Makeup Tricks for Women Over 50
If you are using the same makeup and skin-care regimen that worked for you 10 or 15 years ago, you may be looking older than you need to. As your skin texture and coloring change, your makeup and beauty routine should change, too. Here, an expert’s clever tips for looking fabulous…
Primer and Foundation
If you have never used primer, now is the time to try it. Primer is a base for foundation that gives a smoother finish and helps your makeup last all day. First apply moisturizer, then primer, then foundation. Also…
• Don’t use a heavy foundation—heavy products settle into creases and pores, emphasizing them. Choose a lightweight, creamy foundation, or try a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation. Avoid powder foundations, which can be drying to the skin and emphasize fine lines.
• Get the right color. You may have heard that foundation color should be matched to the color of your neck, but that isn’t a useful guideline for most women. Over time, many facial skin tones become progressively darker than the neck because the chin keeps sunlight from reaching the neck. A foundation color that is too pale looks artificial and aging.
Instead, find a foundation color that is midway between the color of your face and your upper chest. Also correct for ruddiness or sallowness by choosing a color that will help to neutralize these undertones.
Example: If your skin has pink or red undertones, choose a color with a very slight yellowish cast. If you are naturally sallow with yellowish undertones, choose a color with just a touch of pink, which will make your overall color more radiant.
• When you are testing a foundation color, go outside to see if the color looks natural in bright, natural light.
• Use a foundation brush rather than your fingers to apply foundation. A foundation brush distributes makeup more sparingly and more evenly, creating an effect that is both polished and natural. To apply, either put a small amount of foundation on your hand and dip the brush into it…or put a few dots of foundation on your face and then spread with the brush. Try both methods to see which one works best for you.
Most women apply under-eye concealer before applying foundation. This can cause you to look older. Concealer, which typically is a heavier texture than foundation, will collect in the creases around the eye and call even more attention to wrinkles.
What to do: Apply your other makeup first. Then step back and look at your face closely to see where you need concealer. You may need it in only a few small spots, or you may not need it at all.
Be careful when choosing your concealer color. Don’t choose one that is too pale compared to your foundation—lighter colors highlight wrinkles. Use a color that is a similar color or just a touch lighter. A concealer that has a small amount of peach or rose in the color is very helpful in hiding dark circles.
Liner and Eye Shadow
Eyes become angular with age. If you are using dark eye shadow to contour the orbital bone above the eye, you may be emphasizing those angles and adding years to your face. Instead of classic contouring, I recommend the Side V eye shadow technique…
1. Apply eyeliner along the lash line above and below your eye. Use a kohl pencil or a felt-tip liner—these glide much better than standard pencils, which pull at delicate eyelids. Or use eye shadow as a liner—put a drop of water on a fine brush, and dip the brush into an eye shadow that can be used either wet or dry.
2. Sweep a light-colored shadow along your upper eyelid, from the lash line up to the crease.
3. Using a color darker than the lid shadow but lighter than the liner, brush a sideways “V” on the outside of the lid, with the open part of the “V” facing in toward the nose. Then use a brush to blend the V from the outside corner of the eye inward. The sideways V gives eyes an uplifted appearance.
Eyebrows thin out with age. Filling them in is recommended for a youthful, full brow. There are many brow-filling choices—brow balms, brow powders and brow pencils. Eyebrow pencils can make your brows look overdrawn and artificial. Brow balms and brow powders, which are applied with a small-angled brush, typically give the softest, most natural look.
The lipstick that you have been wearing may not be the most flattering one for you anymore. Experiment with new lip colors. If you always thought a certain shade was off-limits for your coloring, try it anyway. If you are used to wearing subtle colors, try a bright color…if you typically wear deep colors, see what a nude color looks like on you.
Go to the cosmetics counter, and say to the consultant, “If I were to buy two new lipstick colors, what would make me look more beautiful?” Lipstick is relatively inexpensive—buy those two colors, and see what reaction you get when you wear them.
Using a gentle exfoliator (see box at left) on the lips when you cleanse is a great way to keep your lip area smooth from wrinkles. To prevent lipstick “bleeding,” apply foundation on your lips as well as the rest of your face…then put a small amount of pressed powder on your lips…then apply lipstick. A good long-wearing lip liner can help prevent lipstick bleeding, too.
Here’s a trick: Apply lipstick first, then apply lip liner to the edges to define them. This also will make them appear more plump. This technique gives you younger- and fuller-looking lips, and it looks less harsh than outlining your lips first.
For Men, Too! Exfoliation Makes Skin Look Younger
How men and women clean their facial skin affects how youthful they look. One secret to youthful, radiant skin is cleaning in a way that doesn’t dry out your skin but actually forces exfoliation of the topical skin cells. Your body is constantly producing new skin cells and shedding old ones. Unfortunately, skin-cell turnover slows with age, leaving a buildup of dead skin cells that makes skin look dry and dull. Gentle daily exfoliation removes the older skin cells, revealing younger, more supple skin.
Men exfoliate by shaving, but to look their best, they need to exfoliate the rest of their face, as women do.
The simplest way to exfoliate is to clean with a gentle, hydrating, nonsoap, nondetergent facial cleanser using a clean, damp washcloth. A soap-based cleanser leaves buildup on your skin, contributing to the dull look.
At the end of each day, while applying a gentle facial cleanser, use the damp washcloth to gently massage cleanser into your skin. Rinse your face with lukewarm water.
Your skin should look slightly flushed after exfoliating but not bright red and inflamed. Too-rough treatment will damage the skin.
There are many types of exfoliators on the market. Not all of them are suggested for use on facial skin. Avoid using abrasive elements on your face such as loofahs and oatmeal scrubs, apricot scrubs or other cleansers containing abrasive elements. All of these have rough edges that can cause tiny lacerations on the face. But you can use these products on the rest of your body. Keep in mind that even pre-moistened towelettes, which seem mild, are made from paper, which can be harsh to older skin.
Facial cleansers and exfoliators containing fruit acids, such as mango, papaya and citrus extracts, are a very good choice for gentle exfoliation. Vitamin A topical serums and moisturizers stimulate more rapid turnover of skin cells, leading to a more youthful appearance. Start with a mild-strength product. Stronger ones may be too harsh for many skin types, especially older skin.