The 8 Golden Rules of Makeup for Older Women

I started Look Fabulous Forever in 2013 because I was frustrated by how hard it was to find makeup that worked on my 65 year old face.

Since then I have been surprised and gratified to find that there are many many older women like me (all over the world) who still want to look fabulous and also want to know how best to achieve great looking makeup. So here are my golden rules for using makeup to ensure that you look more like Julie Walters (above) than "Fag-Ash Lil"!


1. The condition of your skin will determine whether your makeup looks good or not

When you are younger you may be able to get away with a laissez-faire attitude to cleansing, exfoliating and nourishing your skin. Not so after the age of 55! Every second you spend caring for your mature skin will repay you a hundredfold. Cleanse and moisturise night and morning. Use gentle exfoliants every two to three days, eat lots of fresh vegetables and drink plenty of water to ensure hydration. I probably don't need to add: stay out of the sun and use a moisturiser with a good level of SPF.


2. Older facial skin is patchier, more uneven and more inclined to have age spots, broken veins and blemishes than younger skin.

If you want to look instantly younger then do everything you can to even out the irregularities in skin tone. I chose our Continuous Cover Foundation because it pulls off the very difficult trick of covering all the problem areas whilst looking light and fresh. It has become one of our best sellers because it works so brilliantly on older skin! I apply it with a foundation brush, too, which makes all the difference to the finish. 


3. Older faces are colourless

If you don't believe me, look at our gallery of before and after photographs. The one thing that the before pictures have in common is a kind of bleached out effect. Having evened the skin tone you now need to add shape and definition to bring out the eyes and add some pops of colour. Best ways to do this are to add a pinky-toned cream blush and and a lipstick that complements your skin tone.

4. Think of older faces as having a surface rather like blotting paper

Firstly it's more absorbent than younger skin and thirstier (so makeup disappears after a few hours) and secondly it's bumpier, has more fine lines, and is much less smooth. If you try to draw a line on blotting paper it becomes blurry and fuzzy. That's why lipstick feathers and bleeds at the edges of the lips and why it's so hard to draw a clean lash line. The solution is to use face, eye and lip primers. They will stop all of these problems - keeping your makeup in place for hours and creating a better surface onto which you can apply your makeup. Lines stay crisp and sharp.


5. Many women tell me they have drawers full of makeup they bought by mistake

The solution to this is to find out once and for all whether you have warm or cool toned skin. Our two videos will help and so will draping different colours round your neck under an unmade-up face. Hair and eye colour are not always the best guide - you are trying to determine if you have a blue or yellow undertone to the skin. I chose the colours for our lip, cheek and eye makeup so that they would complement each other depending on the undertone of your skin. Again - look at our guide called Choosing Colours.


6. Older eyebrows are either thin, faded and virtually non-existent or wild, wiry, bushy and shapeless

If they are over-plucked then you need something light and subtle to restore shape and colour. I came up with the idea for our Bring Back Brow Shape for my sister-in-law who had lost her eyebrows completely through illness (not chemo). Not as harsh as a brow pencil, nor as subdued as a brow gel, this product has a very fine brush and you apply the liquid paint as if creating individual brow hairs. It's ingenious (she said modestly) and now many women swear by it. If your brows are growing in wild and wonderful ways, then have them professionally shaped and groom them with a spiral brush and fill any gaps with the Brow Shape.

7. Put some shape and interest back into your face with a highlighter

Older faces are heavier at the bottom than younger ones. The jawline becomes jowly and loses it's clean edge. The best way to combat this is to draw attention back up to the eye area as most people will be looking you in the eye. Use a highlighter pen on the top of the cheekbones and on the brow bone to instantly brighten the face and make your eye makeup look better. If I look a bit tired, I also use my highlighter pen as a lightweight under eye brightener after applying concealer, and I also put a thin strip around my lips so that my lipstick looks prettier. You can also apply to the inner corner of the eyes to really give them a pop. 


8. Ageing brings lots of changes to the eye area

The inner corners can become blue as the skin thins. Combat this with a creamy concealer which is best applied with a short stiff brush with which to push the product into the corners. The skin on the eyelid can become quite loose and descend over the eyelid but there is so much you can do to improve the look of the eyes with the right eye makeup. Remember that dark colours make things recede and light colours bring everything forward - so put light colours like our No Shimmer Eye Shade in Soft Grey or Lilac Mist onto the eyelids and use matte eyeshadows in a few shades darker to create socket lines. We also have videos showing you different eye makeup techniques if you wear glasses or have hooded eyes.

And my final golden rule is - there are no rules!


I think we have earned the right to do what we want when we are older - don't want to wear makeup? That's fine with me! However I also know from all the emails I have received that there are lots of you who really appreciate a bit of help and guidance.


The very best part of this whole adventure is when we get testimonials from grateful customers. So I am going to give the last word to Julie in West Yorkshire:


"I have spent quite a lot of money recently on many of your products and I am really delighted with all of them. The face primer, well, what can I say, it is the softest most delightful primer I have ever used and you can feel it's doing its job. The foundation also is wonderful, as are all the items I have bought. This is well worth an investment, I am 62 years old and I hadn't updated my make up for years, I am so glad I have. Thank you Look Fabulous Forever, my confidence has tripled since I found you and your very helpful YouTube videos."


Tricia x