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4 Tiny Makeup for Older Women Tips That Make a Big Difference

61-year-old Janet arrived at the makeup counter wearing full makeup. As she gradually became more comfortable talking with me, she shared that her 9th grade best friend had taught her how to use makeup. They’d arrive at school early and sneak into the bathroom to put on their makeup together.

The minute I saw her, I knew she was still using the makeup techniques she’d learned as a young woman. Unfortunately, the makeup she was wearing did exactly the opposite of what Janet wanted: it aged her by at least 10–15 years.

Janet’s Story Is Not Unusual

Janet’s story is one I hear often. Whether we learned how to put on our makeup from our moms, a stylish aunt or Seventeen Magazine, most of us Baby Boomers are still using the same techniques that we learned when listening to Dion or Bobby Vee.

But what worked for us in our teens, 20s and 30s just doesn’t work as we hit our 40s and move beyond. Yet it’s totally understandable that we don’t know what to do differently, because where do we learn the makeup techniques that will work best for us now?

Only one of the major cosmetic company websites provides a single online makeup tutorial featuring an older woman – and that lasts for about 10 seconds. So many of us, understandably, just keep doing what we’ve been doing all our lives.

The Makeup Tips

Over the coming months, I’ll be sharing a variety of makeup tips and techniques – specifically for those of us who are over 60 – that can help us look our best now. Below are four of these tips which can make a big difference in your life.

Eyeliner

I think we can all picture a magazine ad featuring a woman in her 20s with thick black eyeliner above and below her eyes. Yes, eyeliner can definitely define and draw attention to our eyes, but the key to beautiful eyeliner in our 60s and beyond is to lighten the look and make it more natural.

A dark brown or gray eyeliner pencil is far more flattering than the thick black one we used in our younger years. And to create the most natural look, smudge the eyeliner with a Q-tip or a small angled makeup brush. 

Not only does smudging the eyeliner soften the look, but it also means that those of us who can’t draw a perfect line along our lashes anymore – and let’s face it, who among us can? –  are able to smudge that line so it looks absolutely flawless.

As for eyeliner below the eye, it’s an absolute yes, with two major caveats.

Consider using a lighter color than you used for the eyeliner above your eye and – unless you have huge, to-die for eyes – only draw that line along the outer third of your bottom lashes. To create an even softer look, use eyeshadow instead of eyeliner.

Colorful Eyeshadow in color Hurricane Wave at Sephora

Don’t like the idea of using Q-tips? Look for eyeliners that come with a smudger on the end like this one from Sephora Collection.

SEPHORA COLLECTION Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner

Want to know which eyeliners are best for older women? Read our article 7 BEST EYELINERS FOR OLDER WOMEN.

Blush

Do you worry about blush going terribly wrong? Both the color and the placement of blush become very important as more birthday candles appear on our cake.

Our skin tone can definitely change over the years. So those of us who read Carol Jackson’s book Color Me Beautiful back in the 80s and figured out we were an ‘autumn’ or a ‘winter’ may no longer find those same color swatches to be as flattering.

But it’s still important to gauge whether your skin has a warm or cool undertone. If your undertone is warm, stick with coral or peach toned blush, and if your undertone is cool, go with pink and berry tones. (We’ll talk about how to determine your skin undertone in a future article).

Photo Sephora
Photo Sephora

Haven’t we always been told to put blush on the apples of our cheeks? But where have those apples gone, ladies?

Let’s work against Mother Nature and gravity by placing the blush slightly below the tops of our cheekbones, at least two finger widths from our nose and bringing it up toward the outer corner of our eye.

If you have dry skin, opt for cream blush over powder and add a touch of moisturizer on top of the blush to create a beautiful glow.

LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush

LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush

Head over to read our article MAKE ME BLUSH! HOW TO USE CREAM BLUSH AFTER 50 TO GET A STUNNING LOOK that contains links to some of our favorite cream blushes.

The Right Lip Color

Though the ‘nude’ lip look might be the trend, it can wash us out. So think about adding a touch more color to the lips. Go for one to two shades darker than your natural lip color.

And since very dark (and matte) lipstick can age us, consider choosing a slightly brighter color with shine or luminosity. A touch of gloss in the middle of the lower lip can create a light-enhancing glow.

It’s amazing how just the right lipstick color can brighten the entire face and create a truly radiant look. So it’s worth “trying out” some new lipstick shades at the makeup counter and even going outside your comfort zone to test some new shades.

Clinique Dramatically Different Lipstick Shaping Lip Colour

Clinique Dramatically Different Lipstick Shaping Lip Colour

Curiously, research has shown that the right lip and blush color – along with two other techniques – can help us look 5–20 years younger.

Click here to read our article CHOOSING THE RIGHT LIPSTICK FOR OLDER WOMEN which has an informative video to help you choose the perfect lipstick color.

Eyeshadow Placement

A swath of color across the eyelids has been a typical go-to look for most of us. But to make our eyes look bigger, try patting a vanilla colored shadow on your eyelids from your eyelashes to the crease.

Clinique All About Shadow Single Eyeshadow

Clinique All About Shadow Single Eyeshadow

Use a medium tone shade in the crease – and slightly above the crease if you have hooded eyes. To create the medium tone for the crease area, consider mixing two or three cool and warm tones together such as a light orange tone with a medium cool brown.

Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

It can make your eyes pop without looking garish. Then use a touch of the vanilla colored shadow just beneath the arch of your eyebrow to lift the eye, as well as at the inner corner of the eye.

And, as always, the secret to a flawless eyeshadow look is blending, blending and then more blending with a clean brush.

Read our article 9 BEST EYESHADOWS FOR OLDER SKIN for our top eyeshadow picks.

You’ll find that just a few small changes – with these tips in mind – can make a world of difference.

Have you changed your makeup routine since you were a young woman? What do you do differently now that works better for you? What other changes can you recommend for women in our community? Please join the conversation and share your tips with us!

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The Author

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and runs the “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” YouTube channel. Elise has authored the free guide The Top Four Research-Proven Makeup Techniques That Help Us Look Our Best Now.

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