As we age, shifting hormones cause our skin to change. A decline in estrogen levels—which alters collagen and elastin production—cause dramatic shifts in skin texture and reduce hydration levels.
That means your smokey eye might not give the same smoldering look you once achieved. Makeup might settle into lines, breaking up the color. Blush doesn’t have that same livening effect it once did. And powders don’t play nice with drier skin.
But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on makeup. It’s easier than you might think to adapt your beauty products and makeup application techniques to work with your changing skin. Luckily we found some amazing experts and content creators this year who helped us do just that.
1. Place Blush Higher For A Facelift Effect
Instead of applying blush on the apples of the cheeks (as you’ve been advised to do probably since you started wearing blush), Christen Dominique, founder of Dominique Cosmetics, showed us that applying blush higher on the face can transform your appearance.
She followed up recently with a clever hack for nailing that higher placement: place your thumb and forefinger in an L shape, with your thumb lining up under your cheekbone. Use the L shape as a border to create the perfect, lifted look.
2. SPF Makeup May Not Provide Enough Protection
SPF-infused makeup promises cosmetic benefits plus UVA/UVB protection. But experts say these products don’t always deliver on their promises, and they don’t really protect your skin the way you might think. Instead of relying on SPF-infused makeup to protect your skin from harmful sun rays, it’s best to use actual sunblock.
“You would need six to seven times the amount of makeup to make it as effective as standard sunscreen,” said Kim Harris of Prescott Medical Aesthetics.
3. Avoid Cakey Foundation With This Trick
Dermatologist Dr. Azadeh Shirazi revealed that if your foundation looks cakey, the makeup might not be the problem. To avoid the cakey look, first mist your skin with thermal spring water and apply hyaluronic acid to your dampened skin. Then apply your foundation, and blot the excess with a tissue-covered beauty blender.
- Helps reduce sensitivity, restore skin balance & doesn’t dry out skin.
- Softens & calms sensitive skin; helps reduce visible redness & burning sensations.
4. Tweak Your Makeup Application After 40
Updating the products we use as we age can make a big difference, but application methods are just as important. Erica Taylor created a reel about the “dos and don’ts” of makeup application for those over 40, covering contouring, blush application, and lip liner.
Her tips included placing contour higher than you’ve probably been taught—essentially on top of your cheekbones—for a lifted look, using cream blush instead of powder, and not lining your lips all the way around for a “happier, more youthful look.”
5. Define Your Eyes After 40 Without Using Eyeliner
Courtney Spencer—whose Instagram brand is all about hair and makeup over 40—showed us how to do a super versatile, mess-free eyeliner method that delivers a soft, smokey look using zero eyeliner. All you need are the right tools—a nice matte eyeshadow color and the fluffy end of an eyeshadow brush.
6. Apply Bronzer Under Your Eyes
Makeup artist Gucci Westman is a genius when it comes to natural-looking makeup for women over 40. The former Global Artistic Director for Revlon has worked with celebrity clients including Drew Barrymore, Natalie Portman, and Halle Berry, and her industry career dates back to the ’90s—so she knows her stuff.
Westman told her Instagram followers that her favorite trick for looking “naturally sun-kissed” is to apply bronzer horizontally across her forehead, underneath her eyes, on her eyelids, on the bridge of her nose, and around the eyes at the temples to connect to the cheeks. We were surprised, too, but it looks amazing.
7. ‘Drape’ Your Blush For A Fresh Look
Gen Z Instagram makeup influencers have been applying blush in unexpected ways. It’s a technique known as blush draping, and it actually harkens back to the ’70s.
Essentially, you use blush instead of contour and bronzer to sculpt your face. Blush draping brings more color and life to the skin, adding a “lit-from-within glow,” and it’s flattering on all ages and skin types. As an added bonus, it gives your face a lift—or at least the appearance of one.