Instead, try MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear SPF10 Foundation ($29.50, department stores) or, for sheerer coverage, Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($32, Sephora); both hydrate with hyaluronic acid. Skip powder foundations, concealers, blushes, and bronzers, too; unless it's specially formulated, powder can easily sink into and emphasize lines.
An exception: Physicians Formula Cashmere Wear Ultra Smoothing Bronzer ($14, drugstores; 2), which relies on - no surprise - hyaluronic acid for a smooth finish. For a safe bet, use a liquid or cream formulation, like Kimara Ahnert Creme Wear Blush ($25, kimara.com). To help your makeup blend easily, apply it with a damp sponge. And if you have particularly dry patches, consider applying a base coat of ... eye gel. "It just gives you a little added moisture and slip, which helps the makeup set without looking dry," Ahnert says. Try Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel ($15, drugstores). For lips, she recommends good old-fashioned ChapStick (or any other waxy balm) in lieu of fancier lip primers: "You'll really seal in hydration, which is key, but you'll also create a smooth surface that keeps your (ideally creamy) lipstick from caking." Have extra-dry lips? Choose a clear lipliner: "Colored liner clings to dry skin in an obvious, not so blendable way," Ahnert notes. And last, if your eyelids are dry, use a cream or liquid eye shadow primer to help to conceal and moisturize any flakiness. Try Sephora Collection Perfecting Eye Primer ($14, Sephora).