6 things I changed about my make-up routine when I hit 50

Hitting your fifth decade can signal a chance to refresh your make-up routine and try something new. Tricia Cusden, founder of age-positive beauty brand Look Fabulous Forever, reveals how she changed her regime and product choices for the better in her 50s...

make-up routine
(Image credit: Getty Images/EyeEm)

Our skin continuously changes throughout our lives, so what might suit us when we are 30, may not suit us when we hit our 50s and 60s.

Growing older is no reason to stop wearing make-up or experimenting with bold new looks – there are simply different tricks, techniques and products needed as the years go by..

Here are my 6 tips for your make-up routine for when you hit the big 5-0:

50 Over 50 Awards Social Influencer finalist: Tricia Cusden, 70

Preparation is key

Preparing our skin with a serum and primer will help our makeup last longer and look better! Of course, this is true at any age – but particularly key for older and post-menopausal skin, which may tend to be a little drier and more absorbent.

Before going to bed each night, try to get into the habit of applying a face serum before your moisturiser. This will allow enough time for it to sink in and have your skin looking fresh and plump by the time you wake up in the morning. This step is particularly important for those who have dry skin.

I would recommend using a product rich with hyaluronic acid, such as Look Fabulous Forever’s Hydration Hold Face Serum. This hero ingredient restores the water balance in our skin and can also help with pigmentation or discolouration and make for a more even skin tone.

makeup routine

After applying moisturiser and allowing enough time for it to absorb, apply a primer all over your face. Using a primer will help your makeup last all day long and stay in place. Taking time to prime and preparing our skin is just as important as the time spent applying makeup.

Check the ingredients in your products

As we age, our skin can begin to look dry and flat but the right makeup and skincare routine can give your skin the nutrient boost it might need. Not only will buying makeup with high-quality ingredients make your skin instantly look and feel better, but after prolonged use, you should notice an improvement in your skin over time.

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SPF, in my opinion, is the most important ingredient. UVA and UVB sun damage is very bad for your skin, so it is important that we protect it no matter what our age. Beyond hyaluronic acid, other ingredients I like to look out for when buying makeup and skincare include retinol and aloe vera. These both help your skin stay hydrated and healthy.

Choosing a hydrating foundation

As we age, we want our make-up to give us the appearance of healthy, glowing skin. The best way to do this is by choosing a foundation which is hydrating rather than extremely matte.

Matte makeup often suits women in their 20s or 30s but for older women, it can accentuate fine lines and imperfections. Instead, applying dewy makeup will help older skin look hydrated and plump.

make-up routine

Apply your make-up with a light hand at first and build as needed. It’s important that mature women don’t ‘overdo’ the glow, as this can have the opposite than intended effect and actually highlight fine lines so it is important to get the right balance. This can really depend on whether your skin type is dry, oily or ‘normal’.

Introduce colour into your make-up routine

The biggest contrast between young and old skin is the loss of contrast between the features and surrounding facial skin. As we age, we lose melanin which results in a general fading and blurring of our skin and facial features. Gradually, our eyebrows, lips, eye area and cheeks lose colour, but the good news is that we can bring back definition with makeup!

Blusher, lipstick and eye shadow will help redefine and highlight our best features. If you’re not used to bold colours, start by trying a light pink blusher across your cheeks and a pop of colour to your lips. It will surprise you just how much this will lift your face and bring out your features.

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I have found that as many women get older, they lose confidence, but I think that experimenting with colours at home can really help in gaining confidence wearing makeup. Sit in front of a mirror at home and test a few lipsticks and blushers out to see what suits you best.

No more contouring!

There are always new trends and fads in the world of make-up, and some are more flattering than others for older women. Contouring is no exception. It may be a favourite among 20-year-olds, but it won’t suit women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Contouring aims to accentuate jaw bones and cheek bones. On older women, this will just create a more gaunt and older appearance.

Instead of contouring, I would suggest applying bronzer or blusher to the very tops of your cheek bones to lift your face and give a healthy sun-kissed look.

Don’t neglect your lips

make-up routine

As we age, our lips naturally become thinner and paler, so the purpose of lip make-up is to make your lips look full and luscious. I find that our lip lines can sometimes migrate and seem broken, so I always apply a lip primer around the line of my lip to give a clean, sharp line.

Adding a pop of colour to our lips in your make-up routine will instantly brighten the face. Just make sure that the shade works with your skin tone.

To find out whether you are cool or warm toned, take off all of your makeup and use a mirror in natural lighting. Place different colour clothing or makeup on and next to your face and evaluate the effect. It should be quite obvious which colours clash with your skin tone and which colours compliment your skin tone.

If you are cool toned (blue undertone), like me, you might suit blues and pinks. However, if you have a warm skin tone (yellow undertone), you might suit yellows, oranges and brown. If you’re unsure, ask a family or friend and take note of what you’re wearing when people pay you compliments.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.