So, I have been accused of being a beauty product addict. In fact, one of my daughters visited recently, and when she saw my makeup tower, she said “shopping” in my bathroom was like shopping at Sephora. Needless to say, I’ve tried my share. And then tried some more. Trying to find the best makeup products for women over 50 with every single purchase. 😉 I think as we age, we are always looking for those holy grail products that just make us feel good when we look in the mirror. And if you have the right products and tools, makeup feels much more like how a dear friend lifts your spirits than a frenemy who makes us want Haagen Daaz.
Best Makeup Products for Women Over 50
Being a woman over 50 changes what we need out of our makeup and skin care. For instance, I have always had oily skin and now have larger pores. However, I can’t use the “poreless” products made for a 25-year-old, or they will grab onto my wrinkles, texture, and happy imperfections. I also like a lifted look to my eye makeup… But heavy cat eyeliner looks like someone shut the cat’s tail in the door on my drooping eyelids. It’s different for us. It just is. And if you can learn to change products and techniques when your skin changes, you will be much happier with your look.
So here are my top picks for best makeup for older women… And why I chose (and use!) each one with a full review. Note: I personally choose only cruelty-free makeup brands, and that is all I will recommend. It isn’t something I even thought about when I was younger, but now that I do, it’s a non-negotiable for me. Another one of those changes as life “grows” on!
Be sure to check out my makeup tips right along with the products!
Note: I only recommend products I would use myself. If you purchase items through the links on my site, I might earn a small commission from the retailer. This is at no cost to you and does not increase your price for the item. Money earned from these commissions helps keep The Middle Girls running! Thank you for your support!
Best Moisturizer for Aging Skin (and Serum too!)
Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro Whipped Cream – A little expensive, but so totally worth it, especially if you have dry skin. Luxurious feeling, lightweight but super moisturizing. And thousands of five-star reviews!
Hope In A Jar Water Cream Hyaluronic Glow Moisturizer– I love hyaluronic acid in moisturizers because it holds 1000 times it’s weight of water. It helps your skin naturally hold onto moisture throughout the day. This is more of a gel product, which is lighter and soaks into the skin really well. Plumps up those lines on both your face and your neck and chest. I even use this on the backs of my hands!
Kiss My Face De-Stress Hand & Body Lotion Lavender + Ylang Ylang Lotion– If you are looking for a gentle, all-around, low-cost moisturizer you can even find at most grocery stores, this is a great pick. I use it all over my body, even on my face! It’s lightweight and won’t leave you feeling sticky. The ingredients are vegan and cruelty-free. And it smells amazing but in a subtle way.
Best Anti-Aging Serum for Mature Skin
I hate the term “anti-aging”. We should pro-age! But it’s the accepted terminology that is used, so until we can change that, bear with me.
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane Serum is the only serum I use. Why? Well, first, I think most of us know that retinol is the gold standard for OTC anti-aging skin care. This has a decent amount of retinol without irritating my face, and its base is squalane oil. According to Biossance, squalane
- “Instantly hydrates, locks in essential moisture, and supports the microbiome.
- It has been accepted by the National Eczema Association for its ability to help calm and protect the skin.
- It has been clinically proven to improve skin elasticity.
- Studies have shown that squalane helps other skin care actives penetrate more deeply and work more effectively.”
Also? It costs about $8. Yep, that is not a typo. The squalane sinks right into my skin and never causes a breakout. And I feel like it mitigates the negative effects some women experience with retinol. This stuff is the bomb.
Tip: Do not use retinol products with other retinoid products or with products with vitamin C. The reaction will cause some serious irritation.
Tip : I use moisturizer on my face during the day simply because those products tend to work well under makeup. Some serums can cause your makeup to separate and settle into pores and lines. Always use your moisture beauty products first, before sunscreen/ primer.
Use serums and “anti-aging” formulas at night. That’s when the skin does most of its repairing and renewing anyway, so it works well.
Best Eye Cream for Bags and Wrinkles
Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment– Great for daytime because it also works as a primer for eye makeup, this one has over 100 five star reviews on Tarte’s website. Creamy and smoothing, 97% of women saw visible improvement in the appearance of the skin around their eyes in just 4 weeks. Great for bags and wrinkles. Love this one!
Tatcha The Silk Peony Eye Cream– Also a primer for around the eyes and works well under makeup. Luxe feeling and silky. Great for daytime.
Drunk Elephant A-Shaba Complex Retinol Eye Serum with Caffeine + Copper Peptides– This one has serious anti-aging ingredients, a perfect one for nighttime.
The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane– I use this same product in a stronger retinol formulation at night on my face. But the squalane helps calm the skin and allows the retinol to work with very little risk of irritation. Yep, even around the eyes!
Pacifica Beauty, Wake Up Beautiful Retinoid Daily Under Eye Cream– Another gentle retinoid for use around the eyes. I like this one for night as well.
Tip: Pat eye creams gently around your eye with your ring finger. The eye area has some of the most delicate skin on the body; we need to treat it with care.
Best Face Sunscreen for Mature Skin (+ Primer)
So I like to use combination products whenever possible because, again, skin tends to grab onto everything you put on it. The more layers, the higher the chance for cakiness, heaviness, and texture issues. One of the ways I do that is I use a sunscreen that also makes for a great makeup primer. Here are my favs!
Coola Mineral Face Organic Sunscreen Lotion Sheer Matte SPF 30- My everyday for a mineral sunscreen. I use it as a sunscreen/ primer combo product, and it is light as a cloud. It has a sheer matte finish but does not cake or look patchy on my skin. Seriously the best sunscreen for mature skin.
Supergoop Unseen SPF 40 – This is a chemical sunscreen but with a higher SPF. Super silky going on, great for all skin types, weightless and doubles as a primer. Supergoop has tons of other formulations too, for pretty much every single application. Speaking of…
Supergoop Bright-Eyed SPF 40- I’m betting you’ve always been told to keep sunscreen away from your eyes, right? We don’t always have sunglasses on, and the area around your eye is super prone to damage. Bright-Eyed is a 100% mineral sunscreen to use all around your eyes! And it has caffeine in it to reduce puffiness! Be sure to use your regular daytime eye moisturizer before using this sunscreen to prevent it from settling into lines.
Thrive Causemetics Sunproof – Another one that feels like silk going on that I love is Thrive Causemetics Sunproof. The company donates a product to women’s shelters for every one you buy, so I feel good about it. And it works amazing! Good as a primer as well.
Colorscience Sunforgettable SPF 50 – If you are looking for a 100% mineral sunscreen… this is a good one. It feels heavy initially going on, but give it a second. It will start spreading nicely, dry down to a natural finish, and protect really well. I wear this one when I’m going to the beach or the desert for extra protection.
Supergoop Daily Dose Vit C + SPF 40- I use this on my neck and chest but not on my face. It has a slightly tacky feeling that I don’t like feeling in my T-Zone. I originally got this as a gift, so I figured I would just use it on my sun-damaged chest in the summer. And about 4 weeks later, I noticed two things. No additional sun on my chest in the form of a tan or a burn. And my sun damage had changed. Gotten better. Was less obvious. Vitamin C is a prime agent for combating sun damage, and it did its job! I will buy this again.
Best Foundation For Mature Skin
One of the things I’ve found with foundation as my skin has aged is that I can’t use anything too heavy, or it highlights my texture and large pores. If you still have small pores and hydrated skin, you might have a different experience. But for me, I’ve found a secret. Either use a tinted moisturizer, BB or CC cream, or add luminizer drops or moisturizer to your foundation before applying. Those are the best foundations for women over 50 and better. Stop trying to cover everything on your face that you see as a “flaw.” Instead, recognize that your face is beautiful at every age; it’s just not the same as it was. That’s not a bad thing; that’s just how it is. A fine wine doesn’t taste the same after years of aging, but it certainly isn’t worse; it’s just different! (In a good way, like you!) Even out the color, but don’t try to blot away your face’s story. And then use a concealer on spots where you want a little more coverage.
Tarte Skin Treat- My everyday makeup. It blends well, gives some coverage, but not too much, and doesn’t cake. Built-in SPF 20. And you can add a second layer if you want a little more coverage. Remember, let it dry for a couple of minutes between layers. Otherwise, you will just be pulling the first layer off while applying the second one.
Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation– This is a full-coverage foundation that is great for evenings out or special events. I still blend it with a drop of moisturizer so it doesn’t grab and cake on my skin texture. Then I apply with a damp beauty sponge, allow the first layer to dry, and then add another very light layer if needed with a dry beauty sponge.
Laura Geller Laura Mercier Baked– If you like a natural look in a “powder” foundation that you can just sweep on with a big fluffy brush, this is the only one I have found that doesn’t cake on mature skin. Seriously, the claims their marketing department makes are true. It’s awesome. I often use this in the second half of the day to brighten up fading makeup or on days I want a quick but polished look. Remember, as always, less is more. You can always add a second layer if you want more coverage.
Tip: How to Apply Foundation to Aging Skin
The little trick I have found to leave an airbrushed finish on aging skin without cakiness is to use a beauty sponge. I use the sponge slightly damp for heavier foundations. But for tinted moisturizers and CC creams, I use it dry. Simply put a little bit of foundation in your hand, and then dab a tiny bit onto the sponge. Apply it to your moisturized and sunscreen-prepped skin by dabbing it. Keep dabbing all over your face to blend well. Remember, less is more. If you use too much product, your face will look cakey no matter what tool you use. If you need another layer for a more full coverage look, let it dry 3-5 minutes and add another, very light layer, but only where you really need it.
Best Drugstore Foundation for Women Over 50
NYX Professional Makeup Born To Glow Naturally Radiant Foundation– This is one of the best foundations for women over 50 that you can get for under $10. It does what it says. It evens your complexion with a radiant finish. And what woman over 50 doesn’t need that? 😝
Cover Girl Skin Milk– A light coverage, easy-to-apply drugstore foundation that looks great on the skin without caking. Cover Girl hasn’t always been cruelty-free, but they are now!
Tip: Always allow your face foundation products to dry for 3-5 minutes between each application. So after your moisturizer, after your sunscreen/ primer, after your foundation, after your concealer. Your makeup will “play nice” much easier that way and won’t react to the formula preceding it.
Best Under Eye Concealer for Mature Skin
Tarte Shape Tape– This is the stuff. It’s one of the best concealers on the market, and for good reason. According to Tarte (and it’s true!)…
- 100% of women testing agree it doesn’t crease or look cakey
- 100% agree skin looks & feels smoother
- 100% agree under-eyes look smoother
- 100% agree it covers dark circles
- 100% would recommend to a friend
- 97% agree it blurs & smooths appearance of wrinkles & fine line
The only thing I’ve found that works better for me around the eyes is…
Tarte Shape Tape Creamy– Same product with an ultra-creamy texture. Perfect for not settling into lines!
Dose of Colors Concealer– This is a full-coverage concealer I use when I want to get… well, full coverage! Blends well and covers up my broken capillaries and my dark circles.
Tip: How to Apply Concealer
I usually apply concealer below both eyes and also on my chin, where I have a lot of visible capillaries. Again, less is more! Nothing will make your eyes look older than caked makeup around them. Dab on a tiny bit of concealer wherever you want coverage. Then, using your finger, dab it into your skin with an up and down motion. Not a swiping dab, not a sideways dab, up and down. Keep dabbing until it is well blended. Now allow to dry 2-3 minutes, then take a clean and dry beauty sponge and dab the area once to pick up any excess product. Voila!
Best Blush for Mature Skin- Also, Powder, Contour and Highlighter
Tarte Shape Tape Glow Bar– A super easy-to-use compact that has both powder contour and highlighter in it. It looks natural on the skin and is super blendable. The cream-like powders reflect light to give you a bright, fresher look. The only one I use!
Tip: How to Apply Contour and Highlight to Mature Skin
Apply your contour before your blush. Using an angled or thinner face brush, apply contour powder or cream very lightly in the hollow of your cheek, at your temples, and along your jawline. You can even use a smaller concealer brush and apply it down either side of your nose. Do not take the contour into your hairline. Just add some shadowing in the hollow of your cheek, and stop there.
Apply a highlighter to the very top of your cheekbones with a small fluffy blush brush. I can’t say it again; less is more. You just want a little glow; you don’t want to look like a holographic version of yourself.
I know there are a million powder compacts out there that make all the promises… Blur all your imperfections, make pores disappear, etc… But I have learned two things. 1. Only use powder lightly to set your foundation makeup to allow for a smooth canvas before applying everything else. 2. Those more expensive brands have nothing on a really cheap drugstore variety, Elf Perfect Finish HD.
Tip: Use a big fluffy brush for best results, swipe over your entire face to set, and that’s it. If you have shine later in the day, try blotting with a tissue before resorting to using more powder.
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush– Yep, you see a lot of Tarte products on my “best makeup products for women over 50” list! Why? Because they are quality products that do the job right for aging skin. This blush is the only one I have used in years because it doesn’t oxidize or fade by mid-day, and the colors are so natural-looking. I own three. 😊
Tip: How to Apply Blush
The right tool is so important here. I know in our younger years, we used angled brushed and bold colors to “carve out” our cheekbones. Don’t do that. Simply use a fluffy blush brush and just buff a little color onto your cheekbones. Again, do not go into the hairline. Need I say it again? Less is… Ok, I think you’re getting it. 😘
Eye Makeup for Older Women
Best Eyeliner for Over 50
I use eyeshadow from a brush dampened with NYX matte or Tarte setting spray for natural eyeliner. But when I want a bolder look, I use either a gel pencil, a pot gel liner, or a liquid pen liner.
Julep When Pencil Met Gel Eyeliner– This is my go-to eyeliner pencil. It’s affordable, goes on creamy and gives you a couple of minutes to blend it smooth with a brush, and stays all day. A great makeup product for women over 50 because of its blendability.
Tarte Sex Kitten Liquid Liner– If you want a more dramatic look with liquid eyeliner, this is the one. Mind you, working with liquid eyeliner on aged lids takes some practice. Wings and lining the entire upper lid may not work for you anymore. But you can still have it as a tool in your box when you want a special look. This one is waterproof and will not smear on hooded eyelids. It goes on smoothly, and the tip is just the right length to give you control. And liquid eyeliner today looks like a felt tip pen. A lot better than those applicators from the ’80s!
Melt Gel Liner– Still a bold look but easier to apply than a liquid pen, gel eyeliner in a pot should be easier to find than it is. Only a few manufacturers make it, and fewer still make it well. But Melt is easy to apply with a liner brush and easy to clean off with some eye makeup remover or micellar water.
Liner for Tight-Lining Upper Lashes
Beauty for Real I-Line Gel Eyeliner– So one of the things I do when I am dressing up is to line the inside of my upper lashes. You can also use this as a more natural look when you want your eyes to pop a little, but don’t want them to look made up. This is the only eyeliner I’ve found that doesn’t eventually smear as the day goes on and doesn’t irritate my eyes. Once it sets, it stays there until you take it off.
Tip: How to Apply Eyeliner to Mature Eyes
- So, eyeliner has so many application techniques; I am going to do a full post on applying it in the very near future. But here are a couple of quick guidelines to get you started.
- Only apply eyeliner to the outer third of your eye. Lining the entire lid actually closes in your eye, making it look smaller.
- Use an angled line brush to apply pot eyeliner and to smooth and blend gel pencil before it sets.
- Try to save black for special occasions. Brown, grey, and plum are much more flattering to aging eyes with a softer, not harsher, look.
- Don’t take your eyeliner past the outer corner of your eye. With aging eyes, when your eye is open, it will appear to droop downwards and drag the eye down visually. Instead, line just to the outer corner, then using your angled brush or applicator, give it just the tiniest flick upward. That will give you a visual eye lift!
Best Eyeshadow for Older Women
Tarte Palettes – I use In Bloom, Juicy, and Toasted… But I seriously want them all! The colors are beautiful, each pallette gives you a range of colors in light, medium, and deeper shades, and they go on smoothly and last well. Did I mention the colors? The only eyeshadow I use.
Tip: Quick Natural Eyeshadow Look for Women Over 50
This is another one that needs a whole post for itself, but here is a quick way to apply eyeshadow for a natural, everyday look. Watch for a more in-depth article with photos coming soon.
- I hold a square of tissue at the corner of my eye, tilted towards my temple as I apply. It helps keep shadow fallout from your undereye area and also is kind of a template for visually lifting the eye upwards.
- With a fluffy eyeshadow brush, apply a light color all over your upper lids, from lashes to brow.
- Now using the same brush, apply a light-medium shade in the outer third of your lid and upwards into your crease and slightly above. Use a sweeping motion and start with just a little shadow on the brush. You can always build. And then blend, blend, blend.
- Using an angled liner brush, line the outer third of the lower lashes with a deeper shade in your palette. Now, use your eyeliner of choice on the outer third of your upper lids.
- Using a blender brush, sweep under the eyes and around the outer eyes in an upward motion to pick up any start powder and to blend.
- Add brow gel or pencil. Done!
Best Mascara for Older Women
Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara– Thrive donates one product for every product purchased by women in need. And if that isn’t enough to make you want to be their customer for life, this is literally the best mascara out there. Stays put all day, then washes off easily with face wash and water. I even got my Mom hooked on this!
Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Mascara– Best lengthening mascara I’ve found! No clumping or smudging.
Tip: How I Get Long, Thick Lashes Without Falsies
Here is my mascara secret. First, I apply a “tubing” mascara like Thrive Causemetics. This wraps each lash in a smooth formula as a base and adds volume to thin lashes. Then I apply a second coat of lengthening mascara, like the Tarte Clay. That’s it! Full, long lashes that don’t clump or look like spider eyes!
Best Brow Gels and Pencil for Women Over 50
Tarte Busy Gal Brows Tinted Eyebrow Gel – This is my everyday go-to for brows. The colors are very natural and not too bold, and it applies smoothly without too many products coming out at once. It lasts all day and holds brows in place as well. Love this stuff! Brow gel works well if you still have your own lashes, even if they are thin and hard to see. I use the color Ash Blond; it’s a nice neutral taupe.
Benefit Gimme Brow- Another good brow gel with a tiny brush that makes the application really precise.
Glossier Boy Brow- Same as above, just another choice!
NYX Professional Eyebrow Powder Pencil– If you prefer a brow pencil, this is the only one I use, and I’ve tried them all. Because it’s more of a powder formulation, it goes on smoothly and naturally. The skin under thinning brows tends to grab onto a pencil and make it look like you just drew on your brows. This does not. And if you are missing a lot of brow hairs, a pencil is your best option.
Tip: How to Use a Brow Gel or Pencil for a More Natural Look
- First of all, the bold arches of the past are just that, in the past. Go for a natural-looking arch following your own brow line.
- When using brow gel, wipe the brush off on the tube to make sure you have just a little product on the applicator. Now apply to brows, brushing upward and outward with a light touch. Follow your natural brow line, and just accentuate your brows. Don’t try to create new brows. Brush just the outer hairs; don’t take the brush down to the skin.
- For a pencil, the same thing applies. Use a light touch. Gently draw little hairs upward and outward within your own natural brow line.
Lashes for Middle-Aged Women
Tip: If you want to use lashes, this is the only product I have used. They last for up to 10 days and have so many options for length and thickness. You can find a tutorial here.
Best Lip Products
Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner- Cheap, effective, creamy and sets to last. My go-to.
Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Liner– If you need a liner with a little creamier texture, this is the one I love. The colors are way more elevated as well.
Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip– This is more a balm with color. I apply it with a brush, and it runs out faster than traditional lipstick. But that’s because it’s so creamy and moisturizing. Love this stuff! I use the color Coconut for a nice neutral pink, or Rose for a bit more color.
Stainiac theBalm Lip Stain – Normally, I would never recommend a lip stain for women with aging lips. But this one is different. Loaded with hyaluronic acid, it actually moisturizes your lips instead of drying them out. And, it lasts all day. Apply with a lip brush for the most polished look, then blot. Allow to dry, then add any clear gloss or balm over the lips for a little youthful shine. No reapplying lipstick 10 times a day! I use Beauty Queen. It looks bright in the tube, but if you follow my instructions, it’s a nice neutral and natural color.
Tip: How to Line and Fill in Aging Lips
- Do not, I repeat, do not line your lips outside your lip line or with a significantly darker shade than your lip color. In fact, no dark lip colors on mature lips! It’s just not flattering anymore. Leave all that nonsense to the 20 year olds. Instead, do this…
- Choose medium shade lip colors for the freshest look.
- Use a lip liner the same color, or just one shade deeper than your lip color.
- Apply the lip liner following your natural lip line. Blend slightly with your finger or a lip brush.
- Apply lip color with a lip brush over your entire lips. Add a dab of gloss or balm over the top. Done!
Cruelty Free Vegan Nail Polish
Both these choices are vegan, which means they don’t have the toxic ingredients of the major brands and are also cruelty-free. They both have great shade selection and other great products as well.
Tip: When doing your nails at home, use quality polish. It’s more about the brush than the polish itself. Apply polish in long strokes without touching your cuticles or the skin on the side of your nails. You don’t have to cover everything the first coat. Several thin coats are way better than thick coats. Let dry for at least 10 minutes between coats, then follow up with a fast-drying top coat. My biggest tip? Make your first coat really light with very little polish on the brush. That way, you won’t have that dreaded “run over,” and your following coats are more likely to “follow” that first one.
Best Makeup Brushes
Good makeup brushes make all the difference. All the difference. Here are the three brands I use.
It Brushes – When you are ready to move up to a higher-end brush, these are extremely soft and very well made.
These are the best makeup products for women over 50 I’ve found yet! Check out my post on 12 Low Maintenance Haircuts for Women Over 50 and Aged Beauty: How to Feel Beautiful Again. Keep watching for upcoming posts and videos on makeup application techniques that work for me in middle age!
Return to the Blog for more great articles just for women 50+!