We all want to look fresh-faced and younger, and makeup can be a great aid to that. Keep in mind that your makeup style needs to evolve and adapt to your changing skin as you age. Tried and true techniques from your high school years will no longer cut it 15, 20, or 30 years later. You might be an old hand at applying your makeup, and if you’re not careful, you can end up looking older, too. We’ve compiled a list of the most common makeup mistakes that will actually add years instead of removing them. Keep reading to find out if you’re committing any of these aging mistakes and what you can do to correct them
Foundation faux pas
Foundation forms the base of any look, but as you age you need to be aware that your foundation needs will change. As Maybelline New York artist Melissa Silver explains, “No foundation is better than bad foundation, but good foundation is best.” If you skip foundation, your skin tone will be uneven. If you apply your foundation too heavily, it can settle into fine lines and creases, highlighting your imperfections. Use a formula that is heavy enough to smooth out your complexion without becoming cakey. Drier skin is common as you age, so you may be happier with a liquid or cream foundation, or even a tinted moisturizer, instead of a powder foundation which can make your skin look flaky. Finally, even if you’ve been using the same shade of foundation since 8th grade, don’t forget to check for a better match or formulation occasionally — you may be surprised at the results!
Unless you’re actually in high school, don’t apply blush to the apples of your cheeks. You also want to avoid using too much blush, applying it too low, or picking the wrong shade. Los Angeles celebrity makeup artist Jan Ping lays it on the line: “There was a certain era when more was better when it came to blush, and you can still spot those women today because they’re still piling it on.” Avoid shades that are too brown or red, because they can look muddy when applied. Instead, pinch your cheeks and try to find a blush that matches the natural shade that results. Opt for a cream formulation instead of powder to avoid a flaky finish. Apply a small amount to the center of your cheekbone and sweep upward and back. Make sure to blend well. This will give an instant lift to your face along with a youthful glow.
Only lining the bottom lash line
Heavy liner on the bottom lid makes your eyes look smaller and drags your whole face down. Even if it takes longer, make sure to line your upper lid as well. Applied correctly, it will open up and brighten your eyes. Use a soft pencil liner in not too dark of a shade, and apply as close to the lash line as possible. Start at the outer corner and work your way in. Use a lighter touch when doing the bottom lid, and make sure the upper and lower liner lines connect at the outer corner of your eye.
When it comes to concealer, one size does not fit all. A concealer perfect for covering spots or blemishes will likely be way too thick for under-eye use. Makeup artist Lavonne explains the ways people usually go wrong with concealer: “If the concealer is too thick or not the right color, you’re accentuating more than you are concealing. Skin under the eye is seven times thinner than the rest of your face, so a light touch is necessary.” Use a lightweight formulation for under-eye use, and pick a shade that matches your skin tone. If you have purplish circles, you can get a color with a yellow or peach undertone to counteract it. Don’t go with super-light shades, which will make you look ashy or give you the “reverse-raccoon” appearance. Apply only to the inner corner of your under-eye area, and gently blend and sweep outwards and downwards.
It’s a fact of life: our eyebrows naturally grow thinner as we age. If you’re normally a compulsive plucker, this can result in wispy brows that make you look older. Fill in your brows with a pencil or a fine brush paired with brow powder or a gel brow pomade. Make sure your brows are neatly groomed by going over them with a brow brush. Start at the inner corner of your brows, and use short, feathered strokes that follow your natural brow line. Don’t limit yourself to the current shape of your brow, especially if it’s thinner or ends in a different place than it used to. Fill all the way through the arch and to where your brow would normally end.
You may adore it, but metallic eye shadow can really age you if your eyelids aren’t as taut as they used to be. As we grow older, wrinkles and fine lines appear in the eyelids. When you wear a metallic shade all over your lid, it will settle in these lines, giving an unattractive crepe-like appearance. Instead, wear a matte shadow all over the lid, and limit your shimmer craze by applying metallics to the inner corner only.
Lipstick that’s too dark
Our lips become thinner and lose definition as we grow older. Unless you plan on going crazy with the liner to overdraw your lips, you’ll want to start easing away from darker shades, which make your lips look thinner. Jan Ping outlines her plan for perfect lips: “I like to start with lip liner, and use a nice neutral shade that’s just a bit bolder than the person’s natural lip color,” she says. “I line the lips and then I fill in the rest with a tinted gloss. A lot of women are really stuck on the idea of always using heavy lipstick, but I think that gloss gives a softer, more youthful appearance.”