Most women wear makeup. Some do it to boost their self-confidence and to feel good about themselves, while others do it to conceal or get rid of some of their insecurities.
Whatever the reason, wearing makeup has a lot of benefits—as long as it is done correctly.
Also, as we get older, our skin changes its elasticity. The need to be even more careful with the cosmetic products we put on our face is more important than ever.
That is why we asked experts to help us explore some of the most effective makeup tips for older women. Let’s find out:
Table of Contents
- Avoid harsh cleansers
- Use a Hyaluronic Acid Serum
- Use a dimethicone-based primer
- Do not skip sunscreen
- Avoid thick, cakey foundation
- Wear foundation, BB or CC cream
- Avoid using matte makeup
- Less is better
- Use cream-based products as opposed to powders
- Seek out all-natural products
- Less is more when it comes to makeup
- Make your makeup pop and fit your look and age
- Practice makes perfect
Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD
Dermatologist | Founder, Stay Skin Safe
Avoid harsh cleansers
Do not use clarifying and exfoliating face washes that contain alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, mandelic acids) on a daily basis. They will dry out your skin, and make fine lines and crepey texture more obvious. Instead, choose a gentle creamy wash or beauty bar that won’t strip moisture or damage the protective skin barrier.
Use a Hyaluronic Acid Serum
After washing your face and patting dry, apply the serum with humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid. This molecule can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water into the top layers of the skin. It pulls moisture from the deeper layers in the environment into the top layer of your skin, to make it appear temporarily hydrated, dewy and plumped.
Use a dimethicone-based primer
Whether you choose a clear or tinted product, dimethicone will help fill in the tiny fine lines, so that your make up can sit smoothly on top of your skin, without settling into the creases and fine lines. It creates a blurred effect, that will make skin smoother and reflect light, a quality found in younger skin.
Related: Best Primers for Oily Skin
Do not skip sunscreen
UV rays cause skin aging. They break down collagen, which forms the structure of our dermis (deeper skin layers). Without collagen, the skin becomes wrinkled and crepey.It’s important to wear it every single day, and not just for a day at the beach. Every 10 to 20-minute errands outdoors adds up over time. It causes damage that is impossible to completely repair.
Advice: look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. Apply it underneath your make up every day.
Avoid thick, cakey foundation
Avoid applying thick, heavy foundations and concealers on your skin, especially over areas with obvious creepiness and wrinkles. The makeup can settle into these lines and make the skin actually look older. Choose lighter or water-based formulations that will blend into your skin. For the same reason, avoid powders that settle into lines and make skin appear older.
Wear foundation, BB or CC cream
Adding an all-over blendable color, like a light-weight foundation, BB (beauty balm) cream or CC (color correcting) cream is a very helpful tool for older women because it can help even out the skin tone and minimize the appearance of blotchiness and age and sun-related brown spots. It has been suggested that even skin tone can make skin up here older than wrinkles themselves!
Related: Best Foundation for Mature Skin
Inessa Fishman, MD
Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Aviva Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics
Avoid using matte makeup
In my opinion, our skin needs to be healthy from the inside out, and the main building blocks for this are good diet (lower processed carbs, more healthy fats, and proteins), good hydration, effective stress management, and exercise.
From a skincare standpoint, the skin needs to be enough to shine on its own–with little to no makeup.
The biggest mistake I see older women making is the use of matte makeup. Matte makeup, whether concealer or powder or tinted sunscreen, tends to pick up every pore and wrinkle in the skin, magnifying the appearance of every tiny imperfection. I don’t think matte makeup looks good on the younger crew, and it can be especially aging on older women.
Instead, I recommend makeup with a bit of shimmer and light diffusion–to highlight a glowy, luminous appearance.
Founder, Chic Studios School of Makeup
Less is better
The key to applying makeup on ‘mature’ skin (older women) is that less is better. There is no need to apply a heavy amount of foundation, as more can make the skin (and client) look older.
Applying primer before foundation (and after skin care) is an important step. Apply this all over the face evenly, as primer helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. The primer also makes makeup last longer, so there is little to retouch later in the day.
Remember that light colors accentuate, bring ‘out’, or highlight the area you apply it to, so when applying makeup on mature skin, shimmery products should be avoided. Shimmer eyeshadow will accentuate eye wrinkles, which makes the client look older.
Ensure the skin is always hydrated. This can start with great skincare, lip balm, a hydrating mist spray before the makeup is applied, and don’t forget the neck area as well. In cases where the skin is really dry, facial oil can be used for plumpness and extra hydration.
A product like cake liner (or tight liner) can be ‘popped’ onto the upper lash line, which instantly makes the eyes look bright and fresh. This can be done for all eye shapes or client of any age group.
Make-up Artist | Founder, Mandie’s Makeup Mastery Academy
Use cream-based products as opposed to powders
It is so important for older women to feel sexy and beautiful, too! Unfortunately, the same tips that make a 20 or 30-year old look stunning can make a mature woman look like she’s even older than she is, and unless you’re a teenager trying to get into a bar, no one wants that!
Any time I give makeup tips, I start with skincare, because having healthy and well cared for skin makes the makeup process so much easier!
If you don’t already have a great cleanser, exfoliant, moisturizer, serum, and eye cream, that is the place to start! An eyeshadow primer can also be useful, since the natural oil on our eyelids coupled with the fact that most people’s eyelids droop when they age, means a lot of eyeshadow creases, and eyeliner rubs off/smudges.
A good primer like Too Faced Shadow Insurance can stop or reduce that!
Once your skin is healthy and prepared for makeup, it’s time to reconsider which products to use. Generally speaking, our skin doesn’t produce quite as much moisture over time, so I recommend cream-based products as opposed to powders, because it is more hydrating, and is less likely to look cakey on dry and wrinkled skin.
I also encourage ladies to use less shimmer or glitter than they may have when they were younger, because it has a tendency to really emphasize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – so keep it to smoother areas, or use very finely-milled shimmer (not as chunky).
Many experts suggest not using bright/dark colors, but I believe they can be used carefully – what fun is makeup if you’re not allowing yourself expression? A bold lip can be fantastic on everyone, but more natural colors do tend to blend in better, which softens the appearance of lines by not emphasizing a border that may not be as smooth (like a lipline).
Founder, Dawes Custom Cosmetics
Seek out all-natural products
One of the best makeup tips for older women is to seek out all-natural products with ingredients that offer anti-aging, hydrating skincare benefits, and to avoid pro-aging ingredients such as certain alcohols.
Avoid the following:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Alcohol denat
- SD alcohol
- Benzyl Alcohol
However, some alcohols can actually be beneficial to the skin and act as emollients to help protect your skin and keep moisture in.
Other ingredients to look for in lip products include 2 natural peptides: Maxi-lip and Dermaxyl which instantly and visibly smooth, plump, and hydrate lips while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They also aid in improving your lip contour by stimulating collagen production.
Basically acting like a magic eraser for lips as fine lines are a dead give away of our age. We like Dawes Custom Cosmetics 24/7 Miracle plumping and moisturizing lip treatment which can be worn under or over lip color for a perfect finish.
Kamika J. King
Founder & CEO, Makeba
Less is more when it comes to makeup
As I get older (I’m 43), I find less is more when it comes to makeup. But more than that, the foundation is the most important part. In our youth, we take for granted the natural plumpness of our skin. Preferring to worry about what comes out of it, ie. pimples and zits, and how the surface looks.
When we get older we equally take for granted the foundation, worrying more about wrinkles and sallowness.
I suggest we begin to pay more attention to the foundation of our skin by adding into our beauty regimen natural oils and toners that will give our faces back some of that fleeting suppleness that comes with aging. Many don’t know that a regimen that includes a good face oil serum reduces skin oiliness.
Yes, a good face oil that is non-comedogenic fools your face’s sebum glands into thinking they’ve produced enough, therefore reducing face oiliness rather than exacerbating it over time.
Oil blends such as grapeseed, rosehip seed, sea buckthorn, squalane, jojoba, and argan oils are excellent re-plumpers (yes, I made that up) for the face. They not only are absorbent and non-greasy when mixed together as a serum, but they are also multifunctional – helping with skin dryness, age spots, adult onset acne, and wrinkles. Frankincense oil is the holy grail and will brighten, tighten, soften, and smooth your skin. I can’t live without it!
Along with my face oil serum, I incorporate a good pH balancing toner. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but an organic, low ingredient, astringent one is always best. Why, because too many competing ingredients could cause irritation.
Astringent toners work to balance our skin by bringing the pH down from more base chemicals such as water and detergents/soaps to a more acidic level. They also close (harden) the pores and give the skin a tighter firmer appearance. Including a good humectant such as glycerin will draw moisture to the skin. I love our I AM So Fine Face Toner. It is a Holy Basil and Aloe Vera distillation that is excellent for tightening and refreshing my skin.
Together with the face serum, I use our I AM Smooth, I get a simple face routine that supports the foundation of my skin. With this combination, I am able to maintain plumpness to my skin and a naturally radiant glow that doesn’t require a lot of makeup. I once again wear makeup to enhance what I have, not to cover it up.
Founder, Skin Care Ox
Make your makeup pop and fit your look and age
As we grow older as women, our skin changes — some better and some worse. But makeup does not have an age limit. There are a ton of healthy tricks to make your makeup pop and fit your look as well as your age.
Skip the eye shadow
Try to avoid any contour in the crease of your eyes, as you might make it look like you have even deeper creases than you actually do! Just start with a little bit of your favorite mascara and you’ll be all set. As an older woman, simplicity in makeup is the absolute key.
Related: Best Natural Mascara
Make sure you remember to moisturize around the eyes
After that, remember to avoid using the heaviest concealers. These concealers will look thick and cake-like near your eyes and that’s never a good thing.
Focus on warmer colors
Also, if your skin looks a little dull, it’s time to focus on warmer colors to give a little brightness to your look. If you can find a foundation that is a half-shade lighter than your true skin tone, your older skin will look much more bright and alive.
Let’s touch on those dark circles around your eyes
To start, apply foundation to that area of your face (even use a shade lighter than your skin tone here), then add concealer over the top and a bit of powder to set the look and hide the color change.
Oh yeah, do NOT forget to wear sunscreen!
Owner, Clichy Beauty
Practice makes perfect
When it comes to makeup, I like to think of myself as a seasoned beauty. For seasoned beauties, it is important to have regular skin care and beauty ritual. My makeup ritual is to wear makeup most days of the week, but keep the application simple enough that it is fun and enjoyable.
For days that you are heading off to work, I keep my makeup application to 25 minutes, which is time enough to do a complete face, including brows and strip mink lashes.
The key is a simple eye application, a light smoky eye works best for me for during the week.
In the evenings, I make sure to remove makeup with a makeup wipe, and then thoroughly cleanse my skin. I follow that up with a moisturizer and retinol to renew my skin overnight.
Practice makes perfect, so I like to watch and play along in Facebook live makeup videos. In addition to learning tips, I have met a community of engaging women that come together around makeup and support each other.
Creator, Facial Magic
Less is more. It seems counter-intuitive, but as we age we actually need less makeup, not more. Thickly layered makeup on an older face just gets caught in the creases and could make us look garish and overdone, not to mention, years older.
Tone that face. The best makeup starts with a good foundation – a smooth, toned, unwrinkled face and neck. All-natural facial exercise is the first step to a beautifully made up face. Facial Magic is the original face workout program that really works. Created more than 25 years ago, it has stood the test of time and is based on a proven, effective 100-year-old French method of resistance exercises.
Forget the fads. Glittery eye shadow and swooping cat eyeliner can be adorable on the young, but it’s not for older women. Stick to natural eye shadow shades, such as earth tones, and be stingy with the eyeliner. Also, bright red lips can be aging, so be careful when choosing bright lip colors.
Co-founder, Hynt Beauty
At age 60, I am always told how young I look for my age. I use excellent quality skincare with clean ingredients and I find that I use less makeup now than before. A mask of heavy makeup is not appealing to anyone. Makeup should be used to enhance your features and skin. Embrace those character lines and wrinkles as they prove a life well lived. Apply concealer and/or foundation only where you need it and blend out very well.
The most important advice that I can share is staying out of the sun as much as possible, wear a hat when you are in the sun and wear mineral based sunscreen every day. Hyperpigmentation or age spots are caused by sun damage which diminishes the brightness and clarity of the complexion. Lastly, take care of your teeth, as that is to me the most telltale sign of age.
Marian Rothschild, AICI CIC
Certified Personal Image Consultant | Award Winning Author, Look Good Now and Always
Most women have concealer in their makeup kit but don’t use it because they never learned how. When you understand the correct way to use under eye concealer it can take years off your appearance and look like magic. Really.
First, apply primer in the under eye crease that’s about an inch below the eye. Blend downward, on to the upper cheek.
Next, follow these four quick steps, and you’ll be amazed.
- Match concealer color to 1/2 – 1 shade lighter than your skin tone.
- Dab a small amount of product, starting at the inside corner of the eye, down on to the crease line under your eye, just above your cheek.
- Pull product downward, on to the top of the cheek area. Blend well.
- Blend product into the under-eye area, but not all the way up to the eye.
These steps, along with proper use of mascara, brow filler, liner, blush and lip color, will significantly improve your overall skin tone and decrease the age factor that mother nature has blessed upon us.
Kasey Adam Spickard
Makeup Artist & Creative Consultant, Face By Kase
Dewy Skin Finish
As we age our skin can become dull and lose elasticity. Look for a dewy skin finishes when looking for foundations. This will give the skin the appearance of being fresher and younger. I love Armani Luminous Silk Foundation topped with Nudestix All Over Face Color Glow on the high points of the face. It makes the skin look years younger and dewy without being glittery or metallic. For lighter skin tones go for Illumi-Naughty, for deeper skin tones go for Hey Honey or Brown Sugar, Baby.
On older skin, you want to avoid using a ton of powder-based products. They tend to dry out the skin and can look flat. I love a cream blush to create freshness and dewiness on the skin. You also want to make you’re staying in the peach/pink color family, they help give a youthful appearance. The Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo in Pravella/Janelle is perfect to achieve this look.
In addition to eyeliner and matte eyeshadows on the lid, create definition and lift in the outer eye by using a drop shadow on the lower lash line. Use a small scallop eyeshadow brush and blend a dark brown or black shadow along the bottom outer corner of the eye. This will give the illusion of a larger more uplifted eye.
Professional Makeup Artist
Great looking makeup starts with skincare. Keeping the skin hydrates not only helps with the smooth application of makeup but also helps with the wear of your makeup. Makeup isn’t absorbed by hydrated skin. Skin maintenance doesn’t need to be complicated. Using products to help with cell turnovers like alpha, beta, or fruit acids and hyaluronic acid for hydration. I like Paula’s Choice for cell turnover and Sonia Roselli Skincare for hydration and anti-aging.
As we age, our skin loses its natural glow. I love to use the Radiance Primer by Laura Mercier underneath makeup or even alone to bring radiance back to the skin without it looking greasy. I also use it under the eyes to smooth out and neutralize discoloration underneath the eyes.
I feel cream blush looks more natural because it gives a more natural flush. I like to place blush directly under the inner corner of the eye when smiling to give a more rested appearance. If you are fearful of applying too much, apply a generous amount and blend before your foundation and then apply your foundation over. I also like to add a touch color to the chin and temples. Nars The Multiple Stick and Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge are great options.
Personally, I feel overly matte foundations are aging to older women and full coverage foundations can also be a bit much. Here are picks for foundations in different formulations that I feel are flattering for mature skin because they don’t settle into the lines, have coverage, and create a soft focus effect on the skin: Kristofer Buckle Perfecting Foundation Stick, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Kevyn Aucoin Etherealist Liquid Foundation, By Terry Densiliss Compact Powder Foundation.
Black Eyeliner can harsh after a certain point and make you look older. Navy can give you the effect of black and also it brightens the whites of the eyes. I also like eyeliners with light reflecting properties. Laura Geller Inkcredible Gel Eyeliner are great options because they are soft and smudgeable but don’t smear once they dry down. Lots of flattering color options to bring out the eye color and make the eyes look brighter.
I like a lengthening mascara to open up the eyes. Lashes seem to shorten as we get older. Benefit They’re Real Mascara comes in the flattering colors Black, Blue, and Brown. If you have problems with mascara smudging, Blinc is a great option because it comes off with warm water but does not smudge because of the tubing technology and comes in 6 colors!
And to get additional soft focus and help makeup to last all day, I like It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores and Laura Mercier Translucent Powder Glow.
Since lips lose color as we age, I like to color on the lips but the not the long-wearing colors that can show every lip wrinkle. I really like the Clinique Chubby Sticks. I feel the look more natural no matter if you are using the sheers or the bolds. Chantecaille has great moisturizing lip colors. To keep lipsticks from bleeding, I like to use an invisible lip liner. Bite Line and Define lip primer, not only defines the lips but also helps to fill in the lips so your lip color goes and smoother and doesn’t feather.
For a beautiful makeup application on mature skin, always start with good skincare. A skin plumping or firming moisturizer will create a perfect canvas for your foundation. Consider a smoothing primer. This helps with the texture of the skin.
Then, for the foundation, choose something with full coverage but a lightweight feel. CC creams are great. And my biggest advice, hold the powder! Powder sits into fine lines and accentuates them.
Instead of using a big, fluffy brush, use a small shadow brush to be very precise with the powder ONLY in the places it is needed for shine. Typically the chin and T zone. Curl your lashes to open the eyes or consider eyelash extensions so you can go sans mascara!
CEO, Hello Baby Bump
Here are a couple of tips for makeup application for older women:
Minimize dark circles: Use a concealer under the eyes in a triangle ‘clown’ shape. This draws the attention down as the product isn’t sitting directly under your eyes. Remember to pick a concealer only 1-2 shades lighter.
Mascara: A good mascara can really open your eyes up, appearing brighter and younger. Curl your lashes slightly for the best effect.
Learn to contour: This gives a little more structure to your face and it is unique for everyone. Use a powder/cream 1-2 shades darker (matte) to carve out a more defined shape. Usually a little along your hairline, temple area, in the hollow of your cheekbones (don’t bring it down or to the apples of your cheeks as it can make you appear older) and along your jawline. Less is more.
Minimize caking it on: Less is more when it comes to products. If you use too much it can make you look older as the products settle into your skin, fine lines, and even wrinkles.
Nude/white eyeliner along your bottom waterline: Open up your eyes for a younger fresher look. This gives the appearance of eyes that are more awake.
Head of Marketing, Colorescience
This is a topic that has been a concern for many people with all skin types. People are able to have more confidence, knowing that their skin still has the ability to be perky and taut after losing weight. People just need to be informed of the importance of caring for their peptides in their skin.
Peptides are not commonly talked about, or as well known as the collagen in our skin, and what they are able to do for our skin.
People are familiar with how to care for collagen in our skin, but it is important to note, that peptides are to be looked after as much as our collagen is cared for.
Collagen would be nothing without the binding of peptides that inevitably create proteins that make our skin more youthful looking. These proteins help continue the production of collagen and generate new elastin in our skin and keep our skin more supple and wrinkle-free.
As for aging skin and weight loss, all of our skin begins to stretch because of the depletion of collagen, and wrinkles will sadly form. To help rejuvenate skin and see steady results of taut youthful looking skin, skin routines are to be taken seriously. Wear sun protection every day, while washing your face twice a day followed by a moisturizer.
We have all heard it and I’ll say it again, but stay hydrated because your skin will thank you and give you beautiful results in return.
For more lasting and amplified results, people are encouraged to look towards anti-aging serums, that have a high concentrate of copper peptides. All and all our bodies generate copper peptides that promote the growth of collagen and elastin production.
The importance of copper peptides is that they help to maintain and stabilize the collagen growth cycle while maintaining a healthy, smooth complexion.