Fight the Frump: Makeup Mistakes That Can Age You

I’ve had a lot of requests for this post, so I wanted to fit it in before we start our fall fashion series on Friday. After doing some online research and taking notice of some of the things women do with their makeup that seems to age them unnecessarily, I put together a list of 7 makeup mistakes that can make us look older than we really are and how we can fix them.

First allow me to make a disclaimer or three. I am not a makeup expert, and I’ve never been that good at it. People often think that because I wear it, I love it, but I really resent the time it takes to put on makeup in the morning, and I get frustrated with some of the application — like eye shadow! I think eye shadow will always confound me.

I’m also not one to do a lot of experimentation with makeup. I tend to find something I like and stick with it for years, although I do try to stay aware of the trends so I don’t get stuck in a rut.

With all that said, I’m fortunate that I’ve had my makeup done by a professional quite a few times because of this blog, and every time, I ask questions and try to learn something. All that to say, I’m probably better at telling you what to do than doing it myself.

So here goes! With most of these tips, you’ll notice a common theme. Going overboard with our makeup and under-use are both no-nos. When we’re younger, the natural look is cute and carefree, but as we get older, it can really drag us down. Conversely, overdoing it and wearing too much makeup can make us look cartoonish and silly, so finding a happy medium is key.

7 Makeup Mistakes That Can Age You

#1. Wearing the wrong foundation (or no foundation.) As we get older, wearing foundation becomes more important, however, the wrong color or heavily caked-on foundation can definitely age us. I like to have my foundation matched at the beauty counter to be sure I’m wearing the right shade.

In the summertime, I like to tan my body, but I never intentionally tan my face so I switch to a darker foundation to match the rest of my skin. During the transition seasons, I will often mix my summer and winter colors together to get the right shade. You never want your face to be darker than the rest of your body, but when your face is lighter than your body, you look like a ghost, and that’s not a good look either!

Everyone’s skin is different so there is no one size fits all foundation, but I can tell you what I use that I like for my dry skin. (Also, I’m only 45, so I realize that as I get older, these products may not continue to be the best.)

For the past few years, I’ve alternated between MAC Studio Sculpt (for fuller coverage) and Jane Iredale PurePressed Base when I want a more natural look. Sometimes I use both. I like the Jane Iredale on top of the MAC for the most coverage — usually only when I’m going to be taking photos for the blog. I use this Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki brush for applying both. When I’m just using the PrePressed Base, I also use the Jane Iredale Hydration Spray to set it and also to keep my face looking moist and fresh.

Sometimes women go without foundation because they feel like it’s too heavy, but going too natural is aging as well. To sheer out a foundation that you feel is too heavy, mix it on the back of your hand with a drop of moisturizer and then apply. This is basically creating your own tinted moisturizer.

Also, don’t forget to exfoliate! Regular exfoliation helps slough off the dead skin and helps your foundation to go on smoothly and evenly.

#2. Blush that’s not blended in. It’s really important to wear a blush in a shade that suits your skin tone and then to blend it in really well. You also don’t want to get it too high (close to your eyes) or too close to your nose because that looks amateur.

Blush Application Tip >> Start your blush right under the pupil and then sweep it along the cheekbone and upward, blending into the hairline.

Your blush should be visible but not super noticeable, and you definitely don’t want to see a line of demarcation where your blush starts and stops. Sometimes a bigger blush brush can help with this. I’m fond of this Sigma Beauty F10 powder/blush brush.

Cream blush is a good option too, as we get older and our skin gets drier. I still use a powder blush, but I know I need to be more careful about not getting it too close to my nose or eyes.

#3. Wearing harsh lip liner or lipstick that’s too dark. As we age, going lighter with our lipstick is generally a good idea. This is not to say that you should never wear a dark lipstick, but it can be tricky as we get older. I tend to keep my lipstick lighter and more neutral and go darker on my eyes.

You also want to be sure your lip liner isn’t creating a noticeable line around your lips. I actually line my lips an then fill in with the lip liner, and I apply lipstick on top of that. Not only does it make your lipstick color last longer, but it avoids that darker outline of lip liner that can look old fashioned. I usually apply a gloss on top of it all to keep my lips moist and looking fuller.

I’m a HUGE fan of MAC lip liners. They have the best pigment that I’ve found, and they go on smoothly and easily. My favorite color is Spice. It’s a great neutral base for just about any color lipstick I want to apply. (The exception to this is red. I have a separate red liner I use for red lipsticks.)

#4. Under-applying lipstick and/or allowing it to wear off. Like most makeup tips, finding a happy medium with our lipstick is ideal. While wearing lipstick that’s too dark can be garish, wearing no lipstick can really drag you down.

I didn’t used to let it bother me when my lipstick wore off, and I think it looked okay when I was younger, but nowadays I’m more intentional about reapplying throughout the day. I recommend carrying a nice moist, neutral shade in your purse that you can add to whatever you put on in the morning to carry you through the day.

When I’m going out in the evening or expecting visitors, I try to remember to run upstairs and freshen up first. I didn’t used to bother, but I started noticing how tired and bedraggled I look by dinnertime, and now I make it a point to do so.

Ain’t aging grand!?!

#5. Lining just the lower eyelid. Eyeliner isn’t always necessary, but whatever you do, never line just the lower lid. In fact, I never use eyeliner on my lower lid because it’s too harsh. Instead, I apply some eye shadow with a small smudge brush for a more subtle look.

Eyeliner Application Tip >> Always be sure to get your eye liner into the lash line so there’s no skin showing between your eyelashes and the liner. Also try to avoid a harsh line for daytime and smudge your eyeliner so it blends into the eye shadow and looks more natural.

#6. Wearing harsh black eyeliner. Here’s where I’m going to be a bit of a hypocrite. I love black eyeliner and I wear black eyeliner, although I know there will come a time when I’ll have to soften it up some. Mine is a gel (this Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in a pot), and I try to smudge it so it’s not too harsh, but with my dark coloring, I still like it. I apply with the small smudge brush I mentioned above.

However, in general, harsh makeup is aging — dark lip colors and blush that’s too dark and not blended, as discussed above, and black eyeliner falls into that category as well. Try grey or brown instead.

#7. Neglecting your eyebrows. As we age, our eyebrows tend to get thinner, so filling them in helps keep them more shapely and well defined, and as a result, we look younger and more natural.

I’ve tried about every eyebrow pencil/gel/powder that I can get my hands on, and my favorite by far is Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. I use Dark Brown (Brunette). It’s super fine and goes on smoothly and easily. I use small strokes to mimic eyebrow hairs, but it also blends easily and wipes off nicely if you go outside the lines by accident. It’s a mechanical pencil so you never have to sharpen it, and it has a brush attached. I buy them in twos so I never run out.

I’m sure there are some more makeup tips I could share, but I think this hits the big ones.

Overall, the best general tip to keep your makeup from aging you is to strive to keep things light and natural. This is definitely a situation of less is more — but that is not to say you should go without. Again, finding that happy medium is key.

What would you add to this list?

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