We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

9 Best Eyeshadows for Older Skin

By Sandra Roussy December 12, 2021 Makeup and Fashion

Makeup trends and eyeshadow colors go in and out of style. At our age, we have seen many of these trends come and go and sometimes even come back.

I went through phases where there were periods that I couldn’t leave the house without a full face of makeup, and that included eyeshadow. There were other times when I went most days with minimal makeup.

Yes, I went through the super bright and shimmery colors of the 80s. No regrets! The photos of those years – neatly tucked into photo albums – remind me of my youth and adventurous experimentation.

Now, being over 50 and pretty well-settled in my style and confidence, I still enjoy experimenting with makeup. But I find that there are a few things I need to keep in mind regarding my makeup choices.

Let’s face it, our 50+ eyes have seen a lot but are not what they used to be. Chances are your lids have developed lines and spots, and eyeshadow doesn’t sit as well as it used to. Join the club.

Finding that perfect eyeshadow that will not crease and make my eyes look smaller has been an onward quest in the last few years.

Prep the Eyes with a Primer

You may never have heard of eyelid primers before, but they are crucial at our age to make sure that the color stays put and doesn’t create creases.

Kerrin Jackson, a professional film and television makeup artist for 25 years who recently had her third Emmy Nomination for her work on the Netflix show Hollywood says:

“The first step of any makeup application is skin preparation. Hydration is the key. For your eyes, an eye cream and an under eye primer can work wonders.”

She recommends Anastasia Beverly Hills Eye Primer.

“I particularly like it on a more mature eyelid as it’s a light color. This works by helping your eye base act as a highlight to begin with, and also to help open your eyes up before you’ve even applied any eyeshadow,” says Kerrin.

The texture is rich and creamy and “smooths the surface of your lid to help create an even canvas for your eyeshadow. It will also help keep your makeup lasting all day long.”

Cream vs Powder

There are two types of eyeshadows: cream and powder. This is a highly debated question when it comes to older skin. Some swear by cream eyeshadows that glide on easily, and others prefer the more conventional powder eyeshadows.

It all depends on your eyelid, skin, and lifestyle. Cream eyeshadows are not recommended for women who have a lot of wrinkling or who have hooded eyes. This can cause unflattering creasing.

Powder eyeshadow can be slightly moistened for a more intense color.

Matte vs Shimmer

Almost all makeup artists will agree that matte eyeshadow and low shimmer is better suited for the mature woman’s skin. Shimmery and frosty eyeshadows tend to accentuate wrinkles and make a woman look older.

You want to accentuate your eyes without actually taking attention away from them.

Best Color Eyeshadows for Older Women

The colors you choose will depend on your skin tone, hair color, and preference. We tend to gravitate towards warmer browns, greys, and natural tones as opposed to bright blues and purples as we get older because this can make us look overdone and actually make us look older than our actual years.

Many brands offer palettes with complementary colors. Apply the lighter colors on your lids and use the darker colors to outline your lash line and natural eye crease and brow bone.

Best Eyeshadow Palettes for Older Skin

Best Powdered Eyeshadows for Older Skin

Kerrin’s favorite eyeshadow palette for older women is the Viseart Eyeshadow Palette 01 Neutral Matte.

This versatile palette offers “the perfect range of taupes, warm apricots and browns to dark browns and black. I have been through so many of these palettes over the years and you truly can’t go wrong. The mattes will also serve you well as they are flattering on a more textured eyelid,” says Kerrin.

One of my personal favorite eyeshadows is the All About Shadow™ Quad from Clinique. The Skinny Dip color combination is my fave, and I can’t count how many of these I have been through over the years.

It’s crease- and fade-resistant and is super easy to apply. I use an eyeshadow brush instead of the sponge applicators to apply the shades. They have a very slight shimmer that blends into the eyelids well without causing an excessive shiny look.

Naturally Pretty Essentials Matte Luxe Transforming Eyeshadow Palette by It Cosmetics is another favorite among makeup artists when working with older women. Naturally Pretty Essentials features six anti-aging shadows that, with a tap of the bonus Transforming Hello Light shade, transform from matte to radiant satin.

The eyeshadow is infused with hydrolyzed collagen, real silk, and peptides to keep eyes from drying out and color from creasing.

Cover Shot Eye Shadow Palette Minimalist by Smashbox is a perfect matte eyeshadow kit with rich natural colors that look great on mature skin.

No Shimmer Eye Shade Trio from Look Fabulous Forever is cold-color palette specifically created with older women in mind.

Best Cream Eyeshadow for Older Women

Kerrin’s go-to cream eyeshadow for older women is the RMS beauty Eye Polish. “It’s a cream eyeshadow with a slight shimmer,” she says.

“The Eye Polish is full of healing and protective ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba oil, and cocoa seed butter that are perfect to care for your skin at the same time as making it look great!”

PRO LONGWEAR PAINT POT by MAC comes in several natural colors and can be worn solo or combined with complementary shades. As the name suggests, it is designed to stay put all day without creasing.

Best Budget Eyeshadow for Older Women

Makeup doesn’t have to be expensive to be good quality. Many drugstore brands at very affordable prices are used by professional makeup artists.

THE MATTE BAR EYESHADOW PALETTE  from Maybelline is one of my favorites and has rave reviews from clients of all ages. The palette offers 10 matte shades at a price that won’t break the bank.

Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Eye Shadow + Built-In Eyelid Primer is enriched with Vitamins and skin-nourishing conditioners. It’s a long-lasting eyeshadow that enhances the eyes with easy-to-apply color that lasts for up to 12 hours. It has a built-in primer that prevents creasing and smudging.

If you’re like me, as I get older I want to know what I’m putting on my skin, in my body, and in the environment. I also find it important to know if the company does any animal testing. Brands are starting to look into providing products with fewer chemicals and toxic ingredients. You can find our top 5 favorite natural eyeshadows in our article 5 Best Natural Eyeshadows For Older Women.

Have you tried any of these eyeshadows? Which one is your favorite? Do you have any other eyeshadow suggestions for older skin?

Let's Have a Conversation!

The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website: www.sandraroussy.com

You Might Also Like