How many times have you looked in the mirror first thing in the morning and thought – thank goodness for makeup.
Eyes are a dead giveaway in more ways than one. How much or how little sleep you had, how happy or sad, how much alcohol you drank last night or exercise you didn’t get time to take – it all shows up in our eyes.
Eye make up and older faces
The right eye makeup can perform wonders on an older face – blending away dark circles and bags, replacing thinning brows and lashes and enhancing eye color and sparkle.
The most important word there is “right” because of course – the wrong eye makeup does exactly the opposite.
The problem is that sometimes we forget to update the look. Makeup and specifically eye makeup often gets forgotten. It’s as if we stay frozen in whatever time warp we last felt fashionable and on trend.
Doesn’t matter whether your personal time warp is the sixties, the eighties or the nineties – your face has changed since your glory days.
Eye makeup needs to work on the face you have now not the one you had then. Everyone ages differently but we all face similar problems around the eyes.
Based on my own experience – here’s some suggestions for eye makeup that helps solve the problems of older skin:
Best eye shadow for older skin
The big problem here is crepey skin which doesn’t hold eye color as well as it used to. Generally powder around the eyes is an aging look – dull and dry when you want soft and glowing.
Powder shadow also has other disadvantages I find. Little specks of it fall onto my face when I’m applying it and how often has the tablet of compressed powder cracked up and emptied itself all over the inside of my purse.
All is not plain sailing with cream shadow either. Even expensive ones fail to stick – collecting in the ever growing creases in eyelids and even migrating to crows feet.
In the quest for the best eye shadow for my older eyelids I ended up with a drawer full of discarded products that just didn’t work for me. Finally I got there – Bobbi Brown long wear cream shadow.
In my humble opinion this really is the best eye shadow ever.
It comes as a thick cream in a little pot so you can use every last bit. You can apply it with a brush or finger tip – brush works better – and it comes in a fantastic range of subtle colors either matt or some with a slight pearlized sheen which is very pretty on older skin.
Subtle is what you want as skin ages – leave the bright colors and the glitter to the teens and twenties and go for soft enhancement – “yourself only better” as Bobbi Brown puts it.
My favorite color is Sand Dollar – a lovely indistinct very light gray-taupe with a soft sheen. I wear it all the time and it wonderfully flattering to most skins. African-American, Hispanic or Asian skin tone would need something stronger in color but it could be a great highlighter. My other current favorite is Stone which I linked to above – not as dark and hard as it sounds but a soft and gentle smudgy matt color that looks good on a lot of faces.
I also bought some other matt colors in smudgy muddy tones that blend with these two base shades – Suede and Slate and a lovely deeper gray pearlized color for evening – Galaxy.
They can all be blended together – just use a clean makeup brush of your own but make sure it has long soft hairs.
For me the best thing about all these Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow colors – apart from how good they look – is how long they last. You put them on in the morning and they stay uncreased and untouched until you take your makeup off last thing at night – and that works after a full day’s heavy garden work (yes – I wear eye makeup to dig the garden!)
There’s no point suggesting an alternative since no other eye makeup I have ever used comes close.
Choose a gel eye liner
You might be used to adding definition with eye liner and there’s no reason not to as you get older but you may need a lighter touch. Avoid very dark brown and black liquid liners which can look hard – you need something with a softer focus – even with dark eyes like me.
Choose a color at least a tone lighter than you’re used to. The aim is for it to almost blend with your eye shadow color rather than stand out as a harsh black ribbon in Cleopatra or Amy Winehouse style.
Hard black lines close up the eye which appears smaller as we age anyway – most of us need to open up the eye and give it definition.
A good soft eye pencil is one option or – my current choice – a gel eyeliner that you mix with a little water to give a very soft paste.
Mac have a good one which I have tried but the best gel liner for me is the Long Wear Gel Eye Liner by Bobbi Brown. Again – “long wear” is exactly what you get without smudging. I use Sepia Ink – a soft brown.
Apply with a fine short haired eye liner brush so you can control where the line goes and get it as close to the root of your lashes as possible. Don’t extend the line outwards as any downward droop at the outer corner of your eye will be emphasised.
Makeup tips for thinning eyebrows
Strange how these disappear as you get older – it isn’t just the hair on your head that can get thinner.
I have always had quite thick dark brows which were the bane of my life in my teens – brow hairs seemed to spring up everywhere. Of course I mercilessly plucked them almost to extinction and now I wish I could have some of those hairs back. Update – I just discovered a way to regrow my eyebrow hair which I reviewed in another article here.
Eyebrows matter a lot. They give definition to your face and shape your expressions. The problem with thinning eyebrows is – how do you fill in the gaps without looking like a painted clown?
I used to use a brown very soft eye brow pencil applied against the growth of the brows for a natural look and then a clear setting gel from Bobbi Brown. Then I discovered a lovely product from Benefit which is a much better option in a neat little all in one kit.
Benefit Cosmetics Brow Zings is a small mirrored compact with two brow products in one – a powder to fill in the gaps and a setting wax in a toning color. Even better – the kit comes with two small brushes and the one for the powder is complete magic. The brush is angled so you can define the point of your eyebrows (over the bridge of your nose) without being heavy handed.
You also get a tiny pair of tweezers in the kit – cute but not much use in my opinion. Altogether this is a great product and the price is justified because after 8 months of daily use I still have plenty left. I have dark almost black brows and the Dark color option was just right.
I also add a couple of flicks of Boots No7 Brow and Lash Perfector when I’m done – not absolutely essential but I think it adds a finishing touch and it is much better value than the Bobbi Brown equivalent which I used to use.
Natural looking mascara
Natural looking eye makeup is what you should aim for as you get older so the mascara you choose is important.
Heavy thickening and super lengthening mascaras with huge amounts of filaments look quite scary on mature eyes. Actually I think they look pretty scary generally but that’s just me.
Mascara finishes off eye makeup and it definitely helps to give definition to the eye. The best bet is a product that adds subtle length and color without drying or clogging your lashes. Personally – I don’t believe expensive is best when it comes to mascara so I stick with the excellent Boots No7 range – I prefer length over artificial fullness so my choice is Boots No7 Extreme Length Mascara.
If you do buy new eye makeup – take time to mess around with it and get used to using it before any big occasion. It takes a while to find your own way of applying new makeup products but with a bit of practice – you’ll be able to give yourself natural looking eye makeup that takes years off your natural age!