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Pro Makeup Tips & Tricks for Women Over 40

“How can I look younger without piling on a ton of makeup?” A veteran makeup artist of 30 years answers.

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women over 40
Photo: Jackie Alves

I think the question is a little twisted, don’t you? Most of us know piling makeup on our faces tends to age us, not make us look younger. Hence, the many layers of makeup I piled on my 17-year-old face back in the day when I was trying to pass myself off as being old enough to get into the hottest new dance clubs in Vegas. Which by the way, almost always worked. I easily looked 25 with only a few extra layers of my favorite Wet n’ Wild makeup and half a can of Aqua Net hairspray.

So, the idea of making ourselves look younger by putting on the thing we once needed to look older just sounds backwards. It points (with a giant neon sign) to one glaring truth… Balance is everything. Allow me to explain. 

First, prioritize and plan. Ask yourself what you want to cover up or conceal, and then focus even more on what you’d like to showcase and draw attention to. The top two things most of us want to conceal and then I’ll be your new beauty bestie by sharing some time-tested makeup tips to help show off your favorite features. 

Conceal or Cover Up: Wrinkles & Uneven Skin Tone

Usually within the first two minutes of conversation with a client over 40 I get the makeup artist’s most dreaded question. “Can you cover up my wrinkles?” This is usually asked while she examines herself so closely in the mirror, her nose almost touches it. Then, as she pulls back the skin on her neck and cheeks, she tells me if I could just nip this or tuck that, she would love me forever. That’s when I explain how I’m not allowed to have scalpels in the makeup studio anymore and we get a good laugh at how funny and awkward aging can make us feel, until we realize everybody’s doing it. And we’re doing it together.  I love reminding my clients of some hilarious facts to remember.

Number one, no one is looking at you as closely as you’re looking at yourself in the mirror. That would just be weird, and you may need to have a personal space conversation with them.

Number two, our friends are typically as old as we are so they’re all just about half blind too. They can’t see all the things we’re looking at in that ridiculous little magnifying mirror. They think we look as good as we did 10 years ago because they’ve been losing their eyesight for about that long anyway.

Number three, which is definitely one for the books, no one is looking at your flaws because they’re too busy worrying about whether or not you’re looking at theirs!

What’s the point of all this jabbering? Only to say no, you can’t cover wrinkles. But we can absolutely pull the eye of the beholder away from that annoying thing you wish you could microderm right off your face by drawing eyes toward that gorgeous smile, high cheekbone, sophisticated brow arch, or whatever else you’re packin’ in your favorite features portfolio. Most of us can identify at least one thing we like about our face and if you’re having trouble finding it, refer to a bestie and then determine to believe them and say thank you. Don’t argue. 

Conceal or Cover Up

First choice being uneven skin tone. This can include redness, dark spots, and dark undereye circles . Now, I know we all wish we could find that one perfect crease-proof formula of foundation that happens to be an exact match to our skin tone but let’s face it, skin creases no matter the age and by the time we reach 40, there’s no way our forehead, chin, neck and chest are all one shade anymore. So, here’s the gist! Try not to go too far into “covering it up” and think more about balancing it out. After 40, full coverage foundations aren’t always our friend. Grabbing a medium coverage, buildable foundation will allow your skin to breathe and you can always add an extra layer in the places you need a little more. If the blemish or dark spot proves to be a little peskier than normal, show it who’s boss by adding a thin layer of a liquid concealer on top. Preferably one that matches the foundation fairly well.

When selecting the foundation, try finding a shade that’s a good balance between the 3 or 4 shades you see between your forehead and chest. And definitely don’t be afraid to mix and match. Since our skin is never only one shade, we shouldn’t expect our foundations to be either. And if you’re confused about how to choose, maybe pick your top three faves and lean towards the lighter shades since you can always bronze and blush them back to life if needed.

Focus on the Positives

Now let’s start bringing it all together with a couple of my favorite makeup tips to show off those features you actually like about your face.

When a woman comes to my makeup studio and sits in my chair for the first time, I usually ask her, “What are two things you like about your face?”  The answers don’t always come easy because we’re not used to naming what we actually like about ourselves. Sales and marketing tactics over the years have proven effective at making us focus on what we DON’T like and what we supposedly need to make it all better. The marketing gurus use the term “pain point” because they want to hit a point of your pain first, or else you won’t even realize you need the thing they’re selling. See where I’m going with this? 

The point (not the pain point, just the actual point) is that I have a hard time getting women to tell me two things they like about their face. But once we’ve broken through to the truth that J-Lo isn’t an actual human and I’m pretty sure she’s from another galaxy where people look more glorious as they age so we should all stop using her as a point of reference to what we wish we looked like, they typically will say they like their eyes or lips. Once in a while brows or nose will pop into the favorites, but the most popular always seem to be the peepers and the kisser! Sometimes they’re not necessarily the favorite, but we want to accentuate them so they will then be the favorite.

Showcase And Draw Attention to Eyes and Lips


Maybe you’ve heard it said that the eyes are the window to the soul? Well, if that’s the case, let’s make sure they’re bright and alert. As we age, our eyes can begin to droop or dull. Give them a more lifted look by adding definition to the arch of the brow with a hair matching powder or pencil, then popping a bit of highlighter right under that arch, adding light to the brow bone.

You’ll also want to add depth by using a darker shade of eyeshadow in the crease, swiping back and forth like a windshield wiper. I always get made fun of by other makeup artists for that but I’m tellin’ ya, it works! And a super handy tip for that crease swiping shade is, if you’re over 40 (and especially over 50) you may have some fine lines on your eyelids, so use a matte eyeshadow there, we don’t want to accentuate those lines with shimmer.

Next tip for popping your eyes is use false lashes! Yes, do it! Give them a try! They add depth and give the illusion of a more lifted, youthful eye. Think of little girls and young women, they typically have thick brows and lashes. As we age, ours begin to thin, grey, or just fall out. That, aside from wrinkles, is one of the first things to start making us look older. 

If you’ve not yet mastered popping on a falsie, grab some very inexpensive sets from Amazon and use them like training wheels. You don’t have to be afraid to destroy them while practicing because they’re not expensive and luxurious, you can consider them disposable. And learning how to apply them can be easier than you think. Just go check out a YouTube video or visit me on Facebook at  The Real Jackie Alves where I have tons of videos geared toward makeup over 40. 


Ok, sweet friends, let’s talk lips! I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about yourself too, but as I’ve gotten older, my lips have gotten thinner! One of the first things I always recommend is to exfoliate at night, sleep with a fabulous lip moisturizer on, and in the morning you’ll have a much smoother canvas to work with! 

Make sure to start with lipliner. If you’re going for a lovely nude or natural looking lip shade, stay in the pinkish nude zone, brown nudes tend to make us look older. When choosing a liner, go at least one shade deeper than the lipstick you’ll be using, it’ll add more definition. Now here’s something to remember… don’t be afraid of a slight over-line! I know, I know! You might be afraid of it because you think only Vegas showgirls over-line their lips but I assure you, it doesn’t have to be that crazy! Just give it a try. Start by slightly lining right on the outside edge of your Cupid’s bow and rounding it out with a nice, sharp liner. Then do the same in the center of your bottom lipline. Next, fill it in with that slightly lighter shade of lipstick and then gloss right in the middle for an extra pop of light, making the lips appear more plump. And the same method applies to berry and red shades. 

Almost every single woman that sits in my makeup chair is shocked by how much they love the slightly over-lined lip trick I have up my sleeve and I absolutely love wowing them with it. Their comments always make it worth the effort. “OMG I have lips! I thought they were gone!”  And my favorite, “I’m gonna have to tell my husband to take me to dinner!” Hearing those words is always a win in my book!

Alright then, that’s a wrap! You’ve got some super fun new tricks to start practicing so what are ya waiting for? Grab some lashes and lip liner and start planning your next date night! And don’t get discouraged if it takes a little practice! Any makeup trick worth trying is worth the time it takes to master it. Never give up, never surrender! Get back your groove, Stella.


Jackie Alves helps women rediscover their beauty, gain new confidence, and boldly step into their next season of life. She’s the Co-Founder & Head Makeup Artist of The Beauty Bar Skincare & Makeup Studio, as well as the Head Educator of The Beauty Bar Pro Makeup Academy & Creator of the studio’s line of professional makeup products.

Jackie is the Founder & Beauty Educator of The Real Makeup Artist, a beauty brand featuring on-demand masterclasses and personal, online makeup tutorials focusing on “Real Makeup for Real Women” and how to “Become Your Own Makeup Artist”.

After landing her first makeup gig at the age of 17 in Las Vegas & now having over 30 years of experience in the beauty industry, Jackie uses her experience to help women overcome the challenges of finding practical beauty choices & techniques to fit their individual styles & needs in a world overrun with cosmetic companies, products, and procedures.

Jackie has worked with dozens of A-listers, including iconic fashion designers, Estel Day & Mark Tango of the fashion brand Mark & Estel, Movie Producer & Director, Kate Cohen of Straight Up Films, and several top photo & film studios in Las Vegas, Nevada.