Makeup is a personal choice, and while plenty of women feel fine without it, others like to experiment.
But we know there are different tricks to getting certain cosmetics to work well as we age. The loss of collagen in our faces over time (which happens to literally everyone) along with fine lines and wrinkles means that what worked for you at age 30 isn’t always going to be your best bet at 50 or 60.
Luckily, there’s a way to apply your eye makeup – and particularly eyeliner – so your eyes look bright and lively. And as a bonus, you don’t have to worry about makeup moving around during the day because of loose, crepey skin.
We’ll give you the whole tutorial, but Step 5 below is the eyeliner trick.
Step 1: Primer
Schellea Fowler of fabulous50s starts out by suggesting a makeup primer on your clean eyelids first to help keep makeup in place.
She uses Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance Primer.
If you use eyeshadow, it gives you less of a chance of having it crease AND gives you more bang for your buck on the color so you don’t have to pile it on. (You certainly don’t have to be 50 to use it – even a 16-year-old’s eyeshadow creases!)
Step 2: Eye Base
Sounds a lot like the first step, right? We feel you. But the results may be worth it if you like to play around with cosmetics, so if you can swing a few new products, give it a try. If not, just pick a primer. This one is probably the better choice if you’re like us and don’t care much about eyeshadow. She’s chosen Sigma Beauty’s Eyeshadow Base Primer.
Fowler glides it on her lower lid to get rid of discoloration. And you can see that it should be roughly the same color as your skin tone.
Then, she taps it in. She has a penchant for doing this with her middle finger, so you’re entitled to a juvenile laugh while watching. You’re never too old for that!
Step 3: Eyeshadow
It’s time for eyeshadow, and she chooses a light color from a Nars palette of neutrals.
The pinky-bisque color is complemented by a darker color along the crease. Again, you’re not alone if this usually ends up in the wrong places after about an hour, but that’s what the primers are meant to prevent.
Fowler starts from the outside and even brings the color down on the outside of her lid a bit – but not beyond the final eyelash. It doesn’t look like much color, but it’s not mean to be – it’s more of a contouring trick to add depth.
Now, you can see she’s added some depth to her eyes in a natural way. It looks nice, even if we are already exhausted at the thought of 3 products before we even get to the eyeliner!
Pro tip: Don’t extend your eye shadow out too far if you have loose skin on your eyelids because it will look like the color is dragged down. After all, we aren’t curing loose skin here, we’re just finding ways to adjust our makeup so we have fewer issues.
Step 4: Make your eyes pop with well-placed color
Ok, so eyes are primed and there’s eyeshadow on the lower lid, with a warmer color in the crease.
Fowler recommends one more step – and that’s taking one of the lightest colors in your palette and placing it on the lower lid right in the center to really brighten things up.
Step 5: Time for eyeliner! The “triangle trick”
Alright, here’s the good stuff. Now, you may have skipped a few steps above, but keep in mind that some of that primer also helps keep your eyeliner from ending up on your upper lid. So if you skip those steps and don’t have luck, maybe try to add them in one at a time.
See the area Fowler is pointing to? That’s where we all get loose skin eventually.
If you’re 20 AND drink enough water and get enough sleep, then that skin is still taut. Yay for you. Ours is not.
We love Fowler’s advice to use eyeSHADOW for this step. You can certainly use a liquid liner of your choosing, but if you’re practicing, eyeshadow might be the best bet because you can clean up smudges more easily (and it’s not so dramatic).
And if your lashes are starting to thin (yet another part of aging to look forward to!), you can modify the colors and use a light or medium grey instead of black.
The first step is to take your clean finger and hold the inside of your eyelid down lightly. This allows you to put on the liner without having your skin move around – it’s much easier to get a straight line this way!
Then, using an eyeliner brush (yes, brushes are key here too – don’t use a thick brush for this!), find the last outer eyelash and draw a tiny line upward.
See the difference here? There’s already more definition.
While it may seem silly, the next step is to come down with the liner or shadow back to the eyelid, creating a steep triangle shape, like so:
Remember, the trick is in the triangle!
Now, fill in the triangle. You’ll notice that the edge of the shadow only goes out to the last lash and NOT the outer crease of the eye. Putting makeup there is not a good idea.
Can you see the little “eye lift” Fowler gave herself with that trick? It’s actually pretty impressive when you compare eyes.
And while winged eyeliner might have worked for you a decade ago, that part of the eyelid simply moves more when there’s extra skin, and any drooping would have simply dragged down the makeup instead of giving you the illusion of lifting the eye.
Step 6: Tightlining
Up close, it might look a little strange to have the triangle without any follow-through across your lid. So now you’ll take the same color and brush (or liquid liner – though we’re starting to see the wisdom of using a dark eyeshadow here instead) and make a very thin line from the outside in.
Keeping it thin and right up against your lash line is called “tightlining.” This is especially helpful when you’re worried about makeup ending up on your top lid as you go through your day.
As Fowler finishes up the other eye, we see just how crucial that first line is. That’s probably what you’ll have to practice the most since you may make it too big or small at first.
But we can’t argue with the results!
Step 7: Finishing it off
If you like your look, these steps aren’t necessary, but you may want to give them a whirl just to see if they work for you.
Fowler goes back in with her eyeliner brush and dark shadow to put some liner beneath her bottom lashes as well, starting from the outside.
You DON’T want to go all the way to the corner with this. That will just give you raccoon eyes. Eyeliner should never go around your whole eye!
Her next step is lashes. Mascara is your friend when you’re doing eyeliner because if you curl your lashes and add mascara to thicken and darken them, they’ll cover any unevenness in your eyeliner but also just help obscure the straight line you drew, giving you a more natural look.
If you curl your eyelashes, Fowler recommends tilting towards your nose as you pump to bring those outer lashes up.
Then apply your mascara (she uses Marc Jacobs – and so do we! – but whatever works for you is just fine). Just be sure to get as close to the bottom as you can without leaving mascara on your lids and FOLLOW THROUGH to the very ends of your lashes. Some of us forget to do this, especially on curled lashes, and if your mascara ends at the center of your lash, you don’t stand a chance of having them start curled all day. So get those tips!
Speaking of tips, OUR pro tip is to run a spoolie with no mascara through your lashes to separate and remove any clumps. Clumpy lashes will ruin everything!
Fowler has a few more steps for those who like to be extra (or need that extra pop). A nude eyeliner on the inside lid (aka your “waterline”), for example, really will make your eyes stand out. And that you can bring in pretty close to the edge of your eye.
She also adds a bit more color underneath her eye at about 8:30 in the video along with a second coat of mascara. For us, that’s overkill, but it may be perfect for you if you like a dramatic look.
And, frankly, we can’t argue that two coats of mascara work well for her!
After taking that light-colored pencil on another pass under her eyes, she fills in her brows (A MUST, but a totally different tutorial) and puts some pink NYX “Lingerie Push Up” color on her lips as well as dabbing some on her cheekbones and taps it in.
Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter does on the very top of the cheekbones to add a sheen that may or may not work for you (the dewy sheen doesn’t work for us).
And now you’re all set! Doesn’t she look great?
Give it a try yourself next time you have a moment to play around and be sure to scroll down below for the whole video tutorial.
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