As you age, you experience many things — puberty, pregnancy, menopause, pollution, sunlight, dry winters, humid summers, stress. Your aging skin experiences them too. And even if you take good care of your skin, life takes a toll on it.
But you can turn back the clock, at least a little, with makeup. By skillfully applying makeup, you can hide wrinkles, age spots, and sun damage and also play up your best features. Here are some tips from the professionals: makeup artists.
Hiding Fine Lines and Wrinkles
In trying to conceal fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, lips, and forehead, many women make the mistake of accentuating them instead by overdoing makeup. Too much makeup settles and cakes into lines, making wrinkles more noticeable.
Prevention begins with a moisturizer. “After you wash your face in the morning, apply moisturizer while the skin is damp, which will plump it up and even it out, helping makeup glide on,” says Billy Lowe, celebrity hairstylist and beauty expert for television shows such as Extreme Makeover and TLC’s 10 Years Younger.
Don’t forget to moisturize around the eyes. “Start with a silicone-based eye serum that will gel to the concealer and prevent it from slipping,” says Lowe. And, he says, “Packing on the makeup to cover lines or dark circles will cause it to crepe and bring out creases.” To avoid a cakey look around the eyes, don’t use heavy concealers.
“Learn your bone structure and features of your face,” advises Bridget Winton, makeup instructor at the Bellus Academy of Beauty & Spa in San Diego. “Focus on your bone structure to lift the face. Give yourself a youthful look by using lighter and darker shades to make hard lines soft and soft lines hard.”
For a sagging chin, for example, work with a foundation that is one or two shades darker than your facial foundation. Cover the darker area with a translucent powder.
How to Brighten Aging Skin
A dull, gray complexion can be a sign of dehydrated skin, but skin also loses its rosy glow as it thins with age. While you work to replenish dry skin with moisturizers, you can also brighten color lost through thinning with lighter makeup.
Use warm colors to brighten the appearance of shallow, dull skin. Experts suggest using a foundation that is a half shade lighter than your skin tone.
To diminish dark circles under the eyes, apply foundation that’s a shade lighter than your facial foundation to the area. Top it with a concealer and then add a loose powder to set the makeup and hide the color difference.
Illuminators and bronzers can also add a sun-kissed glow, but don’t overdo it; a fake tan can add years to your face. Instead, blend the bronzer into your moisturizer or foundation and then apply it evenly to your face. Or use a loose powder just one or two shades darker than your skin tone.
To give skin a dewy look, Winton recommends spritzers and remoisturizing sprays to set makeup and add glisten.
Soften Your Colors
Ruby red may have been your signature lip color since your 20s, but as you mellow with age, so should your color palette. “You don’t want bright, vibrant colors that call attention to the eyes, lips, or cheeks because they will draw attention to damage and not blend with the skin,” says Winton. “You can still stay with the harmony of your hair and eye color, just do it with softer colors.”
Lowe says, “I’m a sucker for soft tones. I use them on everyone. I like neutrals and pastels and find they complement aging skin well.”
Around the eyes, black mascaras and eyeliners are appropriate if your hair color hasn’t grayed. When your hair color fades, so should your mascara; opt for a soft brown or gray.
Eyelashes also tend to lose their volume and thickness over time. A volumizing, defining mascara will plump them up. To make them even fuller, “apply a very fine layer of translucent powder to the lashes in between two coats of mascara,” says makeup artist and former model Jemma Kidd. Or consider having your lashes and brows tinted with semi-permanent color at your local hair salon.
Thinning lips are another downside of aging skin. But a few tricks can make them look full again.
Choosing the right color for thinning lips is as important as how it is applied. Again, avoid strong colors like red. They can make lips appear even thinner, while peach and beige colors, lip glosses, and tawny liners make them appear fuller and more defined.
Liners can help complete the illusion of fuller lips. Draw just on the outside of the lips and fill in with color, but be careful not to make them appear too rigid. “Most people use the pencil to outline the lips first,” says Lowe. “This creates too much definition in the lining of the lip. Instead, use color first and then line the lip. It gives it a softer line that is still defined.”
Feathery lines also appear around lips as you age. To stop lipstick from bleeding into them, use matte lipsticks and lip liners. Kidd recommends mixing a good quality lip balm with your favorite lip color for a glossier or subtler look.
Prevent Further Skin Damage
Makeup can make a temporary difference in your appearance, but it’s most effective if you start with the best base possible — well-tended skin.
No matter how old you are, your skin still needs moisturizer and protection from the sun.
Makeup artists stress the importance of keeping the skin hydrated and clean, and warding off additional sun damage.
Exfoliate the skin every day, says Lowe: “Pollution builds up on your skin and will prevent moisture from getting into it. Exfoliation removes the build up and speeds up cellular turnover, bringing new, brighter cells to the surface.”
Apply moisturizer and sunscreens as a base each morning, and reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Make a point to wash makeup off every night and repair the day’s damage by applying heavier, nighttime moisturizers.
“You know the saying, ‘an ounce of prevention,’” says Lowe. “Take care of your skin at any age.”