Eye makeup is DIY magic. In just a few minutes, crepey and tired eyes can look fresher, lifted and wide awake. The truth is that at 50, we could all use a master class in eye makeup. That’s because even eyes that have benefited from a surgical lift, Botox injections to smooth lines, or a diligent use of eye cream will eventually show the effects of genes, sun damage and the loss of collagen and estrogen. I asked legendary makeup artist Sandy Linter (who has worked with Diana Ross, Christie Brinkley, Naomi Campbell and Sigourney Weaver) for her current top tips … and added my own beauty-editor advice. Here are six tricks that will update your outlook fast.
1. Prep lids with primer
As eyes age, eyelid skin — which is extremely thin to start with — can go slack and look rumpled or pleated. “Everyone seems to have crepey, loose, textured lids to some degree,” Linter says. “Patting on a base coat of primer makes makeup application easier and prevents it from creasing, feathering and smearing later on.” Mature lids may be warm (so makeup disappears quickly and liners smear) or cool (so powder shadows resist blending and liners skip or drag). “I use a cream shadow/primer like the MAC Pro Long Wear Paint Pot in Painterly ($25, maccosmetics.com) for both situations to absorb extra moisture, but also to provide a silky base layer that smooths out lid texture,” Linter adds. You can, of course, use a plain eye primer, but tinted cream shadow also conceals redness and lid discolorations and can be worn as shadow on its own. Two low-cost alternatives are Revlon ColorStay Creme Eyeshadow in Creme Brulee or Praline ($11, walgreens.com) and Burt’s Bees Color Nurture Cream Eyeshadow in Caramel Buttercream, Honey Caramel or Rose Cream ($10, cvs.com).
2. Doubling up liners adds control and intensity
Eyeliner is essential for restoring definition to mature eyes. However, no-longer-firm lids can make liner application challenging. One of Linter’s signature makeup tricks is using double liner. “I always double line the eyes, starting first with a soft pencil in black or dark brown, which I blend out with a small firm eye brush,” she says. “I retrace that with a liquid liner or a soft eye shadow in the same color to intensify the effect. Liquid gives a clean, defined look, and powder a softer, smokier one. If you see any waviness in the line, take a cotton swab with a narrow tip designed for makeup use, like the Fran Wilson Eye Tees Precision Makeup Applicator Cotton Tips ($4 for 80, sallybeauty.com), and soften the wiggle to correct it. Those with very crepey lids who find liquid liner challenging but prefer its strong definition and stay-put ability can try a gel liner as the double. Nars Climax Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Explicit Black ($24, sephora.com) has a soft tip and is easier to apply on loose lids than those with a very firm tip — which are great but work better on smooth, firm lids.” Look to a budget-friendly option, like the Almay All-Day Intense Gel Eyeliner in Deep Chestnut and Rich Black ($8, target.com), as an alternative to liquid liner, and the E.L.F. Cosmetics Bite Size Eyeshadow Palette in Truffles ($3, ulta.com), which has both dark brown and black powder shadow in its palette for double lining. For a steadier line, try resting your elbows on a counter or table while looking into the mirror, and gently pull the eye taut at the outer corner to smooth the lid while you line.