Application techniques and effective makeup to enhance looks rather than just cover wrinkles.
These days many makeup artists are less likely to talk about hiding a woman’s age and wrinkles than about playing up her individual gifts.
“For me to get a great result on an older woman, age is not what I see,” says David De Leon, a makeup artist who often works with Jane Fonda. “I look for her potential.”
But finding the makeup that makes that woman look and feel great can be tricky. Application techniques that worked for years start to fail as one’s skin changes. Longtime favorites begin to detract, not enhance.
For the best tips and tools, we asked makeup artist Carolina Dali, whose clients include Ali McGraw and Sharon Stone, to illustrate the best techniques for mature skin in two looks — one day, one night.
Enhance for day
Eyebrows thin over time. Fill them in, but not with a pencil, Dali says. A powder will look more like the real thing. She likes the Chanel Brow Powder Duo ($50 at chanel.com) for its hair-approximating shades.
For eyeliner, Dali suggests gently tapping a black eye shadow directly on the lash line with an angled brush. This technique creates a line that opens up the eye without overwhelming it.
On the face, go translucent and dewy, not matte, since mature skin is often dryer. Apply foundation only where needed — to red spots, discoloration or hyper-pigmentation.
“Both concealer and foundation should have a sheen to them,” says Dali, who likes the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiance Perfecting Pen ($42 at Sephora) because it attracts light to where you apply it.
Liner keeps lipstick in place when lips begin to crinkle. Dali advises matching the liner to the color of the lips rather than the lipstick.
Intensify at night
The nighttime face simply builds on the daytime basics. “You can afford to do much more blush at night,” Dali says. She likes cream blush, which gives the skin a natural flush. Stila Convertible Color ($25 at stilacosmetics.com) goes on transparent but is easily buildable.
Apply a darker coat of black eye shadow on the lash line. Keep the line thin and “wing it up just a little bit to lift and open the eyes,” Dali says. Avoid dark colors on the lower lash line because they emphasize dark circles. Use champagne or bronze instead.
On the lips, try a bold shade such as Lorac Alter Ego Matte Lipstick in Pin Up ($18 at loraccosmetics.com), a moisturizing matte formula, and use an angled lip brush for precision.
4 top products
Expert picks for products that really sing on older skin:
Natura Bisse Diamond Mist ($94 at naturabisse.com). De Leon applies this spray before moisturizer. “It makes mature skin more plump and hydrated,” he says.
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation ($66 at amazon.com). “Older people with dry, sensitive skin who get redness will love this,” says Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist. “It goes on like a BB cream but with more coverage.”
Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara ($30 at perriconemd.com). This two-in-one formula coats lashes and encourages growth with peptides. “The color is a brown-black, which doesn’t look harsh against older skin,” says makeup artist Autumn Moultrie.
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lip & Cheek Tint ($35 at Sephora). This bright pink gel goes on translucent so it works for mature skin and a range of skin tones. “It’s easy to blend and gives the skin a glow,” says Angela Caglia, a facialist in Los Angeles.