The rare time that women’s magazines and makeup websites address makeup—particularly applying eye makeup for women over age 50, the angle is often focused on the mistakes ladies in this age group are making when it comes to applying cosmetics. We’re either too heavy-handed with the eyeliner or we’re choosing the wrong shade of eyeshadow. Most of us are enlightened enough at this point to understand what looks unflattering on our peepers, but where’s the guide on exactly how to apply eye makeup that looks like a natural and complementary extension of the windows to our soul?
Read on to learn about our step-by-step—and dare we say—eye-opening techniques on how to apply eye makeup after 50, for a look that’s easy on the eyes.
Prepare Your Eyelid Before Applying Eyeshadow
No, we’re not talking about food, but if you want your peepers to look like a feast for the eyes, cleansing with a gentle face wash is a must. After patting (not rubbing!) dry with a soft cloth, apply a thin layer of your signature moisturizer. Hydrated skin is especially essential for the skin around your eyes to look its best because makeup that is applied to dry skin will only emphasize any sagging and fine lines. Also any eyeshadow, foundation, concealer, or powder will settle into these crevices and make the eyes look weighted down.
A side note here should be to make sure your day moisturizer has sunscreen (experts recommend at least SPF 30). We also recommend a more specialized eye cream at night for this delicate area to promote lifting and firmness while you sleep.
The “Prep Step” doesn’t end there, ladies. There’s nothing like a primer or eye shadow base to make sure your eye makeup stays put. Apply a tiny amount with a clean eye brush or finger to just above your lash line. Keep blending upward above your eye crease. The beauty about an eyeshadow primer is that it will also help cover any translucent areas on the eyelid (a common side effect of aging skin around the eyes). This step alone will make your eyes look brighter and more awake and who doesn’t want that.
Always Apply Eyeshadow First to Avoid Fallout
A tried and tested tip is to do your eye makeup before the rest of your face and there is a reason for that. Small particles of eyeshadow have a tendency to fall on other parts of your face (cheeks and under eyes, mostly). This is what makeup experts call “eyeshadow fallout” and the thing with this is that if you’ve already applied your concealer and foundation, the eyeshadow particles can get trapped. This can make your under eye area appear drawn and tired and make dark circles look worse. Of course, doing your eye makeup first eliminates this issue as all you have to do is wipe away the excess and apply your face makeup afterwards.
Figure Out a Flattering Eyeshadow Shade
Now that we’ve laid the foundation so to speak, it’s time to figure out which eye shadow to fall for. Makeup experts say that a trick of the trade is to go for natural and warm tones because dark circles and any discoloration actually have cooler pigments to them and a warm eye shadow will counter this to give a vibrant vibe to your eyes. Some shades to consider for a splash of warmth: bronze, gold, sepia, and gray. Of course, it’s wise to consider your skin tone and experiment beforehand to see which colors look best.
When in Doubt, Choose Matte Eyeshadows
An eye makeup tip for women over 50 to keep in mind is choosing a matte eyeshadow. Shimmer eyeshadows that are sparkly will bring out the wrinkles and creases in your skin rather than your eyes. Makeup experts say that you can apply a touch of pale eyeshadow with a speck of shimmer on the center of your eyelid for a bright and eye-catching look. The “flat” look of a matte eye shadow won’t change in different lighting and it also gives a satin-like finish.
Go Light On Eyeshadow Layering
We know you’re probably aware of this already, but to avoid that awful caked-on appearance, apply your eyeshadow color of choice in thin layers. Swirl just a touch of the shadow with a small makeup brush (the fluffier the better) and blend out the harsh edges. Keep adding a layer bit by bit until you’re happy with the result. Remember, a little goes a long way and too much will only make already sagging skin all the more obvious.
Count On One Color
Makeup experts say that using one medium to dark shade will make for a most natural and eye-embellishing effect. Apply a color akin to bronze, caramel, or sage with your eyeshadow brush and swipe it on to the outer corner of your line at your lash line. Blend the color inward and upward over the crease of the eyelid. Using more than one color—such as a lighter shade on the lids and darker color on the crease—can emphasize wrinkles and sagging whereas a singular eyeshadow will actually lift the eyes and make them look better.
Creamy Shadows Outperform Powders
When it comes to eye makeup over 50, powder eyeshadows have a tendency to settle into fine lines and while primer can prevent this, sometimes a cream eyeshadow can work better. Cream eyeshadows give a soft effect and they also blend more smoothly so these can be your best bet. The trick is to blend the eyeshadow out across the lids and keep the outer corners on the darker side and lighten the effect as you blend in and upwards.
Prepare Those Brows
It’s no secret that eyebrows naturally thin out with age. For a fuller look, brush on a brown powder, gel, or pencil into any sparse spots and shape along your natural arch. Makeup experts recommend a color that is one or two shades lighter than your natural brow color. Remember to keep it natural: filling in your brows too heavily can give a kind of caricature look.
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No Need to Wear False Eyelashes
You only need a touch of mascara to avoid that “so-eighties” spider-leg lash look. Use a proage mascara to lengthen those lashes .. but beware of clumps. Since lashes also tend to grow sparse with age, voluminous mascara might do the trick to make lashes look thicker. Simply press the mascara wand into the base of your eyelashes and sweep upward to the tip for an eyes wide open effect.
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We’re Almost At The Finish Line
Eyeliner is an eye makeup staple and can really beautify the eye. All you have to do is dot on your eyeliner pencil along your lash line (we recommend a dark brown or soft black) and then smudge it in with a cotton swab. You don’t want a harsh line and a straight line can be difficult to draw on more mature skin. Smudging the look gives a soft appearance which is why even a brown or black eyeshadow could also substitute for this step. We recommend this step for only the top lashes as lining the bottom lashes can look a little too much and make eyes look more narrow. But a nude shadow or eyeliner very lightly applied to the waterline (the thin line just above your bottom lashes) can make for a wide awake effect. But make sure to do this quickly because your eye will water.
End Your Eye Make-up Routine with Concealer
Concealer can be a lifesaver when it comes to dark circles and bags under the eyes—both of which can be common for women over 50. Experts say that a concealer should also be about one to two shades lighter than your skin tone. Pat on lightly under your eyes down to the tops of cheeks in a “V-shape”. Then keep parting with your fingers or a damp beauty sponge until the concealer has been blended into your skin and you can no longer see it sitting on top of your skin. This way of applying gives a well-rested look.
This is where you can also apply foundation to the rest of your face. Finishing touch: pat on a little bit of powder (with a puff or a brush) to set that concealer to stay. This step also prevents that dreaded smudging from your other eye products. Pressed powder is always better than loose powder which not only gives off a cakey look, but also makes fine lines more prominent.
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