I worked for over fifteen years in the beauty industry starting out as a makeup artist working behind a beauty counter, earning an hourly wage. I quickly moved up the ranks to a regional level executive with specialty stores in my portfolio. Not long after, I was interacting with some of the most noted celebrity makeup artists in the industry and with the world’s largest beauty brand creators and CEOs. If there is one thing that I learned throughout that entire experience, it is that less is more when it comes to creating a natural makeup look. Not only for any age, but especially if you’re trying to create a more natural makeup look for anyone over the age of 40. It is a universal truth across different cultures and countries.
Whenever you notice a friend with just a little makeup or no makeup at all, they typically look drastically different than when they are totally made up. I would venture to say nine times out of ten they look much younger without a lot of makeup. They appear almost to have a baby face – no matter what their age range. So, as we grow older, it is vital to remember this observation when applying our own makeup so to create a more natural look.
A natural look is all about the skin. When you look at a child’s face, what do you see? Typically flawless, translucent, and glowing complexion. Naturally flushed cheeks and vibrantly rosy lips. You will notice in a younger person lashes are darker, fuller, longer and naturally curl at the tips. These are distinctive features of a younger person. If you can try to emulate those natural features, you too will achieve a more natural youthful look – even if you are over the age of 40, 50 or 60+.
Prepping the Skin For A Natural Makeup Application
Applying makeup for a natural look isn’t about covering up. Creating a natural makeup look over the age of 40 is more about enhancing your own unique beautiful features.
If you don’t prepare your skin correctly before applying any makeup you are never going to look your best. Even if you are doing something as simple as only applying mascara and lipstick to run out the door. Remember with all treatment products – your ENTIRE look needs to be considered including the chin, neck, and upper chest or decolletage area. Do not just focus from the chin up. You want the entire area to appear to be the same age and uniform in texture, firmness, clarity, and even skin tone.
I have an entire morning skincare routine. Yet, as a speedy and basic routine if I’m running out the door, I follow the steps below.
Basic Makeup Routine
- Remove all of your eye makeup with eye makeup remover (hopefully, you would have done this the night before, if not do it now). Almost all facial cleansers are not formulated to be used around the eye area, so only use a remover for the eyes;
- Next, thoroughly cleanse your skin with a facial cleanser that is formulated for your condition of the skin or your greatest concern. I also advocate substituting an exfoliating cleanser about 3 times a week for your normal cleanser. Dry skin makes you appear older looking. Having a complexion with little to no dead skin cells on the surface will appear smoother and more radiant. Properly cleanings/exfoliating the skin will also enable the next treatment products that follow to work at their optimum levels;
- Follow with a moisturizer that is appropriate for your condition of the skin. Apply everywhere avoiding the eye area;
- Next, apply an eye cream working it with your ring finger from the outer region (where we have crows feet) toward the nose. I typically really massage my eye cream, moving it vertically against any crows feet on the outer portion of the eye. You may also apply eye cream on the brow bone, but do not use it on the eyelid;
- The last step is to apply an SPF formulated for the face (even if your foundation has an SPF).
How to Apply Makeup for a Natural Look
We each have unique colors of our skin, the distinctive shape of our eyes, the curve of our eyebrows, the sculpture of our nose, and the placement of our cheekbones. Yet, with all those differences, there are universal techniques that we can all follow to achieve a beautiful, natural look. Follow these simple steps:
Apply foundation that exactly matches your skin tone. You can simply test a small area at the base of the jawline to see that it disappears. I created another post on how to find your exact shade here. Our skin tone changes throughout the year with sun exposure, so you should adjust the shade from season to season. I recommend using the same brand and formula (so they will be compatible) in a couple of different shades. That way you can customize it for an exact match. Like most of us, mine is a little bit darker in the summer and a bit lighter in the winter. I personally love Traceless by Tom Ford because it gives an even, smooth, moist & radiant finish. Is it expensive? Without a doubt. Is is worth it? 200% Yes!! I don’t even use a full pump and it lasts me almost a year. Applying foundation with the appropriate foundation brush will give you smooth, even coverage along every facial contour without wasting your product. You will notice almost all of my makeup brushes are Trish McEvoy. IMO she is the queen of brushes. Hail to the queen. This brush kit will cover all your brush needs.
Your concealer should be one shade lighter than your foundation as this area is lighter. This is my favorite concealer. The colors are true; it blends beautifully, lasts for hours, and doesn’t sit in the fine lines around my eyes. Most of us experience blue undertone around the inner eye area closest to the nose. If yours is more severe, then try to find a tone that has a more peach undertone to counteract the blue. Since we’re going for a more natural look, I also suggest blending any excess concealer on the eyelid and upper bone area. Doing this will give a very uniform color under as well as above the eye. I use a concealer brush and dab it (instead of brushing or feathering) on places that need a little more concealing.
If you do need some extra help outside the eye area, then apply the appropriate color concealer that is about the same shade as your foundation. Or better yet, if your foundation is buildable (like the one I mentioned above), then just apply an additional layer by dabbing it with the concealer brush for a seamless look. Do not use the same color that you used around your eyes. Remember it is one shade lighter and will only highlight the area you are trying to minimize. If you do not use a foundation that is formulated to “build”, then I would recommend this concealer; it’s a little bit thicker and stays put. Both of these concealers are pricey. However they really do last forever. I can usually get over a years use out of one tube.
I often feel that this is one of the most critical components of a more natural youthful look that most women that are more mature and age neglect (or they overdo it which doesn’t look natural at all). Our eyebrows help to define our face. Choose a brow color that is one shade darker than your current hair color. A brow gel versus a pencil is a lot easier to apply, looks more natural, and is more forgiving. I like this one and it also comes with its own dual applicator. Using the angled side of the brush, apply at the base/bottom of the eyebrow across the entire length of the eyebrow. Then go back with the wand side and feather up all the way across so it deposits the gel evenly into the whole brow.
This is your secret weapon if you want your lashes to naturally appear thicker and darker without globbing on a lot of mascara. Most people think it’s with mascara, but for me, it is with a lining technique called tightline. You must use a product that is designed for this type of application. I like to use this cake liner in ebony. You will need a synthetic, eyeliner brush either angled or straight. I prefer an angled brush as it is easier for me to apply with water. There is also a solution that you can also use with a cake liner, but I prefer to use water as it’s easier to remove in the evening and it doesn’t sting my eyes. Once you use the solution with the product, you can not go back to using water as it will not work (and vice versa).
Wet the brush and then swipe it across the cake liner to pick up the pigment. Then here’s the biggest tip where to apply: slightly pull up your upper eyelid to expose the underside of your lash bed. This is where a magnifying mirror comes in handy (you know what I’m talking about!). This is hands down the best mirror you will ever own! Starting from the outer corner of the eye dab the brush right at the base of the lash. You’re not trying to draw on that area that will eventually touch the eyeball but literally directly where the lash grows out of the skin. Move it towards the inner part of the eye as you deposit less and less of the product. The most substantial application should be on the outer corner of the lash bed. This technique will immediately define the eye, making the lashes look darker and fuller. Without creating a typical (on the top of the eyelash) eyeliner look, which for most of us makes the eyes appear smaller.
I typically do not curl my lashes since I’ve been using a lash serum at night they now naturally curl on their own. However, if you do need to curl your lashes, I recommend this lash curler. Start on the outer part of the eye at the lash bed and clamp down comfortably for a second or two then move halfway up the lash and crimp again for only one second. Typically you don’t need to do this to the inner part of the lashline. Yet, if you do, work from the middle out since the lashes towards the nose are shorter and very difficult to curl. Your lash should have a natural C-curve, no kinks or bends. If you are too heavy-handed with your lash curler (or if you do not clean/replace your pad regularly), you run the risk of lash breakage.
I’ve tried hundreds of mascara brands over the years, but this has been my favorite for years. Sometimes I venture out with the recommendation from a friend, but I always circle back to this one. I feel that some mascara wands are too large and make applying to mascara more difficult with the method I use. This mascara is a very pure dark, dark black; it doesn’t clump, and it gives the lashes a longer and thicker appearance. I also like the lasher are still soft to the touch.
The most effective way to apply mascara is to start on the outer corner working your way from the bottom of the lash to the top of the lash wiggling side to side as you coat the entire length of the lash. Follow with the same technique for the middle lashes and then again for the inner lashes. Sometimes I like to go through and feather out the outer lashes so that they are positioned out to the side more than vertically. It gives a beautiful natural effect to the lash and also makes them appear longer. I rarely put mascara on my bottom lashes as I want the focus on my eyes to be upward, not downward.
Cheeks and Lips
I’m an enormous advocate of cream blush versus a powdered blush. For one, it doesn’t look like it’s just sitting on the cheek; it makes your cheeks look naturally flushed. Secondly, some products you can use both on the cheeks and lips, like this one. Applying the exact same color is another way to achieve a very natural and harmonious look to the face. A tip for choosing the natural shade which best suits your skin tone (no matter how light you are or how dark you are) is to pull your bottom lip down and look at the color on the inside of your lip. Choose a color that is very similar to this shade. That is your go-to natural color unique to YOU!
When applying a natural makeup look, I typically do not use a lip liner. This is one of the few products that I actually apply with my fingers instead of a brush. I dab a little bit right on the apple of my cheeks, and I move in a downward, feathering motion all the way out to the hairline. When my grandmother used to pinch her cheeks for color, this is the area that she always worked in. Again, use children as an example, and notice where their cheeks naturally flush and follow that as a guide. It is not about achieving a chiseled look it is about the flushing of the cheeks.
The lips are just as easy to apply – take the same product and smear it across your bottom lip. Then rub your lips together. If you need more apply with your finger in the appropriate areas (for me, it is usually on my cupid’s bow). Rub your lips together again to create a uniform look.
Next, I take a very similar color gloss (exact to the pot rouge), and I dab a little bit of gloss in the very middle of my lips. I rub my lips together again. You do not need to apply gloss over the entire lips just in the middle will give it a little bit of fullness.
I typically do not use a powder after my foundation, especially when I am trying to produce a more natural look as I am trying to accomplish a more glowing, radiant versus matte appearance.
However, I do like to use a powder with a broad spectrum throughout the day if I am going to be outside because it gives me an immediate SPF sun protection. No sunscreen lasts all day. Unlike a sunscreen for the face or even most foundations, you need at least 15 minutes for that protection to be beneficial and then it will only last about two hours after application. The good news with a powder the protection is immediate as it acts like a physical barrier (almost like an article of clothing). When I do use a powder, I apply it on the face and neck and chest area if they are going to be exposed to the sun with a powder brush.
Let Your Beautiful Self Shine Through
All of these suggestions are great for creating a natural makeup look for anyone beyond the age of 40. It takes me less than five minutes total and creates an effortless, fresh, and youthful appearance. YOU are beautiful, so do not cover up your natural beauty. Let your natural radiance shine through. You might be amazed at how young it makes you feel (and look).
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