What is it about makeup that can completely warp our perception of age? When you were younger, you probably caked on foundation, concealer, and tons of eyeliner to appear older for that jock you were crushing on, the movie attendant collecting stubs for the R-rated movie you were dying to see, or maybe even a waiter at your favorite restaurant. Once you hit your 20s and 30s, however, the tables turn and you begin searching for the fountain of youth.
There are things we can do to appear younger, like staying hydrated and moisturizing. There are also some things we unknowingly do that make us appear older. The next time you apply makeup, make sure to avoid these six mistakes.
1. Wearing heavy black eyeliner
Coating your eyes with mascara and liner is a great way to make them pop, but that doesn’t mean you should go crazy. Putting on too much eyeliner — especially if you’re using a heavy black mixture — won’t do you any favors. “Our eyelashes thin out as we get older, and women sometimes try to overcompensate for that with lots of black makeup,” dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Melanie Grossman, M.D., told Health. “All that does, though, is draw attention to the wrinkles around your eyes.” Instead, try your luck with a dark brown or gray liner — and use it sparingly. After all, makeup isn’t face paint; it’s there to enhance your natural features.
2. Piling on the foundation
Foundation is great way to cover up any pesky blemishes or fine lines, but caking it on will definitely age you. Not only does too much foundation make your skin look flaky, all that makeup is bound to wreak havoc on your skin.
If you want to treat your skin problems, focus on your skin care products instead. A tinted moisturizer, for example, will keep your skin hydrated and give your face a subtle sheen. It’s also worth noting several moisturizers have anti-aging properties, so they can likely give your skin a youthful glow.
3. Wearing blush
As archaic as it may seem, some people still rouge their cheeks. They’ll apply blush to give their skin a healthy glow, but when used incorrectly, it can have the opposite effect. And similar to overdosing on foundation, powder blush can make your skin look flaky. Depending on the shade you’re using, blush can look more costumey than stylish. If you really want to emphasize your cheeks, Health recommends applying a bronzer from your hairline to your jawline, followed by adding a small amount of cream blush to the apples of your cheeks.
4. Ignoring their brows
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Your eyebrows matter. They’re the first things a person notices on your face, and they can easily play up or down the rest of your facial features. While maintaining your brows with a tweeze, wax, or threading session is important, you shouldn’t ignore them when you’re applying makeup to the rest of your face.
Elle shows just how important your brows are by featuring two pictures of the same woman, one of her with defined brows and the other with her natural brows. Not only did defining her brows brighten up her face, but it also took the attention away from the fine lines around her eyes. Adding a lightweight pomade or pencil to your brows is easy and cost-effective, so don’t skip this step.
5. Using too much concealer
This is somewhat similar to overdoing foundation, but with a slightly different twist. As Real Simple points out, using too much concealer makes fine lines more visible, and it’ll start to crack once it dries. So, you’re better off applying the product strategically. “Use a minimal amount of concealer on the inner corners of your eyes only, where your skin is naturally darker,” the publication suggests.
6. Wearing bright eye shadow
Incorporating some color to your look — whether it’s with a fun lip, unconventional nails, or a printed dress — is a great way to add a jolt of energy to your attire. But the one place we don’t want to see color, however, is on your eyelids. We don’t care what the trend of the moment is, sweeping your lids with a bright blue or yellow shadow will look like you’re stuck in the 1980s. A neutral eye shadow is a fail-safe option. If you need a look for date night and parties, a smokey eye is a great alternative.
7. Sporting a dark lip
While we’re on the subject of wearing the wrong color, let’s talk about your lips. Though a dark brown or Bordeaux pout is extremely trendy, it’s bound to age you a couple of years. According to Elle, these seductive hues only make your lips look smaller, less defined, and inevitably more haggard. A lighter pink, mauve, or neutral hue will keep your pout looking plump. If you’re not willing to part ways with the darker hue, opt for a sheer lipstick. That way, you’re still getting the dramatic flair but the color itself isn’t as obvious.