The rules for makeup for middle aged women are a little different than for younger women. There are certain things that you should avoid to prevent looking like you’re trying too hard or being inappropriate.
As you age, your skin changes, which means that the makeup you use needs to change as well. For younger women, there are many different types of makeup products available on the market today. However, there are a few key differences between what is best for a young woman and what would be best for a middle-aged woman.
One of the main differences between these two groups is that middle aged women need more coverage than younger women do. This is because as you age, your skin loses elasticity and begins to sag more. This means that you will need to use heavier foundations with more pigment to make your face look fuller and younger looking.
Another difference between these two groups is in their eye makeup preferences. Younger women tend to use bright colors like blue and purple while older women prefer neutral tones like brown or black. This is because younger women want their eyes to stand out while older women want them to blend into their overall look so they don’t look overdone or unnatural when combined with other parts of their face such as lips or cheeks (for example).
Makeup for middle aged women
Just like our style, interests, and overall aesthetic evolves as we age, so do the makeup products we reach for. You may notice that the foundations and powders that were once the ride-or-dies of your beauty stash just don’t light up your complexion like they used to—and that’s totally normal. As we get older, our skin changes—from more fine lines and wrinkles to less elasticity, changes in skin tone and texture, and more. But that doesn’t mean you can’t feel gorgeous and confident in your skin today and every day to come.
You may already be addressing new skin concerns by adjusting your skincare routine to include some anti-aging products and that’s the perfect place to start. Now, it’s time to tweak your makeup routine to make your skin glow today and beyond. We’re not just talking about specific lip colors or eyeshadow shades (if you love it, wear it!), but the makeup formulas and techniques you use regularly. Not sure where to start? We’ve got 14 expert-approved tips for makeup for older women from makeup artists Lindsay Katsuk, Melissa Formica, and Beth Follert, plus our fave beauty products that’ll have you feeling bright and beautiful at any age.
1. Always Start With Hydrated Skin
As skin gets older, it begins to produce less sebum (a.k.a. skin’s natural oils) and doesn’t retain moisture as well. Even if you once had normal or slightly oily skin, you may now be prone to dry skin. Katsuk says, “Very generally speaking, as we age, our skin becomes dryer. Make sure you are cleansing and hydrating properly before any makeup application. Dryer skin tends to accentuate fine lines, wrinkles, and texture. Hydrated skin will help to plump these areas, resulting in a smoother makeup look.” This is why, as many of us know, the most basic rule for makeup prep is to always start with a great moisturizer.
Best Moisturizer for Aging Skin: SUNDAY RILEY ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream is the lightweight, deeply moisturizing face lotion of your dreams. It uses humectants like hyaluronic acid and coconut extract to plump and hydrate your skin, plus antioxidant-rich pomegranate extract to actively fight off signs of aging like pigmentation. Squalane and ceramides then lock all those benefits in by sealing and strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier, protecting that beautiful skin of yours.
2. Don’t Skip Out on Primer
Like all good things, you want your makeup to look last. For mature skin, primers can go a long way to smooth the skin’s surface for the best makeup application. “The key to covering fine lines and wrinkles,” Formica says, “is all in the prep and prime. For smoothing out the skin, I like to lean on a serum, oil, or hydrating primer to prep and plump. Look for products that have sweet almond oil, hyaluronic acid, or grape seed extract. I am currently obsessed with LILAH B. Aglow Priming Oil. I use this for myself and my clients with mature skin. You could wear it alone for a fresh-from-the-spa glow or mix it in with your foundation.”
Makeup artist Beth Foller addst, “I really take extra time prepping the skin for a mature skin application. That’s where primer comes in, as it can be particularly beneficial for mature skin types since it can keep makeup products from settling into fine lines and wrinkles. Priming formulas also often come with illuminating and hydrating benefits, both of which can be great for older skin.”
Best Primer for Mature Skin: CHARLOTTE TILBURY Wonderglow Face Primer is a best-selling primer designed to create smoother, younger-looking, ultra-hydrated skin. While peptides and hyaluronic acid plump and smooth, fluorescent core light diffusers create a soft-focus effect that visibly reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles, helping your makeup appear super smooth, dewy, and fresh.
3. Apply Everything in Thin Layers
It may be tempting to apply a full face of full-coverage makeup to conceal imperfections and create a flawless base, but doing this almost guarantees makeup will settle into fine lines and wrinkles throughout your day. Starting light and building up color will help you achieve your desired effect without piling on product. Katsuk says, “Light layers is also my biggest advice. Again, the less product that is there to settle into fine lines and wrinkles the better. Always apply foundation first and use concealer sparingly to add a bit more coverage where you need it.”
4. Color Correct According to Your Concern
Color correcting not only allows you to use less makeup, it helps cancel out redness, darkness, and more for a more even skin tone and brighter results. For eyes, Formica says, “First, take a look at what colors you see. Are the dark circles red, a bluish tone, or purple? Sometimes we need to do a little color correction before applying a concealer because the concealer alone is not enough. This also applies to covering blemishes.” Here’s a little guide Formica uses to keep things simple:
- For redness: Use yellow or green corrector
- For purple or brown: Use orange corrector (darker skin tones)
- For blues: Use peach (light/medium skin tones) or pink corrector (fair/light skin tones)
When covering blemishes, age spots, and broken capillaries, Formica says, “It is best to apply [color corrector] using very thin layers, then set with a thin veil of micro-fine powder. Once this is set, then apply a concealer that matches your skin tone on top. Again, go a little at a time to keep the application looking natural. Set again. This layering technique will fully color-correct and lock in the product. When correcting under the eyes, you may use a concealer one to two shades brighter than your skin tone to lift any remaining shadows.”
Best color corrector: NYX COSMETICS Color Corrector Palette features an array of six shades including lilac, green, orange, peach, and more to truly cover it all. Plus, each has a creamy, hydrating texture that’s great for blending onto mature skin types.
5. Choose a Moisture-Packed Under-Eye Concealer
One of the first areas of the face to show signs of aging are the eyes—from puffiness and dark circles to crow’s feet. Formica says, “The skin around our eyes is delicate and thinner than other parts of our face. When we see dryness or feel tightness as we age, it is because this area has a harder time retaining moisture. Think about how much we move our eyes around throughout the day. They do lots of work seeing the world! So with that being said, we need to build back that moisture with layering skincare and hydrating cosmetics.”
Best Hydrating Concealer: TARTE Creaseless Concealer Formica says, “When choosing a concealer for mature skin, I recommend going with a creamy and hydrating formula. This one is very hydrating and pigmented for under eyes. Because of the key ingredient Maracuja oil, this concealer feels more like a rich eye cream. It’ll hydrate the skin for 16 hours, keeping under eyes looking bright and refreshed. This formula is also waterproof so it will stay intact.”
6. Blend It to Perfection
Just like your eye makeup, blending your concealer using the right tools will help create a flawless finish. Formica says, “I personally prefer using either a synthetic small or medium fluffy brush the same shape as your eye crease brush or a Beautyblender. These types of tools provide excellent application and also absorb any excess products. When using a brush, apply the concealer on the back of your hand to control the amount of product used. Dip your brush into the product and tap from the inner corner of your eye out following the shadow. Then using small circles, gently blend the edges of the product away.
If you love blending sponges, like Beautyblenders, Formica says, “When using a Beautyblender for under eyes or blemishes, apply product on the hand first and then lightly tap it over the shadow or blemish. To blend, press, and roll away at the edges of the product gently. The key here is to build gradually.”
7. Opt for Liquid Foundations
“I recommend a creamy foundation formula for mature skin and to avoid powders,” says Follert. This is because powder foundations tend to settle into fine lines and wrinkles, making them more apparent. Liquid foundations and tinted moisturizers, on the other hand, often feature hydrating ingredients and a dewy finish, which are both flattering for this skin type.
Follert suggests steering away from full-coverage foundations as these can create a mask-like effect on the skin as opposed to a natural look. Instead, she loves customizing coverage using buildable or medium-coverage formulas that feature hyaluronic acid and vitamin C for a “fresh, even-toned, well-hydrated look.”
Best Foundation for Mature Skin: NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation has a lightweight texture, 16 hours of fade-proof coverage, and nourishing ingredients. While the pigments easily disguise discoloration, redness, and dark spots, this foundation also uses a special, antioxidant-rich blend of raspberry, apple, and watermelon extracts to support skin’s elasticity and improve texture over time.
8. Go For a Slightly Warmer Foundation Tone
We’ve always been told to choose a foundation shade closest to our natural skin tone, but when foundation matches mature skin too closely, it can actually make you look washed out. Instead, try opting for a shade that’s just a touch warmer than your natural skin tone to add overall warmth. Pro tip: When applying, don’t forget to blend along your jawline!
Best Warm Foundation for Mature Skin: MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation has a whopping 50 shades to choose from, so it’s perfect for finding a shade that’s just a bit warmer than your natural skin tone. It also features buildable medium coverage, a natural dewy finish, and blurring particles to disguise pores and fine lines.
9. Set With a Fine Powder
Formica says, “To set, you can use a microfine powder to extend the longevity of your makeup. I recommend the gold standard MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder (I use a very thin veil) with a small to medium-sized fluffy dome-shaped brush. Sweep it across where you applied the concealer and dust off any excess. Now you’re ready to take on the day with beautifully bright eyes.”
10. Trade Your Powder Blush for a Radiance-Boosting One
As you age, makeup products like highlighters and blush can be such skin-savers, since these go-tos quickly bring warmth and radiance back to your complexion. Just keep in mind that the wrong type of formula can sometimes do more harm than good—because similar to powder foundation’s tendency to accentuate signs of aging, powder blushes can do the same. “I avoid powders in general and gravitate toward cream blushes, really wanting the skin to look natural, fresh, and hydrated with a healthy glow,” says Follert.
And it doesn’t stop there. Where you apply your brush is just as important as the type of blush you use. Katsuk says, “We were all taught to smile and apply blush on the apples of the cheeks, but this application can actually drag the face down. When you smile, your cheeks come up, and when you release your face, your cheeks drop. Apply blush with a straight face and with an upward and out motion, always lifting. Apply as much or as little as you would like though!”
Best Cream Blush for Mature Skin: MILK MAKEUP Lip + Cheek in Perk is a creamy blush made from a base of mango butter and avocado oil, which seamlessly glides over fine lines and leaves the skin feeling soft and hydrated. Plus, it features a subtle shimmery finish for a radiant, youthful glow.
11. Try Using Foundation as a Bronzer
OK, it may sound risky but trust us, it works. If you’ve swapped your powder bronzer for a cream-based bronzer, but it’s still not looking quite right, it may be because you’re using a bronzer that’s too shimmery for your complexion. While a touch of shimmer can help make mature skin appear radiant, too much can actually end up accentuating fine lines and wrinkles.
Follert says that instead of using traditional bronzing formulas, she often prefers to “use a warmer foundation shade as a bronzer to create a natural bronzer effect.” Pro tip: Try reaching for a hydrating, illuminating formula that’s about two shades darker than your skin tone for the best results.
Best Bronzing Foundation for Mature Skin: WANDER BEAUTY Nude Illusion Liquid Foundation is a lightweight, supremely blendable formula that offers buildable coverage and a radiant finish that brings out your natural beauty. Plus, it features hydrating hyaluronic acid for hydration and niacinamide to minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines.
12. Define Your Eyes and Lashes
With age, the skin around our eyelids are more prone to lines and wrinkles, and you may see loss of density in your lashes. To bring back life to your eye area, Katsuk says matte eyeshadows are the way to go. “The general rule of thumb for smoother texture is to use more matte shades on the eyelids. For brighter eyes, try to stick with lighter colors and also keep the darker shades more towards the outer portion of the eyelids.”
For definition, Follert says to define the whole eye using eyeliner. Skip thick, dramatic lines and try tightlining your eyes along the upper and lower lash lines with a dark gel pencil. This barely-there technique is enough to make a noticeable difference without overwhelming the eye area. For an extra touch, Follert suggests adding natural-looking false lashes to really make your eyes pop, and lightly layering on mascara.
Best Gel Eyeliner for Mature Eyes: ARACELI BEAUTY Ojos Perfectos Gel Pencil Eyeliner Dúo is a dynamic duo that’s perfect for everyday use and special occasions. Both gel pencils glide across the lid like butter, allowing you to avoid tugging on the delicate eye area. The matte chocolate shade is perfect for creating a minimal everyday makeup look, while the shimmer-packed cinnamon pencil is great for creating a dramatic, illuminating effect.
13. Pay Extra Attention to Your Lips
Lip definition often softens with age, which means your lip products are more likely to bleed into the skin around your lips. Luckily, there’s some easy fixes: Katsuk says exfoliation is one of them. “Just like your body and your face you need to exfoliate and hydrate your lips. You can use a scrub (made for your lips) or a soft toothbrush to exfoliate your lips before applying your favorite lip balm or lip mask.” Next, simply apply a hydrating lip liner before swiping on lip products to prevent feathering and bleeding.
Best Lip Liner for Mature Skin: THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Lip Filler Long Wearing + Plumping Lip Liner™. With an ultra-hydrating base of shea butter, meadowfoam seed oil, and jojoba oil, this liner conditions, defines, and plumps in one fell swoop. This vegan formula glides on beautifully and is even waterproof so you can eat, drink, or even swim without it smearing, feathering, or fading.
14. Top It All Off With Beautiful Brows
It’s only natural for body hair to begin to lighten and sometimes thin with age. If your brows are looking sparser than they used to, try using brow-defining products to instantly make them appear fuller and defined.
Best Eyebrow Pencil for Mature Skin: REALHER Eye Am Strong Brow Pencil. If your brow hair is light and sparse, you’ll want to use a super precise eyebrow product to fill them in. This microfine brow pencil creates light, thin flicks that mimic the look of natural brow hairs. Bonus: Having this much control makes defining arches and filling in sparse spots a breeze.