These beauty mistakes can make you look older—here’s how to correct the worst makeup slip-ups.
Growing up, I learned the power that makeup has on your looks. Every Saturday night, I would watch my mother transform herself from my everyday mom to a drop-dead-gorgeous creature. She taught me that makeup can work magic as she used it to hide her wrinkles, enhance her features, and brighten her skin.
As you get older, makeup can be your age-defying ally. When chosen and applied correctly, cosmetics can seem to peel back time. Still, I see so many women using heavy textures, sparkly finishes, ill-advised tricks, and vampy colors that make them look older than they really are. To maximize your looks and minimize your age, try these anti-aging makeup tips—no plastic surgery needed.
1. Contouring Cheeks
Why It Backfires: Because of gradual collagen loss, women’s cheeks become more concave with age. Applying dark blush in the cheek’s hollows accentuates this loss, making you look older.
Better Move: For a fresher illusion of fullness, try this anti-aging makeup tip: Sweep blush on the apple of your cheek, which is the meatiest part when you smile. Brush it on in a circular motion, diffusing out toward your hairline to avoid any streaks. For a youthful glow, try a pinky-peach hue, like Clinique Blushing Blush in Precious Posy ($18.50; Clinique) or L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Blush in Apricot Kiss ($10; drugstores). Then blend white shimmery shadow along the top of your cheekbones to get a lifting effect.
2. Wearing Dark Lipstick
Why It Backfires: With age, lips lose their rosebud color. So the brown lipstick that looked dramatic in your 20s now may make your pout look washed out.
Better Move: Enliven lips with soft, vibrant tones, such as berry, rose, or apricot. These brighter hues will add a splash of color and make lips look larger. Then dab gloss (clear or in a complementary shade) in the center of your lower lip to reflect light and create the illusion of fullness.
3. Piling on Powder
Why It Backfires: Excess face powder settles into skin, highlighting rather than hiding wrinkles. Too many touch-ups also make skin look parched.
Better Move: Dust powder only where needed—usually your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Avoid pancaking areas that have fine lines, such as under your eyes and around your mouth. As an alternative, blot skin with oil-absorbing sheets. These disposable, powder-free pieces of paper soak up shine without leaving skin cakey.
4. Frosted Eye Shadow
Why It Backfires: Not only does it scream leg warmers and the ’80s, but its frosted particles settle into lid lines.
Better Move: Switch to shimmer shadow, which is the new and improved version of the frosted ones you first fell in love with. The difference? Its finely milled mica offers a soft, subtle hint of glint. Plus, its uniform, light texture means it’s less likely to collect in creases. Look for products labeled shimmer or sheen, such as Sue Devitt Silky Sheen Eye Shadows ($18; Ulta and Sephora) or Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow ($19; Bobbi Brown Cosmetics).
5. Bottom-Heavy Liner
Why It Backfires: Etching a thicker line on lower lids weighs eyes down and makes you look tired.
Better Move: Your upper lids should always look a tad more intense than the bottoms to frame and make eyes pop. If you opt for powder shadow, use an eyeliner brush (with a small, precise point) to sweep the top lash line first. Then line lower lids using the brush’s remaining powder o make it look like there are soft shadows cast from your lashes. If you prefer pencil to powder, smudge lower lids slightly with a cotton swab for the same age-erasing effect.