Makeup mistakes that make you look older
Makeup has the power to flatter your favourite features – or add ten extra years to your face. To avoid appearing older than you really are, steal these professional makeup artists’ tips for making your skin, eyes, and lips look decades younger.
Wearing the wrong foundation colour
Foundation that’s too light or dark will look dull and unnatural, not youthful and glowing. “Across the board, wearing the wrong colour foundation is the biggest and most obvious mistake” people make, according to make-up artist, Porsche Cooper. Here’s a tip to find the best shade for you: when you test foundation out in a store, dab a bit on your face rather than your hand, which can be a different shade. The colour should match your complexion even before it’s blended.
Skipping your eyebrows
Over time, your eyebrows can become sparser, especially if you have a history of over-tweezing them. Add some definition – and open up your face – by filling your eyebrows in with a product that is a shade lighter than your natural hair. But “do not fall into the mistake of outlining your brows and filling it in,” says make-up artist Laura Geller. Instead, “start towards the middle of your face with gentle upward motions,” following the natural arch of your brow.
Choosing a drab blush colour
Most women shy away from using blush, but “blush can be your friend,” Cooper says. “It adds back natural colouring to your cheeks that foundation has masked, and is vital to looking youthful.” Geller agrees, “Blush is mandatory” for women of any age, she says. “We lose pigment as we get older, [and] we need a pop of colour.” Geller recommends using a range of softer pink to mauve colours, depending on your skin tone.
Picking a shimmery eyeshadow
With eyeshadow, “the biggest problem we see is not blending, not understanding what happened to the shape of your eyes,” Geller says. You may still be applying shadow the same way you did in your 20s, “but now you should be more mindful of what is there,” she says. Glittery eyeshadow often settles into creases, accentuating the crinkles on your eyelids. Opt for a more flattering matte finish instead, and save the shimmer for the inner corners of your eyes to brighten them up.
Not applying concealer
Spot correcting with a concealer that matches your skin is essential, Cooper says. She suggests choosing a cream foundation, dab it over areas of concern with a damp sponge, and then apply a lightweight foundation or concealer to the rest of your face. “A healthy and even-tone complexion is the quickest way to blur the lines of ageing skin,” Cooper says.
Finishing with powder
When you remove that oily shine with powder, Cooper says, you also hide the youthful glow from your skin reflecting the light. Swap out powder for blotting tissues, which won’t highlight wrinkles in the same way makeup would. If you really can’t give up your powder habit, dab it only on your chin and nose, and keep in mind that less is often more. “Even for makeup wearers who crave a flawless finish, foundation looks more youthful when applied exactly where you need it,” Cooper says.
Lining the bottom of your eyes
Bottom eyeliner makes your eyes look smaller, while top liner opens them up. But steer clear of harsh lines and dark colours, which can make your lids look heavy. Geller recommends applying a soft layer of brown or grey eyeliner to your top outer corner and then blending it outward for a brightening effect. “What you are trying to do is bring back shape to your eye,” she says. “A soft line on top of the eye will help draw the shape of your eye out.”
Using a heavy hand
A thick layer of foundation or concealer can settle into wrinkles and creases, calling attention to them. “For more mature skin, many women feel they need to cover up,” Geller says. But “doing more to cover often exacerbates the problem at hand.” Lightweight foundations are easier to blend and less flat than the average formula. To smooth out extra makeup, lightly press a damp sponge on areas with more wrinkles.
Applying your blush to the wrong spot
Swirling blush only on the apples of your cheeks leaves you with unnatural, unflattering circles. Yet applying it too far below the cheekbones can drag down your face, giving it a saggy appearance. For a youthful boost, lightly brush the blush along your cheekbone, starting under the centre of your eye and sweeping upward. As you apply, Geller suggests using a magnifying mirror to catch any wayward strokes or blending errors.
Running late? You can ditch your usual makeup routine – but never skip applying a swipe of mascara, Geller says. “The shellac finish you get on the lashes really helps to counteract the whites of your eyes, which helps your eyes look more open,” according to Geller.
Choosing a dark lipstick
Lips lose their fullness over time, and using dark shades of lipstick can make them look even smaller. Choose mauves and pinks instead, which highlight your lips and make them appear fuller. A swipe of lip gloss will plump them up even more. If you do decide to go for a darker shade, pick a sheer formula or a stain, which aren’t as flat as a heavier finish, or dab the colour on with your finger.
Not using eye brightener
If you have never used eye brightener before, it’s not too late to start. “Your eyes, especially in the age of wearing masks, are the focus feature everyone sees first,” Cooper says. “Eye brighteners and/or highlighters with a sheen reflect the light from your eyes to make them look lighter, bigger, and more rested at any age.”
Forgetting to blend
There is just one rule of thumb when it comes to applying makeup like a pro: blend, blend, blend. “Spend time on blending if you want your makeup to look seamless,” Cooper says. It’s “key to looking like you sat in the chair of a professional.” When applying eyeshadow, she suggests using a fluffy blending brush to buff out any hard lines.
Contouring your face
Heavy contours can give your face a dark, sunken appearance, according to makeup artist Rick DiCecca. He suggests embracing a more natural style, instead – not only to look younger, but also to feel more confident. “If women feel like themselves, they feel empowered,” DiCecca says.
Neglecting your skin
Though skin care isn’t necessarily what you would consider makeup, it’s still key to looking your best at any age. DiCecca recommends adding a treatment product that addresses a specific need to your daily skincare routine. For women with mature skin, look for products that can smooth wrinkles and brighten your complexion. No matter how old you are, you should wear a sunscreen on your face daily.
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