11 Makeup Tricks That Will Take Years Off Your Face

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How to look younger without going under the knife (or needle)

Getty: Image Source

As we age, our skin develops fine lines and wrinkles and we might develop a habit of moaning about different parts of our faces we wish we could change -- the sagging jowls, the sallow skin, the deep lines on the sides of our noses. I myself would someday love an eyelift. I'm only half kidding.

Before you go under the knife, consider the transforming power of makeup. I call this 11-step process outlined below my "instant facelift." It may seem like a lot of makeup, but it actually isn't. My makeup and makeup brushes fit into a little bag that I can carry in my suitcase, weekend bag and even shoulder bag -- hardly taking up space. And I've found once you perfect this 11-step face lift, it should take less than 10 minutes to do.

Carry on.

First Step: Prepare Your Skin

Makeup artists know the secret to a flawless makeup job is actually not in the makeup, but in the state of the skin. If your skin is in great condition, you won't need much makeup. 

One of the biggest problems with age is dryness. Before you apply eye makeup or foundation, always start with a generous slathering on of moisturizer. This step is super important because it plumps up skin, and can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Apply a hydrating moisturizer over your entire face and dot eye cream around your eyes. Over your driest areas, dab a bit of super rich face balm. (You can skip this part if you have oily skin or you have never in your life considered the need for a face balm).

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Clean Up Your Brow Line

cleaning up the eyebrow line. Lena Clara for Getty

The eyebrows are often overlooked, but a great set of brows are as important as even skin tone, perfectly made up eyes and the right lip color.  Every makeup artist I know fills her own brows in. It's the first thing she does. A good brow may mean less makeup. It could be one of the few things you need.

There are 3 brow problems that many older women face. The first is brows that are out of control, like a garden left to grow untended. The second problem is a bad shape -- too thick on one end, too thick on the other, or a brow that stops too short. And the third problem that naturally happens as we age, is thinned-out brows. 

Out of Control Brows

The good news for you out-of-control brow women is that full brows are so in right now. Youngsters are drawing theirs in, making their brows appear even fuller. I was in Iceland this summer and the gorgeous 20-somethings had brows that looked like asterisks. Obviously fake, obviously filled in.

If you fall into the first camp, getting your brows professionally tweezed, threaded or waxed is the way to go. Once a pro has shaped your brows, upkeep is relatively simple. All it takes is a magnifying mirror and a great pair of tweezers (my all-time favorite: Tweezerman). Follow the map set by the pro and tweeze the stragglers.

See How To Shape Your Eyebrows for tips on becoming a brow master.

Badly Shaped Brows and Sparse Brows

Those in the "bad shaped brows" camp also need a visit to a pro, then they need to get comfortable with filling in the sparse parts. A simple brow pencil may be all you need.

If you have sparse brows, you have a few options. You can fill in your brows with pencil, get brow tattoos or even have real hair sewn into your brows, sort of like they do to guys with hair loss.

The easiest method is to fill in sparse brows with an eye pencil, but I prefer using a dark eyeshadow in a color that matches your brows. Use an eyebrow brush dipped in the color to fill in brows.

Don't miss How to Fill in Sparse Brows and 9 Eyebrow Mistakes You May Be Making.

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Create An Even Skin Tone

Lena Clara for Getty

Once your moisturizer's on and soaking, it's time to camouflage your dark, under-eye circles, any blue veins around the eyes and red spots on the skin.  All of these "flaws" are normal on women of all ages and the good news is, they're relatively easy to cover up.

  • To conceal dark circles, dot concealer under your eyes. Press the concealer in with the pad of your fingers.
  • Dot concealer on any red areas on the face. If you have super red spots that concealer or a light foundation won't cover, use a stick foundation on those areas only. Apply with a light hand -- too much stick foundation can leave you with cake face.
  • Finally, all women should apply a light tinted moisturizer or foundation over face to even out their skin tone. I recommend covering up only those areas that require it -- usually along the sides of the nose and on the chin.

It's best to apply concealer BEFORE foundation because once you cover up your bad bits, you may notice you need less foundation or tinted moisturizer.

Learn more in 20 Skincare Tips Every Woman Over 50 Should Know.

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Add Dimension to Your Face

Kevin Dutton for Getty

One beauty trick I love to share with women is how to add dimension to their faces using bronzer. Applied along the jawline and on the temples, bronzer can give your face the illusion of being chiseled.

You know how great you feel with a tan? Well bronzer can also have that affect on you, adding color to an otherwise sallow face. To add color, use a big rounded brush to apply on the spots where the sun naturally hits -- your forehead, cheeks and nose. Be sure to blow off excess bronzer so you don't go overboard.

Learn more in How to Contour Using Makeup.

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Brighten Up a Dull Complexion

best highlighters
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Highlighter. Amazon

Another beauty trick I swear by is adding lightness to the face using highlighting pens. Simply take a highlighting pen (I love Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Concealer, pictured here. Buy it from Amazon.com) and, keeping your eyes on the mirror, lower your chin. Take the pen and swipe it on all the dark lines on your face. These are usually along the nose and right under the corners of your mouth. Lift your face up and apply a couple swipes over each brow. Blend the color in with the pad of your fingers. The illuminator will literally "lift" your face.

Step back and look at your appearance. You should look more refreshed and awake. I give more instruction on this in How to Use Illuminating Makeup.

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How to Make Up a Mature Eye

PeopleImages for Getty

The idea behind making up a "mature" face is to not go too overboard. You don't want to appear as if you're wearing a lot of makeup. So start with a light hand and apply extra coats as need be.

When it comes to the eyes, decide how much you want to play them up. If you want a light touch, simply sweep a neutral color over the lid to the browbone and apply an eye pencil to the lower lashes, smudging them a bit so they don't have a harsh line. If you want a bolder eye, apply a darker contour shadow in the eye crease, making sure to blend, blend, blend the color in. You can follow up with a highlighting color on the brow bone, but I usually skip this step because it can look unnatural.

Step back and look at your eyes. If you need more definition on the top lid, apply a liquid liner right at the lashes. If you have light skin and hair, don't go darker than brown or gray. If you have darker skin, you can get away with black liner.

Get more eye makeup tips in Eye Makeup Tips for Older Women.

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The Miracle Benefits of a Good Eyelash Curler

eyelash curler and false lashes. Anthony Lee for Getty

Every makeup artist will tell you that an eyelash curler is a must even on women with the most amazing natural eyelashes. And they're right: curling them can do wonders to open up the eye.

I light to warm up my eyelash curler with a shot of the blow dryer for about 3 seconds (no longer or you could burn yourself) before curling my lashes. If you don't have naturally long lashes you might consider getting eyelash extensions. These are hugely popular at the moment on women of all ages.

Once you curl your lashes, apply 2 coats of your favorite mascara.

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Blush -- A Staple for Many, But Not Everyone

Lena Clara for Getty

A dab of blush can be the perfect finishing touch to a great made-up face. But I strongly feel that not all women need blush. If you have rosacea or just a ruddy tone -- think pale skin that sunburns easily and flushes easily -- you can skip the blush. Blush is basically fake flush and your skin naturally blushes. There's one less thing to worry about.

If you have blue eyes, blonde hair and pink lips, you already have a lot of color going on. There's really no need to add the fake flush.

But if you have yellow or olive-toned skin and your look tends to be more sallow than ruddy, blush might brighten your face beautifully. If you have dark hair and light skin, blush adds a bit of color to your face.

Keep in mind that there may be times you can go without and times you need to add it. Just look in mirror and ask yourself, "Today, do I need a bit of color?"

There are many ways to apply blush so it highlights your best features, but the most popular application for blush is on the apples of the cheeks.

In fact, if you ever find yourself in a beauty rush with only minutes to apply makeup, I recommend applying tinted foundation, mascara, blush and lipstick. That's all you really need to look flawless.

See Blush: How to Apply It Correctly.

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To Powder or Not to Powder -- That is the Question

Lena Clary for Getty

Dewy skin is in. And once we hit a certain age, it may be harder to get dewy skin naturally.  (Oh, dry skin, begone). I like to skip the powder when I do my makeup, but if you feel you need powder to set your makeup, now is the time to do it -- at the end of your makeup routine, just before you apply lipstick.

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A Little Color or Sheen on the Lips Goes a Long Way

Vladimir Godnik for Getty

I once knew an older woman who only wore lipstick. No mascara, no foundation, no powder or concealer. Only bright red lipstick. And she looked flawless. Of course it helped that she had great skin and naturally long lashes that skirted the most intense blue eyes I'd ever seen. But it was the bright red lipstick was the pop that made her look. She chose a color that was flattering to her skin tone. The interesting thing was the red lipstick made her silver gray hair and blue eyes pop, too. Just absolutely beautiful.

Now I'm not advocating we all go out and adopt this signature look. But it does prove a point: lipstick can really make or break a look. Too dark lipstick on a heavily made up face can look clownish. If you've made up your eyes heavily then go light on the lipstick and opt for a gloss or light shade. You can go for a bold lip, but if you do, play down the rest of your makeup. A classic combination is the smokey eye, neutral lip look. Another classic combination is a light pink lip and a natural eye. You can do a red lip, but keep the eye makeup and blush to a minimum.

See Lipstick Tips for Older Women and for more makeup tips for mature women, don't miss Older Women Makeup Tips.