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Pro Makeup Artist Tips: Eyeshadow 101 for Older Women (VIDEO)

Often, the women I’ve worked with have shared with me why they hesitate to wear eyeshadow and some of these reasons may certainly resonate with you as well. Some feel it’s not really important or necessary or it takes too much time or is too difficult.

Others feel it’s just too complicated with all the changes to their eyes… or they lack confidence in their ability to apply it. And some worry that it will actually age them or make them look like they’re trying too hard to cling to their younger selves.

Some of you reading this article or watching the accompanying video wore eyeshadow when you were younger but have discontinued using it – perhaps for some of the reasons mentioned above; some of you may never have worn it but would like to explore the possibility of wearing it now, and some of you may like to learn techniques that work better for you now than those we learned in our 20s and 30s.

And some of you may already be eyeshadow pros. No matter where you are in your eyeshadow journey, I hope you’ll find some of the tips we’ll be talking about today (and demonstrating in the video) helpful.

In addition to covering how eyeshadow can truly help us look our best and why wearing eyeshadow can be especially helpful for us as we get older, I’ll also cover the various types of eyeshadow products, the most helpful tools and application techniques that work best for us now which can make a world of difference in how we look.

Why Eye Primer Is So Important After 60

Before applying eyeshadow, I always recommend applying an eyeshadow primer because one, it keeps the eyeshadow in place for hours without any smudging or creasing and second, it covers up any discoloration on our eyelids.

I have some veins showing through my eyelids, some redness and some darker areas. Even if I’m not putting on eyeshadow, I’ll use an eye primer just by itself to cover up the discoloration on my eyelids to improve the look of my whole eye area.

In the video I’m using Urban Decay’s Eye Primer Potion in the color “Eden” which is the best match for my skin tone. It also comes in a darker color. Next, I’m going to apply a very small amount of translucent powder with a fluffier brush. This is very important for beginners since it helps eyeshadow (especially powder options) glide onto the eyelid more easily.

Four Different Types of Eyeshadow Products Plus One That’s Quickest and Easiest to Apply

Now let’s move on to the different types of eyeshadow products: there are stick, liquid, cream and powder eyeshadows.

Stick Eyeshadows

Some of my favorite stick eyeshadows are from Laura Mercier, Tarte and Thrive Causemetics. But there are many other brands that make good eyeshadow sticks, including Bobbi Brown, Nudestix, Nars, Charlotte Tilbury and Clinique. Three lower priced brands that make eyeshadow sticks are NYX, Elf and Pixie.

Eyeshadow sticks are definitely the quickest and easiest to apply because all we have to do is remove the cap, swipe the product across our eyelid, and gently blend it out with our fingers or a brush.

In the video I demonstrate applying a stick eye shadow by using Tarte’s Quicksticks. One of the things I really like about Quicksticks is that there’s an eyeshadow stick on one end and an eyeliner on the other end.

I use a lighter color, called “Matte Cream,” on my lid. Then I apply a mid-tone color, “Matte Tan,” in the crease of my eyelid and slightly above the crease since I have hooded eyes. Then I blend it out.

For more information about using the best products for the quickest eyeshadow application, you can watch this video:

If you’d like to learn more about Eyeliner Application, have a look at this video:

For those of you with hooded eyes, make sure to watch:

Liquid Eyeshadow

Liquid eyeshadows usually glide on with a doe foot applicator. The ones I’m going to show you are from Armani, but many other brands make good liquid eyeshadows, including Stila, Maybelline, Elf and Sephora. Most liquid eyeshadows are metallic or shimmer formulas, but Sephora have both matte and metallic formulas.

I use the lighter colored liquid eyeshadow number 45 on my eyelid and apply with my finger. Then, I use the darker color number 41 in my crease area, but this one I first put on the back of my hand then apply with a brush.

Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Cream Eyeshadow

I have a couple of metallic colors from Charlotte Tilbury, and two matte colors from Trinny London. For this demo, I apply the Charlotte Tilbury “Rose Gold” cream eyeshadow on my eyelid and the Trinny London matte cream shade called “Wisdom” in my crease area. I use my finger to apply the Charlotte Tilbury color and a brush to apply the Trinny London product more precisely in my crease.

Powder Eyeshadow

Many people prefer powder eyeshadow because it’s possible to be more precise with application, it blends out beautifully and colors can be layered over one another to create a wide variety of looks.

There are many different types of powder eyeshadow formulations, the most common being mattes, shimmers, metallics and duochromes.

There definitely is a difference in the quality of powder eyeshadow in terms pigmentation, ease of application and how much fall out it produces. In general, more expensive eye shadows tend to be more highly pigmented, apply more easily and have more consistent quality from one palette to another – which translates into a quicker, easier application.

But this isn’t always the case. And even within the same brand, quality can sometimes vary.

The Must-Have Tools for Powder Eyeshadow Application

Up until this point, the only tools I’ve needed for applying stick, liquid and cream eyeshadows are my fingers and a brush. But a few specific types of brushes are really helpful for powder eyeshadow application.

A flat, dense brush makes it possible to apply more product more quickly on the eyelid and a softer, less dense brush applies a smaller amount of product in a softer, more diffused fashion in the crease area and slightly above.

I highly recommend also having a third brush on hand to use to blend out colors so there are no hard lines or edges. Blending makes all the difference with powder eyeshadow application because it helps create a seamless, soft look that is very flattering.

Top Five Powder Eyeshadow Brands for Older Women

There are five brands of powder eyeshadow that I never hesitate to recommend. They work especially well for those of us who are older or less experienced with eyeshadow. The most expensive of the five brands is Natasha Denona who creates smaller, 5-pan eyeshadow palettes for $25.00 and 15-pan palettes for $65.00. Larger palettes can also be purchased.

Another top quality brand, this one in the medium price range, is Sydney Grace. I would say that these eyeshadows probably have the most consistent formula out of all I’ve mentioned today. I highly recommend their “Enduring Love” palette or any of their single eyeshadows in your favorite colors.

Also in the medium price range is Juvia’s Place. The Juvia’s Place Warrior 2 all-matte palette is one of my all-time-favorite go-to palettes. Often you can snag great bargains during some of Juvia’s Place website sales.

Two other top quality brands that offer great bargains are Bh Cosmetics and Colourpop. Both of these brands fall into the mid to upper drugstore price range.

Application Techniques That Can Help Us Look Our Best

In the video I use Juvia’s Place Warrior 2 palette to demonstrate some great eyeshadow techniques that work especially well for those of us over 60.

I apply the lightest color, called Zaz, all over my lid, using my denser, firmer brush. Using a color that’s a shade or so lighter than your skin tone makes the eyes look bigger.

I also put a touch of this light, matte color under the arch of my eyebrows, to help lift the eye area, and on the inner corner of the eye – to make the eyes look larger.

To give your eyes some dimension, put a mid-tone color in the crease area. And, if you have hooded eyes like I do, it’s important to bring the mid-tone color above the crease. You should be able to look straight ahead into a mirror and see the eyeshadow. If you can’t see it, bring it up higher so it’s visible when you look straight ahead into the mirror.

When you apply this mid-tone color, start in the middle of the crease and carry the color straight across the lid rather than curving it down to follow the curve of the eye. Then bring it down to meet the bottom of the eye. This creates a “backward 7” shape that help lift the eyes. I combine the two mid-tone colors, Kana and Yodit, and apply them in my crease and slightly above my crease.

To create a little more dimension for the eyes, you can put a small amount of a darker color in the outer “backward 7” area. I use the darker brown shade called Kufuru in this outer area of the eye. I like using a softer brush so no harsh lines are created.

Sometimes, if I want to open the eyes up even more, I’ll take a light metallic shadow and put it just in the center of my eyelid where I have less texture. Since shimmer and metallic eyeshadows attract light, I usually recommend putting matte shadows rather than shimmer in the eye crease area. But there are no rules in makeup, so if you love shimmer, I say apply it wherever it makes you feel the best. I add eyeliner and mascara to finish the look.

I hope you’ll enjoy experimenting with these techniques that can help your eyes look their very best.

Are you new to eyeshadow or have you worn it for years? What type of eyeshadow product do you prefer? Do you have a favorite eyeshadow brand? If so, please share it 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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