The last time I posted makeup tips for older women on my blog, women wrote in begging me for "more, more, more." So ladies, here you go. I share 25 of my very best makeup tips for women over age 50.
Your Skin Comes First, Always
The first rule to makeup is to make sure your skin is in tip-top condition. The better your skin, the less makeup you'll need. In fact, keep your skin well-hydrated and exfoliated and you may be able to get away with little more than under-eye concealer, mascara and lip balm every day.
In my article, 20 Skincare Tips Every Woman Over 50 Should Know, I share everything you need to know about good skincare. From cleansing to exfoliation to moisturizing to anti-aging tips that really work, and a few that may not.
Plump Up Your Skin Temporarily With Moisturizer or Primers
No lotion or potion is going to magically make your fine lines and wrinkles disappear, but slathering on moisturizer before you apply foundation and concealer will temporarily plump up skin making those fine lines a little less visible. Moisturizing before foundation application also helps it glide on much more smoothly.
See my list of 14 Best Facial Moisturizers for Every Skin Type.
Choose the Right Foundation
Many older women still use the same foundation they used 10 years ago. However, your skin changes not only yearly, but seasonally. In winter months, you may need a creamy formula. In summer months you may find your skin becomes oily and a tinted moisturizer will do.
These days many foundations are formulated with mature, aging skin in mind. I have done the research and found the most popular foundations on the market for women over age 50.
Check it out: The Best Foundation for Mature Skin
Also learn what to look for in a foundation in my newest article for older women, Over 50? What to Look for in Foundation Makeup.
The Secret Lip Plumper
You may notice that as you get older, your lips seem thinner. To plump them up, lip gloss is your best bet. Nothing works better, in fact. Add a little color first by filling in lips with a lip liner or lipstick a shade or 2 darker than your natural lip color, then add a dab of gloss on top and voila! Instant lip plumper.
Read more in how to plump up thin lips.
Stay Away From Dark LipsticksUnless you have dark skin and plump lips, I recommend staying away from super dark lipstick, which ages everyone (see these pictures of Kelly Osbourne and Jessica Biel for proof). Rosy reds and pinks are better bets.
Not sure what color works for you? Go to a department store or Sephora and try on many colors with the help of a counter person and you'll figure out quickly what shades flatter your skin tone.
This is just one lipstick tip. Get more than a dozen more in (including the most flattering shade for older women) in Lipstick Tips for Older Women.
Try Eye Pencils Instead of Liquid LinersEye pencils are softer than liquid liners, which can be harsh on aging eyes. To soften the line even more, smudge it with your fingers or use an angled makeup brush dipped in dark shadow as a smudge-y eyeliner (this is how I line my eyes these days). Don't line the inside of the eye if you have small eyes, it makes the eye appear smaller.
Get more liner tips in How to Apply Eyeliner.
Make Your Eyes the Center of AttentionJust as a fireplace can be the focal point of a living room, consider making your eyes the focal point of your face. This will detract attention from any fine lines or developing turkey wattles.
Enhance your eye color with eyeshadow shades that will make your eyes pop. For brown or hazel eyes, golds and browns are gorgeous as are blues. Blue eyes look great with blue-gray, coppers, gold and browns and dark eyes look fantastic with deep rich shades.
Get more eye makeup tips in Eye Makeup Tips for Older Women.
Make Primer Your Best FriendJust as you prime a wall with primer before you paint it, the secret to flawless makeup lies in makeup primer. Applying a layer of primer between your skin and makeup will help your eyeshadow, foundation and mascara glide on flawlessly -- and most importantly -- stay put. I recommend primers for your eyes if you use shadows and for your face if you apply foundation. Layer a primer between your moisturizer and your foundation for extra benefits.
See The Scoop on Eyeshadow, Foundation and Mascara Primers for much more information.
The Brilliance Behind Highlighters and IlluminatorsWhen highlighter and illuminators first hit the beauty market I thought, "Oh another beauty fad that will fade." And then I tried them. Wow. Now I swear by highlighters to "lift" my face and instantly shave off a few years from my face. My absolute favorite highlighter is Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Concealer but there are many brands on the market that work well, too, and at a cheaper price.
There's a trick to using highlighters. Get the full scoop in my review of Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Concealer.
Play Up (& Downplay) Features With Contouring
Contouring is a hot new trend that can be useful for older women. The technique uses bronzers and blush to create definition to the face. The goal here is to create shadows to highlight your best parts (hello cheekbones and jawbone!) and downplay any bad parts like a weak or double chin, a big nose or thin lips.
Get the full story in How to Contour Using Makeup.
Don't Overdo Your MakeupLess is more when it comes to makeup as you age. You don't want to pile on the foundation, the eyeliner and the heavy lipstick. Instead, you want to use highlighter pens, tinted moisturizers and a lighter touch with the shadow and lipstick. Oh, and you might want to get some bangs.
Find out what happens when the most famous celebs go too far with the makeup in Are Your Hairstyle and Makeup Aging You?.
More makeup tips in How to Conceal Wrinkles on Your Face.
Curl Those Lashes
The best way to open up your eyes and make them pop is to curl your lashes. For added benefit, warm up the lash curler with a blow dryer for 3 seconds and then curl your lashes. Make sure to test the metal on your arm first so you don't burn your lid. Then apply a couple sweeps of mascara to your newly curled lashes.
If your lashes are not as thick and lush as they used to be you can get lash extensions at some salons. It's pretty pricey, but worth the splurge if you want to look great for a big event. You can also play around with false lashes. But apply individual lashes rather than a whole length of false lashes. It will look more natural.
Add a Pop of Blush to Your Cheeks
Too many women use blush incorrectly or not at all. (See Blush: How to Apply It Correctly). A pop of blush on the apples of your cheeks can brighten a dull complexion. But the trick is to blend it well so it's not obvious you're wearing blush. I see way too many women who look as if they've painted the blush on their faces in the dark, which brings me to my next tip....
Blend, Blend, Blend
Anything you put on your face needs to be blended well. The secret to great makeup application is to look as if you aren't wearing any makeup at all. Make sure your foundation doesn't have tell-tale lines at your chin. Blush should just be a pop of color as if you just came in from a brisk walk in the cold. Lip liner should not bleed into your skin. Your brows should not be obviously painted on. Remember, apply a light touch and blend, blend, blend.
I share many more makeup tricks such as these in my article, 11 Makeup Tricks That Will Take Years Off Your Face.
Under-Eye Circles Begone!
A big problem with older women (really women of all ages) tends to be the circles and darkness that can crop up under the eyes. These tend to get worse with age. The best way to cover these up is to use a rich under-eye cream at night and a lighter one during the day. You'll want to invest in a corrector in either pink or peach tones to cover the dark circles. Over this, apply a yellow-based concealer and foundation.
Use Creams Instead of Powders
Older women tend to have dry skin. Oil-free foundations and powder blushes are made for women with oily or combo skin.If you have dry skin, your best bets are creamy foundations and blushes. Also consider using a synthetic blush and foundation brush to apply creamy formulas. The natural bristles are better used with powders.
- More on blush: How to Apply Blush Correctly
- More on foundation: How to Apply Foundation
- More on makeup brushes: Top 14 Makeup Brushes
Pick the Right Pair of Glasses
If you wear glasses, make sure your frames are stylish. The late, great beauty writer Charla Krupp taught us in her book "How Not to Look Old" the importance of great frames when it comes to appearing youthful -- or older than you are. The right frames can take 10 years off your face, whereas the wrong ones can add 10 years.
If you wear glasses, I recommend reading Best Glasses for Older Women, which is chock-full of tips and tricks for choosing glasses.
Prevent Wrinkles By Wearing Sunglasses & Sunscreen
Dr. Fredric Brandt, the "Baron of Botox," says you can prevent wrinkles around the eyes with sunglasses. And you should always wear sunscreen even if you are just in the car. The before and after pictures of women who commute are interesting. The left side of the face is always more wrinkled than the right. Why? The sun will get you through the car window.
I list my favorite sunscreens in The Top 10 Sunscreens.
How to Conceal Droopy Eyelids Without Surgery
Drooping eyelids are another natural part of the aging process but there's no need to invest in eyelid surgery. You can spend 1000s on an eye-lift or you can try these beauty tips that cost nothing. Find out how in How to Conceal Droopy Eyelids Without Surgery.
Thinning or Bushy Eyebrows
I'm a stickler for good brows and am known for making my friends let me tweeze theirs. Keeping your brows done nicely is like having a facelift without surgery, according to author Charla Krupp's brow guy. Here are some tips for perfect brows:
- Get your brows professionally done. Nothing opens eyes up like curled lashes and neat brows. If you can't afford waxing or threading every few weeks, use the professional's job as a map for your own tweezing. Simply pluck the stray hairs that grow in between professional tweezing or waxing. See How to pluck your own brows for guidance.
- Drawn-in brows are a no-no. You know the pencil-thin line you see some of your friends or women in your town wear? Well, they only age you and they're somewhat tacky. Learn how to properly fill in sparse brows.
- Avoid tweezing gray brow hairs. Instead, conceal them with a brow powder or pencil.
Adopt a Great Skincare Routine
The key to looking younger than you is to get your skin in tip-top shape.
A good skincare routine will create the illusion of youthfulness. You shouldn't just cleanse and moisturize your skin, you should also exfoliate weekly and consider antioxidants or Vitamin A products. Super hydrating masks can do wonders to mature skin (see my list of the Best Face Masks).
If you really want to get rid of those wrinkles, you might consider a partial facelift, lasers, Botox or fillers. Read more about these procedures in my in-depth article, How to Fix Deep Wrinkles: 5 Wrinkle Fixes You Can Get at Your Doctor's Office.
How to Make Up Your Face For Evening
Evening makeup gives you the chance to add drama. This may come in the form of false eyelashes or contouring your makeup. Perhaps it means curling your lashes which you never bother to do for daytime. In any case, this is your chance to have fun.
For tips on evening makeup, see my article How to Make Up Eyes & Face for Evening. Just keep in mind that my tip to use a shimmery eyeshadow might not work on your if your lids are pretty wrinkly. Shimmers will only highlight that. Instead, sweep a neutral eyeshadow base on your lids.
Loved this? There's More!
Don't miss my other beauty tips for older women including: