9 Eye Makeup Mistakes That Are Secretly Making You Look Older
Put down the black eyeliner.
We’re long past thinking we can outrun time, find the fountain of youth, and skip happily into the sunset with plump, glowing skin—at least, not without a little help. Southern women are masters in the art of aging gracefully, and we aren’t too proud to get assistance from a set of anti-aging tricks.
But no matter how much retinol we’re using, it might as well be for naught if we’re covering up all that hard work up with makeup techniques that once didn’t matter—We had perfect skin, remember?!—but now make a huge difference when trying to stay as youthful-looking as possible. Especially when it comes to eye makeup.
You might be making some of these mistakes when applying your eye makeup without realizing it. You have, after all, about a billion other things to worry about. But if your makeup routine is feeling lackluster, a brand-new set of peepers might just do the trick. Here are nine eye makeup mistakes that are secretly aging you—plus, how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Using eyeliner that’s too dark
There’s so much more to life than black eyeliner. Put simply, it’s too harsh—really, for all ages. But particularly once the skin around the eyes starts getting thinner and overall less naturally plump. There’s no reason to look more tired than we already are, right ladies? We don't have time for that nonsense...or naps.
Instead go with a softer brown—or even better, use something that brings out the color of your eyes. We’re going for the opposite of the “black eyeliner effect,” which is basically to make your peepers really pop. For blue eyes, a coppery brown is ultra-flattering. For green eyes, a deep plum purple. For brown eyes, a navy blue.
Mistake #2: Skipping your brows
Particularly if you partook in the over-plucking party of the 1990s. Many brows were lost, no tweezer was left unused. In fact, it might be the ultimate age tell.
But now it’s perfectly fine—nay, preferred—to leave your brows as naturally full as you’re blessed. Eyebrows frame the face, and a little brow gel goes a long way. If you need help in the fullness department, start with NYX Professional Makeup Microbrow Pencil.
Then, brush the hairs up and away from the face with cult-favorite Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel. It instantly makes you look more youthful and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Like Botox, but without the needles.
Mistake #3: Lining the waterline
With one exception, being if you’re lining your waterline with nude eyeliner. (That actually makes your eyes look bigger and more awake.) To be honest, we thought we were past this faux pas already—but we’ve heard that ladies are still out here sticking a kohl back liner right into the depths of the lash line. And we won’t stand for it.
Lining the waterline not only makes eyes look smaller, but it ages you, dulls your complexion, and makes us all very, very sad.
Mistake #4: Choosing the wrong concealer
Two words: Color correct. If you’re naturally prone to dark circles, using concealer with a pink tint will counteract best for fair skin tones, while choosing a concealer with an orangey-yellow tint helps counteract best on darker skin tones.
But if you’re sticking to the basics, you simply cannot beat Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Treatment Concealer. This drugstore formula is, to put it frankly, life-changing. Choose just a shade or two lighter than your skin tone to avoid looking too washed out.
Mistake #5: Going heavy on the liner
Because we’re past the goth phase—and really, we’re past the days when we want to hit the public with a smoky eye. Firstly, lining both the top and bottom lash lines is no longer something we do. Can we agree?
If you’re a bottom eyeliner loyalist, grab an angular brush, dampen it, and use eye shadow to lightly line the outer corner of your bottom lash line. It will give you the definition (but not the severity) of liner. Keep eyeliner on your top lash line thin and subtle to make your eyes look naturally framed without going overboard.
Mistake #6: Skipping the primer
What do we want? Long-lasting eye makeup. When do we want it? Now!
What do we NOT want? Eye makeup that settles into every crease and fine line by lunchtime. That’s where makeup primer comes in. Pick a primer packed with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid to plump the skin and create a smooth canvas to apply concealer and eye shadow. Say goodbye to wrinkles, and hello to airbrushed skin. Long-lasting eye makeup included.
Mistake #7: Using powder eye shadow
Stick with us. We know powder eye shadow is what you’ve always used. It’s all you know. It’s all you (think) you need. But we’re here to make a case for cream eye shadow.
This all goes back to the importance of hydration for younger-looking skin, and that certainly applies to your makeup. Makeup with a powdery finish oft settles into every fine line or wrinkle. By lunch, it’s landed at the crease where your brow bone meets your lid—all the while contributing to skin dehydration.
Cream eye shadow keeps the situation thoroughly quenched, and using primer will ensure it stays all day. Whether or not using a primer, make sure to pick a long-lasting formula with stayability, such as cult-favorite Glossier Lidstar.
Mistake #8: Going heavy on the glitter
Unless you’re going to see a David Bowie cover band. Eye shadows with too much glitter might feel young, but they can have the opposite effect. These shimmery sneaks are aging us. Instead of brightening up your complexion, they exacerbate the appearance of dry skin or fine lines.
Instead go with flattering neutral tones—and if you want something with a little more oomph than matte shadow, pick a palette with subtle shimmer. You know, like the sophisticated ones that Bobbi Brown made to save us all from glittergeddon.
Mistake #9: Ignoring your eye shape
If you’re thinking, “Duh, I already know all of this.” First, congrats. Second, let’s take things up a notch. Just like picking the right haircut for your face shape, you can pick a most flattering eyeliner technique for your eye shape. We want to make those peepers look fabulous and fluttery, and this trick will get you there. Luckily, we already asked the experts for you—read on, and conquer
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter