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By now, you’re probably all too familiar with the fact that getting older can translate to a whole slew of changes for your skin. It also means that the beauty products you’ve loved for years may not suit you the same way they once did — especially when it comes to eyeshadow. Finding the best eye makeup for older women can be a difficult task, but we’ve managed to track down the best of the best that will allow you to feel gorgeous and glam with every swipe.
How to Choose Eye Makeup for Mature Skin
The delicate skin around our eyes is already thin, and each year, as we blow the candles out on our cake after making another trip around the sun, that skin becomes even more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. That can make it tough to find shadows that will not only look great and stay put, they won’t cake, drawing unnecessary attention to the spots that can make our eyes appear tired instead of refreshed and youthful.
Luckily, you’ll find there are tons of gorgeous options out there that will work for older women once you figure out what to look for. When it comes to texture, you’ll want to stick with matte and cream-based formulas, avoiding anything that’s too glittery.
Don’t overlook shimmery shadows, however, which can provide just enough of a sheen to brighten up your face. “For the eyes, I always hear my older clients say they want to stay clear of anything with a shimmer or sparkle in it. While I agree with the sparkle part, a little bit of shimmer can be nice on the lid. Just avoid the brow bone area,” which can emphasize crepiness and wrinkles, as makeup artist Kindra Mann told Town & Country in 2019.
Choosing shades that will give you younger-looking eyes is equally important. Anything that’s too harsh will enhance dark circles, making you look like you haven’t had your beauty sleep. Browns, for instance, might be popular for a subtle smokey eye, but the yellow and red pigments found within can actually make you look tired. Bone-colored shadows, on the other hand, can be too light, giving away any would-be wrinkles or veins beneath.
Instead, try a shade that matches your skin tone for a soft, natural look. For a bolder beauty statement on date night or for those special occasions, opt for jewel tones, which are universally flattering on most.
How to Apply Eyeshadow
When it comes to eye makeup for older women, how you apply your eyeshadow is every bit as important as the type you’ll wear. You’ll want to start with an eyeshadow primer, which will not only help your shadow of choice go on smoothly, it will remove any discoloration and help keep it put all day long — even if your lids are naturally a bit oily. Pro tip: Your cream or liquid concealer can also serve as a primer on lids, too.
Once you’re ready to move on, reach for a cream eyeshadow ($29.99, Amazon), which naturally has more staying power than other formulas. You can also seal it with a matching powder formula.
Blending is super important to eliminate any harsh lines, so you’ll want to use an eyeshadow brush ($22, Sephora) in a “windshield-wiping” motion to help softly add pigment. Be sure to avoid any pulling or tugging — this can exacerbate existing wrinkles or create new ones.
The Best Eye Makeup for Older Women
Ready to find the eyeshadow you’ll reach for again and again in your golden years? Keep reading for Woman’s World’s picks for the best eye makeup for older women.
Where to buy: From $29.99, Amazon
Featuring broad-spectrum SPF 15 on top of a silky smooth color payoff, these creamy shadows are formulated with a little extra protection from the sun’s harmful rays. They come in five easy-to-wear, smudge- and crease-resistant shades (Blushing Pink, Candlelit Peach, Exotic Lilac, Smoky Espresso, and Soft Linen), so you won’t worry about it sliding down your lids by lunchtime.
Where to buy: From $3.83, Amazon
Ladies with darker skin tones will love these 19 rich shade options from Maybelline, which come in a silky smooth cream gel formula to help hydrate the skin around your eyes while making them truly pop. Serving up an impressive 24-hour waterproof wear time, this formula is best applied with your fingertips, making it an easy way to get glam on-the-go.
Where to buy: $9.99, Amazon
This is the palette you’ll reach for when your usual daytime look just isn’t gonna cut it. With a whopping 16 stunning hues in shades both classic (Earth tone-inspired Profesh, Wine, and Bold fit the bill) as well as trendy (Shimmery Rose Gold and Champagne), buyers love this one for the bold color payoff that lets them get glammed up for a big night out with the girls…or for date night with that special someone. It also boasts chic, compact packaging and a wide range of colors and textures (matte, metallic, satin, and shimmery) that will flatter any skin tone,
Where to buy: $25, Sephora
Rihanna’s buzzy beauty brand has made waves for being among the most inclusive new brands on the block, so trust us when we say that these stunning palettes do not disappoint for women of all skin tones.
Eight mini palettes feature six complementary shades in each, and the best part is that there’s a snap feature that lets you combine two palettes together, making choosing two among the eight options the most challenging part. Rich, blendable shades in a range from matte to shimmery mean you can enhance those peepers without creasing, flaking, or fallout. One recent buyer between 45 and 54 put it best when she wrote, “Love this eyeshadow set, great colors! Eyeshadow doesn’t crease, and stays in place all day.” We’re sold.
Where to buy: $14.98, Walmart
When you still want a hint of shimmer but don’t want to look like a human disco ball, this pretty palette from Drew Barrymore’s affordable beauty line, FLOWER Beauty, is just the ticket. Available in six color combos (10 shadows each) you’re sure to find plenty of shades that suit your tastes. You’ll also get a professional-grade eyeshadow brush.
Where to buy: $42, QVC
Palettes are perfect for those who like to experiment with their beauty look, since they give you a whole slew of stunning shades at your disposal. This one from IT Cosmetics features 14 luxe shades designed with mature skin in mind. Not only were these beauties developed with the help of plastic surgeons, each gorgeous hue is infused with skin-nourishing ingredients such as hydrolyzed collagen, silk, peptides, acai, green tea, and vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iT Cosmetics’ proprietary No-Tug Technology, so each color will practically glide on.
Where to buy: From $18.50, ULTA
If you find that bright hues are a bit too bold for everyday wear, give Clinique’s cream Touch Base formulas a go. Perfect for that soft, subtle look you love, they won’t smear, smudge, or fade. In addition the Canvas (a creamy nude with yellow undertones) and Nude Rose (a cooler tauper shade) are neutral enough to work as a base primer for use with other shadows or alone for a subtle-yet-attractive look.
Where to buy: $22, ULTA
While cream shadows are endlessly flattering on mature skin, they can be difficult to deal with in the warmer months or if you’re constantly fanning yourself thanks to hot flashes. This eyeshadow, by contrast, goes on effortlessly and stays put no matter what the day brings — it’s waterproof formula will even stand up to tears.
Where to buy: From $12.99, Amazon
Milani has four equally beautiful palettes, but we’re especially fond of its Most Loved Mattes collection. This pick features 12 high-pigment payoff options that range from classic neutrals to deep, rich jewel tones, all in a wearable matte formula that suits women over 50 flawlessly.
One recent five-star reviewer couldn’t help but gush over her purchase. She wrote, “I am very fair, with silver hair and green eyes and this palette is just perfect! The colors go so well with my eyes, and really make the green POP! I find that most palettes are warm-toned, and I just prefer cool tones, which is surprisingly hard to find in a palette. These blend so well, last all day and don’t crease. I honestly like this palette so well, that I’ve thought about buying another one just to keep on stand by!”
Where to buy: $30, Sephora
Boasting a formula that lasts up to eight hours, Bobbi Brown’s shadow sticks are the ones you’ll want to have on hand for days where you simply don’t have time to touch up your makeup — or nights when you want to look gorgeous well into the twilight hours. With effortless application that prevents any tugging or pulling around your delicate eye area, you can just swipe it and go. You can also use these to create a perfectly glam smokey eye — ooh la la!
Where to buy: $18, ULTA
If you’ve got allergies or simply have a hard time finding makeup that won’t irritate your eyes, look no further than this set of 10 coconut-infused mineral shadows, which come in a range of matte pinks, warm nudes, and browns. An added bonus is that these babies are fully vegan and cruelty-free, too.
One recent 66-year-old reviewer put it best when she called this palette the “only eyeshadow for me,” noting that it holds up even during sweaty workouts and days at the beach. “By the way, this is the only all-matte eyeshadow palette I’ve ever found,” she said, adding, “At my age I sure don’t need glittery eyelids.”