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15 Makeup Mistakes That Seriously Age Your Face

These simple makeup tips can take years off your skin, eyes, and lips.

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Mother and daughter applying lipstick in mirrorErik Isakson/Getty Images

Makeup mistakes that make you look older

Makeup has the power to flatter your favorite features—or add ten extra years to your face. To avoid appearing older than you really are, steal these professional makeup artists’ tips for making your skin, eyes, and lips look decades younger. You can also follow these 50 everyday habits that make you look instantly younger, no makeup required.

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African American woman applying makeupJose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Wearing the wrong foundation color


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Foundation that’s too light or dark will look dull and unnatural, not youthful and glowing. “Across the board, wearing the wrong color foundation is the biggest and most obvious mistake” people make, according to Porsche Cooper, a New York City-based makeup artist. Here’s a tip to find the best shade for you: When you test foundation out in a store, dab a bit on your face rather than your hand, which can be a different shade. The color should match your complexion even before it’s blended. Porsche recommends the Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Foundation, which offers a broad range of shades to match every skin tone. Learn more about the best foundation for every skin tone.

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Beautiful woman brushing eyebrowFabrice Poincelet/Getty Images

Skipping your eyebrows


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Over time, your eyebrows can become sparser, especially if you have a history of over-tweezing them. Add some definition—and open up your face—by filling your eyebrows in with a product that is a shade lighter than your natural hair. But “do not fall into the mistake of outlining your brows and filling it in,” says Laura Geller, founder of Laura Geller Beauty. Instead, “start towards the middle of your face with gentle upward motions,” following the natural arch of your brow. The Heavenly Brow Marker mimics that feather effect, according to Geller. These makeup tricks will completely transform your features, too.

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Choosing a drab blush color


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Most women shy away from using blush, but “blush can be your friend,” Cooper says. “It adds back natural coloring to your cheeks that foundation has masked, and is vital to looking youthful.” Geller agrees: “Blush is mandatory” for women of any age, she says. “We lose pigment as we get older, [and] we need a pop of color.” Unlike dark or brownish blush shades, the bright shades of IMAN Luxury blush give your cheeks a fuller, younger appearance. Geller recommends using a range of softer pink to mauve colors, depending on your skin tone.

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Picking a shimmery eyeshadow


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With eyeshadow, “the biggest problem we see is not blending, not understanding what happened to the shape of your eyes,” Geller says. You may still be applying shadow the same way you did in your 20s, “but now you should be more mindful of what is there,” she says. Glittery eyeshadow often settles into creases, accentuating the crinkles on your eyelids. Opt for a more flattering matte finish instead, and save the shimmer for the inner corners of your eyes to brighten them up. Here’s how to find the best makeup for your eye shape.

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Asian woman applying make up.digitalskillet/Getty Images

Not applying concealer


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Spot correcting with a concealer that matches your skin is essential, especially for BIPOC women, Cooper says. She suggests choosing a cream foundation with a broad range of shades like AJ Crimson Dual Skin Foundation. Dab it over areas of concern with a damp sponge, and then apply a lightweight foundation or concealer to the rest of your face. “A healthy and even-tone complexion is the quickest way to blur the lines of aging skin,” Cooper says. A celebrity makeup artist shares more secrets to never looking your age.

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Middle-Aged Lady Using Makeup Brush Applying Bronzer Standing At HomeProstock-Studio/Getty Images

Finishing with powder

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When you remove that oily shine with powder, Cooper says, you also hide the youthful glow from your skin reflecting the light. Swap out powder for MUJI Cosmetic blotting tissues, which won’t highlight wrinkles in the same way makeup would. If you really can’t give up your powder habit, dab it only on your chin and nose, and keep in mind that less is often more. “Even for makeup wearers who crave a flawless finish, foundation looks more youthful when applied exactly where you need it,” Cooper says. Check out more makeup artist-approved tricks to look younger.

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Lining the bottom of your eyes


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Bottom eyeliner makes your eyes look smaller, while top liner opens them up. But steer clear of harsh lines and dark colors, which can make your lids look heavy. Geller recommends applying a soft layer of brown or gray eyeliner from L’Oreal to your top outer corner and then blending it outward for a brightening effect. “What you are trying to do is bring back shape to your eye,” she says. “A soft line on top of the eye will help draw the shape of your eye out.” Try these other makeup techniques for making your eyes pop.

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Senior woman making up at home with mid adult womanmonzenmachi/Getty Images

Using a heavy hand


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A thick layer of foundation or concealer can settle into wrinkles and creases, calling attention to them. “For more mature skin, many women feel they need to cover up,” Geller says. But “doing more to cover often exacerbates the problem at hand.” Lightweight foundations like Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten Color Correcting Foundation are easier to blend and less flat than the average formula. To smooth out extra makeup, lightly press a damp sponge on areas with more wrinkles. Find out what your facial wrinkles are trying to tell you.

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USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, woman applying blush on cheekbonesTetra Images/Getty Images

Applying your blush to the wrong spot


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Swirling blush only on the apples of your cheeks leaves you with unnatural, unflattering circles. Yet applying it too far below the cheekbones can drag down your face, giving it a saggy appearance. For a youthful boost, lightly brush the blush along your cheekbone, starting under the center of your eye and sweeping upward. As you apply, Geller suggests using a magnifying mirror to catch any wayward strokes or blending errors. Using a vanity mirror with lights is another great way to ensure smoother application.

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Skipping mascara


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Running late? You can ditch your usual makeup routine—but never skip applying a swipe of mascara, Geller says. “The shellac finish you get on the lashes really helps to counteract the whites of your eyes, which helps your eyes look more open,” according to Geller. Thrive Causemetics’ Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara lengthens your lashes from root to tip, while its moisturizing formula keeps them healthy and strong.

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Young woman standing in front of mirror, applying lipstickWilliam Perugini/Getty Images

Choosing a dark lipstick


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Lips lose their fullness over time, and using dark shades of lipstick can make them look even smaller. Choose mauves and pinks instead, which highlight your lips and make them appear fuller. A swipe of lip gloss will plump them up even more. If you do decide to go for a darker shade, pick a sheer formula or a stain, which aren’t as flat as a heavier finish, or dab the color on with your finger. Cooper’s go-to lipstick is AJ Crimson lipstick in Bondage. Try these other tricks to faking a plumper pout.

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Not using eye brightener


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If you have never used eye brightener before, it’s not too late to start. “Your eyes, especially in the age of wearing masks, are the focus feature everyone sees first,” Cooper says. “Eye brighteners and/or highlighters with a sheen reflect the light from your eyes to make them look lighter, bigger, and more rested at any age.” Thrive Causemetics’ Brilliant Eye Brightener comes in four different shades to make every eye color pop. You’ll also want to know these 12 surefire tricks to reduce puffy eyes.

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Forgetting to blend


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There is just one rule of thumb when it comes to applying makeup like a pro: Blend, blend, blend. “Spend time on blending if you want your makeup to look seamless,” Cooper says. It’s “key to looking like you sat in the chair of a professional.” When applying eyeshadow, she suggests using a fluffy blending brush like MAC Cosmetics #221 to buff out any hard lines. For more beauty tips, you can find the answers to all of your makeup questions here.

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Highlighting Cheek BonesKosamtu/Getty Images

Contouring your face


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Heavy contours can give your face a dark, sunken appearance, according to Rick DiCecca, a global makeup artist for Artistry. He suggests embracing a more natural style, instead—not only to look younger, but also to feel more confident. “If women feel like themselves, they feel empowered,” DiCecca says. For a simple face refresher, try mixing a small amount of Artistry Youth Xtend® Serum Concentrate with a lightweight foundation.

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Black woman moisturizing her faceJGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Neglecting your skin


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Though skin care isn’t necessarily what you would consider makeup, it’s still key to looking your best at any age. DiCecca recommends adding a treatment product that addresses a specific need to your daily skincare routine. For women with mature skin, Artistry’s Supreme LXTM Regenerating Cream can smooth wrinkles and brighten your complexion. No matter how old you are, you should wear a sunscreen on your face daily.

Next, check out the best makeup removers beauty experts can’t live without.


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Brooke Nelson
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for