The 5 Golden Rules of Makeup for Women over 40

Yves Saint-Laurent once said, “The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” His practical, albeit humorous, approach to beauty and maquillage is something everyone can learn from.

Back in our 20s and 30s, wearing makeup was a nonquestion – we just had to, right? As Cindy Joseph confides in her A Realistic Approach to Beauty: 5 Tips for Women Over 50 article “women are motivated by fear of becoming less attractive when it comes to their looks”.

This may not be 100% true for every woman but if we are honest with ourselves, you have to admit it stings when others make us feel unattractive or undesirable.

The rules on wearing rouge are murkier for quadragenarians. Some say you wear too little, some too much. It doesn’t help that at this age cosmetics companies begin to ignore you. Hallie Gould, Senior Editor of Byrdie, finds the marginalization of women over 40 by cosmetics companies shocking and counterintuitive. (8 Beauty Tips From a Makeup Artist Who Works With Women Over 40) So what can a quadragenarian woman do? Prove cosmetic companies and trolls wrong!

Admittedly we can’t wear makeup the way we used to and what worked for us then may not work for us now. So let’s bring your cosmetics know-how up to speed with these “5 golden rules” every woman over 40 should know:

  1. Have good skin. Clean, tone, moisturize and wear sunblock – this is non-negotiable. Good skin is the best foundation, all others we add on our face are icing on the cake.
  2. Use a primer. Some primers are silicone-based while others are not. Choose which works for you best and doesn’t cause any allergies. Primers are the great equalizers, they blur large pores and other imperfections while extending the wear of your foundation.
  3. Have a brow-mance. Your eyes may be the window to your soul but your eyebrows are the arcs that frame your face. Make sure your brows are well-groomed. Resist the urge to over tweeze because studies show that fuller brows look more youthful. At our age we can still get away with just red lipstick – if we groom, shape and fill-in our brows properly.
  4. Avoid metallic and glitter eyeshadows. Metallic eyeshadows look pretty but doesn’t translate well on crepey eyelids which we, unfortunately, are blessed with by this age.
  5. Avoid metallic and glitter lipsticks. They look stunning on models in runways and editorial spreads but like metallic eyeshadows, these lipsticks highlight every line and crack in our lips.

There’s a sixth bonus golden rule: Have fun! You read that right, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to colors and whatnot. This means you can go crazy with whatever colors are on trend. Wear hot pink or fire engine red lips if it makes you feel good– as long as they’re not metallic or loaded with glitters. The colors you can wear can depend on your skin tone, personal style, present mood and what’s on sale at Sephora!

Makeup should be fun for everyone, including women over 40. There are a few restrictions but in general, we have as much leeway as younger women. We have given birth, have shattered the glass ceiling and made some tough decisions to get where we are – we should have the confidence to let ourselves use and enjoy makeup.