Eye Makeup Tips for Older Women to Keep Your Look Fresh & Flattering

Master eye makeup at any age with these foolproof techniques and tips.

Updated September 25, 2023
older woman applying eye makeup

If you're over 50, you don't have to go to battle every time you try to put eye makeup on. Instead, you can revitalize your look and keep your eyes looking fresh and gorgeous by adding these simple tips and tricks to your makeup routine. 

Gorgeous Eye Makeup Starts With Skin Care 

First and foremost, it's important to undergo proper care and maintenance when it comes to your eyes. Why? Because good prep makes your life more straightforward when you're ready to start the application process.

Use a Good Eye Cream Daily 

As we age, quality eye creams can help minimize fine lines and keep the under-eye area healthy. Use a good moisturizing eye cream, day and night, to keep the skin surrounding your eyes properly hydrated and firm to allow for easier makeup application. 

There are plenty of top-rated eye creams available in different price ranges, but some of the ingredients to look for in an eye cream to fight against aging include: 

  • Antioxidants to fight cell damage
  • Retinol to combat fine lines and wrinkles 
  • Peptides to help firm 
  • Hyaluronic acid to moisturize 

woman applying eye cream

Be Gentle & Remove Eye Makeup Every Night

Leaving mascara or eye makeup on overnight can make lashes more prone to breakage. Aggressive rubbing or makeup removal can also harm lashes. Since lashes are already thinning as we age, treating the eyes gently and removing eye makeup carefully can help prevent excess lash loss. 

Consider Trying a Lash-Lengthening Product

Treat your thinning lashes at any stage with lengthening products like Latisse. However, you do need a prescription to get Latisse and many other lash-lengthening products, so you'll need to talk with your GP about setting that up. You can also try OTC alternatives like RevitaLash or Lancôme Lash Revitalizing Serum

Quick Tip

Try to only apply the correct amount of serum and close to your lash line. If the product ends up on other areas (such as the face or brows) it can cause an increase in hair growth in those areas as well. 

Eye Makeup Prep Makes Easier Application 

Having a good skin routine and being gentle with your eyes are essential steps. The next step in your routine? A little prep. It can go a long way to fresh and flawless eye makeup application for older ladies. 

Use an Eye Primer 

Primer is an underrated skincare step. If you want a smooth, long-lasting application and to fill in any bumps or fine lines, then putting on primer is a must. Applying eye primer across your lids prior to eyeshadow will lock everything in place so it doesn't move or slip. 

Use a Light Hand With Concealer

Concealer can be a fantastic product for older women as it can help hide dark under-eye circles and other issues. However, too much can settle into fine lines or look cakey on mature skin, so use a light hand when applying concealer under the eyes. Apply gently with your ring finger, a concealer brush, or a makeup sponge. 

Some women also use a sptitz of makeup setting spray or a light dusting of makeup-setting powder after they apply their concealer to keep it in place. 

Senior woman looking in mirror, applying makeup

Apply a Mascara Primer

Who says that you only have to prime your lids? Applying a mascara primer from the root of your lashes to the tip will not only moisturize them, but it'll also separate your lashes enough to make combing through them with a mascara wand easy breezy.

Quick Tip

You might want to look for mascara primers that include nutrients and vitamins helpful for older skin. For example, It Cosmetics' Tightline Mascara Primer boasts a formula with ingredients like collagen, biotin, and proteins. 

Tips for Applying Eyeshadow on Older Lids 

Once your eyes have been properly primed and are ready for action, you can move on to breaking out your eyeshadow palettes. It's time to bring color and definition to your eyes. 

older woman with soft eye shadow color

Choose Subtle Tones

In terms of applying eyeshadow on older eyes, you need to be selective with the colors you choose. This is because heavily pigmented eyeshadows can magnify things like hooded lids and highlight crow's feet. Instead of bold, rich shades, choose neutral tones that'll complement aging eyes and make them stand out.

However, if you're really feeling a bold shadow, be conscious of not overapplying. Remember — less is more, and a pop of color on the actual lid can look fabulous if you don't overdo it. 

Carve Out a Soft Contour for Definition

If you want to contour your eyes, use an eyeshadow that's darker than your base shade in the crease to develop definition and open them up. Whether you put highlighter on the brow bone might depend on your eye shape; for some women, this can bring attention to the lower pitch of your eyebrows instead of the lid definition you want. 

To really create a naturally defining effect, look for colors just a few shades darker than your natural skin tone. Don't go too dark or else it'll turn into an accidental smokey eye (which is totally OK if that's the look you want, though). 

older woman eye makeup

You Might Need to Change Your Eye Shadow Technique

When you were younger, you might have applied eyeshadow haphazardly or all the way into the eyebrow. But these techniques don't work well on mature skin.

Instead, think about accentuating your eye shape by extending eyeshadow out and up for an evening look, or just in the pocket for a day look. It's all about brightening, adding dimension, and creating a lifted effect. Eyes can also appear more hooded as we age, and that might mean changing up the techniques we use. Using a lighter shade on the lid and emphasizing the outer corner is a classic way to help open up the look of hooded eyes. 

Tips for Rocking Your Eyeliner at Any Age

You can't go wrong with a solid eyeliner, but as you age, the colors you choose and the application techniques you use need to change as well. Learn how to make the most of your eyeliner with these surefire tips. 

Senior woman applying make up in a car

Opt for Soft Shades to Amplify Your Everyday Beauty 

While we love a midnight black eyeliner, the lines can appear too harsh on some older eyes. Instead, opt for soft brown shades if you have a fair complexion or smoky grays and blacks for a deep complexion, as these hues can be less stark on the face and melt more into the skin. 

Use Thinner Eyeliner Lines 

Many women notice as they get older that their eyelid starts to droop towards the lash line. And if you didn't originally have hooded eyes, this can be a whole new ballgame to adapt to. If you're a liquid liner fan, stick to thin lines just above your upper lashes. For those who prefer pencils, line your lower lid just under the lash line and then smudge it with a blending brush to soften the edges.

Also, resist the urge you have to tug at the outer corner of your eyes when you're putting on eyeliner. You may think you'll get a sharper line, but the fine lines and wrinkles you have won't settle the same way when they're resting as when they're stretched out. 

Add Shimmer to Inner Corners Only

To create a lively, replenished look, pop a hint of shimmer in the inner corner of each eye. You can do this with a highlighting product, eyeshadow stick, glittery eyeshadow cream, and more. However, let's keep things in the 2020s and out of the 2000s: no full-on frosted shimmer lids for us. 

Quick Tip

Tightlining your upper eyelid using a dark liquid eyeliner can help give the illusion of a fuller lash line, and you may even be able to get away with applying less mascara. 

Give Your Lashes a Boost With These Mascara Tips

senior woman using eyelash curler

Mascara is often considered the staple product for light makeup days. But there are a few ins and outs of how to apply it on mature eyes.

Choose the Right Formula

It's common for older women to experience eyelash thinning as they age, so the trick is to make your lashes look as full and lush as possible. Many women find that a lengthening or thickening formula works better than a volumizing mascara, as volumizing formulas can draw attention to short lashes and make them look even stubbier.

However, it's a good idea to try different brands and formulas to find what works for you. Some lengthening brands may be heavier than others and can weigh lashes down, so it's all about experimentation and what works for you as your lashes change. 

Related: 7 Best Mascaras for Older Women

Quick Tip

Our Family Editor struggles with having thin (and super short lashes), and she's always on the lookout for a great mascara. A few of her favorites include Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara if you want to splurge, Tarte's Lights, Camera, Splashes for waterproof mascara, and Maybelline's Illegal Lengths for a great drugstore contender. 

Warm Up Your Curler

If you're struggling with lash length, in addition to using lengthening mascara, you can opt to curl your lashes using a warm curler. There are multiple heated eyelash curlers you can buy, but if you don't want to splurge, simply heat up your curler with a blow dryer for a few seconds. Make sure the handles are cool enough to touch and then curl your lashes working from the tips up to the base. 

Quick Tip

If you have hooded eyes or straight lashes, Japonesque Midnight Eyelash Curler really lifts lashes up and out so they're beautifully mascara-ready.

Apply Thicker Coats at the Outer Edges 

If you want to create the illusion of having thicker eyelashes, concentrate layers of mascara on the outer edges. Curl and apply a few times to really get that false-lash look without having to fuss with custom-cutting lashes and dealing with lash glue. 

@erinparsonsmakeup #falseeyelashes #mascara #mikayla #mikaylanogueira #eyelashes original sound - Erin Parsons

Give Other Colors a Go

Sometimes black mascara looks too harsh on certain complexions, whereas a navy blue or dark brown hue can bring out the whiteness of your peepers and truly make them pop. Try dark brown mascara if you're fair-skinned and have blonde or gray hair, and navy blue if you have a deep complexion and dark hair.

Consider Keeping Everything On Top

Some makeup artists suggest applying mascara solely to your top lashes and avoiding your bottom lashes. Applying it on lower lashes might make the eye look boxed in. Drawing attention to the lower lash line may also emphasize dark under-eye circles.

However, this depends on your individual eye shape and the look your going for. Some older ladies find that mascara on the lower lashes adds the extra definition they're looking for. 

Overall Makeup Application Tips for Women Over 50 

As you adjust your makeup routine and experiment with different products and makeup techniques, here are a few more things to think about: 

50+ woman with beautiful makeup
  • Apply an SPF before anything else. It's super important to protect your skin from any extra sun damage, as it can age your skin even faster. 
  • Less really is more when it comes to mature faces. Makeup isn't designed to erase fine lines and wrinkles, but rather smooth out your skin for an even complexion. Don't overdo it with foundation or concealer, because all that product will just accentuate the lines even more. 
  • Great makeup doesn't have to be expensive. If you've got good application techniques, you can look flawless with drugstore makeup brands. But it's also totally OK to go for the high-end brands if your budget can afford it. Some women feel that the quality and coverage of the more expensive brands are worth the cost. 
  • Don't forget to fill in the brows. Your eyebrows are an important frame for your eyes, and filling them in will accentuate any eye makeup you apply. 

Let Makeup Enhance Your Natural Beauty at Any Age  

Makeup is a wonderfully transformative art that lets you hone in on certain features and distract from others all by using just a few products. You can emphasize your best traits as you get older and feel beautiful at any age. 

Applying eye makeup over 50 doesn't need to be a challenge. Just experiment with different products and techniques to look and feel your beautiful best. 

Eye Makeup Tips for Older Women to Keep Your Look Fresh & Flattering