6 Makeup Mistakes That Can Age You
When it comes to makeup, it’s easy to fall into the same routine without even realizing it doesn’t work for us anymore. As we age, our skin changes but most of all, we change. The makeup routine that you can do half-asleep at this point, might be holding you back from looking your very best. These are the common makeup mistakes that can make you look older than you are—and the easy fixes that will make you look years younger.
Mistake: Skipping Foundation
The one makeup item you should never skip in the name of streamlining your routine: foundation. When you find the right one, it can even skin tone, erase discoloration, and give you a youthful glow. “No foundation is better than bad foundation—but good foundation is best,” says Maybelline New York makeup artist Melissa Silver.
Solution: Wearing the Right Foundation
“When trying out a new foundation in a department store, wear it for a few hours and check it out in natural daylight to see how it settles," Silver advises. “Cakey? Try again. Looks natural? It’s a winner.” A powder foundation, like Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder SPF 15 ($42, sephora.com), is best for oily skin; sweep it on with a fluffy brush for a soft finish. For dry skin, apply liquid foundation or a tinted moisturizer with a slightly damp sponge (try Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, $42, sephora.com). If you have normal or combination skin, “use the formulation you feel most comfortable in,” says Silver.
A trick she likes, especially for women who shy away from foundation altogether for fear that it will settle into (and highlight) fine lines: “To sheer out a foundation that you feel is too opaque, mix it on the back of your hand with a drop of moisturizer to create your own customized tinted moisturizer.”
Mistake: Choosing the Wrong Color Blush
Just the slightest pop of the right color can help enhance your natural glow and cheekbones. But when blush is not harmonious with your lip color or skin tone, it can look harsh.
Solution: Choosing the Right Shade for Your Skintone
Choose a shade closer to your skin tone. Women with fair skin look best in rosy pinks and peaches—“nothing too brown,” says Silver. Pinks and peaches work well on medium skin tones, too—even something slightly mauve will flatter those with cooler skin tones. Corals, oranges, berries, and rich bronzes complement darker complexions; avoid anything too blue or too light, which will look ashy. For a color that flatters all skin tones, try this one.
Mistake: Overdoing Lip Liner
Dark, heavily-lined lips will instantly date your look. Lip liner is meant to define your lips and lip color, not double as your lip color. If you like using lip liner to fill in your lips, always follow the natural curvature of your mouth, to keep the look modern and de-emphasize any feathery lines around the mouth.
Solution: Softening the Look
Lip liner is really meant to hold your lipstick in check, preventing it from bleeding. To keep lip liner from looking severe, match it to the color of your lipstick or to your natural lip color. After lining your lips, use the pencil to fill them in, then apply lipstick on top. Use a creamy pencil for best results; our favorite is the Lancôme Le Lipstique, $26, sephora.com).
Mistake: Lining Just the Lower Lid
There’s something to be said for sticking with an approach that works—unless that approach is one you adopted in high school. Severe liner on the lower lid is a rookie mistake. Instead of opening your eyes, it makes them look small and bottom heavy.
Solution: Doing Both Lids
For wide, attention-grabbing eyes, use a soft pencil on both the upper and lower lids, applying it close to the lash lines, then gently smudging it to lighten the look. The look can be as bold or subtle as you want: “a soft gray or bronze will make any eye color sparkle,” says Silver. “Apply it lightly and blend it out with a small, firm brush for a subtly beautiful look.”
Mistake: Going “Look at Me!” Bright for Impact
When it comes to lids, allover bold color can backfire. Bright colors—though fun—can enhance line creases and look far too jarring. Plus, when the color steps too far out of the ordinary (like blues, lilac, and green) it can set you back a few decades to when those colors were truly trendy.
Solution: Try Deeper, Neutral Hues
Understated shades—like brown, maroon, or violet—are not only far more flattering but help your eye color pop. But you don't have to abandon your dreams of bold color: Apply your usual shadow to your top lid, then dip an eyeliner brush into the statement color and trace over the shadow at your lash line, for a cool but sophisticated look.
Mistake: Skimping on Your Brows
When it comes to framing your face, brows are your most important feature. As we age, it's common for hair to thin and become paler, which can cause your eyes to visually recede.