Remember when “mature” was what we pretended to be and hoped we weren’t called out on otherwise? We might have had it right back then, placing value on being or seeming older. These other-side-of-40 days, no one is aspiring to be mature. At least that’s the impression I get from questions like: What products are best for … mature … skin? Mature said sotto voce as though saying it aloud would invoke Voldemort, Bloody Mary, and the devil all in one.
The predictable alterations growing older makes to our faces happen regardless of whether you speak of them in hushed tones: Brows thin (this one isn’t simply because you over plucked at one point, but that didn’t help). Lip lines lose integrity. Contours around the eyes disappear. Eyelashes become less dense. And skin — the loudest betrayal of all — cracks and folds in places that were reliably smooth.
You might notice the general trend here is that you’re losing stuff: volume, elasticity, density. Makeup can’t stop the inevitabilities or replace them once they’re gone, but the right products used in the right way can lessen the loss.
No matter how many or how few wrinkles you’re dealing with, get to a makeup counter to test different foundations. Look for thin, lightweight formulas that won’t add texture to skin. I’ve previously mentioned my love of La Mer The Soft Fluid Foundation ($110, Saks Fifth Avenue). It looks like my best skin day without any sense of product sitting on my face. Chantecaille Le Camouflage Stylo Concealer Pen ($52, Saks Fifth Avenue) is equally thin in formulation but with plenty of pigment to cover discoloration. Bonus: It’s full of light reflecting mica to banish shadows.
I was a longtime holdout against cream blush. The theory of a cream product blending into the skin to look like a natural flush and not a powdery layer made sense to me, but achieving that took practice. I find blusher is best on top of the cheekbones, away from the apples of the cheeks, for an uplifted impression. I’m currently enamored with Chantecaille Liquid Lumière ($44, Saks Fifth Avenue) in Luster. It’s a lightweight liquid that can be used alone for cheek color or mixed with foundation or skin care for a bit of allover peachy glow.
Bringing out the best for your eyes will also take some training, but I promise at this point in your life you’ve accomplished greater things and can do this too. Think of matte taupe eyeshadow as your eyes’ makeup BFF. Use it to fake the contour of a socket line. Curl your eyelashes (it makes a world of difference, and is completely worth confronting your fear of an eyelash curler), and follow with your favorite volumizing mascara. Any black pencil liner used in between the lashes will give the impression of a fuller lash line.
To combat thinning or sparse brows use a brow gel with a wax thickening agent, like Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows ($22.50, charlottetilbury.com). The spooly is precise enough to catch and distribute product on every hair, even baby-fine ones, for the appearance of fuller brows. I find this type of product to be more natural looking than drawing on the skin with brow pencils or pomades. Go for an ashy shade and avoid shades darker (or more red) than your hair.
This last one is easy, takes zero skill, and makes a big impact. Lancer Volume Enhancing Lip Serum ($42, Sephora) plumps vertical lip lines with the help of Sichuan pepper extract (it tingles a bit, nothing painful) and smooths with hyaluronic acid. I use this during the primer stage of makeup application and allow it to work its magic. This won’t give you bee-stung, filler-injected lips, but it will make them a smoother, plumper canvas for lip product. More like they were when we used to hurl “So mature!” at one another, back when we actually valued growing older.