Is Your Eye Make-Up Aging You?

too much make-up over 40Heavy black eyeliner, frosted heavily shadowed lids, no mascara or gobs of the clumpy stuff. These are the eye make-up mistakes that can drag down aging eyes and make you look exhausted and dated.

How should you make-up your eyes at 40+ so you look bright-eyed and youthful? Fabulous After 40 celebrity make-up artist Sana Young has talked with me about this and has these helpful tips.

Deborah BolandDeb: Sana, what’s causing our eyes to look so tired after 40?

Sana: After 40 there are many changes taking place with your eyes. You are getting wrinkles, the skin above the eyes is drifting down and often the eyes get darker and can start to look sunken. So we need to start making adjustments to the way we do our eye make-up.

Deb: Most of grew up being taught to use three colors on the eye- a light color all over, a dark in the crease and super light shade to highlight. Is this still the way to do it?

Sana: That depends on your eye. There are usually two types of older eyes:

1. The Hollow Eye

Your face starts to lose fat and your eyes look deeper set, and sometimes, even hollow. This loss of volume can even make your eyes look closer together.

Use light Colors to Draw it Out: If your eyes are like this, then you are best not to overemphasize that sunkenness. I’d suggest wearing a very light color all over the eyelid,  up to the brow bone, such as vanilla. Then add a light color over top of that up to the crease. You could use a light pink, or light taupe if you have cool skin color or a light camel or tan if you have a warm skin tone.

This look may be fine on it’s own, or you may want to add a little bit of a darker color in the crease close to the outside edge. This darker color could be a cool or warm brown depending on your skin tone. Be careful with application. If you use too much dark in the crease or you take the crease color too far towards the inside corner of the eye, this could emphasize hollow eyes. You only want a touch of crease color for definition.

If your eyes look closer together these days, you can even put a touch of very light vanilla on the inside corners to make your eyes look wider set.



2.The Droopy Eye

The other type of aging eye that is common with older women is the heavy lid that hangs down over the eye. In this case, you do want to lift that lid visually.

Use darker colors to create definition: I’d suggest a medium color over the entire lid with a lighter nonfrosted shade just under the brow. For the lid color, you could go with a medium pink or taupe color if you have cool undertones to your skin, or if you have warm undertones try a medium camel/peach. Darker colors recede, so by putting the medium dark color all over the lid you are creating the illusion of deeper set eyes.

With a droopy lid type of eye, you may also want to add an even darker color in your crease to create depth. I would suggest that color be charcoal or espresso or dark plum. Just apply it to the outer corners with a crease brush.

Use this dark color along the outer corner of the lash line, and then up to the crease and towards the inner corner in a C shape. Be careful not to go in past the halfway point! The more emphasis on the corners, the more the illusion of a “lift” to the eyes so try to stay to outer corners as much as possible.

Deb: Can 40+ gals wear shiny eyeshadow or must it be matte?

Sana: Matte works well, but you can wear a bit of shine up under the browbone to highlight the area. The main thing is you are going to wear eyeshadow with shine make sure it is subtle. Too much frosting looks very old because it will emphasize all your wrinkles.

Deb: Other problems with eye make-up application over 40?

Thick Eyeliner: This is especially true if you have large lids. Heavy eyeliner makes you look very tired. Keep your eyeliner line, thin. Also, black liner at 40+ may be too harsh for you now against your aging skin. I always suggest a warm dark brown liner. It looks good on everyone.

Overdone Lashes: There are so many options to thicken up and lengthen your eyelashes. Go for it. Concentrate on paying attention to your outermost lashes when applying mascara to widen and lift your eyes. The biggest mistake-stay away from mascara on the bottom lashes. It always seeps down into wrinkles, and you will look super stressed and worn out.

Hard Brows: I’ve talked about brows before framing the face. Your brows thin as you age but the solution in not to swipe on a brand new eyebrow and leave it at that. To get a natural looking brow, whether you use a pencil or powder, you have to use an eyebrow brush to brush the product into your brows. This blending is key to a soft, natural look. We’ve all seen women with those fake, hard drawn on brows- not attractive.

Too Much Concealer:  If you don’t need it, you’re one of the rare ones. Concealer is important to cover dark circles that come with being 40+. Only the problem is, it’s easy to go overboard, A little dab of it in a shade just slightly lighter than your natural color is all you need. Don’t forget the inner corners of the eyes too. This can make a huge difference in your overall eye radiance!

Deb: Great tips Sana. Thanks! If you have a beauty question for Sana email it to

More make-up tips for women over 40 years old here.


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One thought on “Is Your Eye Make-Up Aging You?

  1. Moisturizer & a really good primer is a must! :) Also Skindinavia makes some excellent make-up setting sprays that help minimize lines & helps make your make-up last all day.

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