These days many makeup artists are less likely to talk about hiding a woman’s age and wrinkles than about playing up her individual gifts. “For me to get a great result on an older woman, age is not what I see,” said David De Leon, a makeup artist who often works with Jane Fonda. “I look for her potential.”
But finding the makeup that makes that woman look and feel great can be tricky. Application techniques that worked for years start to fail as one’s skin changes. Longtime favorites begin to detract, not enhance. Mature skin is typically drier, and those mattifying, pore-shrinking products don’t deliver like their hydrating and illuminating counterparts.
We asked the makeup artist Carolina Dali, whose clients include Ali MacGraw and Sharon Stone, to illustrate the best techniques for mature skin in two looks — one day, one night.
Eyebrows thin over time. Fill them in, but not with a pencil, Ms. Dali said. A powder will look more like the real thing. She likes the Chanel Brow Powder Duo for its hair-approximating shades. Choose a color that is close to your actual brow color, not darker.
For eyeliner, Ms. Dali suggests gently tapping a black eye shadow directly on the lash line (between the eyelashes) with an angled brush. This technique creates a line that opens up the eye without overwhelming it. The same can be said of spare mascara application. “One coat is enough to thicken lashes,” she said.
On the face, go translucent and dewy, not matte. Mattifying foundation can flatten the face because naturally bright places on the face, like the tops of cheekbones, lose their highlighting. Apply foundation only where needed — to red spots, discoloration or hyper-pigmentation.
“Both concealer and foundation should have a sheen to them,” Ms. Dali said. “Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat is a lightweight concealer that will attract light to where you apply it. If you have a line, say a smile line that you want to cover, light reflection will blur it.” Look for sheen, not glitter, which would draw more attention to the area.
Liner keeps lipstick in place when lips begin to crinkle. “Most people match their liner to their lipstick or go darker,” Ms. Dali said. “But I like liner to match the color of the lips. Otherwise, it will look like ’90s makeup.”
The nighttime face simply builds on the daytime basics. “You can afford to do much more blush at night,” Ms. Dali said. She likes cream blush, which gives the skin a natural flush. Stila Convertible Color goes on transparent but is easily buildable. “Start with two layers for night,” she said. Use your fingers to tap on a thin layer, then repeat.
Ms. Dali applied a darker coat of black eye shadow on the lash line. If the skin on the upper lid is loose, a heavy line can make the eyes look tired, so keep the line light. “Make sure the line is super-thin in the inner corner, slightly thicker as it comes to the outer corner, and wing it up just a little bit to lift and open the eyes,” she said.
Add a second coat of mascara, and if you’re itching for a third, apply it to the outer lashes only, she said. Avoid dark colors on the lower lash line because they emphasize dark circles. Use champagne or bronze, instead.
On the lips Ms. Dali used Lorac Alter Ego Lipstick in Pin Up, a moisturizing matte formula. “Use an angled lip brush to apply lipstick,” she said. “It really allows you to get into the small folds and to be precise, which is important as lips get fine wrinkles along the edges.”
CreditPatricia Wall/The New York Times
Because certain products really sing on older skin, we asked experts — makeup artists, a dermatologist, an aesthetician and women over 50 — for their go-to makeup.
Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup, $64
“This foundation comes in nice warm colors, but it’s the consistency I love,” Christie Brinkley said. “When you’re older, you want your base to be thinner so it doesn’t cake and emphasize wrinkles. I also like being outside, and this is good in that light.”
Natura Bisse Diamond Mist, $94
Mr. De Leon applies this spray before makeup and moisturizer. “It makes mature skin more plump and hydrated,” he said.
Malin & Goetz Lip Moisturizer, $14
Ms. Dali likes to apply this moisturizer on top of lipstick for an extra moisture boost, which can be especially useful for older clients. “And it doesn’t change the consistency of the lipstick,” she said.
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation, $66
“When I do anti-aging procedures like microneedling, I’ll offer Oxygenetix because it heals the skin,” said Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist. “Older people with dry, sensitive skin who get redness will also love this. It goes on like a BB cream but with more coverage.”
Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara, $30
This two-in-one formula coats lashes and encourages growth with peptides. “The color is a brown-black, which doesn’t look harsh against older skin,” said Autumn Moultrie, a makeup artist who works with Viola Davis. “I’d go for that color, plum brown for darker skin or brown for fair skin to keep things soft.”
MAC Matte Lipstick in Diva, $17.50
“Lipstick is very much a matter of mood,” said Valerie Von Sobel, an artist and philanthropist. “But I don’t believe in pinks. They are weak — a very anemic look. Personally, I like very strong colors or nothing at all.”
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Universal Tinted Gel, Rosy Cheeks and Lips, $35
This bright pink gel goes on translucent so it works for mature skin and a range of skin tones. “It’s easy to blend and gives the skin a glow,” said Angela Caglia, a facialist in Los Angeles. “I recommend it to my older clients as a foolproof way to get around the unblended blush mistake women sometimes make.”
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