A Pro Answers Your Biggest Makeup-Over-50 Questions

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
woman sitting at a makeup table

When I first started taking photos for Empty Nest Blessed, I decided that it would be fun to have my makeup done for a few photo shoots. Although I don’t do it all of the time, I really like to do it! It’s challenging to put yourself out there in photos, and It gives me confidence to know that a pro is making me look as good as I possibly can! When I was looking for a makeup artist who could help, someone recommended Bebe Tran.

I loved her immediately because she told me that my makeup-free face was beautiful before we even got started! She got so excited about doing my makeup, and it was incredible to see a true pro in action! We’ve become good friends, and I’ve loved watching her grow her business and establish her own salon. Over the years, I’ve peppered her with dozens of questions, and she’s patiently answered each and every one.

I’ve written a lot on beauty over 50—those are some of my most popular posts—and you all have asked me lots of questions too! Sometimes I know the answer, or can share tips of my own, but I thought it would be an even better idea to pose your questions to Bebe so that we could get a real professional’s perspective! So, without further ado, let’s jump in and talk makeup over 50, shall we?

Makeup Over 50: Less is More?

I’ve heard that women should wear less makeup the older they get. How do you suggest they do that? 

Bebe: That’s true! I’ve always believed that less is more. We tend to get drier as we get older so using a water-based foundation or a foundation with a built-in anti-aging serum will help plump and hydrate your skin throughout the day. Be sure to use a hydrating eye serum or brightening cream around your eyes because it will help plump fine lines so your makeup won’t settle in them, emphasizing those lines even more. I usually use a light to medium coverage foundation on my mature clients as opposed to full coverage or oil-free foundation. Also, a squalane + hyalulronic acid toning mist or rosewater mist is a great addition to your make-up kit. It can help to refresh your makeup and remoisturized your skin throughout the day. On Suzy, I always use a dewy finish setting spray when we finish her makeup.

Makeup Over 50: Best Foundations

What foundations do you recommend for women over fifty?

With Anti-Aging Serum

Water-Based Foundations

Natural Finish + Buildable Coverage

Compact Foundation + SPF

Spray Foundation

Makeup Over 50: What to Toss

Are there some products that women over fifty should just get rid of all together?

When I do one-on-one makeup classes with my mature clients, I find that every one of them has a couple of items that they need to toss out of their make-up bag. Throw away shimmery or glittery eyeshadows, oil-free or full coverage under eye concealer, and full coverage or oil-free foundation.

Makeup Over 50: Concealer

How do I apply concealer so it covers the dark circles but doesn’t show the wrinkles? 

Remember less is more and hydration is key for any products that go on your undereye areas. The easiest way to help diminish dark circles is to color correct with an orange concealer before putting on your foundation and a brightening primer. My favorite orange concealer is the Make-up Forever Self-Setting Concealer in Almond #40. I love the entire Make-up Forever Self-Setting Concealer line because it’s very moisturizing. Other brightening concealers I recommend are the Dior Flash Luminizer Radiance Booster Pen or the YSL Touche Eclat Brightening Pen.

Makeup Over 50: Age Spots

How should I cover age spots?

I would color correct the age spot first with orange concealer (Make-up Forever Self-Setting Concealer in Almond #40) and then foundation and brightening concealer, Apply it using a “patting” motion to get more coverage.

Makeup Over 50: Dry Skin

No matter what foundation I use on my skin it always tends to make my skin look dry! Help!

Use a line of skincare that is made specifically for dry skin. Use both serums and creams for your skincare as opposed to a gel-based facial cream. Follow your skincare regimen both day and night. (Not just once a day.) Drink a lot of water. Use a water-based foundation or a foundation with a built-in serum. Carry squalane + hyaluronic acid toning mist or rosewater mist around to spritz when you feel dry or need to freshen up your make-up.

Makeup Over 50: Which Comes First?

Should you put on under-eye concealer first or foundation first?

Put on your foundation first and then under-eye concealer. The exception to this would be if you are color correcting. If that’s the case, then color correct, use foundation, and then concealer on top.

Makeup Over 50: Lipstick Bleed

How can I keep lipstick from bleeding out of my lip lines?

I always like to use a lip liner to keep lipstick from bleeding out of the lip line. A good one is Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil. It creates an invisible barrier so your lipstick won’t bleed.

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What do you suggest to keep mascara from smearing undereye as the day goes on? I don’t want to use powder because I think it will make that area look even drier and make the lines show more.

Using a waterproof mascara like Lancome Hypnôse Drama Instant Full Body Volume Waterproof Mascara can help. It’s the best one I’ve found for staying put. (I use it on lots of brides or mother-of-the-brides who will be crying before the wedding day is done! Just before applying, gently blot the undereye area with good-for-your-skin green tea infused blotting papers.

Makeup Over 50: Mascara Application

When I put on mascara the tips of my eyelashes, it always gets on my eye shadow! What can I do to prevent that? I’m afraid if I put mascara on first, the eye shadow will get on the lashes!

When putting on mascara, open your eyes wide when you’re putting it on the base of your lashes. When applying mascara to the tips, look slightly down and wait for it to dry before opening your eyes completely.

Thank you, Bebe, for answering all of our questions! To learn more about Bebe Tran, her salon B-Lashed Beauty & Bridal Bar, and the services she provides, visit her website. (BTW, it’s not listed, but she also does one-on-one makeup lessons via Skype or Facetime.) For more of her tips and product recommendations, see this post. To check out the lash lift and tint she did on my natural lashes, click here.

woman looking at camera


Over-50 Makeup Tips From A Professional Makeup Artists

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Suzy Mighell

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    1. Isn’t Bebe just a font of knowledge? I quiz her every time I see her! Hahaha! Thanks for reading & commenting! xoxo Suzy

  1. Hi Suzy, thank you for all of the information! It is all so helpful!
    Could you tell me what you use to remove waterproof mascara as well as all of your makeup?

    1. Hi LB!
      So glad you found the post helpful! Bebe recommends Rosehip oil (https://rstyle.me/~aRfDh) for waterproof mascara removal. Lately I’ve been using Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Oil (https://rstyle.me/~aQqAA) to remove all of my makeup, including mascara. (I usually don’t wear waterproof, but it works on that too.) Also, Micellar Cleansing Water (https://rstyle.me/~aRfDI). Hope that helps! So glad you asked! xoxo Suzy

  2. Another great article! I am loving my 3 new eye creams/serum from your last post. Interested in the MFE hydrating concealer now. Was wondering if you now prefer one of these foundations to the IT Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer? Getting ready to purchase new as I’m almost out and would love to know! Thank you, Suzy!

    1. Lori, I still adore that IT Cosmetics product, but it is full coverage! I also have the Make Up Forever Water Based foundation Bebe talks about in here, but that’s the only one I’ve tried so far! I like it but am concerned about SPF so I may try the one that she recommended with SPF in it. I do need a lighter one, for sure and was just thinking this morning that I need to shop my own post! ???? ???? ???? Lots of these recommendations were products she had never told me about before – because now we’re such pals we end up talking about our families when we’re together instead of makeup! Hahaha! Hope that helps! Thank you for reading and for this good question! I’d love to know what you try and what you think! xoxo Suzy

    1. LeAna,
      The color corrector is easy to order, so don’t worry! I’m so glad you learned something! Thanks for your comment. xoxo Suzy

  3. Hi Suzy! I was excited to read your post on makeup tips from your friend Bibi…. she has tips that we can all benefit from and you look great in the pictures!….however , I have recently decided to support cosmetic companies that do not test on animals,and there are so many to choose from! Have you tried any cruelty free make up or hair care products?….your hair is so pretty, is there a tutorial? I have wavy hair and would love to know your styling routine!

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