Welcome to Part 2 of my series on Beauty for women forty and over! Last post, i talked about my favourite primers, foundations, B.B. creams, cushion compacts, and powders that work double-duty as treatment for we Babes of a Certain Vintage. I hope it was helpful.
Today, i’m going to talk about eye makeup – where the rubber hits the road when it comes to separating the dilettantes from the hard core makeup junkies. If your eye makeup looks sloppy or badly executed, it can ruin your entire look – and age you, to boot. But, there are some basics that everyone can employ to ensure you look amazing, dahling…
Let me just start by saying that i am a huge fan of fun, creative eye makeup, and always have been. And, i’ve been wearing liquid eyeliner since i was fourteen, and have not tired of it, yet! I suspect that, someday in the future, my eye-flesh will have become too crepey and drooped to keep wearing it – but until that day arrives, i intend to continue to enjoy it.
Now, i won’t lie – eye makeup can start to get a little tricky when you reach your 40’s. The skin isn’t quite as firm, there are teensy, tiny lines near the lash-line that, on days when my eyes are watery, can cause my beloved liquid liner to creep into said teensy-tiny lines that eyeshadow seems to like to grab onto; therefore, i always use a concealer AND primer on my lids before applying my makeup.
Just because i’m not in my twenties doesn’t mean my eye makeup can’t be fun – you’re not limited to a life of neutrals now that you’re over forty! However, a little common sense must be employed – and a realistic sense of what your lids can handle. So far, mine haven’t gotten droopy yet – and so i can get away with a dark colour in my crease without it looking a mess; however, if yours are experiencing some sag, too-dark shadow in the orbital socket can close up the lids and make your eyes look smaller, and your shadow placement look “off”. Don’t even attempt a sharp, Instagram cut-crease look – it just won’t look smooth and you’ll end up with weird Picasso eyelids.
What can help here is keeping the dark colours near your lash-line and outer-corners, and keeping the lid colours lighter – which will give the eye some depth. Also, always remember to use a highlight colour under the brows, as this helps to “lift” the eyes a bit, as well as open them up. A dab on the inner corners helps open up the eyes, too.
Forty-thousand years ago, in my youth, it was “frosted” eyeshadows that were considered to be aging, as they tended to emphasize wrinkles. Borrowing (cough, stealing, cough) mom’s makeup in high school, we pretty much had two choices – matte or frosted. Now that formulas are more sophisticated, we don’t really have “frosted” shadows anymore – we have satin, or metallic. And we have matte, semi-matte, cream, liquid…the possibilities are endless!
And, we have the dreaded Unicorn Puke, more commonly known as glitter eyeshadow. I realize this is just me, but i really hate super-heavy glitter eyeshadows. In my totally biased and vehemently held personal opinion, when one is in their 40s, tons of glitter on the eyes can look a bit…gauche. This is certainly not to say you can’t wear any (wear it all over your face, if that’s what gets you excited) – i happen to adore NARS Shadow Single in Fathom, and it’s got glitter in it. The difference is, it’s SUBTLE, like just a few light sprinkles of teeny tiny glitter specks. But if you’ve ever seen a woman with crepey, sagging lids with her eyes loaded with massive chunks of glitter, you’ll understand what I mean when I say it can be aging, Maybe I’m a bit biased…but I’d recommend using a light hand with the glitter, unless you’re onstage or going to a festival and plan to drop a lot of psychotropic substances. Or, if you just DGAF.
What looks great no matter what your age is a bright pop of colour on the lids – it’s pretty, interesting, and fun – and also super-simple to do. You can place a bright gold or blue or green from lash to crease, even taking it under the eyes for a quick, current way to update your makeup look while not having to worry about skin texture. The key is blending everything really well! Harsh eyeshadow lines are not your friend…
Or, you can stick with soft neutrals – taupes and creams and rich browns – which is always classic and looks good on everyone. Stay away from doing only mattes, as that can look dry and aging on mature lids – i always mix it up with some satin finish shadow to create depth.
Another great colour to help brighten eyes is a peach, pink, or apricot appropriate to your skin-tone; it just gives the face/eyes a youthful glow. I stay away from reds around the lash-line, because, while trendy, can make you just look hungover and tired. It can look great as a subtle accent, if you can’t stay away. Below, I’m listing a couple of my current favourite palettes (see post pic), which contain both brights and neutrals:
- Pat McGrath MTHRSHP Subliminal Platinum Bronze Palette – This is a beautiful palette, with neutrals, bronzes, and plums – my woeful photo doesn’t do it justice so click the link to see how gorgeous it really is. I love Pat McGrath products, as anyone who has been reading this blog knows! These shadows are smooth, pigmented, and unique. I can create a perfect eye with these, plus they play well with my other palettes. I can’t wait to get more…
- NARS Sugarland Shadow Duo – It’s surprising how often I find myself reaching for this duo. The peach is a perfect warm shade that can be worn all over the lid, and the lilac shade is so dimensional and pretty! I wear a lot of greys, blacks, purples and lilacs; this duo complements my wardrobe really well. It’s a great change from neutrals.
- Viseart Sultry Muse Palette – (Reviewed here) Oh lord, I waited so long to get this lovely palette! And I’m so happy with it, I want to pick up at least two or three of the others. This palette has a bunch of excellent neutrals, coppers, golds, unusual deep pink-mauves, a linen white, and a silver shade. They are all a satin or metallic finish, beautifully pigmented, and are the smoothest shadows I have ever used.
Eyeliner can make or break a look – and as i’ve mentioned before, i’m an absolute Fiend for liquid liners. I love the clean line they provide, especially for a cat-eye look – which i tend to wear pretty much constantly. A few of my favourites:
- Le Metier de Beaute Precision Liquid Eyeliner – (Reviewed here) I’ve talked about how much I adore this eyeliner for daytime looks, in particular; it’s a soft black with dark brown undertones with a matte finish, which is perfect when you want a softer, less harsh black line. And it’s super easy to use, even if you’re a liquid liner novice. It’s so hard to screw up with this, that it’s my go-to liquid liner on days when I’m feeling too tired or sick to put anything sharp and pointy near my eyes.
- Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner – This is a perfectly good eyeliner which has gotten a lot of hype – I honestly don’t get what all the fuss is about, because at best it’s a nice, dark black liner with a slightly glossy finish that won’t break the bank. I do quite like it, but there are others in my collection I like more. You can get a good, sharp line with it!
- Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner – (Reviewed here) This is my current favourite – it’s brand new from the Pat McGrath Labs, and of all my liners, this has THE best brush for getting a razor-sharp point on your winged liner! It’s extremely black, with a nice, silky smooth formula, and satin-matte finish.
- Cle de Peau Beaute Intensifying Liquid Eyeliner – (Reviewed here) I love this expensive eyeliner to death – the dual-ended tip has a calligraphy brush on one end, and a teensy, tiny felt tip on the other, for fine detail work. The formula is ever so slightly tacky, because it’s water resistant (really more like waterproof), with a nice, deep black and a satin finish. It’s a pen for the true connoisseur of liquid eyeliner.
And of course, a good pencil eyeliner is key – here’s where spending a bit extra can make all the difference between a liner that drags across the lids (NOT a good thing for skin that’s losing elasticity; can you say wrinkles and sagging?), and one that glides. I used to avoid pencils like the plague, because it was so hard to find one that didn’t tug at my eyes – and if it was a softer formulation that didn’t drag, it smudged all over the damn place, a la Courtney Love circa 1994. Raise your hand if you remember the days of holding a lighter to your Maybelline black eyeliner till it was soft enough to use…
The thing is, it can sometimes look better to use a pencil as opposed to liquid on your lower lash-line, so things look soft and forgiving to under-eye lines. Plus, I prefer to use a brown, grey, or fun bright colour down there as well because again…more forgiving, as well as helping to keep the eyes looking big, and not closed up by too much dark liner all around (particularly true if you have smaller eyes). But now, it’s a bit easier to find a good, quality, pigmented pencil that is gentle on the eyes – unfortunately, i’ve found that the best ones are also a bit pricey. My absolute favourites:
- Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil – (Reviewed here) These are the gold standard, in my opinion. I just recently discovered their amazeballness (i made a word) when my Beauty Advisor at Neiman’s gifted me with a couple of these babies. This generously sized pencil is neither too hard nor too soft, retains its point long past other liners I’ve used, which cuts down on sharpening therefore saving product. And it glides across the lid without tugging. I use it in my waterline as well, with no irritation (I wear contacts).
- Tom Ford High Definition Eyeliner – Unsurprisingly, TF does excellent eyeliners as well. These are deeply pigmented, stay on, and have the perfect formula for when I line under my eyes and in my waterline. I’m not a huge fan of automatic pencils on my lids because I like a sharp line up top generally speaking – but for a softer, smudgeable line, these are perfect. Plus, the colours are gorgeous.
- Pat Mcgrath Perma Gel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil – (Reviewed here) I am of two minds regarding these little pencils, which have some gorgeous colours in both shimmer and matte formulas. I can get a cat-eye that looks like a liquid liner, and they are super smooth to apply; however, they are very soft, so don’t retain their point very well, leading to a lot of sharpening/loss of product. Still, I bought two, lol.
Mascara – Honestly, I’m extremely picky about my mascara. For one thing, my lashes aren’t as thick as they once were, so I need a formula that will thicken like mad, as well as emphasize the nice length I still thankfully have. I hate looking clumpy, but love the false lash look. Tall order. But, I have found a couple that fit the bill!
- Le Volume de Chanel Mascara – This mascara is so good! I love how it thickens and lengthens my lashes, without looking spidery or clumpy. It just gives me the closest thing to falsies, without the pain in the arse. Plus, the colours are beautiful. I use the black, which is inky, deep, and perfect.
- Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara – Aside From the super-funky brush, which seems to be magic, I love how thick and full this stuff makes my lashes look! It’s got a nice, thick and glossy formula that I really love for giving me the false lash look. The 4 in 1 refers to it’s ability to thicken, lengthen, curl, and condition lashes. Whatever it does, it makes them look gorgeous.
Brows – Much like my lashes, my eyebrows have thinned out over the years – probably more than most Ladies of a Certain Age, because I have an autoimmune illness which affects my hair growth. Same deal with the hair on my head. Sparse, weak brows can definitely age a person – I’ve been considering getting microblading done, that’s how bad it is when I have no pencil on! They just disappear because they’re so light and sparse. But, in the meantime, I have a couple good pencils to recommend, even for you silver-haired ladies.
- Cle de Peau Beauté Eyebrow Pencil – This luxury brand from Japan has not one, but two grey-based brow pencils. One dark, one light. There’s also an ashy blonde, and dark brown. These pencils are lovely, and fill in sparse hairs with an angled tip, excellent for arching. The only thing to be mindful of is the first time you purchase it, you must buy the casing for the pencil. But after that, refills are $25. I like these pencils for the excellent colour choices for those of us with white, grey, or silver hair. And the formula is just right – neither too hard nor too soft (something else I’m picky about!).
- Chanel Stylo Sourcils Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil – If you don’t want to spend quite as much at the outset, there’s the Chanel pencil. There’s a great colour selection, however no grey based shades – which is why I’ll be switching once I finish with this. I do have a good ash blonde, but I find it just a bit too dark, and not quite ashy enough. Other than that, this is an excellent, angle- tipped pencil that really stays put all day. The formula is just a bit waxy, which some may like and others may hate – but that’s what you get for waterproof brows!
- Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil – Another excellent angled brow pencil with tons of colour choices – including a grey- brown, and platinum. I like this one because the tip is the perfect size to do detail work, while still large enough to fill in brows efficiently. I only wish there was a lighter grey. I like my brows ashy AF…
Just remember – there are plenty of ways to play with eye makeup while still keeping current and young – and still keeping things appropriate for what’s going to look good on you.
Whew! That ran on a bit longer than I anticipated – but I hope you found this post informative, and useful. I am really enjoying writing this series, and I hope you enjoy reading! Next up, I’ll be talking about lip colours and formulas for we Kumquats of a Certain Age…
Till then, stay pretty, Darlins!
XO – Monday