Want to appear more youthful? In this article we discuss the things that make us look older and what you can do about it.
15 THINGS THAT MAKE US LOOK OLDER
Perhaps you don’t want to look younger but most of us certainly don’t want to appear older. I’d like to think that most of us want to appear youthful and hip.
Let’s look at some examples of what can date us or make us appear older and how to fix it.
1. TOO MUCH OR THE WRONG COLOR MAKEUP
As we get older, our coloring softens and dark or bright colors that once worked for us may overwhelm us now. Know which colors suit your skin tone.
If you don’t know if you are warm or cool then go to a make-up counter and try on yellow and blue based lipstick and blush colors to see what suits you best.
You can view many of our make-up tips here.
Also, find out the best mascaras for women over 40.
HOW TO LOOK YOUNGER: CHANGE YOUR MAKE-UP ROUTINE
Consider what decade you learned to apply makeup. If you are still using those techniques and colors, it is time to up-date. Below are some changes to think about:
HOW TO LOOK YOUNGER NATURALLY: DON’T WEAR TOO MUCH EYELINER
Rather than a liquid eyeliner, try an eye pencil and smudge a bit after application to soften the line.
Or apply eye shadow with a small angled brush as the liner. For more info read How to apply eyeliner after 40.
Rachel (above) achieves the perfect balance between natural and glamorous with her eye make-up.
Sisley Paris Phyto-Khol Star Sparkling Waterproof Liner
DON’T MATCH YOUR EYE SHADOW COLOR TO YOUR OUTFIT
We’re not in the 1980’s anymore. Go for a softer, natural look and avoid shimmer as this will magnify any crepiness.
LOOK YOUNGER BY SAYING NO TO THICK FULL COVERAGE FOUNDATION
Consider a tinted moisturizer or a lighter weight foundation and apply only to the center of the face and blend outwards. Also see: the best foundation for mature skin.
CHANEL VITALUMIÈRE AQUA Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Sunscreen Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15
AVOID TOO DARK OR MATTE LIPSTICKS
Our lips thin with age and a dark or matte colour will make lips look even thinner.
Try a crème or pearl colour and rather than dark go for a brighter or lighter color. Check out some of Sylvia’s favorite lipsticks.
MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Modesty
TOO MUCH BLUSH AND IN THE WRONG AREA
Don’t opt for anything too harsh and obvious when it comes to your blusher. Try using a natural colored blush on the apples of your cheeks to create a youthful glow.
Apply sparingly along the cheek bone and blend, blend, blend.
Laura Mercier Blush Colour Infusion Powder Blush
HOW TO LOOK YOUNGER AT 40 OR BEYOND: STAY AWAY FROM TOO DARK A LIP LINER
Lip liners should match the lipstick color. You don’t want an obvious line around your lips, but a lip liner can be a useful tool to prevent lipstick from bleeding into fine lines.
EMPHASIZING EYES AND LIPS
As with clothes, choose one star and the rest as supporting players.
If you are wearing a dramatic lipstick, keep the blush and eye shadows softer.
Dionne (above) chooses to emphasize your eyes and leaves her lips looking full and natural.
2. EYEGLASSES OR SUNGLASSES THAT ARE YEARS OLD OR NO LONGER FASHIONABLE.
Eyeglasses and sunglasses follow trends just as fashion does and should be considered just as necessary to update.
An easy and inexpensive way to modernize your style is to pick up a few pair of sunglasses. Perhaps a sportier and an elegant pair for different outfits.
Consider your face shape, skin tone and personality when selecting glasses. Our face shape and coloring will change with age, so you may need to select a different frame shape and color now.
Oxana (above) opts for timeless sunglasses that will never look dated.
Salvatore Ferragamo 55mm Cat Eye Sunglasses
Also see on how to find the right glasses for you.
If you have prescription glasses a good reminder to change is when you get a new prescription.
Tom Ford 53mm Cat Eye Blue Light Blocking Glasses
If you have changed your hair color or if you go grey, you may want to consider a lighter color or a silver frame.
Also take a look at the best glasses to buy after 40.
3. HAIRSTYLE OR HAIR COLOUR THAT HASN’T CHANGED IN YEARS.
How long is too long to keep the same hairstyle or color? The running joke is whether you’ve had the same style for so long that it’s popular again.
Seriously, if your hairstyle is from another decade, it’s time to change.
Our hair changes with age. It may get thinner, coarser, less curly or frizzier. Our face shape may also change, so a hairstyle that suited us in our 30s may not be the most flattering in our 50s.
TIPS FOR HOW TO STAY LOOKING YOUNG – WITH YOUTHFUL HAIR
YOUTHFUL LOOKING HAIR HAS MOVEMENT
Stay away from too many styling products and too much hairspray as this will make hair look stiff and unnatural.
ONE OVERALL DARK COLOR IS AGING
A few highlights around the face and crown will add softness and create a more natural look.
Highlights, lowlights, ombre or balayage will add interest, definition and a modern look with any hair colour.
Sara (above) opts for a youthful, on-trend blunt bob which she styles with a little wave.
GREY HAIR CAN BE DRY, FRIZZY OR COARSE
If you’ve let your hair go naturally grey, you should use specialized products for grey hair to keep it moisturized and prevent yellowing.
If you’re wondering whether you should go gray or not, you may enjoy the discussion in our article: To grey or not to grey.
L’Oreal Paris EverPure Brass Toning Purple Shampoo and Conditioner Kit
Check this article for more fabulous gray hairstyles.
CONSIDER YOUR HAIR TEXTURE
If you have curly hair and fought with it all your life you may want to go with your natural curls now.
Natalie (above) looks fabulous by emphasizing her natural curls.
You may like to check our article on how to manage curly hair.
TAKE THE ADVICE FROM YOUR HAIRDRESSER
When you get a new haircut, have your hairstylist show you how to style it. Styling techniques and products have changed over the years.
TWEAK YOUR CLASSIC STYLE
Even if a classic haircut such as a bob is your style of choice, you can tweak it with more layers, fewer layers, angled or longer or shorter. Even subtle changes make a difference.
4. WEARING TOO MUCH BLACK
There’s no denying that black outfits can be effortlessly cool. They can also be slimming.
However wearing black close to your face can also have a draining effect, making wrinkles and dark circles appear more prominent.
That doesn’t mean you have to give up on black completely.
You can always wear a scarf or statement jewelry next to your face over your black to make your complexion look brighter and more youthful.
Or you could keep your black on your bottom half and wear a more flattering color on your top half.
Jeanne (above) opts to wear black, but chooses a face-framing statement necklace to flatter her skin tone, as well as bright lipstick.
TZ Promise Cashmere Feel Scarf
5. OVER PLUCKING YOUR EYEBROWS
Just like clothing trends, eyebrow trends change. While full brows were on trend in the 60s, by the time the 90s and 2000s came around, thinner brows were the way to go, meaning many of us overplucked our brows.
If you are still plucking your eyebrows to create a thin shape, you might want to let your natural brows grow as the current trend is definitely about bigger brows.
As most of us have found out, however, our eyebrows may not grow back. To compensate, use a powder or pencil to fill in the sparse areas. Also check: how to get the perfect eyebrows.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo
This is a positive trend for women over 40 as a well-defined brow can definitely give a youthful appearance as well as creating definition for the rest of your face.
6. WEARING SHAPELESS OUTFITS CAN PREVENT YOU FROM LOOKING YOUNGER THAN YOUR AGE
Too often, as we age we end up trying to disguise parts of our body that we don’t like. And, that is, of course, fine up to a point.
But the idea is to play down the areas you aren’t so keen on, and emphasize the areas you like, rather than to hide your whole figure.
For ideas on what will flatter your, take a look at the guidelines on how to dress your body shape – whether you are an hourglass, a pear shape, rectangle, inverted triangle or apple.
Shameka (above) makes sure to define her waist with a cinched dress.
7. WEARING THE WRONG SIZE BRA
There’s no doubt that gravity can have an effect when we get older. Sagging is just part of the natural aging process. After menopause, a natural drop in oestrogen can make breast tissue less elastic.
If you’ve been wearing the same size bra for decades, it could be time to change.
Not only will you be more comfortable, but you will have a more youthful silhouette.
Wacoal Instant Icon T-Shirt Bra
Plus, by making sure that there is a clear division between where your bust ends and the rest of your torso begins, you can ensure that you don’t look bigger than you really are.
Also take a look at the best bras for big busts.
8. NOT TAKING CARE OF YOUR HANDS
While you may have an established skincare routine for your face, how about for your hands?
Hands are often one of the first places that we start to show our age. Making sure that you protect your hands from the sun, and that you give them the nourishment they need can ensure that your hands don’t age prematurely.
9. Wearing frumpy shoes
As you age, you may find that you need shoes which are more comfortable, or you are simply no longer prepared to suffer for fashion anymore.
However, there’s no need to wear typical “old lady” shoes. There are now plenty of shoes that are both on-trend and comfortable.
Kurt Geiger London Olive Eye Mule
Take a look at the best arch support shoes to choose.
10. Wearing floral prints
It can be tricky to wear florals as they can have something of an “old lady”reputation. However, if you choose the right florals and add modern touches like Bev (above) you can definitely still look youthful.
Tommy Bahama Fabulous Floral Cotton & Silk Popover Top
However, the jeans (below) would be a way to wear florals with a bit of an edge.
HUE Ultra Soft Denim High Waist Capri Jeans
11. Wearing the “wrong” skirt length
Midi skirts are definitely back on trend. But, they can be tricky to wear. The key is to choose a length that ends at the slimmest part of your legs.
Melinda (above) adds a modern element to her midi skirt by choosing a high-low style.
12. Wearing nude tights
While nude hose may be the preserve of the British royal family, they can be hard to wear without looking old-fashioned.
A safer option is to choose a pair of black opaque tights like Jas (above).
Swedish Stockings Lia Opaque Tights
13. Not looking after your teeth
Aging can lead to thinning tooth enamel which can naturally make your teeth look yellow. However, yellowing teeth could also be down to a build up of stains.
A toothpaste designed to remove stains may help to give your teeth, and therefore your smile, a more youthful appearance.
Colgate Optic White Renewal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
14. Wearing all the trends…
While I always think it’s important to at least be aware of the latest trends so you can decide whether or not they will work with your style, if you wear every trend of the season together in one outfit, it can look as if you’re trying too hard to be current.
Wearing all of the latest trends that you might expect to see on teenagers or women much younger can draw attention to your age rather than making you look youthful.
Kim (above) shows how you can mix latest trends with classic style for a fantastic look.
15. Or, wearing none of the trends
You may find you get stuck in a style rut and only wear what you think are “age appropriate” clothes. But, there’s really no such thing.
Even if you love a classic, timeless style, you can still play around with your looks in subtle ways to add modernity.
Cheryl (above), for example, sticks to a classic black sweater, but adds one of the latest trends – reptile textures – with her boots.
Dune London Savoir Knee High Boot
CHANGE IS GOOD!
Remember change is good and think of all the possibilities and fun you’ll have making those changes.
For more tips on staying youthful after 40, check out our tips on how to dress after 40 and still look hip.
How do you keep yourself modern and hip and what do you think will date us and make us look older?
- How To Look Hip And Beautiful With The Right Glasses
- How To Apply Eyeliner After 40 & The Best Ones To Use!
- How To Dress After 40 And Look Hip?
LIKE THIS ARTICLE ON THE THINGS THAT DATE US OR MAKE US LOOK OLDER? SAVE IT ON PINTEREST!
Feature image by Kim
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I agree with all your tips in this article, Sylvia, and I find Kim’s look absolutely fantastic!
It important for women to understand that our season doesn’t change with age. You may need to wear some of your lighter colors as you age but you are still a Spring, Fall, Winter or Summer in your seasons colors. It does not matter if you go grey!
Everyone should read “Color me beautiful” by Carole Jackson. I know its from the 80s but her info still holds up.
Knowing if youre a winter, spring, fall or summer (warm or cool) will change your life!
I remember the Color Me Beautiful book! I was definitely a Winter. Now that my dark hair has gone gray and my pale skin is a little less rosy, the blacks and jewel tones completely overwhelm my coloring, making me look washed out. I’ve found that softer, less saturated colors, preferably with a touch of a light gray undertone, are much more flattering.
Those “cat eye” glasses should be a thing of the past. My hair is white, short and curly and I consider that to be a blessing. 71 years old.
I am 71 and Cat Eye glasses flatter me. I also have others but Cat Eyes bring the face up. That is good when our faces start drooping.
Please note that no matter how hard we try, there is a HUGE difference between 40 and 75-80. There’s nothing we can do about our wrinkled necks (except hide them), our horribly thin hair (except wear a wig), and our now fat lower bodies. We can watch what we eat and keep our weight under control…but many “over 40” clothing suggestions are frankly terrible for 75-80 year olds.
I so much agree & that goes for bras also. You can’t find a bra that holds you up anymore I’m 85 so I guess I just have to hang low.
Some of the women in those pictures did not look over 65…or over 70 or … You get the idea. It’s like looking at ads for “mother of the groom”, not unless they are marrying off their 8 year old child.
Let’s show real ages.
We aim to feature a variety of ages and body types on this site. If you’d like to be featured, post your images on Instagram and tag your photos with #40plusstyle
Nice article and I totally agree about the ‘no eyeliner’ and ‘no shimmer on eye shadows’, although it’s difficult to find matt shadows especially on pale colours – I use a really pale face powder instead. And I would add ‘no mascara on lower lashes’ too. But I’m going to argue with the dictum that we shouldn’t match eye shadow to clothes because we’re not in the 80s any more. So what? I think matching glasses to clothes looks really snappy, and if glasses (and earrings), why not eyeshadows? I don’t mean a whole, psychedelic eyelid, but I add a little of an appropriate colour to my basic brown and cream palette (dark hazel eyes) and I think it works really well.
Jane – I only add mascara to my upper lashes too – as I find no matter whether I then spray on primer afterwards, my mascara runs if I put it on lower lashes, and I end up with Panda eyes!
I need to put mascara on my lower lashes as they are blonde. Otherwise it looks like I don’t have any lashes.
NO ONE needs to have my hair color until its naturally white. I don’t mean bleached blondes…I mean YOUNGER girls under 50 with dull gray mouse hair…WHY?
My hair went from a beautiful chocolate to snow white….not in between.
I think we’ve all experimented with hair color. I certainly have as my hair is neither blonde nor brown but something between (with a bit of gray mixed in now!). So I tend to go for an ash blonde. Your white hair sounds beautiful!
I just turned 72. I used to be a median redhead as I got older it started turning white. With my light skin I started using a light golden brown that looks a medium auburn on me. Now I’m thinking I need to go with a silver weave. What do you think. And a softer shoulder high cut. Me hair is long..
Why not give it a try and see if you like it?
I’ve found staying modern is the key to looking younger. Though age appropriate, my hair, clothes and shoes are up-to-date, as well as, my conversation. I stay in tune with what’s happening. Being a mature woman is wonderful but looking older, not so much!
Where can an older woman go to learn how to apply and purchase makeup? I have gone to department stores in the makeup departments and the women would have no eye contact with me. They only want young women. I went to Sephora once and she made me look like a clown. Thank you.
It sounds like you have been very unlucky. Perhaps you can try Bobbi Brown. As with any makeup store the quality depends largely on the person that helps you though. You can find some of our beauty tips at https://40plusstyle.com/category/beauty-tips-for-women/
If you have an Ultra Store, they usually have a consultant there to help you. You have to ask. But she matched me perfectly for foundation a lipstick.
Ugh. I know what you mean… Sephora is the WORST for this. They seem to only have young girls/women working there, who simply have no personal understanding of mature skincare/cosmetics… and yes, I have seen mature women come out looking clownish or even “hard looking” after one of their makeovers. Personally, I find that I get the best info on products and methods of using them online.
look up Trinny London.
it’s what you need. wonderful
I finally found a place (between baltimore & dc) that did an over-50 makeup session which changed my life (meaning I threw away all my old makeup tubes & habits). She patiently teaches and listens. I work part-time under factory lights & wanted light coverage that was suitable. That was two years ago & I’m still following her advice. Faces by Brandi, if I’m allowed to share the name.
Youtube has videos for literally everything. This search is a good one: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=makeup+tutorial+mature+skin+beginners
Depending upon your skin type or colour, you can further refine your search:
Everyday makeup techniques for mature skin – https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=glowing+youthful+day+makeup+tutorial+for+mature+skin+
Makeup techniques to hide fine lines – https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=makeup+tutorial+mature+skin+fine+lines
The nice part is that you don’t even have to leave your house, and many of the videos have product recommendations.
Once you have a sense of what you want to do (minimize lines, highlight certain features), head out to the store again, and walk right up to a salesperson. Tell them what you are looking to do. If you already know the product you want, tell them: if not, ask for their help. Many of them are enthusiastic to help people who want to look better.
You’ve got this. You can do it!
I’ve never had a good experience with the makeup consultants at Sephora–even when I was younger. They seem very inexperienced. I always had better experience in higher end department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue–or even Macy’s. I also had better luck reading tips online and practicing on myself than the advice the Sephora consultants gave. Bobbie Brown is supposed to be especially good for mature women.
I love Mary Kay. It’s tried and true. Its been around for years. They have a variety of skin care products and light weight foundations and you can get a personal consultation. I’ve used it for years and I would never stray. I would recommend it to anyone to try.
Try Clinique, I worked there in my late 40’s early 50’s and their color choices are much more appropriate for mature women.
hair too tidy, clothes, hairdos, makeup, shoes which you wore in your youth. Posture and body language can make a person look very old.
I think, wearing the wrong shoes and jewelry can age you. Also, don’t forget about taking good care of your teeth.
This is a great list and I’d add one more — wearing the wrong colors can really age you. The right colors make you glow, the wrong colors highlight the bags under your eyes, they make you look sallow or grey or white. Make sure that you choose colors that are harmonious with you. Some of the colors you were able to pull off in your youth may not be doing you any favors now.
Great point Joan. Wearing the right colours is even more important as we get older.
What about older women in our 70 or 80s we are all living longer I am 84 live alone drive work and socialize There is an entire population that is never addressed Thanks for asking for feed back. Roslyn Marcus
the articles on this site are for all women over 40 🙂
Thanks for these tips! I go once a year to a make-up artist and ask for tips and colors! That is helpfull!
I went silver a few years ago and had to get rid of all my brown toned clothes – they really fight the gray hair color making it look dingy.
Most of my outfits are black, silver, gray, white, with pops of turquoise & blues.
A tip for longer silver hair is brush and style your hair then when finished use the vo5 hairdressing in the tube for silver on the ends and a bit anywhere you have unruly or frizz. Works great.