Experts Say These 5 Makeup Mistakes Can Add Years to Your Look

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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. We spoke to makeup experts to learn the most significant ways we accidentally age ourselves with makeup and learned their tips for hydrated, youthful looking skin.

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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. When a primer has hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or coconut water, it can give you a glow from within that looks natural. 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 ($66) 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.

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Foundational Failings

Our skin changes as we age, as should our foundation. A 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.

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.

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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.

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Weighed 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 and beadier. 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.

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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 over use 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.

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

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