These blunders are making you look older than you really are.
Just because you swore by a smoky eye and shimmery blush in your twenties, doesn’t mean it’ll look the same into your thirties. “As we age, facial structure changes, fat moves around, wrinkles develop, and what worked at 25 definitely won’t work at 50,” explains makeup artist Mary Irwin. Not to mention, dryness and discoloration become more prominent, so you need to rethink your favorite products and routine entirely. While this may seem daunting at first, the best way to go about it is to seek advice from a pro on how to transition your look. “Make an appointment with a makeup artist and really explain your routine, your issues, and what you need from your makeup,” she says. “A good artist knows how to use what you have already and add in new products that change everything, plus teach you how to do it yourself.”
As you age, it’s imperative to find your perfect shade of foundation. Any color that’s a little off can add on the years. “The closer it matches your skin tone, the fresher the effect,” says makeup artist Kyriaki Savrani. “The less obvious it is, the younger the result will be.” To better match your shade, test makeup along your jawline rather than on your hands for a more accurate color match, since hands tend to be darker than the face.
And when purchasing foundation, opt for a base that has luminous, light-reflecting properties. “This brings light to the face while slightly hiding imperfections,” Savrani adds.
Speaking of concealer, you should always have two types of cover-up in your arsenal. “Under the delicate eye-area, you need a liquid formula in a tube or pen. The classic Yves Saint Laurent Touché Eclat is perfect for this—a thinner formula and application means less creasing and catching in wrinkles,” says Irwin. Then use a concealing brush to apply a creamier formula (Irwin likes Cle De Peau Beaute’s Concealer or Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage) to conceal any dark spots.
In terms of actual application, you want to make sure your makeup creates a lifting effect. The wrong placement can result in a look that drags down your features. Here’s where the contents of your makeup bag should properly be applied:
Blush: Yes, it is possible to trick gravity with precise blush application. “Smiling and applying blush on the apples of your cheeks? Not anymore,” says Irwin. “Instead, put blush almost a half inch higher than you normally would will give you a visual ‘lift’ effect.” Think on the very top of the cheekbone, almost the under-eye area rather than the apple of the cheek.
Bronzer: Sweep a creamy formula where the sun would naturally hit: across your forehead and down the center and around the sides your face. Anywhere else could result in a muddied-looking complexion.
Contour: “I’m not a huge fan of contouring on anyone over about 40. As you age, you lose fat in your face, and naturally gain the definition that contouring provides,” says Irwin. If you must, use a cream that’s just a teeny bit darker than your skin tone below the cheekbones.
Eye Shadow: Apply shadow with your eyes open—this allows you to see exactly how the color will look on. Savrani suggests blending a darker shade on the outer lids for additional definition, but make sure to blend well to avoid a drooping effect.
Eyeliner: “With age, your features also change shape and eyeliner can look too severe,” explains Savrani. An easy way to avoid this is by switching to brown pencil. “I like to tight-line it into the upper lash line, including underneath the lashes. This gives the effect of a lifted upper eye, and tricks the eye into thinking the lashes are thicker, as well,” adds Irwin.
Eyebrow Pencil: While it’s important to find the right shade (too dark can look obvious and unnatural), the actual shape of your arches should be your main focus. A brow that’s too square can make your face look heavy. The best way to groom them? Start by brushing them in their natural curve before using a brow pencil to draw a light, yet clear contour line following the bottom edge of the eyebrow. “Next, brush them down and do the same on the top edge. Then brush them back up,” advises Savrani. “Once you have those two lines, fill in the brows using light, feathery strokes—as if you were drawing individual hairs.” For added lift, sweep a light matte eyeshadow right under the arch.
Lipstick: Similar to foundation, the more hydrating and plumping properties your lip color has the better. If you have creases around your lip, lightly line them with a shade that matches your lipstick to keep the pigment from bleeding out.
Okay, this one isn’t specifically about makeup, but Irwin says she sees it all the time. “The number-one mistake people make is not using the right moisturizer or enough of it!” says Irwin. If you already have fine lines, dry, flaky skin will simply accentuate those creases more. Proper hydration keeps your complexion looking plump and lifted while also creating a smooth base for your makeup, so look for face creams that are packed with nourishing hyaluronic acid. Layer on a hydrating primer on the parts of the face that have visible pores or on places where makeup tends to rub off during the day for an additional boost. Beyond choosing the correct skincare, skip the powder formulas (they can look cake-y) and opt for makeup that has moisturizing properties like cream blush, sheer tinted foundation, and lightweight concealer.