The Best Makeup to Conceal Wrinkles on the Face

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My best makeup tips — including how to use foundation correctly

smiling older woman wearing little makeup. Hero Images for Getty

Ahhhh, wrinkles.

As we age and we lose fat in our cheeks, our skin naturally begins to sag. We also develop smile lines around the eyes (most women I know love theirs). And while I love the old adage that wrinkles are a sign of a good life, I also know that many of you would love some beauty tips on how to conceal them.

Here are my 10 best wrinkle-concealing beauty tips starting with....

Remember: Less is More

Many women with wrinkles make the mistake of trying to cover them with heavy foundations and powders. But less is actually more when it comes to downplaying your facial flaws. A face full of heavy foundation only highlights wrinkles.

Look at the image of this woman above. She's wearing very little makeup and naturally looks gorgeous. 

Instead of heavy foundation, try a tinted moisturizer. Tinted moisturizers provide lighter coverage and won't settle into your wrinkles and won't cling to the hairs that appear on some women's faces after menopause.

Use foundation or tinted moisturizer only on the parts of your face that need covering up. Also, no matter how pale you are, go a shade or two darker with foundation. Lighter shades only highlight wrinkles. I recommend a great tinted moisturizer in my Top 10 Foundation Picks.

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Highlight Your Eyes

If you go out in little or no makeup, the focal point on your face will be your wrinkles. However, if you play up your eyes, the focal point moves from your face and all of its wrinkles to your amazing blue, brown, hazel or green eyes (see Sharon Osbourne's gorgeous eyes here). 

If you don't already know how to apply your eye makeup properly so that your eyes "pop," I have a host of articles that will show you how. I also advise women who are new to makeup application to go to their local department stores or to Sephora and ask for a makeup consultation. Remember that it's polite to buy a couple of makeup products if you don't pay for the services.

Part of making your eyes pop is to ensure your brows are groomed and filled in.

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Adopt a Great Skincare Routine

woman applying eye cream. Hero Images for Getty

More important than any makeup routine is a good skincare routine. You want to get your skin in tip-top condition and once you do so, you'll find you won't need as much makeup.

  • Aside from cleansing and moisturizing your face every night, you should also exfoliate skin weekly with a facial scrub (see my list of the best scrubs here). Getting rid of that dead skin will brighten your appearance and allow your makeup to go on much more smoothly.
  • You may also consider restoring what your skin has lost via antioxidants such as Vitamin C creams or vitamin serums. Check out my list of the Best Anti-Aging Serums
  • Dermatologists I've spoken to swear by Vitamin A products (think Retin-A or Renova) for improving the signs of fine lines and wrinkles. I've been told by more than one that Vitamin A products are the only lotions and potions that really can turn back time. 

If you want to fix deep lines and wrinkles, the only methods that are proven to work are lasers (lip lines, broken capillaries), Botox (for crow's feet, frown lines and neck jowls) and collagen fillers (for smile lines and loss of fat in the cheeks). Read more about these in How to Fix Deep Wrinkles.

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Moisturize Before Foundation

The secret to makeup and aging skin is to create a dewy, youthful glow. To do this, you should prime the skin before foundation with lots of moisture, whether through a moisturizer, a skin balm or a foundation primer. This will help makeup glide on more smoothly.  

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Are You Using the Correct Concealer?

Lena Clara for Getty

We all need concealers from time to time, either to hide redness in the skin, dark circles under the eyes, a blemish or sunspots. Concealer has a bad habit of sinking into the skin's crevices, emphasizing our fine lines and wrinkles. To keep this from happening, use a light concealer and build up by starting with a few dots along your dark areas (around the eyes). Lightly pat them in. If you need more, keep going. The secret is to keep the concealer from giving your eyes a "crepe-y" appearance. 

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Just Say "No" to Heavy Eyeliners

Dana Delaney. John Sciulli for Getty

Just as heavy foundations can give you "cake face," heavy eye makeup can also age you. Instead of applying heavy eyeliner to upper lids and the inside of the eye, consider a soft line on the upper lids and just under the lower lids.

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Brighten Your Face with a Highlighter

Nothing lifts the face more than a highlighter pen or luminizing cream. Highlighters, or "illuminators" contain a light concealer-like formula that's a couple shades lighter than your skin. You apply a few dots on the parts of your face that you want to "lift" and then pat them in. Stand back and you'll notice you've erased a few years off your face.

Although many brands sell highlighters, my hands-down favorite is Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Eclat highlighters ($40). One of these is sold every 20 seconds around the world. But while it's my favorite, there are others that are just as wonderful and some that may work even better for you. Before you splurge on a highlighting cream, check out my list of The Best Highlighters & Illuminating Makeup Products and read how to properly use them in How to Use Illuminating Makeup.

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Watch That Powder Habit

Woman looking into compact mirror. JGI/Jamie Grill for Getty

When you were younger, you likely had oilier skin and got used to powdering your entire face. But dewy skin is actually a sign of youth.

Instead of applying powder all over, consider just using it on your nose and chin, or better yet, put it away for good. Makeup artists tell me they NEVER use powder on women over 50 unless they're going to be taped because powder sits atop wrinkles highlighting them.

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Get Yourself Some Bangs

Kris Jenner and daughter. Vivien Killilea for Getty

In her book, "How Not to Look Old" (buy it from Amazon), the late, great author Charla Krupp advised women to get bangs to cover up a wrinkled forehead or to bring attention to the eyes (remember, we want our eyes to be the focal point).

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Don't Want to Pay for Botox (or Put Yourself at Risk)? Try Frownies Instead

Woman getting a Botox injection. Digital Vision/Getty Images

There's no better way to keep fine lines from developing than to freeze them every few months with Botox. But Botox can be pricey, and the results last only a few months. 

I have not personally tried Frownies Facial Pads (buy them from Amazon), but I've read great things about these adhesive pads that you apply to the spots where you would get Botox.

They are supposed to keep your facial muscles from contracting and your frown lines and wrinkles from becoming deeper.

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Reconsider Your Commitment to Being (or Becoming) Skinny

denistorm for Getty

You've heard the old quote attributed to Catherine Deneuve, "When you get older, you have to be ready to trade your ass for your face." Well, it's true. If you want to get rid of wrinkles, consider gaining a bit of weight.

At my 20th high school reunion a few years ago, I was a bit bummed to hear a lot of talk about wrinkles and how old we are. We weren't even 40 yet! That said, it was true that the plumper of the women looked like they'd hardly aged at all, yet the thinner women were already developing lines (myself included) on their around the eyes and along the mouth. This reminded me of a study of twins that shows that in women over 40, a few extra pounds actually makes you look younger. This is because we lose fat in our faces as we age. The plumper we are, the more fat that's stored in the face.