5 Make-Up Mistakes That Make You Look Old

You may be great at keeping up with the latest fashion trends, but when was the last time you had a beauty update?

Celebrity makeup artist Sana Young says if you’ve been wearing your makeup the same old way for a very long time, you’re probably in a beauty rut and don’t even know it.  Here are five makeup mistakes that make you look old and what to do about it.

harsh makeup


1. Heavy Under Eye Concealer

Dark undereye circles are a common problem after 40 due to hormonal changes and thinning skin. One of the biggest mistakes women make is to apply heavy concealer in this area. More concealer doesn’t give you more coverage. It just emphasizes creases and wrinkles and makes you look old.

Sana suggests you use a very lightweight, opaque concealer.  This way, you don’t get thick concealer settling into creases, but there is enough pigment to cover the dark area.

Two under-eye concealers she recommends are Mac Studiofix Concealer and Tarte Shape Tape Concealer.


2.  Not Enough Cheek Color/Unnatural Cheek Color

That rosy glow of youth fades in midlife, so it’s important to reevaluate what you are wearing on your cheeks. The two biggest mistakes women our age make are not wearing enough color, which makes us look pale and pasty, or wearing an unnatural shade of blush.

Unnatural would be bright pink, or red or brown, purplish- a saturated color that looks dramatic, not natural. Natural-looking color such as a rosy pink blush or even a soft bronzer is key. Otherwise, you get a sharp, high-contrast look that emphasizes wrinkles and shadows.

Sometimes we end up looking pale or overdone because we are not applying our makeup in natural light. Poor (yellow) lighting in your bathroom or at the gym can throw you off. Combine this with poor eyesight after a certain age, and it’s easy to apply too much or too little blush to try and compensate.

Here’s a trick to help ensure you choose the right color and use just the right amount.  Envision yourself after a workout with a soft flush to your face, or back at your house after a week away on a sun vacation. That’s how you want to look- fresh, soft, and pretty.

Sana suggests powder blush over cream (which gets into creases and accentuates them) and recommends brands like Tarte and Benefit. I’m a fan of L’oreal Age Perfect ( I use the Peony color)  and Charlotte Tilbury blush, which I find very soft and natural.


3.  Frost Under the Brow Bone

Remember how we were taught to do eye makeup many years ago? We were told to put the middle tone color all over the lid, the dark color in the crease, and the shiny highlighter under the brow. If you are still doing your eye makeup this way, stop. It’s aging.

Instead, try putting a light champagne color, or a light warm or cool, coral pink shade all over your lid. You can put a darker color in your crease if you like, but be careful you don’t go too dark. A dark color in our crease is supposed to make your eyes look deeper set and more dramatic, but since our eyes naturally get deeper set as we age, this can make your eyes look hollow.

If you don’t have much of a crease, to begin with, trying to create a crease with a lot of dark shadow on that extra skin can look harsh, as well. You’re better to go with a taupe color in your crease instead of a very dark brown or plum.

As for under the brow bone, choose a light nude color. Stay away from very light, bright, shiny, or frosty colors. Bobbi Brown has a lot of very natural eye colors.


4. Bottom Heavy Eyes

Our eyes get droopy over 40. Don’t make them droopier by wearing mascara and under eyeliner.

Most women don’t need any extra darkness under their eyes because most women have discoloration under their eyes that comes with aging, and this just makes it worse. Unless you have almond-shaped eyes ( eyes that still tune up), your eyes are going to look droopy.

Wear eyeliner and mascara on the top if you like. Charcoal is softer than black or warm brown. Since many women our age use a lot of moisturizer under the eyes, Sana likes Urban Decay 24-7 liners because they are waterproof. If you don’t wear eyeshadow, these also smudge well if you rub them a bit at the corners, which can create a really lovely look and make your eyes twinkle. I like L’Oreal Age Perfect Satin Liner. It’s super creamy but doesn’t smudge.

5. Unmanaged Lips

Another common makeup mistake mature women make is wearing dark lipstick that bleeds. Sana says at a certain age you have to decide what you will commit to. If you are not going to accept that you are going to have to manage your lips if you wear dark lipstick, don’t wear dark lips. Wear a softer color instead.  Sana loves the Mac Prep, and Prime Lip Primer stick for managing mature lips and says to also be sure to use a lip liner.


Thanks to Sana Young of Meccage Makeup

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3 thoughts on “5 Make-Up Mistakes That Make You Look Old

    1. Hi Bonnie, I am using the L’Oreal makeup blush called Peony, and I find it a lovely soft pink- but not too pink. It’s very natural, and I like that it gives you color but doesn’t look heavy like it is sitting on top of your cheek! Try it! Cheers, Deborah

  1. I have read varied opinions on using powder vs. cream blush. The cream is touted as more natural-looking (carefully blended) than powder because older women have drier skin. The other factor cited is the placement of the color – the apples of the cheeks only. Has anyone else read this using a BB cream v concealer for under-eye and ‘problem’ areas that need to be concealed? I also read that foundation is too heavy, so you should only hide areas that need it and let your skin step forward with only a good moisturizer; for the most part—mixed messages.

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