5 Beauty Tips for Older Women

mature woman applying makeup
You can look beautiful at any age. See healthy aging pictures.
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Some beauty tips are ageless. Whether you're 19 or 90, you should heed the wise advice about always wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, never smoking and regularly exercising if you want to keep your skin's appearance in tip-top condition. However, not every piece of beauty advice is as evergreen. Just as your face and body change as you age, acquiring wrinkles and age spots, so too must your cosmetics regimen. The products you worshipped in your 20s and 30s may no longer do the trick -- after all, how many things from your 20s still do? Let's investigate some makeup and beauty tips that will help you put your best face forward.



5: Cover Up Under-eye Circles

under eye circle
Under-eye circles? No, thank you!
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Dark circles below your eyes once signified an all-nighter of studying or partying, but as you get older, it may seem that these hallmarks of exhaustion never leave, even when you're well-rested. During the aging process, the already-thin skin below your eyes becomes even thinner, showing the blood vessels below and giving you under-eye circles.

The answer isn't just caking on concealer; too much makeup in this area will look lumped on. Instead, use a light foundation -- lighter than the shade on the rest of your face -- or a on the dark areas under your eyes. Use powder to blend it in and set it.


Aging causes water retention in the area under eyes, much like a lack of sleep and allergies did in younger days. To avoid highlighting those dark circles with puffy eyes, get plenty of sleep and invest in a tightening eye cream for nights.

We're not done with these windows to the soul quite yet.

4: Define Eyelashes and Brows

mature woman applying mascara
Go ahead, plump those lashes up!
© iStockphoto/LDF

People often say that the first thing they notice about another person is his or her eyes. There are several cosmetic changes you can make as you age that will keep your first impression a lovely one. When it comes to eyelashes and eyebrows, you may find yourself having to do more with less, as both lashes and brows become thinner with age. Brows should be kept well-defined, because with less hair, the stray ones become easier to notice. Then, use a pencil to provide further definition and to fill in the sparse spots. As for your eyelashes, a good volumizing mascara will plump them up and draw attention to the eye.

Perhaps you're accustomed to using eye shadow and eyeliner to attract attention to the eye, but the mascara will prove to be a more useful tool as you age. Though all skin gets slack and wrinkled with age, this phenomenon is particularly noticeable on the eyelids because the skin is already so thin. These crepey eyelids make it difficult for older women to wear shimmers or metallics on their eyes -- these products can draw attention to the creases. Similarly, it's best to find an alternative to liquid eyeliner, which also has a tendency to run into eye wrinkles.


3: Care for Thinning Hair and Find an Age-appropriate Hairdo

Men are often deemed more attractive as their hair goes gray, but finding those first gray hairs can have a woman running for the hair dye. The key to coloring aging hair is to stay age-appropriate, because research has shown that people can accurately guess age regardless of hair color [source: Coffey]. That means that instead of going for an allover blonde that looks artificial (a common mistake made by aging women), look instead for ways to provide subtle, flattering contrast. For example, caramel lowlights would be appropriate for aging blonds, while lighter highlights can help raven-haired beauties age gracefully [source: Gluck].

Hair dye can be a contentious issue among women, so even if you're happily embracing your natural gray, that doesn't mean you're off the hook where hair care is concerned. All women face the threat of their hair becoming duller, thinner and prone to breakage over time. To counteract the sparser strands, try a volumizing shampoo and avoid styles that strain hair, including too-tight ponytails and chemical treatments. Your hair is also a barometer for what's happening in your body, so a healthy diet combined with your favorite stress relievers can do wonders for your tresses. If you're losing a lot of hair, you should see a doctor. Some conditions, such as female-pattern hair loss or alopecia, have genetic and hormonal causes.


As for the cut, aging isn't a reason to immediately chop all your hair off. The shape of your face can clue you in to a length that's workable; round faces lend themselves to shorter cuts, for instance. The volume of the strands will help narrow the style as well, as lots of layers won't work with very thin hair.

2: Use Less Foundation

mature woman applying makeup
Moisturizer will never go out of style.
© iStockphoto/LDF

If you're self-conscious about fine lines and wrinkles on your face, you may be tempted to pile on the foundation and concealer. However, this move has the unfortunate effect of highlighting those very features. All that excess makeup builds up in the creases, drawing the eye right to the spot you want to conceal.

To avoid the equivalent of drawing an arrow right to your wrinkles, adopt a "less is more" approach. Moisturizer is always a must because it evens out your skin, but then, channel your inner Caravaggio -- just as in the art movement chiaroscuro, it's time to evaluate the light and dark spots on your face. Rather than just applying foundation to the entire face, use concealer first to get rid of shadows and harsh lines and to hide brown spots. Then, you can set the look with translucent powder all over.


1: Lighten Up Those Thinning Lips

mature woman smiling
When in doubt, flash your best smile.
© iStockphoto/Prebranac

In a survey conducted by cosmetic company Ultima II, women over the age of 45 revealed that lipstick was the one beauty item that they couldn't leave home without [source: PR Newswire]. However, makeup experts are divided in their views on the best way to apply that product. The issue at the heart of the matter is the fact that a person's lips thin over time. Some professionals think that a lip liner should always be applied before lipstick, so as to give the lip a little more definition. Others find lip liner unnecessary, arguing that such a product will only create a very harsh line that will do your thinning lips no favors.

Regardless of whether you decide lip liner is essential or not, you should reevaluate the kinds of products you're putting on your lips. Lip glosses will have a tendency to slip around now that lips are thinner, and even if you've loved dark shades all your life, it may be time to lighten up. Those darker palettes will only look harsher as you age; going just a few shades lighter will make a huge difference.


Before you head out to purchase new beauty supplies, visit the next page for more interesting stories.

Beauty Tips For Older Women FAQ

What kind of makeup should an older woman wear?
In reality, you can do your makeup however you want to. Many makeup artists state, though, that less is more when it comes to doing makeup for older women. Going for a more natural look and choosing products that work with mature skin will ensure you end up with a look you love.
What is the best eyeshadow for mature eyes?
As a person ages, the eyelids get particularly wrinkled and crepey because the skin is already so thin. This makes it really difficult to wear eyeshadow, as it tends to settle into the creases. Opting for a cream formula set with a powder is best, which will give a smoother texture and won't accentuate fine lines. Also, avoid shimmery and sparkly shadows and opt for matte colors to avoid emphasizing wrinkles, but still get pigment.
Is liquid or powder foundation better for aging skin?
Aging skin demands a lightweight, moisturizing foundation. Otherwise it's going to settle into the wrinkles on your face and look caked on. Though powders have long been popular for their ease of application, experts say the best choice for aging skin is a liquid formula specifically created for mature consumers.
How do you apply foundation on aging skin?
If you're self-conscious about fine lines and wrinkles on your face, you may be tempted to pile on the foundation. But this has the opposite effect and actually highlights those very features because the excess makeup builds up in the creases. Instead, start with a moisturizer. Then, rather than applying foundation to the entire face, just use it to cover shadows and brown spots. Finally, set the look with translucent powder all over.

Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

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  • Dyett, Linda. "Expert Anti-Aging Tips." Prevention. Dec. 7, 2004. (April 20, 2009)http://www.prevention.com/cda/article/expert-anti-aging-tips/651cd08f88803110VgnVCM20000012281eac____/lifelong.beauty/anti.aging.arsenal
  • Gluck, Didi. "Is Your Hair Aging You?" Marie Claire. May 2008. (April 20, 2009)http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/trends/articles/hair-aging
  • Iverson, Annemarie. "Help for Thinning Hair." More Magazine. April 2009. (April 20, 2009)http://www.more.com/style/hair/help-for-thinning-hair/
  • Kolsky Hertzig, Alyssa. "Does Your Hair Make You Look Old?" WebMD and Good Housekeeping. Feb. 20, 2008. (April 20, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/does-your-hair-make-you-look-old
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