The Best Lifting Makeup for Older Women: The Right & Wrong Ways to Apply Makeup if You’re Over 50

When you are a woman in her prime you have the love and acceptance of who and what you really are. But as the years go by, our skin starts to lose collagen and elastin, which hold the structure of our complexion. It becomes saggy, no longer plump and firm as it used to be in our younger years. Our features are dragged down, giving us a more tired, worn out, or even sad appearance – so the makeup routine we used to do when we were in our 30s or 40s needs to adapt to work with these changes.

This is where a well-placed makeup can make all the difference in the world. I am all for procedures such as injecting fillers or Botox, which I wrote about my own experiences, but sometimes, makeup can do wonders if you know some tricks and secrets!

Placement is everything; it can lift those features upwards and give a rested and fresh look. It’s equally important to understand the color theory – while darker colors make an area look more receded, a lighter one will attract attention and make it appear plumper.

In this article I will show you the correct and the wrong ways to apply makeup on a mature face, real tips from somebody who’s actually over 50 – I also include one of my most viewed YouTube tutorials that shows you exactly what the power of these lifting makeup tricks can do, viewed by millions of women.

For the sake of demonstrating the best and the worst way to apply makeup, I’ve “split” my face in two. 

On the right half of my face, you will see the common mistakes we make that get us looking more dragged down.

On the left side, I will show you facelift makeup to look younger, awake, and very fresh.

You will also find recommended products for each area of the face, ones that I’ve tried and loved. Be sure to check them out and have fun trying these makeup techniques!

Let’s get to the tips:

How to Apply the Perfect Base on Mature Skin

When doing the perfect makeup base, moderation is key. Layering on product after product, never giving them the chance to settle into the skin, will give that cakey, overdone look. More importantly, putting too much on will make you look older since excess makeup tends to settle into wrinkles and emphasize imperfections.

When starting your base, you need to consider your skin type and condition, plus what you’re trying to achieve. While mature skin is not a skin type in itself, it does have some particularities – you notice it’s more dry, lifeless, and dull, with wrinkles. The natural face contour is also less defined or firmed.

A fresh-looking makeup base is essential for a youthful appearance as we get older. This means choosing products with a dewy, glowing finish that attract light to your complexion. Here is a list of what I believe are the best foundations for mature skin.

Application is also key – you want to use a moderate amount, whether it’s foundation, powder, or concealer, and blend them in seamlessly.

perfect makeup base

Wrong application:

I will start by not putting on any primer on half of my face. This is a mistake since primer creates a smooth base for the other products and makes your makeup last longer. Depending on the primer you use, it can also be a bit tacky for a better foundation grip, hydrating, or highlighting particles.

I can go on with my foundation and apply a large amount that I only blend superficially. This will already give me a cakey look, plus emphasize pores and fine lines. In the under-eye area, I’ll lather on too much concealer, a common mistake for this fragile area. It’s very prone to wrinkles and very mobile, so when you have a creamy product, it tends to crease; put a large amount of that concealer on, and you have yourself a definite mess on your hands.

I’ll top my makeup with excess powder that clings to any dry spots and gives you a dull, lifeless appearance. I didn’t do myself any favors by making everything so matte – the dehydrated look will make me look older and show imperfections

Right application:

I start by applying my primer this time. For this demonstration, the one I use has a blurring effect that makes the pores and wrinkles less noticeable. Don’t put too much on, as excess layers that don’t absorb well into the skin might cause your makeup to slide off instead of lasting longer.

Next comes the foundation after letting the primmer properly absorb. Choose a luminous foundation with a dewy or satin finish because this will be more flattering and give you that youthful glow. I start by applying a light layer and blending it well, pressing it onto the skin with a brush or damp makeup sponge. You can always add more in certain areas if need be, but taking off excess is not easy.

Now follows concealer that I use sparingly, only on small areas where I need extra coverage or specific spots. Again, we don’t want to give that base too much product and ruin that light base we’ve been working on so far.

I will apply a fine translucent powder to set the creamy products in place and make the makeup last longer. This will also create a smooth base for other powder-based products to be layered on, such as blush or contour.

When trying to achieve a perfect base for a mature woman, go for that seamless blend and glow-from-within look. You will take years off your complexion and look very fresh by doing this.

Recommended products:

  • GLAM 35 New!!! AGE BLUR Face Base:
  • NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation:
  • NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer:
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder:

How to Do the Perfect, Lifted Brows

The brows have a lot to do with one’s facial expression. When they are too high, they make us look like we’re always surprised or amazed by something. When too low and straight across, they give us that grumpy and upset appearance that no one wants.

Of course, the way we’re born with them plays a role in their overall look, whether they are thicker, more sparse, blonde, or brunette. But we can always intervene easily when it comes to brows by plucking them, dyeing them with special colors, or using microblading, manipulating form and color.

I have been microblading them for years, and I’m delighted with the results. But I still use makeup to emphasize them or set the hairs in place for the day. It’s also essential to see what impact the wrong kind of makeup placement can have, thus knowing what to avoid.

I will explain some basic techniques below that will help you get that perfect definition of the brows, without making them look too harsh or drag your features down.

lifted brows

Wrong application:

For this particular demonstration, I am using a brow pomade, applied with a flat, angled brush. The most common mistake in brows is elongating them too much. By doing this, we are pulling the shape downward, so they become droopy. It’s a frequent mistake, especially when we’ve lost fullness and definition and try too hard to add form again.

Filling in the shape too much with a heavy hand and defined lines will make brows seem harsh and boxy. Be sure to choose the right color for your brows – a cool shade looks more natural, and don’t go too dark because this will make you look older and more severe.

Right application:

For the good side, I will fill the brow with the same pomade and brush, but this time, with more delicate strokes. The overall effect will be more subtle, and the fullness of the brow is much easier to control when building intensity slowly.

When I get to that outer portion of the brow, I don’t elongate the tail but rather go upward with small brush strokes. Put your brush on the skin, then in one short move, flick it upward; don’t press too hard on the brush, and you’ll get a much more subtle and blended effect.

By not dragging the brow down, you get a more lifted effect that will influence your entire appearance. This brow will be shorter, but this is how you avoid dragging it down and making your eye look droopy altogether.

Recommended product:

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade Waterproof Matte Brow Gel

Apply Eyeshadow Like a Pro

They say the eyes are the window to the soul. But I can tell you for sure that the eyes also say a lot about one’s age – a droopy eye will always give you an older and tired appearance. Over the years, the sagging of the skin becomes very visible on the eyelids; they become heavier, making it look like excess skin drooping down over the eye.

The eyes are one of the most expressive features; they can be mesmerizing and say a lot about our mood. This is where well-placed makeup can do wonders by lifting and, at the same time, giving depth to your gaze.

So properly emphasizing them can elevate our whole makeup look. You need to put small accents in the right places to lift and make them seem bigger and more awake. Knowing how to play with light and shadow is essential; you can make a puffy eyelid look receded by applying a darker color in the crease, or you can attract light and make the eye look more awake by adding a highlighter in the inner corner.

apply eyeshadow like a pro

Wrong application:

As stated above, the eyelid gets heavier as we age, so excess skin creases and droops down. You don’t want to attract more attention by applying light and shimmery colors (it will bring more volume to the area and emphasize minor defects, like creasing skin and puffiness).

I will do precisely that for the wrong side, meaning put the lightest shade from my palette across the eyelid. I will continue with a deeper purple rusty color to define the eye. But I’ll place that in my actual crease instead of going a little higher and pulling the eye upward and following the natural eye shape in the outer corner, right down to where it actually ends.

The problem is the eye tends to droop down, with a round shape to it, so following this natural line drags the whole eye down. And it’s a missed opportunity to lift it and make it seem more awake. I’m not blending this very much either, so harsh lines make everything look more severe.

Next, I’ll take an even deeper color, this time a dark brown, and place it just in the outer corner. I’ll start at the lash line and then create a V shape, connecting it to the crease; again, I’ll take it to where my eye actually ends, so pretty far down, making the eye droop. This is where I blend a little for the two deeper shades to combine, but I don’t take it upwards or out too much, keeping that rounded, downturned shape.

I add a light shimmery eyeshadow on the brow bone, so you can see it’s a bad idea to draw attention to that brow bone. As we age, it becomes more evident, and puffiness can occur. Applying a highlight attracts the wrong kind of attention, but adding more volume is the opposite of what you want to do.

Right application:

What we’re trying to achieve is the exact opposite from the other side of my face. Everything has to be light, come upwards and out, to lift and elongate the eye; a good rule of thumb to follow is – anything that creates droopiness or heaviness is a no-no.

I am not using a light color for eyeshadow because, as stated above, it only brings attention to the saggy skin on your eyelids. Instead, you want to pick a medium shade that creates a more receded effect.

I am taking the same plum color from the palette and putting it all over my mobile lid, in the crease, then dragging it a little higher. This way, you will counteract that heavier eyelid and give it more structure. I won’t go all the way down in the outer corner, where my actual top lash line ends, instead of keeping the ending point a little higher.

Next, I add a dark brown eyeshadow in the outer corner, again keeping it higher; this will bring some extra definition and a gradation of colors. Always try to slowly build the colors’ intensity instead of just packing too much on from the beginning. Otherwise, you will have excess product and, when you start blending, you will drag those eyeshadows all over the place, making everything look muddy.

Now I start blending with a fluffy brush and gentle strokes; keep them fluid and circular by holding your brush from the outer part of the handle for less control. This way, you put less pressure on the brush, making the result smoother.

As I blend, I take the eyeshadow slightly higher than my actual crease to make the excess skin look more receded and less protruding. I take the products upwards and out in the outer corner, giving the eye an instant lift. You also elongate it this way and give it that cat-eye effect.

For this side, I keep my highlighter right underneath the brow but don’t go any lower than that; otherwise, I will draw attention to that orbital bone that protrudes.

For a more in-depth tutorial on how to apply makeup for downturned eyes, read our article here.

Recommended products:

  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Original
  • CoverGirl® TruNaked Chocolate Scented Eyeshadow Palette in Chocoholic

Eyeliner Techniques

Using eyeliner can give us more definition of the eyes and a sultry look. It’s often the finishing touch to the eye makeup that pulls everything together. But you need to take into account your eye shape, the amount of space available on your mobile lids and the effect you’re trying to achieve.

Depending on the effect you desire, you can use a liquid eyeliner, a gel or cream one that comes in a jar, or a pencil. While a liquid eyeliner gives a more dramatic look, a gel/ cream or a pencil are more forgiving when applying them, and they can be smudged, for a smokey effect.

Following a few simple steps, you can achieve an amazing and uplifting result. Keep reading to get some tips and tricks to help you achieve just that!

perfect eyeliner

Wrong application:

I follow up the eyeshadow with black eyeliner and go right on the upper lid, with a pretty heavy line across. This puts more heaviness and cuts up too much space from your already shrinking eyelid.

I will also go with a dark brown eyeliner underneath the lower lash line, taking it to the most outer corner; this emphasizes the downturn line of the eye and looks too harsh and unflattering.

Right application:

For this part, the eyeliner only goes on the upper waterline. This will add definition to the eye without being too harsh. I don’t want the pencil on my upper eyelid because that would close off the eye and spoil the open and awake look I want to achieve.

Also, I won’t put any eyeliner on my lower eyelid on this side. You can apply a pencil on the lower waterline when doing a smokey eye, and trace a shadow underneath the lower lash line with a light to medium eyeshadow.

Too much darkness on the lower eyelid will make you look tired; go for lighter colors, for a fresh and youthful appearance.

Recommended product:

  • Wunder2 Super-Stay Liner


Whether you are the owner of naturally long lashes or not, they can always be enhanced with mascara, extensions or false ones. I also use an eyelash curler, to achieve a wispy effect that opens up the gaze.

Choosing a good mascara is important, but the brush is also essential – a big bristle one will give you a lot of volume, while a silicone curved one will give you a great curl. Whatever type you use, make sure to replace mascara every six months, to avoid any problems, like eye infections.


Wrong application:

I will put mascara on the top and bottom lashes for the wrong side. I’ll go in with a heavier hand and more product on the brush, so the lashes will stick together and look sparse. Also, because there’s that thick black eyeliner on the top lid, the lashes won’t stand up as much, in comparison to that.

I also apply mascara on the lower lashes like we used to do in the ’80s; they look like tiny spider legs. It’s not a flattering look, and it draws attention downward, pulling the eye instead of lifting it.

Right application:

On this side, I use an eyelash curler and put a moderate amount of mascara to separate and define those lashes well. I won’t apply any product on the lower lashes because it’s not at all flattering, as it’s apparent on the other eye.

However, I would go further and apply some false lashes, too. I love half magnetic ones because they are effortless to use and give just the right final touch. I place them at the outer corner, one on top and the other below the lashes, as this is how they stick together.

Be careful not to put them right at the outer rim of the lashes, where the eye actually ends, because they will have a descending line. This would drag out the eye downward altogether, making all our hard work so far useless. Bring it just before the eye ends for the best result.

At this point, you will see the full effect – the lashes feather out and pull the eye upward and open the gaze. Your eye makeup is now complete, and the result is a lifted eye that makes you look fresh and awake.

Recommended products:

  • Brilliant Beauty Rose Gold Eyelash Curler
  • Wunder2 Wunderextensions Lash Extension & Curl Mascara

  • VASSOUL Dual Magnetic Eyelashes, 0.2mm Ultra Thin Magnet, Light weight & Easy to Wear, Best 3D Reusable Eyelashes with Applicator (8 PC with Tweezers)

Under-Eye Concealer

We all struggle with under-eye bags or dark circles and know how much of a hassle they can be to cover up. These are often a combination of genetics, retaining water, having a more pigmented area, or lack of volume. The latter gives a permanent shadow effect – a more receded area will always appear darker; often, the solution is injecting under-eyes fillers to lift the shadows and plump that zone.

If you don’t want to go that far yet or the issue is of a different nature, covering them with makeup may be your best bet; although temporary, of course, this method has the advantage of being easy to achieve and effective.

The goal here is to cover the color and lift that darkness by attracting light within the area. 

My suggestion is always to do the eye makeup first, then concealer. This way, you can clean up whatever fallout from the eyeshadows or pencils and get a crisp line under the eye.

But you also need to be aware of the skin’s particularity here: more fine lines, wrinkles, and sensitivity. So you need to find products that have enough coverage yet have light consistency that won’t emphasize those lines. Also, be careful when applying powder; you don’t want to set creases in place, so make sure the product is nice and blended, and go in with powder immediately.

under-eye concealer

Wrong application:

Here I will match my concealer with the outer corner of my brow, which comes downward. So, the product placement here won’t help much with the lifting of the eye. Other mistakes that can make us look older here are using something too dry, with a heavy consistency that will settle in fine lines.

Right application:

Take your concealer underneath the eye, from the inner to the outer corner, in a swiping motion. When you get to the outer portion, take it up and outward to match the line you created with eyeshadow. Stop just where you meet the ending of the brow.

It’s a good idea to use a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your foundation; this will attract light to the under-eye area and emphasize that younger, fresh look. Set everything with a fine powder, and we can go to the next steps.

Also check out this in-depth article about the best concealers to use on mature skin.

Recommended products:

  • Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
  • Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for Under Eyes

Create Structure with Face Contour

Doing contour means playing with shadows and light to conceal or enhance some areas of the face.

As previously mentioned, we put a medium matte shade where we want an area to recede and a light shimmery one where we want a portion to stand out. Choose a medium brown with a cool undertone for the most natural-looking results. The face contouring method has been around for years but became more popular probably in the last decade.

The problem is some forget that contouring has a specific purpose and has to be placed with rhyme and reason. Doing it after a generic pattern without considering your particular face shape and needs can sometimes do more harm than good.

face contour

Wrong application:

As always, let’s consider what we’re working with: as we age, the complexion loses elasticity and structure, so gravity begins to take its toll. Our cheekbones go downwards, and the jawline loses definition.

A common mistake is to follow these exact features when doing contour and to go too close towards the mouth area. It is a wasted opportunity to pull everything up, instead emphasizing that descendent tendency of the face. So for this demonstration, I will place my contour shade in my actual hollow, underneath the cheekbone.

As expected, this will accentuate the drooping tendency of the complexion. I won’t apply product anywhere else here, but you will see the difference on the other side of my face.

Right application:

I will place the contour shade further up on the cheekbone’s edge for the left side of my face. When blending, I am pulling my brush upward, and staying closer to the temple, instead of lowering the product towards the mouth.

Our nose becomes more elongated when we age, so it’s an excellent idea to contour right underneath it for a shortening illusion. I also go with my brush on the side edge to slim it slightly.

Another visible sign of aging is the jaw that loses that defined line. The skin begins to sag right in the middle of the jaw, so that’s a great place to apply contour. Put your shade on the jawline, starting from behind the ear towards the chin, and go a little further up on that line for a full effect. This will make that excess skin look less evident and bring back definition to this area.

Recommended product:

  • Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit

Blush to Enliven Your Cheeks

Where blush is concerned, I believe we all need that because it brings life back into a blank canvas that we’ve created with foundation and concealer. 

The placement is also essential here, and I will detail it below, but so is choosing the right color. Always consider your undertone for this one – use peaches for a warm undertone, or more plum or pink shades, if cool; a neutral base can get away with both, so lucky you, if it’s your case.

cheek blush

Wrong application:

Again, for the sake of this demonstration, I will go with my blush right on the cheekbone and drag it down. I will go towards the center of my face, using a heavy hand and, consequently, a lot of product. This is very hard to blend and take away, so the result will be unnatural looking and sagging.

We’ve all been taught at a certain point to smile and place that blush on the apples of the cheeks. That is not the best idea, especially when concerned with aging, because when we stop smiling, that area will go too far down. So the color we’ve just placed on the apples of the cheeks will be too low, accentuating the sagging tendency.

Right application:

Let’s do it the right way by placing the blush on the very top of the cheekbones. This may seem odd to you, but by doing this, you pull the attention upwards, and that gives your face an instant lift.

I will go with a lighter hand and less product on the brush; remember, it’s always best to build up color slowly instead of taking it off. You get a more subtle and natural effect by using this method.

I also avoid taking the blush too far down to the center of the face. The lifting effect is guaranteed by keeping the maximum intensity of the color near the temple and flicking the brush up as I blend.

Recommended product:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush – Walk of No Shame Collection

Lips Makeup

I have a downturn line of my mouth, which is a feature I’ve always had, but that happens as the years go by for others. Whatever the case may be, accentuating that will make you look older and always grumpy, and I think it’s safe to say that no one wants that!

You can always cheat the shape of your mouth with makeup, whether it’s overlining to make them look bigger, correcting an asymmetry, or hiding the downturned corners. The latter is what I’ll demonstrate today, and the impact of a simple technique is fantastic.

lips makeup

Wrong application:

Following the natural line is a mistake when it comes to lips, as these go down. So on the right side of my face, I will do just that and use a lip liner on my contour, all the way to that outer corner. Doing the same on the lower lip means I will complete that rounded shape that pulls everything down.

I then apply the lipstick, both products in a plum shade, to match the eye makeup. Our shape is now complete, but it’s not very flattering.

Right application:

The secret to lifting the mouth aspect is to use a different color pencil. I use a nude one that will match almost every lipstick and cheat the shape of my lips. Just apply the pencil underneath the natural lip line and create a point on the upper lip, on the Cupid’s bow.

Then continue that line towards the outer corner, but stop just before you reach it and pull the pencil down and out. This way, you avoid following that rounded shape, pointed down. Match that with the lower lip by stopping before the outer corner and dragging the lip liner up. Further block that natural lip line we’ve just avoided by painting over it with a concealer or a nude highlighter pencil.

The result, especially when comparing the two sides, will astonish you!

Recommended products:

  • NYX Professional Makeup Slim Lip Pencil Creamy Long-Lasting Lip Liner
  • NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil

Final Result

Makeup can be a powerful tool because if you know how to place it just right, it can be transformative and have an astonishing effect. Having those tools and skill set means you can create powerful change whenever you choose to do so.

By comparing the two sides, the difference between the two is dramatic. On the side I’ve used the wrong techniques, you can clearly see everything draws the eye down and accentuates the loss of firmness. On the left side, everything pulls the eye up, giving the complexion a much younger vibe. The eye is more awake, and the overall look is fresh and glowing.

Makeup is often about illusion, cheating the eye into following lines, shadows, and lights that create a new reality. By applying simple but very targeted techniques, makeup can have incredible transformative power, and that is a beautiful thing.

half face makeup look

For more makeup tutorial for mature women, check out my other YouTube videos and subscribe for more tips:

  • Youthfull Glow Makeup Tutorial for Older Women, Over 50 – Age in Reverse:
  • Mauve-lous Mom Makeover: