10 Makeup Tricks to Take Years Off Your Face
By Stephanie Watson
Reviewed By Stephanie S. Gardner, MD
Age is not kind to your face. Gravity affects firm, supple skin, leaving it saggy, droopy, and dreary. Sun exposure stains patchworks of spots and etches fine wrinkles onto once smooth surfaces. Considering time’s ravages, it’s easy to see why many women over 40 try to cover every wrinkle, crevice, and imperfection with cosmetics.
It would be impossible to replicate the time-reversing, face-smoothing effects of Botox or plastic surgery at home. Yet a few clever makeup tricks can shave, if not decades, then at least a few years off your face.
WebMD talked to two leading makeup experts, who shared their 10 top anti-aging tricks for younger looking skin.
1. Start with a soft foundation
Sometimes women try to hide the signs of aging beneath mounds of concealer and foundation. Bad idea. Heavy makeup settles into every line, accentuating wrinkles even more.
“Makeup doesn’t cover wrinkles,” says Sandy Linter, author of The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age. As a celebrity makeup artist at New York’s Rita Hazan Salon, Linter has created camera-ready looks for some of Hollywood’s most famous mature faces, including Sigourney Weaver, Bette Midler, and Goldie Hawn.
Instead of smearing your skin in heavy makeup, Linter recommends using a primer first, followed by a thin layer of lightweight or sheer foundation. “Don’t try to actually hide anything. Just work with it,” she advises. “If you look at your face as a whole, the wrinkles aren’t exactly covered, but if you do your makeup beautifully and appropriately for your age, you’ll look great.”
2. Use makeup daily
Although some 40+ women lay on the makeup too thickly, others take the opposite approach. They go completely bare. “They give up and they stop wearing makeup. That’s the worst thing you can do, because you look better in makeup,” Linter says.
Even if you’ve had some “work” done at the hands of your plastic surgeon, you still need to wear at least a little bit of makeup. “Makeup has a softening, glowing effect on the face,” Linter says. If you don’t want to commit to full makeup, at least put on a little mascara and curl your lashes before leaving the house.
3. Accentuate your eyes
The eyes may not literally be the windows to your soul as the adage suggests, but they’re certainly the part of your face everyone notices first. That’s why Linter aims straight for her clients’ eyes when she begins a makeup session.
Her secret to age-defying eyes? She starts with an eye shadow primer or base to smooth out the eyelids. Then she lines the eyes with a dark brown or black pencil to widen them. For the top of the lids she uses neutral eye shadows — dark brown or gray on the outer corners of the eye, taupe in the crease, and a light shade on the lid. The final touch is to curl the eyelashes and apply black mascara. The overall effect makes the eyes look bigger and brighter. Once the eyes are perfect, the rest of the face just falls into place, Linter says.
4. Erase dark circles
While we’re on the subject of eyes, we can’t forget those droopy dark circles that hang under them. It’s hard to hide dark circles, but you can minimize them by using a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your natural skin tone. “The principle is that lighter makes something project more, and darker makes things look more recessed,” says Nelson Lee Novick, MD, FAACS, FAAD, clinical professor of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and author of You Can Look Younger at Any Age: A Leading Dermatologist’s Guide.
5. Send your bags packing
Abiding by that same principle, you never want to apply a light concealer to your bags — it will only accentuate under-eye puffs. “That’s a mistake many women make,” Novick says. If bags are your problem, go with a heavier concealer that’s slightly darker than your normal skin tone. “If you have projecting bags, that’s one way to make them diminish.”
6. Minimize flaws
You can reuse your lighter concealer to hide age spots, sunspots, and other tiny imperfections. For a smoother look, Novick suggests applying moisturizer after you put on your concealer. Use a concealer brush to gently pat the moisturizer on top.
7. Add a bronze glow
As you get older, your skin loses some of its youthful glow, which can leave you looking pale and pasty. Restore a natural sun-kissed look with a few brushes of bronzer. Linter recommends sweeping the bronzer across your cheekbones, then across your hairline at the top of your forehead. You can also add touches of bronzer to and under your chin, down the sides of your nose, and on its tip to de-accentuate those trouble spots. “I’m using bronzer in a way that will color your face, but it will also sculpture your face,” Linter says of her technique.
8. Highlight your cheekbones
If the bronzer alone isn’t giving you enough color, add a touch of pink blush on top. When applying blush, keep in mind that over time, your cheekbones may have dropped a little lower than they used to sit. Applying blush above your natural cheekbones can create a clownish look and age you even more. “It makes you look older because it emphasizes that your cheeks have sagged,” Novick says.
To find your real cheekbones, touch your cheek until you feel the bone projecting. It should start directly below the pupils of your eyes. Then sweep upward with your brush following the natural cheekbone line, which will narrow toward your temple.
9. Gloss over lips
Next to your eyes, your lips are the second most visible part of your face. You don’t want people to stare at them for the wrong reason. “One thing mature women have to steer clear of is the heavily dark lipsticks, especially the browns and deep reds. That makes you look really old,” Novick warns. Instead of going dark, use a gloss to fill in cracks and crevices and plump up thinning lips. Then give your lips even more definition by outlining them with a light or nude-colored liner.
10. Thicken eyebrows
Thin eyebrows might be the height of fashion, but if you tweezed them too aggressively over the years, they may have stopped growing back. Fill in thinning brows with an eye pencil that’s about the same color as your hair. For a natural look, Linter makes light dashes on the eyebrows with a powder-based pencil and then blends them in with a brow comb.
Sandy Linter, celebrity makeup artist at New York’s Rita Hazan Salon.
Nelson Lee Novick, MD, FAACS, FAAD, clinical professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine; author of You Can Look Younger at Any Age: A Leading Dermatologist’s Guide.
Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on November 12, 2011
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