Beauty does not have an age limit, and neither does makeup. So, all those dumb rules, such as that women should not wear bright colors after a certain age? That’s hogwash.
My mother rocks a red lip like nobody else, and she’s 73 years old. So do Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Helen Mirren (though my mom is prettier than all of them combined!).
So, why do we need to talk about makeup for older women at all? Not to draw boundaries but to adjust and evolve.
It’s more to do with adapting to how our skin and facial structure change over the years. As we grow older, our skin loses some elasticity and gains texture. Fine lines, wrinkles, and extra dryness are par for the course.
And that’s why you need to re-examine your makeup techniques and formulations as the years’ progress. Want to wear a pop of pink on your cheeks? Of course, you can! The difference lies just in how you apply it.
For instance, a powder blush may look cakey and spotlight every tiny line and wrinkle. Solution: Switch to a cream-based formula, which is the best kind of blush for mature skin.
And the best foundation for mature skin? One that’s creamy rather than powder-based so that it blends in quickly and seamlessly without settling looking caky or settling into grooves.
Yes, it can be that simple.
And here you have all this and the rest: Your simple, expert-approved guide to the best makeup for older women, from the best foundation for mature skin to what other makeup is aging you.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Do you know why that 22-year-old neighbor has skin that glows like the sun and seems to hug her bones? The kind that annoys you because it can pull off #wokeuplikethis without cheating?
It’s because the skin is blessed with peak levels of water, fat, and oil till the mid-20s. After that, it’s downhill for the most part.
So, the first step in makeup for older women, recommended by celebrity makeup artists, is: Load up on moisturizer. Diligently massage a hydrating cream or oil into your skin before you pick up the first makeup brush.
Yes, it’s boring. And yes, it adds one more step. But the payback is tremendous because no makeup will ever sit well on dry skin.
Pro tip: Put on a sheet mask before starting the makeup.
Going on to… the best face primer for mature skin
Face primer is like the unsung hero of the makeup routine, especially for mature skin. Think of it as preparing a canvas for a painting; it creates a smooth surface for makeup application, helping to even out skin tone, minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines, and extending the longevity of your makeup.
So, seeking the perfect primer for mature skin? It’s all about matchmaking with your skin’s needs. Is your skin more parched than a desert? Dive into a hydrating primer. If your skin has lost its pep, an illuminating primer will have you glowing. A pore-minimizing primer is your trusty shield if you’re battling mammoth pores.
Best face primer for mature skin (click to buy it now):
- Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is lightweight, oil-free, blurs imperfections, and extends the wear of foundation
- Laura Mercier Foundation Primer is hydrating and creates a soft, luminous base while minimizing the appearance of fine lines
- NARS Radiance Primer SPF 35 provides a subtle glow while protecting the skin against the sun
- Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base is a moisturizing primer for mature skin, infused with vitamins to nourish the complexion and create a smooth canvas
- Dr. Brandt Pores No More Luminizer Primer minimizes the appearance of pores and adds radiance
- IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Primer reduces the appearance of pores, absorb excess oil, and create a smooth finish
The best foundation for mature skin
Even your foundation should be warm, dewy, and luminescent (look for words like “moisturizing” or “light reflecting”).
Also, the best foundation for mature skin should ideally be a shade or two darker than the skin tone. A too-pale, too-matte foundation adds on the years by making you look washed out and exaggerating every tiny crinkle.
And use a light hand: When a celebrity makeup artist has to age stars for the screen, they spackle on ultra-heavy foundation!
Best foundation for mature skin (click to buy it now):
- Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is luxurious, lightweight, and provides a radiant finish
- Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter blurs imperfections, adds a subtle glow, and can be used as a primer, highlighter, or foundation
- Lancôme Skin Feels Good Skin Nourishing Foundation is a lightweight, hydrating foundation for mature skin that evens out the skin tone while providing a natural, healthy-looking finish
- Chantecaille Future Skin Gel Foundation is a unique gel formula with buildable coverage, hydration, and a dewy, luminous finish
- NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 provides sheer coverage, hydration, and sun protection for a dewy look
- Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Skin Foundation is a long-wearing, medium to full coverage foundation that delivers a flawless, airbrushed finish
- Make Up For Ever Reboot Foundation is infused with skincare benefits to revitalize and restore the complexion
- Urban Decay Hydromaniac Glowy Tinted Hydrator Foundation leaves skin feeling super hydrated while minimizing pores with a blurring effect
The eyes have it!
The skin under our eyes becomes thinner with the years. In a double whammy, this really brings out the dark circles and fine lines while simultaneously making it more difficult to blend in the concealer for a natural finish.
Solution: Switch to a liquid concealer, apply it with a brush, and put it only on dark areas, not under the entire eye. Add a dab to the corner of the eyes, which tends to be one of the darkest areas and one that we often overlook.
Best concealers for older women (click to buy it now)
- Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift is a brightening under-eye concealer for dark circles and fine lines
- NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is highly pigmented with a creamy texture that provides buildable coverage and a radiant finish
- Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue has lightweight coverage, hydration, and skin nourishing benefits
- Giorgio Armani High Precision Retouch Concealer has a precision applicator that targets and camouflages imperfections
- Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Concealer is a long-wearing, full coverage concealer that conceals blemishes, dark circles, and imperfections
Say no to powder
As for powder, throw it out of the window once and for all. It just settles into fine lines, highlighting them with a vengeance and making the complexion appear dry and pasty.
In fact, try and stick to creams, gels, and liquids for all makeup products for mature skin, including blush and eyeshadow.
Repeat after me: One of the best makeup tips for older women is that anything which adds hydration, dewiness, and luminescence to your skin is good.
Anything that dries it out is evil. EVIL. The more hydrated your skin, the younger it will look.
Blush it up: The best blush for mature skin!
Then there’s that little fact about losing muscle tone as we grow older (thank you, gravity!), which makes our facial structure less defined. So, apply blush on the apples of your cheeks rather than under the cheekbones.
And while looking for the best blush for mature skin, stick to creamy formulas and a shade close to your natural flush — a blush that’s too dark or bright will wash you out.
Best blush for mature skin (click to buy it now): NARS The Multiple Cream Blush, Lip and Eye Stick, Giorgio Armani A-Line Liquid Blush, Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick, Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush
As for lipstick for older women…
Whenever someone tells me that “women of a certain age” should stop wearing bright red lipstick or a fuchsia lip gloss, I want to slap them.
What’s the age limit for having fun? On being cheerful? On wearing war armor when you face a tough day?
I will tell you exactly the same thing a celebrity makeup artist told my mother (yes, being the mother of a beauty blogger has some perks): keep the bright hues — adjust the texture.
As we age, our lips get drier and thinner. Keep them moist with creamy lipsticks and plumping glosses. Or top off your lipstick with a clear gloss or lip oil, which will reflect light and make lips appear fuller.
One more thing about lips: Your natural lip line can begin to fade as you age, which makes lipstick more prone to bleeding and feathering. Tracing it with a lip liner can help the color stay put.
Best lipsticks for older women (click to buy it now): Clinique Moisture Surge Pop Lip Colour + Primer; Bobbi Brown Nourishing Lip Color; Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Color Splash Lipstick; YSL Rouge Volupté Shine Lipstick; Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Hydrating Lipstick; Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lipstick
What’s going on with my lashes, you ask?
Another adjustment to eye makeup for older women? As we age, our lashes start flattening out (thank you, gravity again!).
To counter, befriend the eyelash curler. Curling your lashes will make your eyes look brighter and perkier.
With the passing years, you will also notice that lashes start getting thinner.
The reflex action would be to load on a thickening mascara, but that’s counterproductive. Thin lashes cannot support the weight of these heavy formulations and will start getting flatter and clumpier.
Instead, look for a lengthening mascara, which is lighter yet adds sufficient bulk.
Oh! And leave out mascara on lower lashes unless you want to highlight every tiny line or dark circle. No? I thought as much.
Best mascaras for older women (click to buy it now): Chanel Inimitable Mascara, Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer, Surratt Beauty Noir Lash Tint, Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Lengthening Mascara
And the brows
But do define your brows, which also keep getting thinner over the years, and this visually drags down your entire face.
A simple pencil or brow powder will fill them back in to lift your face, define your features and make everything appear more youthful (you can’t go wrong with Refy Brow Pomade). This is an essential part of your eye makeup!
Keep the eyeliner… forever!
Even when I’m 90, the one thing that’s not going anywhere is my eyeliner. I love my eyeliners. Especially the colored ones, which are perfect for getting party-ready quickly (turquoise eyeliner + nude lips = effortless glam). And I’ve no intention of ever giving up even one of them.
But it’s a fact that with age, the skin above your lash line becomes droopy and less defined.
Easy fix: Swap the waxy pencils, which tug on the skin, for a creamier formulation that will glide on easily. A liquid or gel liner, which goes on with a brush, is the best bet.
Best eyeliners for older women (click to buy it now): Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner, Trish McEvoy Intense Gel Eyeliner Pencil, Dior Crayon Eyeliner Waterproof, Lancôme Le Crayon Khôl, Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner
One of the best makeup tips for older women is cautiously approaching shimmer. Formulas with shiny particles act like mammoth spotlights, throwing every line, wrinkle, and wayward pore into focus.
The newer illuminators and highlighters are great at adding that elusive hint of glamour without covering your face in chunky, gritty glitter particles.
Best highlighter for older women (click to buy it now): RMS Beauty Living Luminizer; Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid; ILIA Beauty Illuminator; Kjaer Weis Radiance Highlighter; Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
Here are the most frequently asked questions about makeup for older women.
What kind of makeup should an older woman wear?
Older women should opt for hydrating, light-reflecting makeup products. Using warmer tones for foundation and concealer, softer colors for eyeliner, and brighter colors like peach or pink can bring a youthful glow. It’s also beneficial to use a creamy blush, fill in the brows, and finish with a hydrating setting spray for a seamless, lasting look.
What brand of makeup is best for older skin?
Choosing makeup for older skin often means looking for products that provide good coverage and hydration and don’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles. Here are the best brands that are highly recommended for older skin.
- Estée Lauder: Their skincare and makeup products are known for their anti-aging benefits. The Advanced Night Repair line and Re-Nutriv Radiance Liquid Foundation SPF20 are particularly popular.
- Lancôme: Lancôme offers a range of products designed for mature skin. For example, their Rénergie Lift Makeup Foundation contains SPF and offers a lifting effect.
- IT Cosmetics: IT Cosmetics provides makeup developed with plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Their Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ is a full-coverage foundation, anti-aging serum, and physical sunscreen.
- Bobbi Brown: Bobbi Brown’s makeup is designed to enhance natural beauty, which can be a boon for aging skin. Their Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation is known for its breathable, natural-looking coverage.
- La Mer: La Mer’s makeup products contain their Miracle Broth, which is specially formulated to promote the skin’s natural healing process. The La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation is one of the best foundations for mature skin.
- Giorgio Armani: Their Luminous Silk Foundation is praised for its lightweight, hydrating formulation that doesn’t settle into fine lines.
Should older women wear foundation makeup?
Absolutely, older women can wear foundation makeup. However, as skin ages, its needs change, and the type of foundation used can make a significant difference. Hydrating, lightweight, and creamy foundations work well, as they can add moisture, provide coverage without settling into fine lines or wrinkles, and give a healthy, luminous finish.
Should older women use cream makeup?
Yes, cream makeup can be particularly beneficial for older women. As skin ages, it becomes drier, and cream-based products offer extra hydration. Cream makeup, such as blushes, bronzers, and eyeshadows, also tend to blend more easily and sit more naturally on the skin, reducing the likelihood of the product settling into fine lines or wrinkles.
What makeup makes skin look younger?
Makeup that enhances the natural glow and vitality of the skin tends to create a more youthful appearance. A light, hydrating foundation or a tinted moisturizer can provide coverage while adding a healthy luminosity. Concealer can brighten the under-eye area, while the best blush for mature skin is cream-based for a seamless finish. Brow products and mascara can lift the eyes, and a touch of color on the lips can contribute to a youthful look.
What makeup should I avoid for mature skin?
For mature skin, it’s generally best to avoid heavy, matte makeup products, which can settle into fine lines and wrinkles, making them appear more pronounced. Similarly, powdery products can often make the skin look dry and dull. A thick under-eye concealer and glittery makeup can also highlight wrinkles. Instead, use hydrating, lightweight, and cream-based products for a more flattering appearance.
Is primer necessary for mature skin?
Primer isn’t always necessary for mature skin, but it can provide benefits. A good primer can smooth the skin’s surface, reducing the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores, which can make the foundation go on more evenly. Certain primers also have hydrating or illuminating properties, providing extra moisture or a healthy glow to the skin.
What are the best lip colors for older women?
As lips can lose their natural color and fullness with age, many women find that the best lip colors for older women add a touch of natural color. Rosy pinks, soft corals, or muted reds can enhance the lips without being overpowering. It’s generally advisable to avoid very dark or matte shades, as they can make lips appear thinner and highlight any lines around the mouth.
Can older women wear eyeliner, and what type is best?
Yes, older women can undoubtedly wear eyeliner, which can help define the eyes and make them appear more vibrant. Soft, creamy pencil or gel liners are often recommended for mature skin as they glide effortlessly without pulling the skin. Opting for softer colors like brown or grey rather than harsh black can provide a more natural look.
Is it beneficial for older women to use color correctors?
Color correctors can be beneficial for older women for addressing specific skin concerns that tend to come with age. For instance, peach or orange-toned correctors can neutralize dark circles or age spots. In contrast, green correctors can counteract redness from rosacea or broken capillaries. It’s important to use a light hand when applying these products, focusing only on areas of discoloration, followed by a lightweight concealer or foundation.
Which is the best full-coverage foundation for mature skin?
The best full-coverage foundation for mature skin depends on individual needs. For instance, IT Cosmetics’ Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ offers full coverage, hydration, and sun protection. Another option is Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Maximum Coverage Camouflage Foundation For Face and Body SPF15, which provides good coverage and anti-aging benefits.