Allow us to let you in on not one, not two, but 32 secrets, with a round-up of the makeup tricks every woman over 40 should know.
As we get older, we experience changes to our skin like dullness, dryness and a loss of elasticity, which means that the products and application techniques we previously relied upon no longer deliver like they once did. Instead of seeing that as a negative, embrace it as a positive, and an opportunity to learn some new tricks and give your makeup a refresh.
Whether you’re into natural makeup looks or want to step out of your comfort zone with the best red lipstick, we’ve taken inspiration from the stars with bucket-loads of advice to help you look and feel your best.
32 makeup tricks every woman over 40 should know
1. Tinted moisturiser is more forgiving than foundation
As we age, our skin becomes naturally drier, meaning that your once-beloved foundation might now look heavier or cakier than before. Follow Andie MacDowell’s lead and trade it in for one of the best tinted moisturisers instead for a more natural, youthful finish.
2. A strong brow has the power to lift your appearance
Well-defined brows are a guaranteed way to give structure to your face, and, if done well (like Viola Davis), can make it look lifted too. Visit a pro for an eyebrow wax or threading to get the shape right and maintain it at home with the help of an eyebrow pencil used in short hair-like strokes and set in place with your best eyebrow gel.
3. The right red lipstick will make your teeth look whiter
No need to splash out on fancy teeth whitening treatments, or even the best whitening toothpaste – choosing the right red lipstick will make your pearly whites look, well, whiter. Follow Priyanka Chopra’s lead with a blue-toned red, anything too orangey will make them look yellow. One of the best makeup tricks every woman over 40 should know.
4. Co-ordinate your lip and cheek colours
An easy way to ensure synergy across your makeup look is to apply the same colour to your lips and your cheeks – just like Gillian Anderson has. It’ll give you a fresh-faced finish and save you time worrying about coordinating shades.
5. Don’t be afraid of falsies
The best false lashes have come on leaps and bounds over the years, and are no longer super fiddly to apply and likely to end up halfway down your cheek by 9pm. Magnetic options and improved glue formulas mean it’s easier than ever to fake long, fluttery lashes like Michelle Yeoh’s.
6. If you apply concealer first, you’ll use less foundation
The secret to a base as lightweight and gorgeous as Renee Zellweger’s? Applying concealer before foundation. By putting this step first, you’ll have blurred any bugbears at the start of your routine, meaning you don’t need to rely as heavily on foundation.
7. Using tools is the best way to get a professional finish
Applying makeup with our fingers is not only messy (especially if you’re wearing lighter colours) but the finish isn’t quite as slick and seamless as if you used a brush or sponge. Upgrade to tools for a finish worthy of Naomi Campbell.
8. Cream products are more flattering than powder
Powder products have their place, and that’s normally under harsh studio lights. So, unless you’re a TV presenter, one of the best makeup tricks every woman over 40 should know is following Sharon Stone’s lead with cream-based products for a softer, more natural finish.
9. Choose a blusher in the shade you naturally flush
The aim of blusher is to make your complexion look healthier and more vibrant by mimicking the colour your cheeks naturally go when you flush. If you go lighter than this, or very peachy, then it won’t look natural. Look to Naomie Harris’ gorgeously glowing cheeks for inspiration.
10. Smokey eyes are simpler than they sound
Been avoiding a smokey eye on the basis that it’s too complicated? It’s far easier than you might think. All you need is one shade for your lid, a slightly darker one for the crease and an even darker one to line your top and bottom lash line like Jessica Chastain.
11. Setting sprays will make your makeup last longer
Applying your makeup takes time and effort, so you want to be reaping the rewards for as long as possible rather than finding your base has been drunk up by your complexion by halfway through the day. Choose one with added glow and hydration for a finished look to rival Gemma Chan.
12. Eyeshadow primer will enhance your eye looks
An underrated product but one that’s well worth investing in, eyeshadow primer will not only create a smooth canvas for eyeshadow but grip it with a velcro-like vice to help it stay put for longer. We guarantee Julia Roberts is wearing one under her shadow.
13. Always apply your eye makeup first
If you apply your foundation before your eye makeup you run the risk of loose shadow, like the grey one Helen Mirren is wearing here, falling onto your perfectly-placed base. Swapping the order means less chance of a mishap.
14. Pencil eyeliner is softer than liquid
There’s certainly a place for a nice thick slick of liquid eyeliner, but it can be a bit dramatic for every day. For a softer finish, swap for a brown pencil kohl instead. It’s especially flattering on those with fairer skin and lighter hair like Julianne Moore.
15. Blotting your lipstick will stop it from fading
To seal your lip colour in place, apply once, blot with a clean tissue and then repeat. This will stop it from fading and smudging, which is especially important when wearing very deep colours like Thandiwe Newton’s berry lippy.
16. You’re never too old for highlighter
Highlighter might feel like a relatively new makeup phenomenon but the pros have been using this in their kit for years on women of all ages. Use a creamy formula to mimic Kate Moss’ ethereal glow by blending onto the tops of your browbones, cheekbones and Cupid’s bow.
17. Using a little setting powder will help avoid panda eyes
Find that your eye makeup smudges no matter what you do? Using a small brush to dust a little setting powder around the eye area should do the trick. Turns out smoky eye looks like Kerry Washington’s aren’t off the cards after all.
18. Good makeup starts with great skin
If you’re not taking care of your skin, then your makeup isn’t going to sit nicely on top of it. We can’t quite promise skin as flawless as Christy Turlington’s, but what we can say is that regular exfoliation will reduce prominent pores and investing in the best retinol serum will plump fine lines, meaning your base won’t be able to settle into either.
19. Primer will take the pressure off of your foundation
We all wish we had skin as gorgeous as Oprah Winfrey’s, and a primer will help get us some of the way there. Choose one based on your skin’s needs, whether that’s a hydrating primer for thirsty skin, a mattifying primer for oily skin or a green or orange-toned primer to neutralise redness or pigmentation.
20. Shade-matching your foundation really important
For a seamless finish, you need a foundation shade that is a completely spot-on match. In-store, makeup counter staff will be able to help you, or if you’re going it alone, make sure you test on your jawline rather than the back of your hand. It’s especially important if you’ve been blessed with an elegant long neck like Jamie Lee Curtis, as the contrast will be more obvious.
21. Blusher looks best on the apples of your cheeks
Drew Barrymore has been blessed with lovely full cheeks, and applying blush straight onto the apples (that’s the chubbiest part) accentuates that pillowyness even more.
22. The best way to line your lips is from the inside out
To get a defined shape, line the middle of your lips (so the cupid’s bow and the centre of your bottom lip) before working outwards to the edges. If you start from the corners, you’re more likely to end up with a lop-sided finish rather than a perfectly symmetrical one like Tracee Ellis Ross.
23. Suit yourself
We hear a lot about makeup rules, but ultimately, as long as it pleases you, then go for it. Claudia Winkleman is the perfect example of someone who refuses to deviate from her own unique style, with her signature smudgy eyeliner and either a blanked-out or bold red lip.
24. Dot highlighter on the inner corners of your eyes
There are lots of reasons why we might be experiencing darkness around the eyes, including a lack of sleep, dehydration and even our genes. To counteract this, and make them look wide-awake rather than snoozy, make like Kate Winslet and dot a little highlighter on the inner corners. Simple.
25. You can apply mascara on your bottom lashes too
Only ever apply mascara to your top lashes? You’re missing a trick. Applying a little to your lower lashes will add more definition to the eye area without the need for extra eyeliner – take notes from Rachel Weisz to see how it’s done.
26. Your brow colour should never be more than two shades darker than your hair
Colouring in your brows is really flattering, but be wary of going too deep with the shade. Follow Kate Hudson’s lead and don’t go any more than two shades darker than your hair. If your brows contrast too heavily with your hair, you’ll end up looking cross.
27. Make sure your lips are well moisturised before applying lipstick
There are few things more irritating than flaky lipstick. To ensure yours glides on beautifully and stays intact, make sure you prep first with an exfoliating scrub to whisk away dry bits and a nourishing balm to soothe. Glossy finishes, like the one Zoe Saldana is wearing here, are less clingy than matte ones too.
28. Brown mascara looks more natural than black
Aiming for a no-makeup-makeup look? One of the biggest giveaways is jet-black mascara, as very few of us naturally have lashes with a charcoal tinge – especially if you’re blonde. Halle Berry shows how brown mascara still gives just as much length and oomph to your lashes, just with less drama.
29. It’s worth taking time to find the right nude lipstick for you
Lots of lipsticks describe themselves as nude in colour, but there’s no one-size-fits-all as everyone’s skin tone is different. Shop around to find a lippy that’s as close in colour to your natural lips as possible. Jada Pinkett Smith is proof that you can get it just right.
30. Eyeliner will make your lashes look fuller
Lashes a little sparse or not naturally very dark? A narrow line of eyeliner like Emily Blunt is wearing here is an easy way to create the illusion of fullness.
31. You can wear bronzer all year round
Think that bronzer is just for the summer months? Think again. It can be relied on all year round to give you a natural-looking glow like Liz Hurley. For a convincing finish, apply only to the places where you tan naturally, such as your forehead, nose and the tops of your cheeks, rather than all over.
32. You’ll need different types of concealer for different parts of your face
Concealers are not all the same, and for skin as unblemished as Aleesha Dixon, you’ll need to use the right formula for that particular area. For example, if you’re covering a spot or hyperpigmentation, you’ll need a thick concealer with plenty of pigment. But, if you used that on the eye area, it would be too heavy and likely to crease. Lighter formulas are better under the eye instead.