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Makeup for older women - 7 secret tips

makeup for older women

"I absolutely hate the words anti-ageing. There isn't really anything anti about ageing; we enter in and out of beauty phases all through our lives and being older is one of them. However, that doesn't mean that we can't, or shouldn't, be interested in maintaining our beauty as we get older." 

So says Jane Cunningham, aka British Beauty Blogger, who has shared her words of wisdom on the best makeup for older women. Whether you're wanting to focus on eye makeup or find the best foundation for older skin, we've compiled her tips and tricks on the best products and makeup techniques for over 50s. 

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Makeup for older women - the top tips you need to know

From brows to dark circles to age spots and everything in between, here are seven secret makeup tips to swear by as an older woman.
 Makeup tips for over 50s

1. Use less foundation - or a lightweight formula

The heavier your foundation is, the more it will feel and look dry on your skin. While it might seem as though you're going against the grain, less is definitely more. Light, dewy coverage, like you'd get from a BB cream, is far more flattering than clunky foundation as it helps your skin to look hydrated.

Always ignore the "blemish" part - foundation, BB or CC cream is solely to even out your skin tone and give light, radiant coverage. If you have blemishes you feel consious of, using concealer after you've applied foundation is the best way to achieve coverage that looks natural but still covers areas that you're less than happy with.  

If you're confused by BB creams vs CC creams vs foundations, you're not alone. BB cream contains several products in one and is great for those who need next to no coverage. CC cream corrects your complexion by evening out your skin tone and is best for those concerned with age spots. If you're wanting more coverage than a BB cream or CC cream, a lightweight foundation is the way to go for older skin. Now you're in the know, your next job is to find the right BB and CC cream for you


Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint
SPF 15

As recommended by Jane, this BB
cream is light, won't settle into lines
and provides just enough coverage.

Smooth, brighten and even your skin tone with this lightweight product made especially for mature skin.

Buy: Boots, £9.99

Buy: John Lewis, £24.50


If you just can't give up your favourite full-coverage foundation, invest in a decent sponge blender or a foundation brush so you can get a photo finish. Makeup application techniques and tools can make all the difference, so it's essential that you have the products to get that base just right.

estee lauder foundation

beauty blender
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup beautyblender Classic Makeup Sponge

This foundation is a good compromise - it's lightweight, stays all day, contains SPF and is great for all skin types!

Perfect for applying foundation or BB cream, this beauty zeitgeist will be an excellent addition to your makeup bag

Buy: John Lewis, £33.50

Buy: Amazon, £17


2. Blusher - use crème blush formula

Crème blush is the friend of mature skin as opposed to dry blush which is in a powder form. It's as simple as smiling, dabbing a dot onto your smile lines and blending over those apples!

Word to the wise though - don't whip it up to your ears; you're aiming for a healthy looking flush, not a Sable Colby lookalike. 

If you want to go a step further and fake high cheekbones - or draw attention to your god-given ones (lucky you!) - lightly apply a highlighter pen over your cheeks, where your face naturally catches the light. This will give skin a healthy glow and a subtly luminous finish. A highlighter stick works well as it is easy to apply and blend. 


liz earle blush cream blusher for older women
Liz Earle Healthy Glow Cream Blush MUA Blush Perfection Cream Blusher

A good quality option that allows you to build colour up gradually.

Dewy, but with a good colour payoff, this is a firm budget favourite.

Buy: John Lewis, £17.50

Buy: MUA, £3


3. Use powder sparingly

Unless you suffer with oily skin (and possibly even if you do), powder is an absolute no-no. In the past we were taught not to shine. These days, shine is 'glow'. Powder seeps into lines and creases on many women and does nobody any favours at all, so keep it to an absolute minimum and only apply around the t-zone area where oil can settle.  

Bonus Gransnet tip: Nothing is more annoying than applying a full-face of makeup and most of it disappearing by lunchtime. Use a good primer to prep skin and minimise pores before you apply your base and it will keep everything in place for longer.



Laura Mercier powder
e.l.f High Definition Powder Laura Mercier Translucent Pressed Setting Powder

In three 'corrective' shades, this
soft focus effect powder masks
fine lines and imperfections.

This powder is fine and light enough to blot away shine, without settling into lines.

Buy: e.l.f cosmetics, £7.50

Buy: John Lewis, £29


4. Use a black mascara that gives definition 

The bottom line is that age is irrelevant when it comes to dark and defined lashes - makeup for older women can still pack a punch! Rather than scaling back when applying mascara, ramp it up a level, especially for evenings out. While you perhaps don't need the 'fat lash', heavy kind of mascara, well-defined, ultra-black lashes will make your eyes look more intense. 

Also, invest in some whitening eye drops to make your natural eye colour more vibrant. Pair with Boots' No7 Stay Perfect Mascara - a tubing mascara that gives your lashes a defined look and washes off with warm water. We've never known it to smudge either.

Bonus Gransnet tip: Curl your lashes before applying mascara for extra length and definition.


stay perfect mascara tweezerman eyelash curler
No7 Stay Perfect Mascara Tweezerman Eyelash Curler

Another of Jane's recommended 
products, this mascara wand creates 'tubes' around your eyelashes to make them fuller.

These sleek lash curlers are great for added definition and volume - prepare for many compliments!

Buy: Boots, £13

Buy: Amazon, £16.01


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5. Eye makeup - master the smokey eye look 

This is often a problem area for older skin because of natural elasticity loss which can make lids creased and give you hooded eyes. If you have creased lids and don't feel confident with shadow or a quirky cat eye, go for a soft, kohl eyeliner and apply it as close to the lash line as you possibly can.

Whatever shade you choose, don't be shy with it. It's okay to have sexy, smokey eyes at any age. Do make sure you apply eyeshadow with a small, soft brush and blend it - a cotton bud is ideal - just to smudge it a little so that the colour doesn't look like it’s been crayoned on.

Because a smokey eye is such a good look at any age, it's almost foolproof. After all, it's not supposed to be precise.

Bonus Gransnet tip: If you apply eyeliner in white or a nude shade to the waterline it can make your eyes pop and appear larger. 

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see our Facebook Live with Look Fabulous Forever founder and beauty vlogger, Tricia Cusden


eyeshadow palette rock n kohl
No7 Stay Perfect Eye Shadow
Charlotte Tilbury's Rock 'N' Kohl Pencil

The beauty of this palette is the
variety of flattering colours - so
you can go as subtle or daring as
you like!

Part liquid eyeliner, part kohl pencil, this is a wonder product, with intense pigment and the precision of a liquid eyeliner.

Buy: Boots, £15

Buy: John Lewis, £19


6. Use an eyebrow pencil to fill in sparse brows

It's true that brows can get sparse as we age... or they may well have been over-plucked during those angsty teenage years! Fixing thin eyebrows can be a bit of a challenge depending on the kind of treatment you need, but, in the meantime, a little brow pencil can do just the trick.

The key is to keep your brows tidy (snip if you have to) and look for a brow pencil with a brush at the other end so that any obvious pencil lines are brushed out. If you have very thin brows, it's best to leave them alone entirely or go for a shade or two down - it's better to have a whisper of definition than an awkward-looking line. Another great product is brow gel, which you can use to set your brow pencil, feather your brows or add some colour to them.

And best of all, you don't have to play by any rules - budget buys are often just as good as more expensive brands when it comes to brow products. 


urban decay brow tamer
Soap and Glory DIY Brow Bar Urban Decay Eyebrow Gel

Everything you need to sculpt, shape, define and highlight your brows in one convenient compact.

Tame, define and polish your brows with this tiny miracle. Choose from four shades.

Buy: Amazon, £16.95

Buy: Urban Decay, £16


7. Lips - go for a gloss

Go for gloss, gloss and more gloss! Lip gloss is the best way to make lips look plumper as it reflects light well. Beware of loopy, extreme glosses though and, instead, opt for a product that gives exactly the right amount of sheen for an elegant look. You don't need to be a makeup artist to know when too much really is too much! Stay right away from the matte trend unless you've been blessed with the smoothest lips in the world...



brightening lip gloss mac lip gloss
Bobbi Brown Brightening Lip Gloss Mac Galactic Gloss, All Things Magical

Wear it alone or over lipstick with
lip liner for shine and volume.

A beautiful pink with extra shimmer. Perfect for special occasions.  

Buy: Bobbi Brown, £22

Buy: John Lewis, £13.95


If, however, you can't deny yourself the love of a good lipstick, choose a fairly neutral colour - think a couple of shades darker than your natural lip tone - as this can give mature lips a boost by making them appear fuller. Try to avoid matte lipsticks if you can; a cream finish will be more flattering. 

For even more well-rounded, defined lips, use a lip liner. Choose one that matches your lipstick and, instead of applying it to the lip line, apply it on the outer edge - just make sure not to over do it! 


nars lipstick giorgio armanic lipstick
NARS Lipstick - Cruising Giorgio Armani Rouge Sheer Lipstick - 202

This lipstick contains a pigmented sheer forumla which hydrates your lips and adds a gorgeous shine.

This award-winning sheer lipstick moisturises as it goes, evening out lines and wrinkles.

Buy: Liberty, £22

Buy: Giorgio Armani, £30



Prices correct as of 28/11/18.


More beauty tips

For more top beauty tips from an industry expert, watch our eye-makeup tutorial below with beauty vlogger and founder of Look Fabulous Forever, Tricia Cusden. She gives us the low-down on the best makeup ideas for older women, plus reveals some invaluable tips and tricks! 




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