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10 Big Makeup Mistakes for Women Over 50… and What to Do About Them!

By Penelope Jane Whiteley September 19, 2022 Beauty

I know, it sounds very negative to write about the 10 biggest mistakes, as opposed to writing about the best makeup tips!

But for me, the key to the best makeup at any age, is to follow the “Less is More” rule. This is especially true once we are over 50.

So, I offer my personal ideas, in the interests of hopefully saving some girls the heartache of realising they are not looking their best.

Here are a few tips for changing all that, and for abandoning makeup that actually makes you look older than you are!

Wearing Too Much Foundation

It clogs your skin and settles in the lines and creases. Buy anything creamy that will help with dryness, if your skin is dry. Try foundations that use light-diffusing pigments, such as Chanel’s Vitalumiere.

If your skin is very dry, make sure you exfoliate 2-3 times a week and find yourself a great moisturiser. I have found we women of a certain age are sometimes better using a night cream as a day cream. They are stronger.

Also, buy a water spray for your face. I recommend the Nu Skin NaPCA Moisture Mist. I have actually seen it plump up dried apricots so imagine what it does for your skin!

Applying Too Much Concealer Under Your Eyes

It’s usually thick and heavy and accentuates the crêpe look. The skin under your eyes is fine and delicate so use a concealer with some illuminating particles; my personal favourite is always going to be Touche Éclat by YSL.

Choosing a Lip Color That Is Too Dark

Dark colours create an illusion of small, so dark colour on your lips makes your mouth look pinched. Steer clear of burgundies, wines, or browns, and in some cases, even red. Use bright colours such as peaches, pinks, and even neutrals. Use a lip pencil the same colour as your lipstick, or try something neutral and fabulous just with a touch of gloss.

Rule of thumb… accentuate your eyes or your mouth… not both!

Finishing with Powder

It becomes clogged in lines and wrinkles! If you cannot live without powder, use one that is sheer and translucent, or just blot you face with tissues.

Using Black Eyeliner

It’s too harsh and magnifies the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, bags and dark under-eye. Use something more gentle such as grey or a blue. Make sure it’s a Kohl pencil rather than actual liquid liner.

Applying Lip Liner Badly

If you cannot use lip liner properly, use a neutral colour. Try Lip Enhancer Illusion Lip Liner from ModelCo. It’s brilliant!

Never try and create a larger looking lip by using a lip liner outside your natural lip. If your lips are really too small, consider some injectable. They do work, and if you choose the right product and the right technician, your plumped pout will last up to 15 years and will not be embarrassing! Do NOT go to a cowboy who will give a Trout Pout.

Putting Mascara and Eye Liner on Your Lower Lids and Lashes

No, no, no! The mascara looks like little spider legs and the liner is just too harsh. If you must have a line on your lower lids, start it at the outside corner and let it run to the quarter-way mark. Just a suggestion rather than a statement.

Forgetting the Blush

The older you get, the more colour you lose. Use blush and change the colour every year, because your colour changes every year. Not wearing blush, even if it’s a bronzer just on your cheeks, is very aging. You need to create the blush of youth! And always add blush to the apples of your cheeks and not in a line across your cheek bone.

Using Lipstick Without a Lipstick Brush

If you use lipstick straight from the tube, it tends to clog and seep. Using a brush spreads the lipstick smoothly and evenly and prevents it from sinking into the cracks!

Using an Eyebrow Pencil That Is Too Dark

Nix the black and use dark brown. A Dark Gold works for almost everyone unless you have very dark skin and hair. Even then, don’t use black! It’s too harsh.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you guilty of making any of these makeup mistakes? I would love to know what makeup you use and what you use that really brightens the way you feel. Tell us your makeup over 50 secret tips and tricks! Please join the conversation.

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Judy Patrick

I’ve always had trouble with foundation, not able to get the right colour and it make my skin look flat and you see the wrinkles so for the last 40 or maybe longer years I’ve just been using tinted sunscreen moisturiser where you can actually see your skin through it which I prefer. Great idea about eyebrow pencil, so important to keep it light and also using a brush to apply lipstick sounds great, I will try that. I must say I really enjoy all this talk about make-up, it’s a light happy subject in the rather dark world at the moment.


This is hilarious! I don’t use foundation, powder, lipstick, or concealer. My skin is fresh, clear & natural. And feels like it did when I was 20 (I am 60). I do like to accentuate my dark blue eyes, though, & use a kohl pencil & apply mascara sparingly.
Ladies, ditch the pancake-face look! Totally unnecessary & SOOO bad for your skin.


I would agree with most of your list. One thing I don’t like to see is when a concealer is obviously caked on to cover a big brown spot and does not blend in with the foundation. I think it’s better just to wear a fuller coverage foundation and leave the concealer alone.

The Author

Penelope Jane Whiteley is the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully. A writer, international speaker, clothes designer, stylist and traveller, she helps other women to live their lives on their own terms. Her courses include “Lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes,” “The Reboot,” “Just Write the Damn Book.” Find her on, Twitter, and Facebook.

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