A long time ago, when I had been blogging for only a few months, I got a question from a reader about makeup tips for women over 50. The truth is, I was so early in my makeup journey that I wasn't really able to provide much help to the reader who asked the question. It was a bummer, but I was honest about it. Makeup for older women was not my forté.
More and more, though, I hear a lot of complaints about aging from my clients. I would say my clientele is split down the middle: about half are in the 20-45 range, and half are 45+. I hear regularly how difficult it is to manage the aging process gracefully and without contempt for the changes the body goes through in older years (or in preparation for older years). It's hard to feel confident and beautiful when you feel like you can't control what's happening to your skin, hair, and body shape. I'm not just referring to women over 50, either; a lot of women start to experience grey hair, hair loss or thinning, wrinkles, sagging skin, etc. in their late 30's or even earlier in some cases. It sucks, and it's hard to manage.
I think aging is tough to experience, but it's such a beautiful process. It's unfortunate that our society puts a premium on young and firm and smooth, because there is such beauty in the changes that come with having lived more life. Still, it's hard for women to see that beauty in themselves when it feels like a loss of something (like hair or even skin tone). It's a crucial time for women to feel like they have some control over their looks, which are so deeply connected to self esteem and outlook on life — so I'd like to share some advice for how to change your makeup routine to match your changing face.
Disclaimer: the truth is that there are no rules, and all faces age differently. While I have some recommendations here for keeping a natural look to your face, you may love bright lipstick or colorful shadow. You my also look impossibly young for your age, or experience some parts of aging but not others. So take these tips and apply them where you feel like you need to, or ignore them altogether. This is about making you feel as beautiful is possible!
Less is more where makeup is concerned
You're going to hear this over and over again, so I'm just going to put it out there first: you may feel the need to pile on more to cover up the addition of sun spots or dark circles, but the truth is that piling on makeup will only accentuate aging. No matter how much you try to deny it, you are aging. We all are, we're just not all at the same point in the process. Nothing calls attention to something more than extreme efforts to hide or deny it. Simplifying your makeup routine and just holding on to a few key steps will let your skin breathe and help you look as radiant as possible!
Where you do want to go heavy is with skin care; skin dries out as it ages, so the more you can hydrate and moisturize your skin, the plumper it will be (and the better your makeup will go on).
Stick to cream products
Since skin loses moisture with age, so the texture of your makeup becomes pretty important. Cream products are the best way to go because they will add moisture whereas powder products will accentuate dryness. You may have spent your life powdering your face, but the truth is that you probably don't need to anymore.
The nice thing about cream products is how easy they are to apply! More and more products are being found in stick form, from foundation to eyeshadow to blush and bronzer. Most of these products you can just apply from the stick and blend with your fingers. Super-easy, right?
Boom is a line of multi-use cream sticks made by model & makeup artist Cindy Joseph, who is in her 60's and made the line specifically geared toward older women. She explains how to use each product in short videos on her website!
Matching matters more than ever
If you're using foundation to even out your skin, now more than ever it's incredibly important to make sure it matches your skin tone. Too-dark or too-light foundation will accentuate what you're trying to hide simply by screaming, "I'm trying to hide my skin!"
If you can avoid foundation altogether, that's optimal; you'd be surprised how much adding color to your natural skin (like blush, bronzer, etc.) will brighten up your face without covering it up.
Go lighter on the brows
As women age, their brows will get thin; don't fight it. Heavy, sharp brows will only look out of place as you get older. That doesn't mean you have to skip filling in your brows! But you'll want to lighten it up a bit and go with your natural brow shape; don't try to create too much of a shape.
To fill in your brows, use a pencil to create light, hair-like strokes in your brow within its natural line. This will help your brows appear thicker but not drawn on. I love Anastasia Brow Wiz for this!
While we're at it..... though brows can thin out, they can also get really long. Keep those babies in shape & trim them up! Nothing says "I'm old!" like wild eyebrows.
Change up your lip routine
As you age, your lips change a lot — they dry out and they lose color & definition. Moisture is super important here, and not just the moisture that comes from your lipstick! Put something ultra-moisturizing on your bedside table (I like to use Aquaphor) to wear at night, and something a little thinner, like Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (which also comes in lots of colors!), to go on during the day before your lip color.
The thing about lip color is that if you love it, wear it. There are no lip color rules. That being said, often times the goal with makeup for mature women is for it to look natural, so what you'll want to do is find a color that closely matches the color of the inside of your lip.
Don't forget lip liner, but skip the more traditional applications - just lining the outsides will end up showing when your lip color fades (and it will), but filling your lips in entirely will be too drying. Line your lips twice — once around the edge, then once just inside the first line — and use a brush to blend the inner edges of the liner down toward the center of your lips. This will help keep your lipstick from bleeding, but it will blend more with your lips when your lip color fades.
Go easy on eyeshadow
The area the wrinkles the most when we age is the delicate skin around our eyes, including eyelids. The more shadow you pack on there, the more you'll accentuate those wrinkles. I stick pretty firmly in the "use more cream products" camp when it comes to eyes, and the great thing is that there are so many cream shadows these days!
Instead of applying a dark color in the crease of your eye (something one would normally do for a little eye contouring), which can make your eyes look sunken in, apply dark color at your lashline and blend upwards. If you really need the definition in your crease, use a more neutral-toned shadow that's a shade or two darker than your skin tone.
When it really comes down to it, you want to do what makes you feel the most beautiful, regardless of any "tips & tricks" out there. All faces are different, and to lump everyone over 50 into one category is a gross generalization — but hopefully these ideas have given you some new techniques to try as you adjust to your new beauty routine past 50.
As a mature woman, what's your biggest beauty struggle?
Looking for more beauty resources?
Join the Band of Beauties for full, free access to the Beauty Resource Library. You'll get goodies like 100 Beauty Tips to Make You a Pro and much more!