Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gracefully Aging, Day 15: Makeup--Is Less More?

photo credit
We've all heard and read the conventional wisdom: as you get older, wear less makeup.

Well...yes and no.

I think it depends on how much makeup you've actually been wearing all along.

  •  If you're accustomed to ladling it on with a trowel, yes, it's time to back off. 
  • If you favor exaggerated winged eyeliner, yes, it's time to back off.
  • If you usually sport thick, dark eyeliner under your eyes, then, yes, it's time to back off.


But if you've gone for years with a glorious natural look...maybe just a flick of mascara and some lip gloss, or even less...in my humble opinion, it may be time to wear MORE make-up.

SHOCKER!!! I can hear the gods of makeup sending up a keening wail of disapproval.

But yes.  You do have to BE CAREFUL about makeup, but I don't believe you have to dial it back to a bare minimum.

I actually believe makeup can be one of an older woman's best friends, GASP!

Here are my thoughts (and I'm not an expert, but I've been a makeup maven for many years).

Apply it with a light hand.  Yes, you could build up that eye-shadow to day-glo proportions, but instead, apply it lightly and strategically, and blend, blend, blend.

Be careful about anything glittery or sparkly.  Notice I did not say, as many experts will insist, to avoid sparkle completely.  But if I do use it, it's sparingly and not very often.

Use color on your lips! Notice my exclamation mark there.  Even the powers-that-be will tell you the importance of older women using color on their lips. As we get older, our lips tend to get thinner and lose natural color.

Experts disagree on what color is OK.  Some say only nude-beige lips, some say only pink, other say a woman of any age can wear red lips if they do it right.


Christie Brinkley sporting red lipstick at 59 (she's 60 now)
photo credit
Use color on your cheeks.  For the same reason it's important to use color on your lips.  We may not naturally have a youthful blush, but we can carefully apply one!  Always remember to blend it well, so it's not a just stripe of color on your face.  Many experts suggest switching to a cream blush.

Be careful about powder.  I think a light dusting of powder is necessary to seal your make-up and make it longlasting, but you have to be careful.  Try to avoid heavy powders that could settle into lines and make them more obvious.  A light dusting with brush, not a puff, is what I go for.

Discover highlighter/illuminators.  A highlighter will give you just that bit of extra glow.  You brush it gently on your upper cheeks and around your eyes.

I always use this drugstore one after reading about it in a magazine.  It's inexpensive and provides a lovely glow, especially nice in photographs.

My highlighter of choice: wetnwild MegaGlo Illuminating Powder in catwalk pink



Don't forget your lashes. Unfortunately, our eyelashes tend to get more sparse as we get older.  There are several ways to deal with this;

  • Use an eyelash curler.  I'll just be honest, this has never really seemed to make much difference for me, but some women and most makeup artists swear by them.
  • Consider eyelash extensions.  Google the pros and cons of extensions.  I've seen them on a few women and they frankly look wonderful.
  • Use an eyelash primer.  This goes on before you put on your mascara and really makes a difference in how your mascara performs.  My favorite is Lash Building Primer from Clinique.
  • Consider false eyelashes, at least on special occasions.  I do this on occasion and I have to say, I love the way they look!


Take expert advice with a grain of salt.  Whenever you hear/read a makeup expert saying older women should NEVER do this or that, consider how things work for you.

For example, many experts will tell older women NEVER to wear color on their eyes.  Sorry.  I'm not living the rest of my life with nothing but taupe eyeshadow. Boring! I even break another rule by sometimes coordinating my eyeshadow color with what I'm wearing

A look with green eye shadow

You have to honestly consider what works for you.  I take frequent selfies, most of which I don't share with anyone, just to check my look.  Sometimes a mirror is deceiving.  A selfie will usually tell you what to dial back and what's working.

Ultimately, it's YOUR face.  If you want to wear very minimal makeup or none at all, that's fine.  But I truly believe that most women, and definitely older women, could use some makeup.

Here is an article with some good suggestions for make-up for maturing women.  You don't have to take it as gospel, but it has some helpful advice.

What about you? Have you changed your makeup with the years? Let me know in my comments!


I'm participating in "31 Days: A Writing Challenge,"  in which I 'll be blogging on the subject of Gracefully Aging every day during the month of October.  Click the button below for more information and links to each post as they become available!




9 comments:

amanda huffman said...

I currently don't wear make up at all and I'm 29. I guess that may change later, but i'm pretty lazy right now. :)

Cindy Swanson said...

Amanda, enjoy! You can totally get away with it!

Shelby Ketchen said...

I don't wear makeup because
a) most makeup makes me break out like a teenager (I'm 51!!)
and
b) I never learned to do it well -- the blending, the colors, etc.

Think I'll do some more reading here to see if I can fix that.

Barb V said...

Love this post. I found I had to get a magnifier mirror so I can see just how much make up I'm putting on.

claygirlsings said...

I agree! I find that I'm wearing a little more makeup than I did before I crossed a certain decade. It seems to help me "pop" just a little bit more.

Becca Degeilh said...

Love this! I am clueless when it comes to make up :) This was totally helpful. Thanks!

Robyn said...

Excellent article! I appreciated that women of all ages can wear any color lipstick. Thanks for writing!

homeskoolmom said...

I am wearing more makeup then I ever have (except for maybe my teen years). I know it sounds crazy, but I recently discovered Dressing Your Truth and feel like I've been given permission to be me again.

I am also amazed at how much difference an eyebrow pencil makes!

I look younger, feel younger and act more myself than I have in years. I'll be 50 next summer and feel amazing these days!

barbarah said...

I never wore makeup except mascara because I had a natural blush and liked my coloring and it didn't make sense to cover it all up. Now, I'm not pale - I've gone the other way with a very ruddy complexion, and I'd love to figure out how to wear makeup - I'd love to just sit down with someone who can show me what to do so it looks natural and doesn't take heaps of time and products.

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