Much like your skin care routine, your approach to makeup changes as you age. While you might have been able to pull off bright shades of eyeshadow and intense blush in the ’80s or blue eyeliner and metallic-colored lipstick in the ’90s, mature skin requires a more subtle, understated approach.
“Wearing the wrong type of makeup or the incorrect application can affect how old a person looks. You can end up enhancing all the imperfections you want to hide, add unnecessary texture to your skin and dull down your complexion,” explains makeup artist and stylist, Sophia Porter. “Aside from skin care being the number-one contributing factor to achieving the best makeup look, using the right products will help greatly as well.”
Here, makeup experts share how to swap out outdated techniques that may be aging your appearance and how to achieve that fresh-faced, youthful look you’ve been wanting.
If you have acne scars or discoloration on your forehead and cheeks, you might turn to a full-coverage foundation to hide your imperfections. While you might conceal these problematic spots, Porter explains that because your skin now has more fine lines and enlarged pores, the thickness of the foundation can seep into these areas, making them more pronounced. “Trying to completely cover with too much product will make your complexion very dull and your makeup will look caked on,” she says.
What Makes You Look Fresh-Faced: Strategic Placement of Foundation
For a smarter approach that will still give you the coverage you’re seeking without adding candles to your birthday cake, Porter suggests using a lighter-coverage foundation or being specific about where you put makeup. “For more mature skin, I like to focus on the center of the face and blend outward to avoid making the foundation look like a mask,” she explains. “Also, I only apply powder to the areas that will get oily or need a little setting power, not all over.” When applying your makeup, she also recommends patting instead of rubbing to ensure it doesn’t settle in thick.
As you start inching toward your 40s, 50s and beyond, you might notice that your once oily skin is now drifting more toward the dry side. Though this is a natural part of aging, it can also make you look older, explains makeup artist and stylist Jules Annen. “If your skin is dry, your makeup may flake, crack and look dull, thus making you look weathered,” she says.
What Makes You Look Fresh-Faced: Dewy Complexion
In addition to applying a moisturizer or primer prior to makeup application, Annen suggests selecting products that feature hydrating properties, or offer a dewy or satin finish instead of matte.
If you’ve been using the same trusty eyeliner for decades, creating that go-to cat-eye look is almost as second nature as brushing your teeth. It’s tempting to never leave the house without those thick lines encompassing your eyes, but Porter says heavy eyeliner comes across even harsher as you get older, especially when it settles into the tiny wrinkles in your eyes.
What Makes You Look Fresh-Faced: Softer Lines
Instead of looking like you pulled an all-nighter, go for a softer look with a creamy pencil eyeliner, Porter recommends. After you apply a thin line, smudge it just a tad. “This will help prevent the skin from crunching up and creating more texture on the lids, since creamy products are more flexible. Using cream formulations are much more texture-friendly and look beautiful on mature skin,” she explains.
Prepare for your mind to be blown: there’s a solid chance you’ve been using the wrong shade of under-eye concealer…your whole life. According to Annen, many people stick with a traditional shade without ever realizing how important it is to match your dark circle-fighter to the pigment of your face.
What Makes You Look Fresh-Faced: A Concealer Shade That Matches Your Skin Tone
“Think about the color wheel when addressing under-eye dark circles. Pink can even out fair skin that’s ruddy and will neutralize purple under-eye circles. Yellow is best for olive or darker skin tones and will neutralize purple-blue under-eye dark circles,” she explains.
Remember that dark circles and puffy eyes aren’t the same issues. In fact, if you put makeup on top of puffy eyes, she says it’ll only make it look more obvious. Instead, she suggests using eye creams or gels that feature caffeine or vitamin E to tighten your skin and reduce swelling.
For those who lean towards more pale skin than olive, blush can add some much-needed color to your face—highlighting your cheekbones and accentuating your eyes. But that blush you’ve been using since 1985? It’s probably the wrong shade for your skin today. And the way you applied it when you were a teenager? It’s now time to use a more mature hand stroke. “Many times, people want to concentrate their color directly on the apples of the cheeks while smiling. This will actually make your face look more droopy since the placement of that cheek color drops when you’re not smiling. Mature skin can often look dull or overdone with the wrong cheek color,” Porter explains.
What Makes You Look Fresh-Faced: Well-Placed Cream Blush
What’s a fresher technique? Porter says to keep a straight face when applying and opt for a cream color over a powdered blush and finish off your look with a bronzer. “Using thin layers, make sure to blend upward towards your temple area to create a natural flush. Using a bronzer on the perimeters of your face and lightly on the cheek area can add a youthful radiance to the complexion as well,” she says.