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How to Wear Makeup On Mature Skin

A subtle approach.

So if you're staring down the barrel of [insert scary-age birthday here], and noticing your first/third/17th line or wrinkle, you might want to make some adjustments.

Because you see, it's not so much the fact that you HAVE wrinkles (or think you do). Wrinkles are cool, man! I mean, have you seen Madonna's face lately? There was an excellent article a few years ago, which I recommend everybody reads, called "The New New Face." Short version: Cosmetic procedures are making everybody look the same, and it's stupid. (Which is one reason I keepadvocatingcaution, caution, caution.)

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So really, the problem is not at all that your face has or is starting to age. It happens. What is NOT cool is thinking that you can wear makeup exactly the same way as you did when you were younger.

Which is what Sigourney Weaver is clearing attempting. (Although I'm pretty sure that not even a 20-year-old could pull off this much purple eyeshadow.)

My goodness, the contrast between Sigourney and Julianne... wowza.

So on that note, let's talk about anti-aging makeup. There are a few things that should change—definitely in Sigourney's routine and maybe yours too—and they are these:

1. Prep your skin properly before you put on makeup

See how radiant and glowy Miss Diane Lane's skin looks here? (LOVE her, BTW.) It is dewy and juicy and plump and hydrated and yes, there are creases around the eyes, but who cares, right?

The thing is that as we age, skin tends to do all of these fun things: get drier, become duller, lose firmness and, of course, develop wrinkles. Obviously a good skincare regimen is paramount, but a couple of little things will help before you put on makeup.

Before a special event, I highly, highly recommend a cloth mask, which you apply for maybe 10 minutes or so and which is like a great big drink of water for your skin. It will make a difference—trust. Vancouver company MyFaceWorks makes a whole array of them—how fabulous!

For everyday, I would definitely do a hydrating serum if you can't do the mask... and then (like I always recommend), layer on a radiance- and moisture-boosting primer. The one I talked up yesterday by CoverGirl and Olay would be a great choice to not only make skin look great but keep your makeup in place too. Because it's not just oily-skinned peeps who need primer...

2. Apply a cream not a powder foundation

I know, we just talked about this the other day, so I'll keep it short. Not only is the dewier skin look more on trend right now as far as foundations go, it is also the far better choice for mature skin no matter what is on the runways.

The reason is because powders—particularly mineral powders—tend to settle in the creases of your skin, accentuating the very wrinkles (or crepey texture) that you are trying to hide. And you can often actually SEE the product, which is never good. Ergo, you should wear a sheer cream or liquid foundation. Look for something with the word "skin" to describe the product... it's a good bet that it will be a really natural-looking finish.

3. No shimmer or pale colours around the eyes. (And let Sigourney's lash line-to-brow application technique be a cautionary tale.)

Courteney Cox (is she still using the -Arquette?) looks amazing here, doesn't she? Loving the bun (although I won't talk about that today) and the eye makeup is a triumph.

Basically she has abided by one of the most important rules for anti-aging makeup: sticking to flat, non-shimmery and not-too-pale colours around the eyes. Because the problem is, when you have colours and textures that cause too much light to reflect off that area, it only draws attention to skin that is not so smooth anymore.

Greys, taupes, browns, coppers—they are all good. Ivories, beiges and whites are not.

Other things that are important:

  • Only applying shadow up to the crease—not the brow
  • Focusing on making lashes look long and luscious (because EVERYBODY looks good with long lashes, yes?)
  • Making sure your brows are well-groomed, because it's true what they say about brows framing your face
  • Despite what Carmindy says, NOT applying highlighter to that area underneath the brow... because we're talking about DE-emphasizing the crinkly areas...

4. Warm up your lips and cheeks (and avoid purples or burgundies).

I have been dying to post this photo of Marisa Tomei, who unlike Mila Jovovich, REALLY knows how to pull off an orange dress with an orange lip. Nice work Marisa!

And speaking of lips, really—anything goes as long as you're wearing a warm-ish colour and not something with a burgundy (like Sigourney) or purple hue. Those are just plain unflattering on most people anyway.

I know that the standard advice used to be against lipstick for mature skin because of bleeding issues, but that's not so much the case anymore with the new formulas that help the product stay put. Higher-end brands like Chanel or Tom Ford are more likely to have this technology, of course.

Lip liner can definitely help too... just make sure you're applying the right colour (not too dark please!).

If you prefer gloss, I've actually heard that it is worse than lipstick with the bleeding thing. So one thing you might do instead is to just dab your gloss in the very centre of your lips only. That touch of lightness will make them look a bit plumper and fuller. Plus, it's more modern than having the sticky, glassy texture all-over.

As for blush—go for a powder version and apply it to the apples of your cheeks. And, even though Carmindy says contouring is no longer cool, you CAN sweep a bit of your blush, or even bronzer, just under the jaw to define it a bit.


Are you still blissfully wrinkle-free... or might you actually use these tips?

Do you agree that Sigourney looks frightful? (Well... how could you not, right?)

Which 40+ celeb is your fave?