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 eye makeup mistakes 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 makeup artist Sana Young has talked with me about this and has these helpful tips.

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

Sana: After 40, many changes occur 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 makeup.

Deb: Most of us grew up having been taught to use three colors on the eye- a light color all over, a dark in the crease, and a super soft 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, 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, you are best not to overemphasize that drunkenness. 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 pale pink or light taupe if you have excellent skin color or a light camel or tan if you have a warm skin tone.

This look may be acceptable on its own, or you may want to add a little bit of darker color in the crease close to the outside edge. Depending on your skin tone, this darker color could be a cool or warm brown. Be careful with application. If you use too much dark in the crease or 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 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 over the 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 create the illusion of deeper set eyes.

With a droopy lid type of eye, you may also want to add an even darker color to your crease to create depth. I would suggest that the color be charcoal, 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 the 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 under the browbone to highlight the area. The main thing is you will 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 makeup application over 40?

Thick Eyeliner: This is especially true if you have large lids. Heavy eyeliner makes you look exhausted. 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 many options to thicken up and lengthen your eyelashes. Go for it. When applying mascara to widen and lift your eyes, concentrate on paying attention to your outer lashes. 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 is 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 essential to cover dark circles that come with being 40+. Only the problem is, that it’s easy to go overboard; a little dab of it in the 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 makeup tips for women over 40 years old here.


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

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

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