Makeup and Mature Skin

A full makeup can still look good on an older woman, it’s just a question of knowing which products you need and how to apply them.

How to Apply Makeup to Mature Skin

Before you can apply makeup, your skin must be good condition. Age spots and broken capillaries are easy to cover up, but only if the skin is exfoliated and well hydrated.

Exfoliating improves overall skin texture, which determines how evenly your makeup will go on.

Moisturizer plumps skin up to make lines and wrinkles less prominent. For best results, apply a few minutes before you apply your foundation.

The Importance of Foundation Primer on Mature Skin

Why Use Primer?

A foundation primer is essential. It minimizes the appearance of large pores, evens out skin tone to some extent, and helps prevent foundation settling into lines and wrinkles, as well as keeping it looking fresher for longer.

Which Primer?

To prevent your primer and foundation separating, and flaking, your primer and foundation must be compatible.

If you intend to use a silicone-based foundation, which lasts longest on the skin and leaves a smooth finish, you’ll need a silicone-based primer. In case you’re unsure, read its list of ingredients; it’s a silicone-based product if components with names that end in the suffixes -methicone (e.g. dimethicone or cyclomethicone) and -oxane (e.g. trisiloxane or silsesquioxane) appear at or near the top of the list.

Use only oil-based foundations with oil-based primers. These are marketed as “moisturizing” or “hydrating” products, with their main components ending in the suffix -oleate.

Water-based foundations, generally recommended for problem skin, are not the longest-lasting and provide little in the way of coverage. However, those containing significant hydrating ingredients can leave a dewy sheen even on dry, mature skin. But, again, they may only be applied with water-based primers; this follows the well-known rule that water and oil/silicone do not mix well.


There are many types of foundation, but the most suitable for mature skin are liquid and cream products.

Your aim should be to achieve good coverage using as little product as possible—less is always more where mature skin is concerned.

Liquid Foundation

If your complexion is relatively clear with few blemishes, a liquid foundation will probably fulfill your needs. Minor flaws can be covered by layering, which may save you having to apply concealer. If you find yourself applying thickly, you should try a cream foundation instead.

Cream Foundation

Cream foundation is more opaque and provides better coverage for age spots and broken capillaries.

Although you’ll still need concealer to completely hide blemishes, you won’t need as much as you would with liquid foundation. The trouble with concealer is that it looks “caked” if more than a little is applied.

Another advantage of cream foundation is its superior moisturizing properties, so consider this if your skin tends to dryness.

If cream foundation is a tad too heavy for your liking, adjust its consistency by mixing with primer.

Whether you choose cream or liquid foundation, make sure it matches your skin tone exactly for best results.

How to Prevent Foundation Settling into Lines and Wrinkles

This will be less of a problem if you manage to find a silicone-based product that works well for you, but, in general, foundation always settles into lines and wrinkles to some degree, no matter what you use or how you apply it.


Unless it’s a colour corrector product, always apply concealer over your foundation. That way, you’ll only apply it where your foundation can’t provide enough cover. When used to cover flaws, your concealer should match your foundation exactly.

Covering Age Spots

Concealer is completely opaque and looks “caked” if too much is applied. The best way of controlling the amount you put on is by using a rounded concealer brush. Just dab the product onto the problem area and work it into your foundation with the tip of the brush until it’s invisible.

Covering Dark Circles

If your under-eye circles are very dark, use a yellow colour corrector beneath your foundation to neutralize their bluish-purple tone. Add regular concealer only if your dark circles are visible through your foundation.

Don’t try camouflaging dark circles with a concealer lighter than your complexion, as this will accentuate them. Light colours draw attention to areas.

Using Concealer as Highlighter

Because concealer provides a natural-looking, matte finish, it works much better as highlighter on mature skin than opalescent or illuminating products. Anything that creates a glitter or shimmer effect emphasizes lines, wrinkles, and drooping contours.

To highlight with concealer, use a shade two tones lighter than your complexion. Liquid products provide the best finish and can be layered when serving as concealer and highlighter (e.g., highlighting the tops of cheeks and the bridge of the nose while camouflaging broken capillaries in these areas).

If you find that even liquid concealer is too heavy for large areas like cheeks, try using cream foundation two tones lighter than your complexion instead.

Regardless of which product you use, always blend well with a rounded foundation brush or a wedge-shaped sponge.

Tip: For an instant lift, use concealer to set highlights at mouth and outer eye corners.

Concealer for Covering Broken Capillaries

To play down broken capillaries, wear a green colour corrector (sometimes referred to as “green concealer”) under your foundation. You’ll still have to apply regular concealer to completely hide them, but not as much.

If your broken capillaries are more purple than red, you’ll need a green-yellow colour corrector.

Keep the amount of colour corrector you apply to a minimum or it will shimmer through your foundation and concealer.

Face Powder

You’ve probably heard otherwise, but face powder is your best friend. Not only does it fix foundation, it also leaves a matte finish—shininess will highlight every line, every wrinkle, and every sagging contour.

It’s true that powder can leave the complexion dull and chalky, and accentuate lines and wrinkles, but it depends on the product used and how it’s applied.

Which Powder Is Best for Mature Skin?

Translucent powder always works well on mature skin, but if you prefer more cover, choose one that matches your complexion or foundation exactly. Loose products are best for reducing shine and are generally more light textured than pressed products. As such, they don’t collect in lines and wrinkles quite as readily. Avoid products with reflective particles.

How to Apply Powder to Mature Skin

Whether pressed or loose, apply with a large powder brush. Instead of literally brushing on, dab from forehead to chin, reloading the brush as little as possible. Always work downwardly. If you don’t, the tiny white hairs that cover your face will stand on end, creating the chalky, mask-like effect you want to avoid.

After you’ve finished, gently pat your face working from forehead to chin with a clean, fleecy puff to pick up any excess powder. In case you’re going to be photographed with a flash, this also helps prevent “flashback,” which is when face powder—particularly translucent and colorless finishing products—shows up on photos as chalky patches.

Powder Blush

When wearing foundation, use a powder blush rather than a cream product. As with face powder, you need a very light textured product for good results.

Defining your cheekbones with strong colours can look harsh after a certain age. Instead, use softer shades like apricot and rose depending on your natural skin tone, and always blend well. A more diffused look will make you appear younger and fresher.

As long as you apply sparsely, it won’t emphasize lines and wrinkles around the eyes and hairline, which is often the case with even the lightest textured powder blush.


Lips become thinner with age, with wrinkles appearing along the upper contour.


To make lips seem fuller and smoother, wear light toned, satin finish lipsticks. Be careful with bright colours, and abandon dark colors and matte products, they make lips look thinner. Another problem with matte lipsticks is that they never look good with a matte base, which older women tend to favor.

Lip Gloss

Lip gloss plumps lips up, but it also highlights every wrinkle, so avoid at all cost.

Lip Liner

Lip liner stops lipstick feathering or “bleeding” into wrinkles, but for a rejuvenating effect, use a concealer pencil one or two shades lighter than your complexion instead.

Not only can it prevent feathering, it plumps lips up, and works as a corrective highlight to help diminish the appearance of wrinkles. Apply from the bow of the lip and blend to the mouth corners.

Eye Makeup

Eyeliner and Mascara

Softer colors and textures create a diffused definition that always flatters a woman of a certain age. Use brown or dark gray eyeliner and mascara in place of black. If you find that liquid and gel eyeliners look harsh or overshadow the natural beauty of your eyes, use kohl instead.

Eye Shadow

Use only matte powder eye shadow. Creamy and glossy products accentuate wrinkles. You can never, go wrong with subtle nude or soft earth tones.

Ten Basic Makeup Tips for the Mature Woman

  1. Before applying makeup, your skin should be exfoliated and well moisturized, to create a smooth base for foundation.
  2. A foundation primer is a good addition to your kit for mature skin.
  3. Opt for a cream or liquid foundation. Less is best when it comes to applying foundation for mature skin.
  4. A loose, very fine textured face powder is less likely to collect in lines and wrinkles. For best results, apply with a large powder brush.
  5. When wearing blush, soft colors like rose and apricot work best.
  6. Avoid gloss, use satin finish lipsticks as they don’t accentuate lip wrinkles.
  7. Use techniques to lift the appearance of the face, by applying highlighter under the brow bone and under the cheek bone.
  8. If black eyeliner and mascara seem too harsh, create a more diffused look with brown or dark gray.
  9. Switch liquid and gel eyeliner for kohl pencil.
  10. Use only powder eye shadow as cream eyeshadows will crease.