Tip No. 1: Your Skin Comes First, Always
Forget makeup tips and a gorgeous hairstyle.
Your biggest beauty consideration should be your skin and getting it in tip-top condition. The better your skin, the less makeup you’ll need. In fact, keep your skin well-hydrated and exfoliated and you may be able to get away with little more than under-eye concealer, mascara and lip balm every day.
The secret to working with mature skin is 5-fold:
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Nothing plumps up the skin better than hydration. And it helps everything glide on better: your concealer, foundation, sunscreen, blush, everything.
- I like to apply a retinol cream every few days as well. Nothing makes my skin glow more. (Don’t miss Is This the Secret to Youthful Skin?)
- Flaky, dry skin is not attractive. Especially when foundation sits atop it. Combat the flakes with daily exfoliation. Exfoliate every day with either a facial scrub or a washcloth dipped in coconut oil (my favorite methods). Dr. Patricia Wexler, a dermatologist in her 60s, tells her patients to exfoliate in the shower because it’s less messy. Whatever your method. Just do it.
- Never go to bed without taking off your makeup. Use a creamy moisturizer if you have dry skin.
- Keep your face, neck and hands out of the sun or live with the wrinkles and sunspots that will inevitably come. Wear sunscreen on your face rain or shine and hats if you are out in the middle of the day. Apply to your hands and neck if outside.
The key to great skincare is to know your skin type. If you aren’t sure, see Skin Care: How to Tell What Type of Skin You Have. Your skin — whether it be sensitive, dry or combination — has special needs which is why your best friend’s or your daughter’s favorite moisturizer may not work for you. Once you know your skin type and buy products formulated for it, you should see results.
In my article, 20 Skincare Tips Every Woman Over 50 Should Know, I share everything you need to know about good skincare. From cleansing to exfoliation to moisturizing to anti-aging tips that really work, and a few that may not.
How to Make Your Fine Lines Less Visible (Temporarily)
No lotion or potion is going to magically make your fine lines and wrinkles disappear, but slathering on moisturizer before you apply foundation and concealer will temporarily plump up skin making those fine lines a little less visible. Moisturizing before foundation application also helps it glide on much more smoothly.
Choose the Right Foundation
Many older women still use the same foundation they used 10 years ago. However, your skin changes not only yearly, but seasonally. In winter months, you may need a creamy formula. In summer months you may find your skin becomes oily and a tinted moisturizerwill do.
These days many foundations are formulated with mature, aging skin in mind. I have done the research and found the most popular foundations on the market for women over age 50.
The Secret Lip Plumper
You may notice that as you get older, your lips seem thinner. To plump them up, lip glossis your best bet. Nothing works better, in fact. Add a little color first by filling in lips with a lip liner or lipstick a shade or 2 darker than your natural lip color, then add a dab of gloss on top and voila! Instant lip plumper.
Stay Away From Dark Lipsticks
Unless you have dark skin and plump lips, I recommend staying away from super dark lipstick, which ages everyone (see these pictures of Kelly Osbourne and Jessica Biel for proof). Rosy reds and pinks are better bets.
Not sure what color works for you? Go to a department store or Sephora and try on many colors with the help of a counter person and you’ll figure out quickly what shades flatter your skin tone.
Try Eye Pencils Instead of Liquid Liners
Eye pencils are softer than liquid liners, which can be harsh on aging eyes. To soften the line even more, smudge it with your fingers or use an angled makeup brush like the one pictured here dipped in dark shadow as a smudge-y eyeliner (this is how I line my eyes these days). Don’t line the inside of the eye if you have small eyes, it makes the eye appear smaller.
Make Your Eyes the Center of Attention
Just as a fireplace can be the focal point of a living room, consider making your eyes the focal point of your face. This will detract attention from any fine lines or developing turkey wattles.
Enhance your eye color with eyeshadow shades that will make your eyes pop. For brown or hazel eyes, golds and browns are gorgeous as are blues. Blue eyes look great with blue-gray, coppers, gold and browns and dark eyes look fantastic with deep rich shades.
Make Primer Your Best Friend
Just as you prime a wall with primer before you paint it, the secret to flawless makeup lies in makeup primer. Applying a layer of primer between your skin and makeup will help your eyeshadow, foundation and mascara glide on flawlessly — and most importantly — stay put. I recommend primers for your eyes if you use shadows and for your face if you apply foundation. Layer a primer between your moisturizer and your foundation for extra benefits.
The Brilliance Behind Highlighters and Illuminators
When highlighter pens and illuminating creams first hit the beauty market I thought, “Oh another beauty fad that will fade.” And then I tried them. Wow. Now I swear by highlighters to “lift” my face and instantly visually shave off a few years from my appearance. My absolute favorite highlighter is Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Concealer but there are many brands on the market that work well, too, and at a cheaper price.
Play Up (& Downplay) Features With Contouring
Contouring is a hot new trend that can be useful for older women. The technique uses bronzers and blush to create definition to the face. The goal here is to create shadows to highlight your best parts (hello cheekbones and jawbone!) and downplay any bad parts like a weak or double chin, a big nose or thin lips.