Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How does makeup smooth wrinkles?


If you apply makeup correctly, it can make you appear younger.
If you apply makeup correctly, it can make you appear younger.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Young skin is packed with collagen, but as you age, collagen breaks down and is replaced at a lower rate. The result? Dreaded wrinkles.

Some fortunate women have faces that hardly wrinkle at all as they age, while others wind up with deep crevices. In response, many cosmetic companies now sell anti-wrinkle products, including anti-wrinkle foundation.

Everyone knows moisturizer makes wrinkles appear smoother. So, it makes sense that a moisturizing foundation or a tinted moisturizer would help to hide your wrinkles. If your wrinkles are a bit deeper, however, you may want to use a foundation primer. First, apply moisturizer to a clean face. Follow the moisturizer with a foundation primer, preferably one that contains silica. The primer will essentially fill in the wrinkles. Lastly, apply a sheer amount of liquid foundation that contains a moisturizer. (Never go heavy with foundation; a caked-on, thick application will actually accentuate your wrinkles.) Follow up with a dusting of light translucent powder.

The other way a foundation may minimize the look of wrinkles is by actually treating the skin. Some foundations include wrinkle-reducing agents in the formula. Retinol is a popular ingredient in anti-aging foundations. This is an antioxidant, a derivative of vitamin A that, in theory, increases cell replacement and builds collagen. Peptides are also popular ingredients. They're small proteins thought to attack toxins and encourage collagen. AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and vitamins C and E are also found in wrinkle-reducing makeup.

While makeup advertisers may claim their foundations include these wrinkle-fighters, there's no guarantee the products contain enough of those ingredients to actually make a difference in reducing your wrinkles. Check the ingredients list to be sure the anti-aging ingredient is toward the top of the list, which may indicate a high concentration. For absolute certainty, you may want to ask your dermatologist for prescription-strength serums.

Here are few more tips on applying foundation to minimize the look of wrinkles:

  • Don't over-apply foundation; it will cake into the wrinkles and exaggerate the creases. Instead, use a lightweight, rather than thick, foundation and remove excess liquid with a sponge.
  • If you have oily skin, you may not want to use oily agents such as Retinol and vitamin E.
  • If you're very fair, have sensitive skin or a skin condition such as Rosacea, consult your dermatologist before you choose an anti-wrinkle foundation. Anti-wrinkle formulas may not just be extra irritating to your skin, they may make your skin more sensitive to the sun as well.

More to Explore