9 Makeup Rules For Women Over 40

Try these products and makeup tricks to look more fresh-faced.

It's time to switch up your beauty routine. Try these products and makeup tricks to look more fresh-faced.

When the products of your past are no longer working, it's not that you've lost your touch—you just need a new set of rules to fit your face today. And thanks to new products and technology developed specifically for older skin, there's never been a better time for a little tune-up.

See three Prevention readers get the ultimate makeup updates below, then try them for yourself.

Eileen, 52

Eileen’s Makeup Dilemma: "I don’t know how to apply foundation in a way that looks natural and doesn’t accentuate my fine lines. I’ve heard that less is more when it comes to getting a healthy glow, but how do you actually do that?"

After the age of 40, skin becomes thinner, making your complexion a bit duller and paler. "Foundation can add back color and depth," says New York City-based makeup artist Sandy Linter. As we start to approach menopause, estrogen levels drop, which makes skin drier, so hydrating liquid formulas are best, says Natasha Mesinkovska, a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic.
Foundations to try:
  • Splurge: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup ($45,
  • Steal: L'Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup ($7,

Consider yellows and golds the universal foundation undertones of youth. "They're warming colors," giving skin a more youthful appearance, says Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. Broken capillaries also start to pop up more often in aging skin, and yellow or golden undertones can help balance out that redness. (Psst! Here are 7 little ways your skin actually improves as you age.)

"We associate full, defined brows with youth because everyone's brows are fuller when they're younger," says Linter. But they get sparser and can fade over time. Powder fills in thin areas and pumps up fading color, but if you have bald spots in your brows, use a pencil first, then apply powder on top for more coverage.
Brow products to try:
  • Splurge: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo: ($23,
  • Steal: L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Sculptor ($7;

Eileen's Verdict: "I've always had a minimalist approach to beauty, focused on exercise, eating well, and a positive outlook. Now, in my 50s, I need a bit more to feel polished—this looks natural and healthy."

Maria, 46

Maria’s Makeup Dilemma: "I want to make my eyes pop more, but I have these dark circles that I don’t know how to cover up and I worry that I’m really just drawing attention to them."

When you were a kid, your cheeks had a permanent rosy glow. "But with age, the cheeks lose that flush because blood circulation to the skin becomes less active," says Graf. That means you can get away with using bolder shades that you may have shied away from before. Warm, bright tones like peaches and pinks flatter aging skin better than dusty, muted colors, which offer little contrast against your natural tone.

Blushes to try:
  • Splurge: Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm in Robust Rhubarb ($30,
  • Steal: e.l.f. Pressed Mineral Blush in Wanderlust ($7,

Ultraviolet light, along with natural aging, cause the collagen in lips to break down, which is why they tend to shrink and get dry with age. (Pro tip: Eat these 7 foods that naturally boost collagen in the body.) But a little bit of gloss can give them the appearance of hydration and plumpness. Apply a matte lipstick first to prevent feathering, and follow up with a couple of dabs of gloss in the centermost part of your pout.

Lip glosses to try:
  • Splurge: Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Luminous Lip Gloss ($19,
  • Steal: Neutrogena MoistureShine Lip Soother Gloss ($7,

Thickening, volumizing formulas sound good in theory, but on older lashes, which tend to be thinner and lighter, they're just added weight. So start by using an eyelash curler and then apply a curling, lengthening mascara. Wiggle the wand at the base and push up as you apply for even more lift. (Try these 18 little ways to look younger on a budget.)

Mascaras to try:
  • Splurge: theBalm Mad Lash Mascara ($17,
  • Steal: Maybelline Define-A-Lash Lengthening Mascara ($8,
Maria's Verdict: "My eyes have always been my best feature, but curling my lashes and using a lengthening mascara really makes you notice them, not my dark circles."

Emily, 42

Emily’s Makeup Dilemma: "Different eyeshadow colors and trends are fun to play with, but the shadow never stays put and by the end of the day, the vibrant look I started with is completely gone."

You're starting to lose layers of superficial fat just beneath the surface of your skin, but that can be a good thing. "After 40, your cheekbones start to reveal themselves," says Linter. She recommends playing them up by applying blush along the tops of the cheekbones instead of just on the apples of your cheeks. If your cheekbones haven't quite started to pop, add a sweep of bronzer just underneath to make them stand out.

Bronzers to try:
  • Splurge: Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzing Powder ($35,
  • Steal: Covergirl Queen Natural Hue Mineral Bronzer ($10,

Your eyelids can shrink as the skin above them starts to droop, and "smaller eyelids get warmer," says Linter. That means you're at greater risk of having your eye shadow slide off. Eye primer will prevent a makeup meltdown, keep it from settling into fine lines and wrinkles, and mask imperfections like veins and age spots, which become more obvious as eyelid skin thins. (Smooth stubborn forehead lines with these tips.)

Eye primers to try:
  • Splurge: Clarins Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base ($25,
  • Steal: NYX Cosmetics HD Eye Shadow Base ($7,

A few finishing sweeps help makeup stay put, and the newest formulas are translucent instead of ultramattifying. "Powder becomes a mistake only if you make your whole face shine-free," says Linter. So apply it to the nose, forehead, and chin, avoiding cheeks and the under-eye area, where it can cake and settle into fine lines.

Finishing powders to try:
  • Splurge: Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder ($35,
  • Steal: Revlon PhotoReady Translucent Finisher ($9,

Emily's Verdict: "Makeup makes me feel younger, and I have fun experimenting, changing my routine as I age. One of the best new things I've tried is using eye primer so my shadow stays put."

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Women's Magazine: 9 Makeup Rules For Women Over 40
9 Makeup Rules For Women Over 40
Try these products and makeup tricks to look more fresh-faced.
Women's Magazine
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