Top makeup artists on what not to do if you want younger-looking skin—and the tricks that really work
By Lindsy Van Gelder, Allure
1. Base that's too light
Foundation that's paler than your natural skin tone exaggerates fine lines. "Even if you have ivory skin, you need to go a little bit warmer as you get older," says Linter. Switch to a hue that's one or two shades darker and has luminescent particles, such as Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk: "A light-reflective formula makes the skin look like it's glowing," says Davis.
2. Thick foundation
"Heavy makeup is a one-way ticket to looking older than you actually are," says makeup artist Chrisanne Davis. Choose a sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer (such as Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20), and after you apply it, press a damp makeup sponge into areas where you have wrinkles to soak up any excess. While the less-is-more maxim may seem counterintuitive, "the more skin you can see, the better," says makeup artist Sandy Linter. "As long as it is well-hydrated, fresh skin looks much more youthful than an obviously covered complexion."
3. Blush on the apples of the cheeks
It draws attention to sagging skin. Instead, apply color on the highest point on your cheekbones, not too close to the nose, and lift it upward with a brush that's large enough to cover the whole cheekbone. Skip the drama queen shades, too: "Colors like wine and cinnamon will only make you look gaunt if you're thin and clownish if you're not," says Linter. "A neutral rose color flatters all skin tones and really brightens things up." (We like Nars Blush in Mata Hari.)
4. Face powder on top of lines
Powder is fine for reducing shine on the nose and the chin, but on other parts of the face it exaggerates wrinkles and can make skin look too dry, says Linter. The only time Linter dusts powder on clients over 40 is when she knows they're being professionally photographed (a loose translucent formula does help cut glare), but even then, one unbreakable rule still applies: Avoid the eye area completely.
5. Major lipstick
Bright colors, dark shades, and anything metallic or iridescent are too heavy for thinning lips. Instead, choose a neutral rose shade. And consider switching from a lipstick to a sheer gloss — it will give you more fullness.
6. Lipstick that migrates
Your natural lip line can begin to fade as you age, which makes lipstick more prone to bleeding and feathering. "Tracing it with one of the new clear lip liners can help the color stay put," Davis says. (Mally Beauty Lip Fence does the trick.)
7. Eyeliner on the lower lashes
All that does is make your eyes look smaller and draw attention to dark circles. Stick to the upper lids-and make the line thicker toward the outer corners, where eyes have a tendency to droop as we age. (Try Elizabeth Arden Smoky Eyes Powder Pencil.)
8. Mascara on the lower lashes
It highlights crow's-feet. And dark circles. And it just generally looks bad. Coat your top lashes with the blackest black mascara you can find-"it will make the whites of your eyes look clearer and whiter," Linter says. It's also best to avoid superthick formulas that don't separate easily. Lashes get dryer as we age, making mascara more likely to clump and fall onto your face. (Try Cover Girl LashExact Mascara or Lancôme High Définicils High Definition Mascara.) And don't forget your curler. "Curling your lashes is the easiest thing you can do to make your eyes look bigger-and therefore younger," says Davis. (We love the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler.)
9. Sparkly shadow on the outer corners
A little shimmer is flattering and keeps eye makeup from looking too stark, but at the outer corners, it magnifies every fine line. Restrict sparkle and shimmer to the inner corners, the centers of the lids, and just on the brow bones.
10. Heavy concealer on dark circles
The skin under the eyes gets thinner as we age, making thick cover-up look like concrete. Keep it light (we like Lancôme Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Concealer), and apply it with a brush. "The brush distributes the color more evenly," says Linter. And put it only on dark areas, not under the entire eye.