As your skin changes, the way makeup sits on it changes, too—and it’s only natural for skin to undergo some shifts as you age. Whether you’re changing up your go-to makeup as you get older or you haven’t switched your techniques and color palette since college, there are a few tips pros say are helpful to keep in mind when it comes to applying cosmetics as an older woman.
One rule of thumb you can always fall back on: The more moisturizing the formula, the better. Since the natural oils in skin tend to diminish as it ages, you’ll probably want to stay away from mattifying, oil-absorbing formulas. Instead, bring on the creamy, rich textures.
Here, celebrity makeup artist AJ Crimson and Hourglass Cosmetics global director of education, Marc Reagan, share their best advice on everything from prep to application to color selection for makeup for older women. With their tips, you’ll be able to put your best face forward, no matter your age.
1. Hydration Is Key
Most makeup artists will agree that the trick to flawless application is starting off with a solid skincare routine. “Keeping the skin looking hydrated is the best way to keep mature skin looking and feeling youthful, radiant, and glowing,” says Crimson. As your skin matures, it loses its ability to retain moisture, so it’s important to apply a heavy moisturizer before you put on your foundation or any other complexion products. Not only will it help keep skin plump, but it will also help your products go on smoothly over skin, rather than sinking into fine lines.
2. Look For Skin-Plumping Ingredients
Reagan recommends using primers, foundations, and concealers with known plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and antioxidants. “Having healthy skin makes adding color easy and instantly impactful,” he says.
3. Powder Strategically
Since powder can settle into fine lines and wrinkles, making them appear more pronounced, using a light touch with powder can be helpful. “Only use it where it’s needed, like the sides of the nose, in the laugh lines, and in the T-zone, where skin tends to be oiliest,” says Crimson. If you like loose powder, choose one that’s finely-milled so that it gently sets your liquid and cream products in place. Pressed powders should also do the trick.
4. Choose Creamy Textures
Reagan says that he usually recommends creamy emollient products to his clients who are dealing with dryness or loss of elasticity to help bring a youthful glow into mature skin. While that may seem obvious for foundation and concealer, you can also use this philosophy with your contouring product, blush, and even eyeshadow.
5. Embrace The Oils In Your Skin
Since older skin tends to be drier, lean into whatever oils you do produce and use them to your advantage. That is, don’t be so eager to mattify your face with powders, matte products, or blotting papers. “Embrace your oily skin,” says Crimson. “The natural oil in your skin can be your friend, and will give you a natural glow.” This is especially true on your cheek bones, down the bridge of your nose, and above your brows.
6. Invest In A Good Blush
Aging does have its advantages, but losing your natural flush is not one of them. A quick way to get it back: blush. “I like to focus on adding a flush to the skin with blush, which is the easiest way to create radiance in the complexion,” says Reagan. Picking out the perfect blush color can really complete your makeup look, and the right shade can make your skin look so much more radiant in a quick application. Keep in mind that creamy emollient products typically work best on more mature skin types; luckily, there is no shortage of beautiful cream blushes to take advantage of. As for colors, Reagan says that pinks and peaches are a safe choice to add lift and flush to the face for light to medium skin tones, while plums, berries, and red tones best define the complexion of medium to dark skin tones.
7. Switch Up Your Eyeliner
The loss of color mentioned above also means that dark shades like black can look harsher than they used to look on you. “Try brown and navy or deep green eyeliner instead of black,” says Crimson.
8. Don’t Forget Your Brows
Just as most women’s hair tends to thin and lighten with age, so do your brows. You may have heard the saying that your brows are the frame to your face, which is why it’s important to keep them well-groomed. Even if you’re not into a super “done” brow, consider taking advantage of a “one and done” product, as Reagan describes it, to quickly fill them in and emphasize that part of your face.
9. Go Ahead And Play With Brights
“I love shades of orange, peach, soft pink, and cool or warm pink to add brightness to mature makeup looks—especially for cheek color, eye shadow, and lips products,” says Crimson. He also notes that a peach-colored concealer can help brighten under-eyes. It might feel counterintuitive to use brighter colors if you’re more mature, but when applied with a lighter hand, these tones can bring a youthful radiance to your makeup.
10. Finish With A Hydrating Setting Spray
To top off your look, make sure you’re using a setting spray, says Reagan. You want one that “holds everything in place while also infusing the skin with hydration and glow.” A proper setting spray should help each makeup product melt into your skin so that it looks seamless and flawless. Added bonus if it helps provide lasting hydration throughout the day.
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