How has your makeup routine changed as you've gotten older?

When I first started wearing makeup, I was obsessed with eye makeup and pretty much wore next to nothing elsewhere on my face. Now, I wear a pretty full face of makeup every day, though I usually skip primers (since I’m testing things) so I feel like I’ve honed some of my techniques to cope with a lack of primers at times!

— Christine


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
Lesley Avatar

I traded covering acne scars to covering dark spots and I always had texture issues, first due to excessive oiliness and now to loss of collagen. Fortunately improvements in skin care have kept my skin from deteriorating further but I am not interested at this stage of my life in investing in cosmetic procedures. I have lost volume in my face so I no longer need contour. Otherwise, there have been no real changes in makeup. I still need full coverage foundation and a good blurring primer. I still can wear only the most subtle highlighters. The changes I have made are due mainly to learning new ways to apply makeup for my hooded eyes, which are caused by bone structure and not age, so that my eyes appear more lifted, and I could have done this when I was younger had I only known. Also powders have improved so much that I can wear them now whereas I avoided them for years because they emphasized my skin texture.

Bec Avatar

I used to wear very thick full coverage especially when I first got in to makeup around 2009, as it seemed to be thick & full coverage or very light BB cream in the drugstore. I feel like I wear a larger variety of base products but much lighter layers giving a more natural look. I also used to be an eye makeup person, and would go bold eyes & barely there lips but now I more often go nude eyes & bold lips.

Seraphine Avatar

My makeup has changed a lot. The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve learned, so my technique is better than ever, but my age has made some of what I’d like to do difficult. Thinning skin, especially around the eyes makes it tricky—and even impossible at times—to get certain looks. Little lines that have formed around my mouth have also changed the way I put on lipstick.

I used to do my makeup almost entirely with my fingers back in the 1990s, and I cringe when I see some old photos of myself in which my foundation looks cakey and my eyeshadow isn’t blended well. But over the years I’ve learned how much of a difference the right brushes can make and I now use a big variety of them to achieve different looks.

And then there are my brows. When I was younger, I used to have perfect brows that barely needed plucking. Chemo destroyed that for me 10 years ago (but it did save my life, so it’s a very small price to pay!). Since then, I’ve learned to create beautiful brows out of the weirdly sparse hairs that grow above my eyes using makeup.

Erica Avatar

1. As trends have changed, so has my makeup. I wear a transition/crease shade whereas in my younger years, that was not a thing to do. I have tried different colors. Who would have thought I would try and even like a bit of red eyeshadow?

2. As much as I have kept up w trends, I am much more inclined to do me. I know my skin type. I know my preferences. I know what works and what doesn’t. I’m ok not wearing something bc it isn’t me. I don’t typically wear red lips. I don’t do winged eyeliner. I don’t wear falsies. I don’t wear face primer. I don’t bake or contour. I don’t typically wear liner/shadow/mascara on my bottom lashline/lashes. I don’t think it suits me. I just do what I like. I will sun strip with blush or bronzer or try draping. I have the face for it and I like it. Other things not so much!

Stacy Avatar

Like you, Christine, I used to only focus on eye makeup and not wear much else. Now I focus a lot more of complexion and brows, and I’ve been gravitating towards natural glowy looks instead of trying so hard to cover imperfections.

Nancy T Avatar

Wow. Now that’s something I could write an entire book about! But, I won’t.
Instead, I will just get into what *did* change significantly over the past decade. I began to take far better care of my “canvas”, which translated to making everything I put over it look smoother and more healthy. Better skincare regimens, scrupulous use of sunscreen, using a pore minimizing primer, applying my foundation using a sponge or brush, plus, getting much better at setting and fixing my foundation with the correct types of powders and setting spray for this climate and my skin type. It’s made quite the difference!

Pearl Avatar

My attitude has changed. I do what I like/want instead of trying to follow or understand the hows and the whys or trends. The constant barrage of releases became overwhelming to the point of disinterest and I have stopped wanting new makeup, stopped wanting to replicate the face of the moment.

I am more confident than I used to be. I admire the artistry behind dramatic looks and am content to stick to my own simple looks instead of thinking I needed to understand the artistry to be able to create my simple look.

I have perfected the face application and the eye looks that I like (brushes have made such a huge difference for me).

I don’t wear face primer anymore because it wasn’t needed; I don’t have texture issues so it was an unnecessary step.

I used to be all about the eyes but now it’s eyes and skin equally.

AB Avatar

I used to have very limited range of colors and items; just didn’t have confidence (or budget) to do much. So I’ve become more adventurous in general — more colors, finishes, etc. I use more types of products, like highlighters and primers.

I wear less foundation than I used to because due to more focus on skin care, my skin is in much better shape. I can do without heavy foundation or sometimes, any at all.

Silvia Avatar

Not much up to now except I have purchased primers which I forget to wear on face they tend to brake me out so I’ll have plenty to use for eyes when I remember. I’m not into baking, contouring or liquid eyeliner. Do use very light foundation, blush, eyeshadow, pencil eyeliners hard or cream but no liquid. Lipsticks, adore highliters since the madness came out and have tons. I do like to use a bronzer lightly all over my face and neck area to give me some healthy oook but don’t do all the time.
So primer & highliters are the newest introduction everything else remains same.

Deborah S. Avatar

Although I am sure that many of the changes I have made over the years are related to changes in my technique, adjusting to changes related to ageing and my personal preferences, I think one of the biggest changes has been in the industry itself. The formula’s are better, the products apply better and are formulated to give the best possible outcome. The tools for application have improved and that impacts how things look more than what many might think.
Back in the day you pretty much applied makeup with your hands and the cheap brushes that came with the products. The foam brushes that came in eye shadows were about all that was available. They feel completely out of favor and most people just throw them away, although, I have found that they apply shimmer shades and glitter very well. While I have made changes I think most are related to my change in preferences rather than to trends or fads. I don’t really care about makeup rules and feel like at my age, I just want to enjoy makeup and not be so serious about it. Consequently, I wear shimmer on my eyes most days. I wear shimmery eyes, cheeks, lips and skin all at the same time and not care that I look like a disco ball. I have made some adaptions to deal with my hooded lids that are related to ageing, but mostly, I just lament the fact that my eye shadow is never going to look the same as it does on others with more real estate.

Rachel R. Avatar

I started wearing full makeup at 14 and now I’m 49, so there has been to much change to go into detail here.

These days, I wear a larger variety of products than ever, due to more time and money, and more product availability. My application technique has improved, and I try to keep updated with the times. Face and eye primers coming out in the 90s were life-changers. I started using brushes for everything, instead of just for blush. In my 40s, I started getting my eyebrows waxed. The last few years, I’ve had to start filling them in, as they aren’t as lush as they used to be.

Perimenopause-induced hormone changes means my skin can change type. So now, instead of using just the one powder foundation, I own a foundation wardrobe. Now most days I wear liquid. My skin is usually still oily, but not the constant super-oily slick it used to be. Some weeks, though, it’s more combination with an oily T-zone, or even normal with dry cheeks.

I wear a greater variety of blush shades and vampy lipsticks. I used to rarely wear matte eyeshadows, but I’ve come to appreciate them. I like colors I didn’t before such as olive, khaki, mustard yellow, orange, and taupe (I blame Christine for converting me with the beautiful, shimmery, high-end taupe shadows she reviews).

Natalia Avatar

Sure it has. Much more work on the complexion, lots of product layering there. Primer oil is my best friend, as well as moisturizers.

Brushes are also something that came to my life relatively recently. Before I only used what came with a product 🙂

Crease? What crease? No such concept until a good few years ago, one single shadow, done. Add eyeshadow blending there as well.

Emilie Avatar

There have been a lot of changes here and there, but I’d say the one most related to aging has just been switching from super mattifying to more hydrating products. I also went through the eye-makeup only phase. More recently, I’ve found ways to be more minimal with my makeup if I’m in a rush whereas two years ago it would have been all or nothing.

Sheila Avatar

When I first started wearing makeup, a family friend who is an aesthetician showed me how to apply it and since I was just 14, taught me a simple, classic look. For some reason I never really experimented with makeup in my youth. As I entered my professional career and had a job in training, I went to Clinique and had a makeover done there. I learned more techniques but again, very simple, classic, professional looks only. It’s really just been the last couple of years that I started to explore and experiment with fun, colorful looks. Now I tend to do over the top, colorful looks most of the time. When I do use neutral colors, I have to have a standout shimmer for some pop, or add a bold lip. I too, have had to change my technique due to very hooded eyes but that doesn’t stop me from creating super fun looks! I have more fun with makeup now in my 40’s than I ever did when I was younger!

Gabriela Avatar

I used to go with full coverage, matte foundation and red glossy lips, all my lip products were red haha and now I’m using matte- natural light to medium coverage foundations, mauvey-pink/brown – nude lipsticks with creamy formulas, I’m also getting into eyeshadow, back in the day all I wore was mascara, but then again paired with a red lip so maybe it was better that way haha

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!