Some women want to look older (ha! remember those days?), but these common makeup mistakes always signal a wrong turn. While there a few that will make you reconsider your go-to items, others show how the most subtle change can make a huge (read: age-defying) difference. Check out our easy pro tricks that will make you look and feel your very best.
Worse than the sparse arch is a harsh, overdone brow, says Linter. The culprit may be the wrong tool, like an eyeliner pencil that is soft and goes on too strong. “A brow pencil is designed to be hard and go on softly, so your brows look natural,” Manhattan-based makeup artist Sandy Linter says.
OD’ing on foundation.
As hormone levels dip and your skin gets drier, you may reach for a cream foundation. Not so fast: “Thicker, creamier formulas are usually made to provide fuller coverage, which means they’re packed with more pigment,” says Portland-based makeup artist Jessie Powers. “And pigment is basically powder.” If you like a creamy formula’s coverage, try it with a richer face moisturizer or a hydrating primer
Foundation that’s too pale.
Skin grows more pallid with age, so if you’re wearing a matchy-matchy foundation, it can leave you looking pasty. (Yep, time to ditch the rule that says you should match.) Linter puts life back into her skin with a slightly warmer tone. You can also just mix an exact-match shade with the next darkest hue on the back of your hand, and then apply with a foundation brush.
“As soon as you’ve reached the years when you really need a concealer, it can let you down by sinking into lines,” says Linter. To keep concealer from drawing attention to wrinkles, apply it only on the inner halves of your under-eyes to cover up any darkness. Or just skip the concealer, as Linter often does, and use a brush-on highlighter pen
Forget stroking blush from mouth to ear; that technique only emphasizes gauntness as you get older, says Powers. An instant trick to lift cheeks: Swirl blush ever so slightly higher on the apples.
Avoid a cartoonish look and only brush your highlighter in specific, face-flattering areas. “Wearing highlighter in the wrong place can give you the opposite of a luminous effect,” says makeup artist Jami Svay. “Use it where the light naturally touches your face, like the brow bone, bridge of the nose and along the cheekbones.”
Oily lids can spell ruin for eyeshadow, but piling on extra will only make your eyes look weighed down.
If brown and bone are your go-to eyeshadows, take note: “Brown has yellow or red pigments in it, either of which can actually make eyes look tired,” says makeup artist Laura Geller. Also be careful with once-“safe” shadows like bone; they’re often too light to cover discoloration on lids. Your new go-tos: sage and jewel tones.
Jagged, uneven liner.
Avoid tugging at the outer corners of your eyes, says Geller. “This can cause skin to crinkle, and your line will not be as smooth.” Instead, point your chin up and look down, so your lids are half-closed but you can still see them, and use a liquid liner
“Lashes can make eyes look more youthful and awake,” says Powers, but one common mistake is skipping the eyelash curler. Use it to curl each lash at the root, holding for 15 seconds.
Wearing the same old lip colors.
It’s the easiest way to refresh your look. If you’ve been wearing neutrals since the ’90s, try red. If you’ve been loyal to red, try a pink. Play with the color, but go easy on texture. “Anything that’s severe — a lipstick or hairdo — will age you. So wear a red, but a sheer one,” says Linter.
Lipstick that bleeds.
“Extra lipstick migrates, especially as the definition of the lip’s border softens with age,” explains Powers. So, instead of applying color straight from the tube, apply with a lipstick brush, like the e.l.f. Retractable Lip Brush ($4, nanacorner.com). Dab on the center of your lips, and then spread it to the corners.