Experts Say These 10 Makeup Mistakes Can Add Years to Your Look

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Experts Say These 10 Makeup Mistakes Can Add Years to Your Look featured image
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Despite its usefulness in covering spots and enhancing appearance, sometimes makeup can weigh us down and make us look older than we are. From frumpy-looking placement to unfriendly formulas, we’re walking through some of the most impactful makeup mistakes that can age you. No one wants to add years unnecessarily, and the hard part is that a lot of what we use and how we use it should change as we grow older. Sticking with what you know, be it heavy contour, baking, or a full circle of eyeliner, can make for a dated appearance. Your skin will need different things at different stages in life, and a big eyeful of glitter might start to feel a little less appropriate for you.

We spoke to makeup experts see the biggest makeup mistakes that age you and learned their tips for hydrated, youthful looking skin.

  • Deborah Longwill, MD is a board-certified dermatologist in Miami
  • Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD is a board-certified dermatologist in Davie, FL
  • Tasha Reiko Brown is a celebrity makeup artist
  • Melissa Murdick is a celebrity makeup artist

The Makeup Mistakes that Age You

Looking older has a lot to do with where you’re applying your makeup, the formula and what shades you’re using. If you’re like me and grew up loving the dark and sultry looks, it might be time to start looking into other, more soft colors. That said, you don’t have to give up your smoky eye completely. Instead, little tricks like keeping dark colors to the outer edge of your eye look will help keep your favorite colors in play without letting them drag you down.

You may also find that it’s high time to start experimenting again. You may have found your favorite products or routine back in your 20s, but your skin likely needs more in the way of moisture than it ever has before. That means taking the time to try different formulas and seeing how they work with your skin.

If you’re wondering where to start, you’re not alone. Thankfully, the experts have given us some insight into how best to avoid the makeup mistakes that age us.

1 / 10

Going Sans Sunscreen

Literally every dermatologist under the sun (get it?), will tell you that sunscreen is a major factor in keeping your skin looking young. Sun damage doesn’t just lead to freckles and potentially skin cancer, but also causes accelerated skin aging. You may see this in people who work outside a lot: skin becomes darker, leathery and more wrinkled.

“Sometimes our lifestyle such as our professional or personal choices demand we spend significant amount of time outdoors,” Davie, FL dermatologist Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD explains. “This may lead to significant sun exposure and ultraviolet aka sun damage. This can present as sunburn, dark skin discoloration, accelerated skin aging (wrinkles and loose skin) and predispose to skin cancer.”

The Fix:

Wear SPF. If you’re someone who doesn’t love the feeling of sunscreen, a great option is an SPF that doubles as a makeup tint.

Recommended by Miami dermatologist Deborah Longwill, MD, the Avène Mineral High Protection Tinted Compact ($42) is a perfect marriage of high-quality sun protection and skin-perfecting pigment. “I like to suggest tinted sunscreen to act as a foundation or makeup,” Dr. Longwill says. “I love the Avène Compact for that.”



2 / 10

Forgetting to Prime

Going without primer might seem like a small step, but it has a huge consequence. Primer improves the texture and look of your skin, which helps makeup application go smoothly and blend easily. Without it, product can settle and cake into the fine lines and textured skin we’re trying to minimize.

The Fix: 

Celebrity makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown, whose clients include Alicia Keys and Michael B. Jordan, explains how primer can fill creases for smooth applications. “Start with a primer to fill in fine lines and blur imperfections,” Brown says. “You need to find the right texture coverage and use the product sparingly.”

The best primers for more mature skin are going to prioritize hydration and smoothness. Skin dries out as we age, so it’s important to include hydration in more than just a moisturizer. Additionally, primers that include collagen are great for “filling” in fine lines and boosting the elasticity of your skin. Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Priming Moisturizer ($69) is a best-seller for a reason: it deeply hydrates skin (it doubles as a moisturizer) and plumps the canvas for a smooth, long-wearing application of your go-to makeup.



3 / 10

Choosing the Wrong Foundation

Our skin changes as we age, as should our foundation. A matte, full-coverage foundation may have worked for you in the past, but as your face changes it can make you appeared weighed down by the product and lines may be emphasized.

The Fix:

Celebrity makeup artist Melissa Murdick, whose clients include Selena Gomez and Doja Cat, explains that formulas that prioritize hydration are key. “As a general rule, hydrating foundations and concealers are a dream for mature skin,” Murdick says. “Tinted moisturizers are a great, lightweight option too.”

Don’t be afraid to try a new formula. You’ll want to find something lightweight or with a satin finish that is hydrating. A liquid foundation will be easier to blend out, create a more natural finish, and avoid the cakey look you’re trying to avoid. Saie Glowy Super Skin Foundation ($40) is formulated with skin-plumping ingredients such as squalane and hyaluronic acid to deliver a serum-first-foundation-second finish that treats skin while you wear it.



4 / 10

Concealing Everything

Despite looking flawless on camera, a heavy use of concealer under the eye quickly becomes heavy. The product cakes into the delicate wrinkles and lines beneath your eyes and crease with your movements and expressions.

“Using too much makeup instantly ages the skin and face,” Brown explains. “Using the wrong texture makeup for your skin especially has an automatic aging effect. When you pack it on and set too heavily with powder it’s immediately settles into fine lines and draws attention to areas you are trying to conceal.”

The Fix:

Only conceal lightly, at the inner and outer corners of the eye, and then blend! You may not completely cover your dark circles this way, but the product won’t look so creased and cakey on your skin.

Brown suggests leaning towards spot coverage rather than full coverage to reduce heaviness. Murdick also recommends a hydrating setting spray instead of setting powder to avoid caking. The built-in brush on the Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Corrector For Eyes ($70) makes blending a breeze; its hydrating, illuminating formula makes darkness a thing of the past.



5 / 10

Weighing Down Lids

Despite how youthful those bold, sultry eye looks might seem, the amount of product you need to achieve them can weigh down the eye. Not only can this highlight fine lines, but also make the eyes appear smaller. This can affect can be amplified by many shades of eye shadow, like metallics and glitter.

The Fix:

“If you don’t want your eyes to look smaller or too heavy, keep eye makeup simple and precise,” Murdick advises. “Apply a wash of a single matte eyeshadow, keep eyeliner thin and close to your lash line, and make sure you curl your lashes before mascara to open up your eyes.”

Avoiding heavy shadows doesn’t mean you have to give up glow or shimmer, though. Brown explains that light shimmers can help make the eyes look bigger and more youthful.

“I love to add a swipe of a neutral shimmer shadow on the lids with two thick coats of mascara on curled lashes,” Brown explains. “The shadow adds a lovely pale backdrop, so the lashes really pop the eyes. You draw attention to the eyes this way instead of with heavy shadows.” The multi-use Chanel LES 4 ROUGES Yeux Joues Palette ($90)—use it on the lids or on the cheeks, too—can be used for subtle or more intense looks without ever looking cakey or heavy.



6 / 10

Going Heavy on the Eyeliner

Just like having too much dark shadow on your lids can weigh them down, the same can be said for too much dark eyeliner. Taking dark colors too close to the inner corner of your eye can add a lot of weight to a part of your face that’s notorious for showing its age.

The Fix:

According to the CEO of cult eyeliner brand, The Quick Flick, Iris Smit, there are a few key things to remember when applying eyeliner to mature eyes. I recommend staying away from lining the bottom of the eye with any product as it closes the eye and can make it look smaller than it is,” Smit explains. “I prefer to use a quick application of mascara on the lower lashes to finish off a liner look. If you do want something under your eyes, softly buff in a warm chocolate eye shadow or blend in a brown kohl eyeliner to soften the appearance of the liner.”

If you accidentally apply liner somewhere you’d rather not have it, The Quick Flick offers a Makeup Eraser ($20) to clean up your work.

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7 / 10

Using the Wrong Eye Pencil

If you’ve always used a pencil when doing your eyeliner, you might be aging yourself. Because the skin of our eye is so delicate, it tends to become an easy victim to pulling and tugging. Pencils tend to catch on that skin and apply sloppily, while making the problem worse by bothering that delicate skin.

The Fix:

I recommend using a liquid eyeliner with a felt tip as it’s easier to control and apply with less tugging and pulling of the skin,” Smit explains. “As we age, the thin skin on our upper eyelids tend to crinkle and many work around this problem by stretching the eyelid during application, which isn’t a good idea. A liquid eyeliner will limit the need to do this as it will glide on smoothly and fill in wrinkles.”

Using liquid liner definitely has a learning curve. Try out Serena Williams’ new line, Wyn Beauty, which offers an easy-to-use Guideline Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($21) that’s perfect for beginners and experts alike.

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8 / 10

Using Too Much Powder, Not Enough Cream

According to Murdick, using powder is a sure-fire way to age yourself. “One of the most obvious mistakes with makeup that makes you look older is using too much powder,” Murdick explains. “Powder enhances fine lines and wrinkles.”

Celebrity makeup artist Ermahn Ospina, who has served as makeup department head for over 30 films, adds that for him, powder is the most important mistake you can make.

“One of the top makeup mistakes that can age anybody is the overuse of powder all over the face, but specially under the eyes,” Ospina explains. “The overuse of powder makes your skin look dry and too much powder on the skin under the eyes sometimes stays on your expression lines aging the skin as a result.”

The Fix:

“Luckily dewy, hydrated skin has a very youthful effect,” Murdick says. This natural-looking radiance can be achieved using hydrating and cream-based products. Brown explains that she uses combination of matte and luminous products to deliver a multidimensional look.

“Cream blush is a perfect flush for mature skin; it’s a balmy glow that compliments luminous foundation well,” explains Brown. Mix a pump of vitamin-rich Kosas Glow I.V. Vitamin-infused Skin Enhancer ($38) with your foundation or moisturizer for an easy, believable surge of radiance and hydration.



9 / 10

Forgetting to Line Your Lips

A bleeding lipstick can take your favorite color to clownish proportions just by moving around throughout the day. For mature women, that means being extra aware of those fine lines that lip color can migrate into.

The Fix:

Bobbi Brown pro artist Warren Dowdall explains that you can take steps to help improve the fine lines around your mouth, but in the short term, it’s a good lip liner that does most of the work. “Be sure to line your lips both before and after your lipstick application,” Dowdall says. “This will help define and add structure to your lips, but also help prevent feathering.” Our pick? Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil ($32).

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10 / 10

Going Matte Everything

While you’ll probably want to tone down the level of shimmer you’re working with as you grow older, Brown explains that it’s important not to forget your glow. “Mature skin tends to lean towards dryness,” Brown explains. “I like to add a youthful glow by layering luminous products so the glow is multidimensional.”

The Fix:

Lean towards gently luminous products that don’t try to erase all elements of shine. Layering these products will help create a more natural, lit-from-within look.

“Luminous foundation set with a light dusting of translucent powder with added cream highlighter and a cream blush and is the perfect matte-to-glow ratio,” Brown says. “You want to glow in strategic places.” 

Among luminous foundations, MAC’s Studio Radiance ($46) is a heavy hitter for its soft glow and good-for-skin ingredients.

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