We all want to look fresh-faced and younger, and makeup can be a great aid to that. Keep in mind that your makeup style needs to evolve and adapt to your changing skin as you age. Tried and true techniques from your high school years will no longer cut it 15, 20, or 30 years later. You might be an old hand at applying your makeup, and if you’re not careful, you can end up looking older, too. We’ve compiled a list of the most common makeup mistakes that will actually add years instead of removing them. Keep reading to find out if you’re committing any of these ageing mistakes and what you can do to correct them.
Foundation Faux Pas
Foundation forms the base of any look, but as you age you need to be aware that your foundation needs will change. As Maybelline New York artist Melissa Silver explains, “No foundation is better than bad foundation, but good foundation is best.” If you skip foundation, your skin tone will be uneven. If you apply your foundation too heavily, it can settle into fine lines and creases, highlighting your imperfections.
Use a formula that is heavy enough to smooth out your complexion without becoming cakey. Drier skin is common as you age, so you may be happier with a liquid or cream foundation, or even a tinted moisturizer, instead of a powder foundation which can make your skin look flaky. Finally, even if you’ve been using the same shade of foundation since 8th grade, don’t forget to check for a better match or formulation occasionally — you may be surprised at the results!
Unless you’re actually in high school, don’t apply blush to the apples of your cheeks. You also want to avoid using too much blush, applying it too low, or picking the wrong shade. Los Angeles celebrity makeup artist Jan Ping lays it on the line: “There was a certain era when more was better when it came to blush, and you can still spot those women today because they’re still piling it on.”
Avoid shades that are too brown or red, because they can look muddy when applied. Instead, pinch your cheeks and try to find a blush that matches the natural shade that results. Opt for a cream formulation instead of powder to avoid a flaky finish. Apply a small amount to the center of your cheekbone and sweep upward and back. Make sure to blend well. This will give an instant lift to your face along with a youthful glow.
Lining the Bottom Lash Line in Black
Heavy liner on the bottom lid is ageing for many reasons. It makes your eyes look smaller, it accentuates the fine lines surrounding the eyes, and it drags down your whole face. To keep things looking youthful, you want your eyes to appear brighter and more open. You can do this many different ways. First, would be to keep the bottom lash liner light.
“Use a deep brown eye shadow and an angled brush instead of a hard black kohl pencil,” explains Washington DC-based makeup artist Ariel Lewis. “Keep gel liner away from the bottom. Use it only on the top of your lids.” And she reminds us that it’s O.K. to have black liner on the top lid and brown liner on the bottom. Simply blend the brown eyeshadow to from the inner to the outter corner of the bottom lid. You can even wet the brush for a little more control.
Another tip is to use white or nude liner on the bottom waterline Missy Lowe, Oranj Studio makeup artist, explains. “It brightens your eyes and creates a youthful glow.” This is a perfect option for the no-makeup, makeup look.
When it comes to concealer, one size does not fit all. A concealer perfect for covering spots or blemishes will likely be way too thick for under-eye use. Makeup artist Lavonne explains the ways people usually go wrong with concealer: “If the concealer is too thick or not the right color, you’re accentuating more than you are concealing. Skin under the eye is seven times thinner than the rest of your face, so a light touch is necessary.”
Use a lightweight formulation for under-eye use, and pick a shade that matches your skin tone. If you have purplish circles, you can get a color with a yellow or peach undertone to counteract it. Don’t go with super-light shades, which will make you look ashy or give you the “reverse-raccoon” appearance. Apply only to the inner corner of your under-eye area, and gently blend and sweep outwards and downwards.
It’s a fact of life: our eyebrows naturally grow thinner as we age, which can be accelerated by years over-plucking through the years. “As we age, our brows naturally thin both in thickness and from the ends,” explains licensed makeup and eyebrow artist Pamela Jeschonek of Everyday Esthetics Eyebrow Studio. “Brows also fall as part of the natural aging process, so they do not sit as high on the brow bone as they did when we were younger.” So for a more youthful-looking brow, think full and arched. You can start by filling in with a brow powder. “Powder can add lost fullness and is quick and easy to learn,” Jeschonek explains.
You also want the brows to keep from looking too sharp and stern, which the powder will help with too. “As you age you should stay away from cream based brow products,” explains DC-based makeup artist Ariel Lewis. “They tend to apply too harsh of a line.” Lewis recommends using Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo. So with the correct color powder, trace a bit outside the natural brow line to add a bit of width.
And to add a little lift, trace the arch a little bit higher on the top of the brow, not from underneath. “Just as we would outline the brow just outside the root line to give it thickness, you want to gently raise the top of the arch using your powder on top of the brow line,” explains Jeschonek. “It takes a little practice, but it’s magic.” So don’t be afraid of going outside the lines of your natural brow, just keep it light and feathery. With the correct technique and shade, you can fake it for younger looking brows in just seconds.
Metallic Eye Shadow
You may adore it, but metallic eye shadow can really age you if your eyelids aren’t as taut as they once were — and, unfortunately, that’s just a natural part of ageing. These fun shimmer shadows can enhance and draw attention to wrinkles and fine lines in this area. “Metallic, shimmer and glitter shadows can settle into the fine lines and ‘crackle’ around the eyes,” explains Oranj Studio makeup artist Missy Lowe. “The best bet to create a flawless look is to use either matte or satin finish shadows.”
However, makeup artist Ariel Lewis explains that if you really do want to wear metallic, especially around the holidays, keep it in the center of your lid. “Putting them on the corners of your eyelids brings more attention to the fine lines that tend to settle in that area.”
Another way you can incorporate the shimmer without ageing yourself is to use fine pearl shadow. “Choose one that’s light and not too-sparkly,” explains Ilia Beauty founder Sasha Plavsic. “It’s nice to use fine pearl as a base and layer over top with a non-shimmer shadow to soften the look.”