Eye Make-Up For Over 50s: Your Complete Guide
7 minutes read
As we age, our skin begins to lose elasticity – and this is especially visible around the eye contour. This is why you may have noticed that some of eye make-up techniques you’ve employed for decades just don’t work anymore.
Slackening eyelids can make blending eyeshadow tricky and fine lines could get in the way of a perfect stroke of liner. The good news is that the rules of make-up can be bent and altered to suit every need.
We consulted Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager to learn about the best eye make-up tips for anyone over 50. And she had loads to share. Here’s what we learned.
The best eye make-up tips for hooded eyes
For some, hooded eyes are a feature they’ve possessed all their lives. And for others, it only appears with age.
“Your eyes tend to get more hooded as you get older,” says McHale. “Because you lose the elasticity in the upper eyelid, it can sometimes drop a bit.”
If you’ve never had hooded eyelids before, applying eyeliner and eyeshadow may be especially challenging.
“The definition of a hooded eye is that when your eyes are open, you can’t see the eyelid at all,” explains McHale. “Which kind of makes eyeshadow on the eyelid pointless. So, it’s about designing a make-up look that works regardless of whether your eyes are closed or open.”
Be mindful about the placement of eyeshadow
Keep your eyes open and look straight into the mirror when applying and blending your eyeshadow.
Use the tip of your finger to feel along the orbital bone. “You want your eyeshadow to go up to the underside of the brow bone,” says McHale. “You don’t want to go over or above it.”
She explains: “This will make your socket line appear higher than it is. Use a darker eyeshadow to define the area, creating an almost fake crease line. And then blend out, as you normally would. That will make the eyes appear much bigger.”
Skip the brow bone highlight
Don’t blend your dark eyeshadow up to your brow bone. But also, McHale recommends giving the shimmery brow bone highlight a pass too. “It can look dated,” she says. Also, it can make the upper lid appear heavier than you want it to.
She adds: “Try to leave the brow area blank. If you want to apply something to help blend the colour in the crease, use a skin-toned, matte eyeshadow. We call that a transition shade. Even a loose face powder would work for this; you don’t need to buy a separate product.”
Highlight the inner corners
An area that could do with some highlighting? The inner corners of the eyes. Adding some light in the area will help lift shadows. When paired with the darker colours applied in the outer corners, it gives the illusion of bigger eyes.
“For the highlight, don’t use anything too chalky,” McHale warns, “A light gold or champagne shade would work well. Or a very soft silver – nothing too white. Keep it quite tonal.”
Eye make-up for every eye colour
Knowing the shades of make-up that complement your eye colour can help make your eyes stand out, with minimal effort.
Of course, rules are meant to be broken, but McHale wants you to know about them before choosing to break them. “When it comes to eye make-up, the rule is to go the opposite of your eye colour,” she says.
Meaning, choose eyeshadows and liners in shades that sit on the opposite side of the colour wheel to the natural colour of your eyes. “If you’ve got blue eyes, the least flattering eyeshadow shade for you is blue. Because then, you’re asking your eyeshadow to compete with your eye colour. And it distracts from your eyes.”
So, what shades should you be choosing? Let’s break it down.
“Believe it or not, the most flattering colour you can wear is orange,” says McHale. “Of course, you also have to consider your skin tone.”
Shades of peach, copper and orangey bronze complement blue eyes beautifully.
“The opposite of green is red. Obviously, red sounds terrifying, but pink isn’t.” Dusty pinks and rose golds are guaranteed to make green eyes stand out.
“With brown eyes, you’ve won the lottery in terms of eye colours,” says McHale. “Brown is created using all three primary colours, which means you can wear whatever you want. But if you choose cooler colours, they will make your eyes appear warmer, and vice versa with warm shades.”
The best eye make-up tips for anyone over 50
Avoid liners that are too dark
“Preferably, don’t line your waterline with anything darker than your skin tone,” McHale suggests.
However, a darker liner can look beautiful along the upper lash line. If you like a defined bottom lash line, McHale recommends colouring along the roots of the lashes instead of going into the waterline to give the illusion of space.
She adds: “It’s also a good idea to concentrate the line in the outer third of the lash line instead of going all the way across. Just keep the inner area bright. Even if you’re doing an intense eye look, keep the intensity on the out halves of the eyes.”
“Don’t be afraid of black mascara, though. Just ensure it’s on the lashes, not the skin.”
Pick your textures wisely
The skin around the eyes is very thin. Cream eyeshadows are easier to blend than powders and are also more fuss-free. Similarly, pencil eyeliners are more forgiving than liquid ones.
Another tip? Try not to go overboard with glittery textures. “Although I’m not averse to using a shimmer, they do settle into lines more than mattes,” explains McHale. “A little shine is nice in the inner corner because the skin tends to be quite smooth there. Avoid it towards the outer corners is where you tend to lose elasticity.”
Prime your eyelids
Don’t skip your skincare just because you’re going to be wearing make-up. Apply your eye cream as you usually would – but make sure you apply the right amount. Too much can make the area sticky.
Then, prime the lids with an eyeshadow primer, or even a bit of concealer.
Tip: McHale recommends dampening your brush with some Fix’ Make-Up Spray before picking up your eyeshadow. This will help hold the colour in place for longer and keep it from settling into fine lines.
“If you’re conscious about lines along with the high points of the cheeks and outer corners of the eyes, then something like the Instant Smooth primer could be a good pick.”
Smoke out your wings
Wings can be tricky to get right if your lids are hooded or if you have fine lines along the corners of your eyes. You can choose to avoid them completely.
Or, create kitten flicks using a pencil liner and gently smudge them out with a brush. You could also buff the colour out with some eyeshadow.
Invest in good quality eyeshadow
“Not all eyeshadows are built equally. Some of them are quite coarsely-milled rather than finely-milled. And the former tends to settle into fine lines,” McHale advises.
Use an eyelash curler
“It can be life-changing, particularly if you’ve got hooded eyes, because your eyelashes can sometimes get hidden under the fold of your lid. Curling can help lift them up.”
Don’t skip eyebrows
Your eyebrows frame your eyes – so don’t ignore them! “If you have to choose between eyeliner and eyebrows, choose eyebrows,” says McHale.
Try: The dual-ended Eyebrow Pencil offers a pencil on one end to define and fill the brows (with an incredibly long-wearing formula) and a spoolie on the other end to brush the hairs in place.
And if you’re a victim of over-plucking or find that your brows have thinned with time, our tutorial on Thin Or Sparse Eyebrows? Here’s How To Draw Them On Perfectly will see you right.