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

Should You Shun Shimmer Eye Makeup After 50? Check Out These 5 Suggestions

Do you remember rummaging through your mother’s (or grandmother’s) jewelry box and being drawn to the sparkle of a rhinestone brooch or earrings? Or perhaps you recall playing dress up with a friend and lingering over shimmering silk or satin.

We Like Sparkly Stuff

I don’t know if it’s built into our DNA, but I think many of us still find ourselves drawn to the sparkle of a sequined dress (even though we know it’s impractical and wouldn’t get much use) or a piece of jewelry with rhinestone accents.

And I’ll never forget my grown daughter admitting to me a few years ago that the reason she begged to take dancing lessons was the draw of the sparkly recital costumes.

Have you also lingered over a magazine ad featuring the glamourous look of shimmery or metallic eyeshadows? I know I sure have.

But we’ve probably also seen the article headlines that go something like this: “Makeup Looks That Age You” or “6 Makeup Mistakes to Avoid,” and invariably, shimmery or glittery eyeshadow tops the list.

As a makeup artist who specializes in working with women 50+, one of the questions I hear most often is “Should I always wear matte eyeshadow?” And I’m here to answer with a definitive “maybe.”

Be sure to check out Elise’s new YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+.

5 Things to Consider When Going for Shimmer

I’m really not hedging because I think it’s important to take several factors into consideration.

Does It Make You Feel Good About Yourself?

First and foremost, I’m a strong believer that we should wear whatever makes us feel wonderful. After all, we’ve multitasked for years with family, household responsibilities and work. We’ve absolutely paid our dues, so don’t spare the sparkle if it makes you happy.

But here are four other things to consider when deciding whether we nix or nod to shimmer:

What Are the Properties of Shimmer?

Any eyeshadow with shimmer or glitter has light reflecting properties. Light brightens and draws attention, so where we put the shimmer on our eyes, and how much texture we have there, can make a huge difference.

If we put shimmer on textured areas, we’ll draw attention exactly where we don’t want it. So, using a matte eyeshadow – with no reflective ingredients – is a better option when we want to hide those wrinkles.

How Visible Is the Shimmer in Your Eyeshadows?

There’s a great variety in the eyeshadow shimmer spectrum – from just barely visible shimmer to all-out chunky glitter. And there’s a range of every finish in between from pearlescent to very shimmery to metallic foil shine.

When I first started working for a particular makeup company, I just assumed their “shimmer” eyeshadows would not be the best choice for my 60+ eyes. But when I actually “swatched” the color and tried it on my lids, the shimmer was barely visible.

So, if you fall in love with a shimmer color and are hesitant to use it, swatch it to see how much shimmer actually shows up. One of my very favorite eye shadow quads has two “shimmer” shadows, but the shimmer is truly negligible.

Where Should You Apply Shimmer?

By the time we turn 60, most of us have some wrinkles in the eye area. However, if you happen to have a texture-free spot, some degree of shimmer might be a wonderful way to draw attention to your beautiful eyes.

For many women, this might be the center of their eyelid. Putting a light brush of shimmer over this area can be a beautiful way to add light and brightness to your eyes without feeling like the look is “over the top.”

Does Application Technique Matter?

How you apply a shimmer eyeshadow makes a dramatic difference. If you use a dense, flat brush to pat it on you lid, you will get a fairly light application of the product. If you use your finger to apply it, the color payout will usually be stronger.

Sometimes dipping into a shimmer eyeshadow with a wet brush or a fixative product on your brush can also produce much stronger color. So, you can adjust the amount of color and shine by the application method you use.

Whether you decide to shun shimmer on your eyes, go all out with it, or land somewhere in between, probably the most important thing is to have fun experimenting, give free reign to your creativity, and enjoy the process.

When was the last time you used shimmer or glitter eyeshadow? What’s been your experience with it? Do you use it now? Why or why not? Are there particular colors or products that you most enjoy using or that you’d recommend? Please share with our community.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tamara Figge

I’m 65 and I use Shimmer and glittery eyeshadows everyday on my lid. I use matte shadows in the crease to push back the hood on my eye. I’m lucky in that my lid is very smooth and not wrinkly. But I have fine lines in the front part of my eye near my nose. I use light matte shadow there. I love sparkle and I don’t care if it’s during the day, whether I’m going grocery shopping or to the park. It makes me very happy and I love it!

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Tamara–I think you’ve hit on what’s most important about wearing makeup–having fun with it and useing whatever types of products make us happy–whether it’s sparkle or beautiful color.

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.

You Might Also Like