The 10 best makeup tips for older women, according to makeup artists

These clever makeup tips for older women will help you create a fresh, timeless, polished look

A woman with grey hair and beautiful glowing skin to illustrate makeup tips for older women
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

It’s only natural for our beauty needs to evolve over the years, meaning pro makeup tips for older women can be incredibly helpful.

That's not to say that you pass some invisible threshold at the age of 40, 50, or 60 whereby you have to change everything about your personal style (don't let problematic beauty standards such as pretty privilege have you believe otherwise) But, it’s no secret that our skin changes over time and the way cosmetics feel, interact, and react on our faces is largely dependent on skin type and texture. This means our beauty habits can always benefit from a few simple tweaks along the way. 

From learning the best foundation formulations for mature skin to trying some skincare routine prep steps before you create that fabulous purple eyeshadow look, a few trusty tips can go a long way. Luckily, we've got just the right experts for the job. BAFTA-winning celebrity makeup artist and Suqqu Spokesperson Morag Ross, along with beauty therapist Elizabeth Ross, both fabulously in their 50s, have revealed their failsafe tricks, practical advice, and best-ever makeup tips for older women.

10 clever makeup tips for older women

1. Prep with moisture

"As we mature, it becomes more and more important to focus on skincare for really healthy skin, and choosing products that suit our skin type," says Morag. "This is such an important part of makeup because our skin provides the base for everything that we apply on top! I always recommend using more moisturizing skincare products, as sometimes as we mature, our skin can become a little drier." 

Opting for a more occlusive moisturizer (creams that keep moisture in by creating a layer on top of the skin) will pay dividends. Check the ingredients list for gentle hydrators such as niacinamide vs hyaluronic acid, or both. It's also worth looking out for oils like mineral, argan, jojoba, or olive oil, or shea butter, as these can help keep the skin supple and moisture levels balanced.

Our beauty editor recommends...


First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration | RRP: $18/£16

Those experiencing dryness and skin sensitivities can rest assured that this soothing, occlusive moisturizer is chock-full of ingredients (colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, allantoin) to help soothe redness, rashes, or eczema and provide deep hydration to prevent lines and wrinkles.

2. Eye cream is a must

Have you always wondered, is eye cream necessary? Absolutely, according to Elizabeth, "Always use the best eye cream day and night, even if you didn't use one when you were younger. They are essential in promoting brightness and delaying lines and wrinkles." They also act as a needle-free alternative to Botox by creating a smooth, plumped base for your concealer and preventing makeup from sinking into dehydration or lines. 

Eye cream is best used after serum and before moisturizer, dab-dab-dabbed gently around the sides, lids, and undereye area with your ring finger. No dragging!

Our beauty editor recommends...


OLEHENRIKSEN Wrinkle Blur Bakuchiol Eye Gel Crème | RRP: $49/£42

Featuring bakuchiol, a gentler alternative to retinol, this also has peptides and orchid stem cells to address the loss of firmness and elasticity, while also fighting dark circles.

3. Invest in a good primer

"A good quality makeup primer will help your foundation base stay on top of your skin rather than sink into any lines," says Elizabeth. "If you wear lipstick, use a primer and a lip liner that in the same shade as the lipstick - this will prevent any lipstick bleed or feathering into the fine vertical lines above and below the lips, which we commonly see in older women." 

Primers also help with color payoff, which is key if you've been using a lot of moisturizing skincare products that may make the skin have a bit more slip - primer gives your cosmetics a firmer grip to adhere to.

Our beauty editor recommends...


Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer | RRP: $24.99 /£21

The OG of face primers, this clear formula has been a mainstay of makeup artists and beauty junkies for years for its lightweight pore-smoothing, makeup-adhering technology. It also has vitamins A and E for added skincare benefits.

4. Use dewy foundation

"Another one of those practical makeup tips for older women is to tailor your foundation to your skin type, which, as we've established, can skew drier," Elizabeth says. "It is important not to use a very matte foundation base: This will result in a flat powdered look that isn't the most flattering and can look and feel too heavy, and can even accentuate lines. Choose a moisturizing base for a natural makeup look."

We love the fresh yet polished finish we get from a sheer foundation, one of the best serum foundations or even a tinted moisturizer, especially on mature skin. A lot of today's formulations also offer a hit of radiance, which is always a bonus.

Our beauty editor recommends...


IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare | RRP: $40 / £36

As the name suggests, this water-light formula provides an ultra-natural, medium-coverage look and feels perfect for everyday wear, while smoothening out texture imperfections. Hyaluronic acid also helps give skin a much-needed glow.

5. Go lighter on the eyebrows

"Eyebrows can often become sparse with age," concedes Elizabeth, "So ensure you use an eyebrow pencil no more than a couple of shades darker than your hair color. Always go lighter as you get older!" 

You can also look into having your eyebrows microbladed, which entails an aesthetician drawing on small, hair-like strokes under local anesthesia for a fuller brow effect. Microblading has become a popular semi-permanent solution for thinning brows and is a surefire way to shave precious minutes off of your morning routine. 

Our beauty editor recommends...


Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz| RRP: $25/£26

It doesn't get any more foolproof than this best-selling brow pencil, which has a skinny tip to fill in and volumize brows in a flash plus a spoolie for blending. 

6. Use eyeliner strategically

One of the most useful makeup tips for older women is to learn how to use your best eyeliner to your advantage, as doing so can have a marked effect on your eye area and result in a more refreshed, awake look.

"If you're lucky enough to have deep-set eyes, use eyeliner on your eyelids only, close to your lashes," says Elizabeth. "However, if your eyelids disappear when your eyes are open, then use eyeliner on the waterline and outer corners only - this will help enhance your eye shape without drawing attention to a lack of definition in the eyelid department," she adds. Another great trick to really open up lined or hooded eyelids is strategically placed and ultra-natural false lashes, such as individuals, or for a longer-term option, hybrid lash extensions.

Our beauty editor recommends...


Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner | RRP: $26 / £24

This award-winning liner hits two birds with one stone: the ease of use of a gel and the precision of liquid. We like how intense the shade payoff is on the lids, and how easy it is to create a flattering cat-eye flick with the included brush. 

7. Highlight with care

Elizabeth says one of the more often-overlooked makeup tips for older women is not accidentally spotlighting features we don't want to call attention to. "Avoid wearing highlighter on your browbone, especially if your eyelids have already begun to move south," she says. Instead, focus any highlight on the corners of your eyes (great for adding a glam finish to occasion makeup and mother of the bride makeup looks), as well as on the tip of the nose, cheekbones, and Cupid's bow. A subtle stick or pot highlighter that offers up a diffused glow instead of full-on shimmer is an ideal formula to look for.

Our beauty editor recommends...


Jones Road Miracle Balm | RRP: $38/£36

Jojoba seed oil, Argan oil, and vitamin E are the stars in this new, subtle, light-enhancing balm from beauty mogul Bobbi Brown. We love the shade Au Naturel dabbed on all the high planes of the face, but find it especially fetching on the cheekbones and nose bridge.

8. Use a cream blush

Elizabeth advises against contouring, which entails using a dark bronzer to thin out certain areas of the face like cheek hollows or the forehead, as this can leave features looking harsh. "Use a light sweep of bronzer to warm up the face or a cream blush for a pop of color instead," she advises. 

One of the easiest makeup tips to incorporate into an existing routine is dabbing a light layer of cream blush onto the apples of the cheeks for an instant shot of radiance and natural flush.

Our beauty editor recommends...


NARS Air Matte Cream Blush | RRP: $30/£25

The unique look and feel of this mousse-like cream blush is ideal for most skin types and layers perfectly over foundation. Choose the cheeky best-selling, peachy-pink shade Orgasm as shown here or one of seven other fabulously flattering hues.

9. Embrace a creamy lip

Creamy and glossy formulations win over matte once again when it comes to lip color, as lips tend to show dryness more visibly. Shade-wise, our experts favor nudes for the fuller effect they give off, a sort of trompe l'oeil take on thicker lips.

"As a rule of thumb, nude lips are always going to be gentler on the eye and the face," Morag explains. "They can often make the lips look fuller. As our lips tend to get smaller as we age, nude and paler pastel colors work to counteract this to make them look full and plump."

However, we'll always champion a bold, bright lip (the mood-boosting effects alone are worth it, not to mention how it can uplift a monochromatic face), so just make sure to choose a softer, creamier formulation - or better yet, a gloss.

Our beauty editor recommends...


Glossier Ultralip | RRP: $18 / £14

This genius of a lipstick-balm hybrid glides on as smoothly as a balm yet packs the same color punch as an actual stick bullet. The effect is glossy, diffused definition, meaning no harsh or obvious lip outlines.

10. Always wear sunscreen

Of all makeup tips we can offer, there is one in particular that both our experts were vehemently in agreement on: Sun protection under your makeup. "Most importantly, wear SPF!" Elizabeth declares. "Wear high-factor sunscreen or invest in the best foundation with SPF (at least SPF 20) and layer them up for brownie points. This will help prevent wrinkles and even more crucially, skin cancer," she adds.

Our beauty editor recommends...


Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA ++++ | RRP: $21/£17

This drugstore darling is a runaway hit in many Asian countries due to its ability to withstand humid weather without a heavy feeling. It's also invisible under makeup and works overtime at keeping harmful rays at bay.

Above all else, Morag adds that the ultimate beauty power move is to just love your features and honor how far you've come, "Embrace what you have and enjoy!"

Eunice Lucero-Lee

A lifelong creative writer and beautyphile, Eunice Lucero-Lee graduated from De La Salle University in 2002 and was hired a year later to front all beauty coverage for Pink Magazine. A beauty, astrology, and pop culture obsessive and insider for over 18 years, Eunice is an internationally published editor (and now certified astrologer) whose work has been featured in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and The Numinous, among many others.