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How to lift mature eyes with makeup

You may not be able to turn back the hands of time, but with a few smart makeup tips, you can seriously fake it!

Senior woman applying eye makeup

Resident makeup artist and total pro Kelley Unthank of Nival Salon and Spa teaches us how to lift mature eyes and shed at least 10 years off your age.

Step 1: Moisturize

A great moisturizer will bring that youthful dewy-ness and glow back to your face, informs Kelley. “First, prep your peepers with a quality eye cream. This is one thing you should definitely splurge on, so be sure to hit up your local Sephora or makeup counter and ask the pros for some assistance.” Request a nighttime cream that can help repair a lifetime of laughter, and diminish those tell-tale lines and bags underneath your peepers, she advises. Also, inquire about a fab eye cream/base that will instantly reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and puffiness.

Step 2: Conceal


Now that you’ve moisturized, it’s time to break out the concealer. For women in their ‘40s, ‘50s and older, it’s important to remember that less is more, notes Kelley. “Mature skin tends to be dry skin, and as a result, a pound of foundation will look like a pound of foundation. Focus exclusively on the dark areas,” she urges. “If it’s in the inner corners of your eyes, only apply concealer there.” As a rule of thumb, you want to go a shade or two lighter than your skin, using your ring finger to gently dab and help blend out the lines.

If discoloration isn’t as big of an issue as the inflation (or bags) beneath your eyes, cover up where the shadow is created solely. Sound familiar? Start by following your concealer all the way along the bottom of the bag where the discoloration is most apparent, she says. “Putting concealer on the lighter part of your under eye area will only exacerbate the problem, so stay in the shadows and blend well.”

Step 3: Prime

These days, practically every makeup brand carries eyelid primer. Thus, it’s very accessible and certainly does the trick, tells Kelly. “Because mature eyes naturally tend to have a heavier or drooping lid, which causes folds, a primer will help eye shadow to stay in place for hours on end. When applying, gently lift up the skin of your lid by the brow to ensure you’re covering all ground.”

Step 4: Eye Shadow

While the shade you choose is ultimately up to you, Kelley suggests adhering to these guidelines for a lively, youthful look:

Steer clear of dark colors. Why? “They only make the eyes appear more sunken in and heavy. The key here is to open up your peepers and to create a refreshed, bright look you’ll love.”

Go easy on the glitter. Even though glitter and shimmer can actually amplify fine lines and wrinkles, a light color on your lid with a hint of shimmer at the inner corner of your eye immediately wakes you up, says Kelley.

Stick with a matte shadow for your crease. “Anything with shimmer or iridescence will only highlight a drooping crease, which is a huge no-no.”  

Step 5: Eyeliner & Mascara


According to Kelley, it’s best to keep your eyeliner soft. “Opt for a pencil or powder instead of a harsh liquid.” Black isn’t off limits, she says, but why not try a pretty charcoal, brown or a beautiful deep purple?

For both your eyeliner and mascara, stay on top, as anything on the bottom of the eye is going to close it in and potentially illuminate any darkness you concealed earlier. Blend your eyeliner out with a brush or using your finger, further softening it and fashioning the illusion of a fuller lash.

Moving on to mascara, note that direction is key. “Start at the base of your lashes, and brush your outermost lashes out in the direction of your temple. On your middle lashes, brush them straight up,” advises Kelley. And finally for your inner lashes, brush them up toward the center of your brows (right above the bridge of your nose). “This opens your eyes up and gives your lashes ultra length.”

Step 6: Eyebrows

The shape and fullness of your brows help contribute to an overall youthful look, says Kelley. “With a pencil or a brush and using a shade darker than your actual eyebrows, softly fill in any areas that are sparse. Keep your strokes short and feathered so as not to over-color. You simply want to create the appearance of more hair.”

Step 7: Face & Lips

Last but not least, go light on your skin! Try a mineralized powder or a cream foundation, and for blush, choose a soft, matte one, recommends Kelley. “Again, shimmer enhances lines and dark shades are instantly aging, so bear this in mind when it comes to your pout,” she adds. “The thinner your lips, the lighter the lipstick should be. Deep, bold shades will make them look even thinner, while a soft, neutral lip liner and lip color can temporarily plump them up.” Complete your makeup with a finishing mist, which Kelley says will leave you with that gorgeous, dewy, youthful glow.

Watch this tutorial

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