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Many women stick to a life-long regime of makeup colours and techniques but the truth is what was right 20 years or more ago will almost certainly not be the best approach now.

As we age, our skin changes (read: sagging, lines and wrinkles) and your makeup should change with it.  Gaining the help of a beauty expert is the best way forward to understand what makeup and techniques work best for you, however, there are a few simple steps you can do now to guarantee a fresher and more youthful look.

This week I’m focusing on one of the most common beauty mistakes that can age the over-40 woman in the blink of an eye – or ‘eyeline’ to be exact.


There are two common eyeliner beauty mistakes that will drag your face down, highlight lines and instantly age:

  1. Too-dark or too-harsh eyeliner – especially if not applied or blended well; and
  2. A fully lined eye that can draw attention to dark circles and lines under the eye

Is the over-40, 50 and beyond woman doomed to a life of no eyeliner???  Quel horreur!  Thankfully no.  Breathe easier ladies, the good news is that we don’t have to give up our fav black eyeliner or glamorous smokey evening look (personally I happen to love, and will be copying post haste, Tilda Swinton’s black eyeliner in The Bigger Splash), for a youthful and fresh look we simply need to adopt a ‘softly softly’ approach to eyeliner, especially during the day.

With a few simple tweaks to your technique, you can stay as pretty, or glam, as ever at 40, 50 and beyond:

1.  Colour

Swap black eyeliner, especially for day, with softer shades of brown, plum, navy or grey to suit your skin tone, eye and hair colour.

2.  Eyeliner

Many beauty experts recommend a gel-liner for mature women as it glides on smoothly and is smudge-resistant.  If however, you cannot give up your eye pencil, choose a good-quality brand with a silky/velvety texture.  N.B.  For absolute best results, sharpen your pencil for each application.

3.  Application – Top

Apply eyeliner along the lash line in light feathery strokes working from outside in, stopping just before tear duct.  Soften the line by blending with an eyeliner brush (or cotton bud).

4.  Application – Bottom

Lining the bottom rim all the way to the inner corner closes the eye and makes it look smaller.  Apply pencil just on the lash line only half-way along from outer to the inner corner and then blend well to soften the appearance of the liner.   Beauty note:  some beauty experts advise women over 40 and beyond to not lining the bottom of the eye at all.

5.  White Out

A trick to make eyes look bigger and more ‘wide awake’, is to rim eye line in white kohl.

Mac Eye Kohl in ‘Teddy’ $35; Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil in ‘Black Plum’, $39, Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil ‘Pure White’ $8.95; Kevyn Aucoin Eye Pencil Primatif in ‘Brown’, $37 ; Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in ‘Granite Shimmer Ink’, $39; Hourglass 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Liner in ‘Ocean Floor’, $26.

Esma Versace

Esma Versace is a renowned fashion stylist founder of Esma can help you solve your style issues. Learn your body shape and how to dress for it, create a corporate wardrobe or personal brand, find that special outfit for your event or create a fashionable and functional wardrobe based on your lifestyle and budget.