How Can You Adapt Your Eye Make-Up As You Age?

From glittery eyeshadows to sophisticated looks, Polly Smith shares tips and tricks on how to change your eye make-up as you age…

For most of us, learning the key parts of applying make-up is a pivotal part of entering womanhood. From the initial glittery eyeshadows and gaudy lip from the nearest pharmacy to the more understated and sophisticated looks that we adapt and discover as we grow into ourselves. It is these basic skills that carry each one of us through a lifetime – however, as we evolve, mature and adapt so must our make-up tools, both literally and figuratively.

In today’s society, the height of natural beauty for a woman has long been considered in her twenties; at this stage, skin is still fresh, taut, unblemished and clear of lines – it’s no wonder most models are in their twenties! This is usually also a key time for make-up application – social lives blossom, women are more aware of themselves and how they present themselves to the world, therefore make-up tends to hold a key focus for this newly forming identity.

AdobeStock_84395505However, as we naturally age, these tried and tested techniques need some changing up – the dewy complexion we took for granted for the first 30 years sadly won’t quite glow in the same way as one enters their 5th decade. In the same vein, the bright lips and dark eyes that were our go-to styles can appear harsh and ageing as we mature.

So how do we know the pitfalls to avoid? Below we have covered all the bases, literally, to ensure your make-up is always age-appropriate and making you look as fabulous as you feel!

20’s – Now is the time to shine!

This decade is all about being fun, playful, and above all else, experimenting with your make-up colours and styles. Whilst your skin still has the natural glow of youth, you can get away with a lot more styles using a lot less make-up! When it comes to choosing your base, go for a sheer, oil-free foundation that lets your skin show through* – in this decade you have nothing to hide.  Eyes and lips can be bold and attention-grabbing without looking overworked – take the time to find the perfect red lip** and learn to apply it well. For eyes, the entire rainbow is your oyster – go for glitters, true blacks and as many neon-brights as you wish.


Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Colour

Products available in the market for your age: 

*We like Benefit’s Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow make-up with its light diffusing properties and light to medium coverage that lets your skin breathe (AED 145)

**Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Colour in Red Carpet – long-lasting colour that suits all skin tones, this beauty won’t dry out your lips and won’t budge for 8 hours (AED 110)

30’s – Light coverage but not over the hill yet!



As you reach your thirties, natural wear and tear begins to show – fine lines and sun damage will start to appear and you need to adjust your base and eye make-up accordingly. Primer is your friend before all other products – this will ensure the make-up glides on, stays put and doesn’t dry out your skin*. For eyes, instead of falling back on the trusty black kohl of your twenties, opt for a softer look such as a bronze-plum, that will brighten your eyes without making them appear smaller**, and of course, masses of mascara to keep you looking wide-eyed and awake.

Products available in the market for your age: 

*We like Dermalogica Skin Perfect Primer for all over preparation (AED 187)

**Try Dolce and Gabbana Mono Colour Eye Cream Eyeshadow in Dahlia for a subtler smokey eye (AED 132)

40’s – Keep moisture locked in!

At this point, most people will start to see age spots and more defined wrinkles, particularly around the eyes. Instead of piling on foundation, this decade calls for moisturiser, a great skin-tone corrector* and a lighter hand to cover up those imperfections. For the delicate eye area, go for slate greys and browns to softly enhance your peepers, plus neutral but gorgeous eyeshadows** such as golds, taupes and chocolates. This is not about shying away from the spotlight, but about working with what you have and becoming a classic beauty.


Body Shop’s Shimmer Cube Palette

Products available in the market for your age: 

*Try Stila One Step Correct to minimise redness and age spots easily (AED 135)

**Go for Body Shop’s Shimmer Cube Palette in Spring Bronze for long-lasting, gorgeous colour (AED 89)

50’s – You’ve still got it!

Many women make the mistake of wearing less make-up in their fifties in fear of the “caked-on” look once skin has lost its natural elasticity; however, the key here is to use the same amount, but applied in very fine delicate layers to smooth out any crepey texture that has crept in over the years. Be sure to start with a good anti-aging serum as a primer, followed by a feather-light foundation with light-diffusing particles to hide lines and wrinkles and soften the look of your skin*. Don’t make the mistake of thinking black mascara is too harsh – the whites of your eyes start to discolour with age so the contrasting black helps keep them looking bright and clear.

Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere foundation

Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere foundation

 When it comes to eyeshadows and kohl pencils**, cotton buds are your friends – these hard working tools will ensure no lines are too hard and you can use them to blend and ensure a soft, but still striking look.

Products available in the market for your age: 

*Try Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere foundation for a light, luminous finish (AED 215)

**Charlotte Tilbury’s Rock n Kohl in Veruschka Mink is a fantastic shade and blends beautifully (AED 99)