10 Makeup Tricks to Take Years off Your Face

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on November 15, 2012
From the WebMD Archives

A few clever makeup tricks can take at least a few years off your face.

1. Start with a soft foundation.

Don't load on the concealer and foundation. Heavy makeup accentuates wrinkles by settling into every line.

"Makeup doesn't cover wrinkles," makeup artist Sandy Linter, author of The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age, says. Linter has created camera-ready looks at New York’s Rita Hazan Salon for some of Hollywood's most famous mature faces including Sigourney Weaver, Bette Midler, and Goldie Hawn.

Instead, 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 says. "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. Wear makeup daily.

A little bit of makeup, skillfully applied, can be a great way to feel and look better.

"Makeup has a softening, glowing effect on the face," Linter says. If you don't want to wear a lot, she suggests at least putting on a little mascara and curling your lashes.

3. Play up your eyes.

Linter starts a makeup session by focusing on her client's eyes.

First, she uses 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.

4. Dial down dark circles.

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 dermatologist Nelson Lee Novick, MD, author of You Can Look Younger at Any Age: A Leading Dermatologist's Guide.

5. Send your bags packing.

Never apply a light concealer to bags under your eyes -- 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.

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 afteryou put on your concealer. Use a concealer brush to gently pat the moisturizer on top.

7. Add a bronze glow.

If you're feeling pale, create a 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. "I'm using bronzer in a way that will color your face, but it will also [sculpt] your face," Linter says.

8. Highlight your cheekbones with blush.

When applying blush, keep in mind that, over time, your cheekbones may have dropped a little lower with age. 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. 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.

"One thing mature women have to steer clear of is the heavy dark lipsticks, especially the browns and deep reds. That makes you look really old," Novick says.

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-colored liner.

10. Thicken eyebrows.

If you tweezed your brows 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.

Show Sources


Sandy Linter, celebrity makeup artist, Rita Hazan Salon, New York.

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.

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