Makeup Mistakes that Can Make You Look Older

Make Over Your Makeup Routine

When used correctly, not only does makeup highlight the good and mask the not- so-good, but it can make anyone look more youthful (Exhibit A: Demi Moore). However, certain makeup mistakes can add years to your appearance. "In general, the more makeup you wear, the older you're going to look," says Los Angeles makeup artist Joanna Schlip who's worked with Eva Longoria, Hilary Duff, and Jessica Simpson.

To help you put your best (and youngest) face forward, we asked the pros to clue us in on makeup mistakes that can age you, and we got their fixes for turning back the clock.

Prime Your Skin for Makeup

Putting makeup on top of skin that hasn't been primed only accentuates any age- related imperfections you may be trying to hide — like dryness, flakiness, and large pores — says Doris Day, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.

In addition to a good skin care regimen that includes gentle exfoliation and moisturizing, you may need to use a primer. A thin layer of a silicone-based makeup primer can fill in lines and pores, allowing the makeup to look flawless, Dr. Day says.

Find the Right Foundation

Unless your skin is very oily, powder can make it look chalky and ashy, giving it an aged appearance. "Easy as they may be to use, powder foundations change color on your skin and make it look dusty," says Carmindy, makeup artist for the TV show What Not to Wear.

The wrong foundation can also settle into and highlight the very lines and creases you want to hide. If your skin tends to be dry, look for moisture-rich formulas with hydrators such as glycerin, dimethicone, and sodium hyaluronate, or go with a tinted moisturizer that won't leave a cakey finish when it dries.

Step Away From the Tweezers

Brows that are too skinny and over-tweezed can make your whole face look skeletal. "The thinner your brows, the older you look," says Carmindy, "even if you're young."

Overzealous plucking can also "scar the hair follicles, which may not grow back," warns Jessica Wu, M.D, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California Medical Center. To avoid adding years, go for a professional brow shaping. Or keep the shape you have and tweeze only the strays under the brow bone.

Lighten Up Your Lower Lash Line

The bottom lash line is now a no-go zone, according to experts. "The look is so dated," says Carmindy. When eyeliner and mascara inevitably become smudged there, they accentuate the darkness — signs of fatigue, and shadows in wrinkles — in other parts of your face.

"Mascara there can emphasize any dark undereye circles, and that makes you look tired and older," says Day. Restrict mascara and liner to the top lash line, which "opens up" the eyes and helps make you look more awake. For special occasions when you might want to create a smoky eye, go light on your lower lashes.

Stay Away From Dark, Matte Lip Colors

Deeply pigmented matte lip colors are hard to pull off as you age. "It's so severe — there's no softness to it," Carmindy says. Matte lipsticks also lack the emollients in creamier formulas and may dry in flaky patches on the lips. Also, if matte lipsticks are not applied meticulously with a lip brush, the pigment can bleed and feather outside the lip — a look that screams age, warns Robyn Cosio, makeup artist for Sally Hershberger Salon in New York City and Los Angeles.

The solution is to go softer. Use a lip liner or a stain in a dark color you like, then blend a balm over it or coat it with sheer gloss. "Deep colors need something to balance the harshness," Carmindy says. "You can have the shade you want without looking goth." If you must use a matte lipstick, try to find a moisturizing formula, and prevent it from feathering by using a lip liner and a lip brush to carefully apply the color.

Never Wear Mauve!

Avoid mauve nail polish colors — they have a tendency to make hands look old- fashioned and boring, says Jin Soon Choi, founder of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spa in New York City. "Instead, go for 'greige' colors, which are twisted versions of mauve — they look absolutely fashion forward," she says.

As for shape, forgo blunt, square-edged nails, which are outdated now. "Cut and file nails into rounder shapes, which are more classically feminine and sophisticated," advises Choi.

Find Neutrals With Warmth

Some neutral brown eye shadows and lipsticks may have too much gray in them, a color that may leave a tone characteristically known as "ashy" — a detectable cast or flatness that sits on top of your skin rather than blending in. "These colors can look dirty, monochromatic, and lifeless," Cosio says. "Browns should have warmth and a little red, like cocoa."

When shopping, make sure you buy the right color by dabbing samples on your hand and stepping out of the department store to see them in better light. "The lighting inside is unflattering, and you'll be able to see the difference between good and bad colors outside," Cosio says. And compare the browns offered by a variety of brands so you can see the differences in undertones.

Stop the Sparkle

A little iridescence, strategically placed in the right areas, can bring liveliness to your face, but sparkle all over can make women look tacky and produce the opposite effect. With shimmer creams, limit application to your brow bones and the top of your cheekbones, where light would naturally hit the face, says Carmindy. Avoid anything that's heavily frosted or has large, glittery crystals.

The same rules apply for eye shadow. If you want to wear a shade with some sparkle, select golds or champagnes — earth tones with a hint of shimmer.

Blend Away Blush Streaks

Streaks of blush are instantly aging. Stripes of color are unnatural and draw harsh lines on your face. The secret to avoiding this is simply to blend color with a kabuki brush. "These are rounded and have tapered edges, and they help makeup novices blend well without leaving hard lines of demarcation," says Schlip You can also try a cream blush or a cheek stain, which you may have more control over and can easily blend with your fingers.

Go for a Subtle Glow

No matter what happens on Jersey Shore, experts agree that overdoing bronzers and spray tanners gives people a garish and aged appearance. Making matters worse is that many bronzers include large particles of mica, which can be drying, "so your skin ends up looking really parched, old, and cakey," Carmindy cautions.

For faux tan results that don't add 10 years, apply a light dusting of powder bronzer on your temples and just along the sides of your face. Using a kabuki brush helps here too. The goal is to create a subtle glow — not a glaring announcement that you doused yourself in bronzer.

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