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The 9 Biggest Makeup Mistakes Those of Us Over 50 Make (#9 Will Surprise You!)

By Elise Marquam-Jahns August 26, 2021 Beauty

Today I want to share with you nine tips that are especially important for those of us over 50. These tips result from my experience over the past seven years as a professional makeup artist who specializes in helping older women.

I’ve worked with hundreds of older women during this time through in-person and Zoom classes, consultations and presentations to a variety of women’s groups, and I want to share with you today what I’ve seen and learned: the 9 biggest mistakes those of us over 50 make which prevent us from looking our very best.

#1: Disregarding Our Eyebrows

For most of us, except for the few genetically gifted out there, our eyebrows get lighter and sparser. So, filling them in by using eyebrow powders, pencils, pomades or brow pens truly makes an impact. Not using such a tool can make us look browless, and that’s not a flattering look on anyone.

In the accompanying video I make a point of removing my eyebrow makeup so you can really see the difference that using a good eyebrow product can make.

#2: Not Using an Eye Primer

Eye primer was designed to keep the natural oil in our eyelids from spoiling the look of our eyeshadow due to the creasing and smudging that it causes. And it does a fantastic job. But even more importantly, many of us can use primer in a different way.

If we have an eye primer that matches our skin or is just a little lighter, it will disguise the discoloration that many of us have on our eyelids.

Whether that discoloration comes from veins that show through the thin skin of our eyelids or darker spots, eye primer can create a uniform, clean canvas which makes our eyes look both bigger and brighter – with eyeshadow or without. I illustrate this difference in the video.

#3: Eyeshadow Doesn’t Reach Our Crease

If we have hooded eyes, it’s especially important to use eyeshadow high enough. In the video, I first use primer, then put the eyeshadow just in the crease. To make a comparison, I then bring the eyeshadow up higher than the crease so when I look straight into a mirror, the eyeshadow is actually visible. This is important because it makes our eyes look bigger than they actually are.

#4: Frowning at the Lash Curler

Curling our eyelashes is certainly not the easiest thing to do for many of us, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Why? Because it really makes our eyelashes far more visible and noticeable if we curl them first and then apply mascara.

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!

#5: The Lipstick Sad Face

Because of gravity and the loss of collagen, a variety of body parts – as well as areas of our face – start to migrate south with age. Our lip area is not excluded. In fact, because of this downward movement, some of us start to look like we have a permanent frown on our face. Makeup can really help us here.

In order to create more of a smile than a frown, all we need to do is avoid bringing our lipstick and liner to the very outside edge of our lower lips. Instead, it’s a great idea to stop a little before we reach the edge of our lips. In the video, I demonstrate exactly how to do this and what difference this technique makes on our facial expression.

#6: Using the Wrong Tool for Blending Foundation

Some of us blend foundation with a sponge or whatever brush we have handy when it’s a buffing brush that we actually need. Using a buffing brush to blend in our foundation makes the product melt into our skin. This is because the soft buffing motion gently pushes the foundation further into the skin to make it look flawless. A buffing brush I particularly love is Eve Pearl’s #201 Dual Contour Brush.

#7: Using Powder Blush

Unless we have oily skin, cream or liquid blush looks the best on mature skin. Most of us grew up using powder blush, but as we get older and our skin gets drier, powder blush can look splotchy and highlight fine lines. Cream or liquid blushes, on the other hand, glide on and beautifully melt into the skin so they look more natural.

One of my favorites is this easy to apply blush from the new clean beauty brand Merit. And rather than apply it on the apples of our cheeks, as we’ve heard for years, it’s far more flattering to apply it upward from the middle of our cheekbone toward our temple to make our face look more lifted.

#8: Choosing the Wrong Lipstick Color and Formula

Because our lips get smaller as we get older, we want to attract light in that area to make them look larger. A great idea is choosing a formula that has some luminosity – a satin, pearl, frost or metallic look rather than a matte look.

There is one caveat, however. If we have a problem with lipstick feathering or migrating into the fine, vertical lines around our mouth, we want to first apply a matte lipstick along the edge of our lips since it’s less likely to migrate. Then we need to top with a more luminous formula lipstick or gloss – or both.

Now let’s tackle the question of lipstick color. Lipstick that’s too dark, especially if it’s matte, will look somewhat harsh and age us. And too light a color (more of the nude look) can wash us out and make our lips blend into our skin tone.

It’s been proven in research that the greater contrast we have, the more attractive we are so we need to create more contrast by wearing a brighter lip color. In the video I demonstrate a look with a lipstick that’s too light for me. It’s important to find that “just right” – or Goldilocks color – that provides some good contrast to our skin and isn’t too light or too dark.

In addition, we should never underestimate the influence of our skin undertone when it comes to choosing the right lipstick color. If our undertone is cool, we want to wear a pink, raspberry, plum or blue-red shade. If our undertone is warm, peaches, corals, oranges and red-oranges lipstick can be beautiful. And if our undertone is neutral, we can wear the lighter shades of either the cool or warm colors.

#9: Skipping Exfoliation

The most important thing we can do before applying any makeup is skin prep. And the step that most of us miss most often is exfoliating our skin. Getting rid of the dead skin cells (which dull our face) by exfoliating our skin is a very good investment in time, energy and money since it makes our skin look lighter and brighter. There are many great exfoliators on the market, and it’s also easy to make your own DIY version as well.

So this wraps up our nine mistakes to avoid. And if you need more information about some of the things mentioned in this article such as sparse eyebrows or hooded eyes or how to find the undertone of your skin so you can choose your best cheek and lip colors, be sure to check out these links for additional videos.

Which of these mistakes do you find yourself doing? Are there tips mentioned in this article that you might want to try? What makeup products do you feel help you look your best? What are some of your favorite products?

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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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