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Special Occasion Makeup Tips for Women Over 40, 50 and Beyond

...Get Ready for any Occasion with Makeup to Create Confidence and Style!

Affiliate Disclaimer: I may receive a small affiliate payment for some of the products listed, but at no extra cost to you should you purchase.

We all love a special occasion! And with a couple of big ones on the way, what better time than now for me to share my special occasion makeup tips for women over 40, 50 and beyond?! I shared some of these tips with the ladies who attended my recent Beauty Club Makeup Masterclass that I co-host – Transform Your Day to Evening Eye Makeup Looks for Party Season – and they all left looking stunning, feeling wonderful, and excited to try out all they had learned!

I love a good social gathering with family or friends to show off our glitter and glam! But I also know how challenging it can be as our skin starts to age, to transform our look into something special, different from our usual day or night look, and that we also feel comfortable with.

Glamorous special occasion makeup on a mature model
Special Occasion Make-up for all ages

That being said, in sharing my special occasion makeup tips for women over 40, 50 & beyond, I also want to point out that there are no rules when applying makeup to more mature skin. I encourage you all, as my more mature readers, brides, and makeup clients (regardless of age) to find the makeup products that work for you – in colours and textures, and of course within your budget. You do not have to follow the latest fashion or makeup trends. If you know you look good and feel great, then go with the flow!

So, here you will find my special occasion makeup tips for women over 40, 50 and beyond along with some of my favourite makeup products for mature skin.

Laying the Foundation

Skincare is key to the best make-up application as mentioned in my previous blog post and will go into more detail in later blogs, too. Look for products containing Hyaluronic Acid to boost hydration and plump the skin. I love the Vichy Minéral 89 as a boosting serum underneath moisturiser and before make-up application.

Use a good quality moisturiser suitable for your skin type and ensure this is well absorbed before applying any make-up. For long-lasting day makeup and special events, using a primer can be a game changer in terms of achieving a flawless makeup look and longevity. It is almost like preparing that blank canvas, which you can then layer for colour, tone, and a smooth skin texture!

Foundations for special occasion make-up

Choosing the right foundation is key. I highly recommend a lightweight and hydrating foundation that will keep the skin looking youthful – apply sparingly in areas where there are fine lines or wrinkles as the product will move and settle into these areas.

One thing to remember is to use a foundation brush, blending outwards from the centre of the face - blend a little down onto your neck for a seamless look. Nobody likes to see unnatural tell-tale lines!

My favourite brush for make-up application is the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush which is easy to use and creates a flawless base by buffing the foundation into your skin so that it looks really natural. I always recommend the Real Techniques Everyday Essential brush set which includes this brush, along with other key brushes that I love to use both personally and professionally.

Concealer is Your Best Friend

Again, using a creamy formula concealer for the under eyes enables you to blend gently for a more youthful makeup look. I will talk more about special occasion eye makeup later, but remember to apply most of the product to the darkest areas only, i.e. the inner corner of the eye and the inner third of the under eye area – blend this outwards so that only minimal product is applied to the outer eye (where there is more likely to be laughter lines and wrinkles).

NARS creamy concealer

Always go gently with the skin around your eyes, when applying concealer, foundation, and any eye makeup products. The skin in this area is particularly thin, so pat gently or brush with a soft blending brush to achieve the best surface layers around the eyes.

Eye Makeup for Special Occasions

The smokey-eye

I love a classic smokey-eye look! Even as I get older, I refuse to veer away from bold eye makeup, and I hope you feel the same. I just adapt! One of the key special occasion makeup tips for women over 40, 50 and beyond is to remember that the products don’t need to be hugely different when applying smokey eye makeup on more mature skin.

It is simply how we apply them that needs to change to take into account the crepe-like texture, lower ‘hooded’ lids, and potential sensitivity around the eyes that may not have been so noticeable in the past. I would avoid black and stick to dark browns/plums etc as these are more flattering.

Special occasion make-up on a mature model
Make-up to look and feel good at all ages

A matte base or primer (e.g. Laura Mercier Eye Basics Primer) will work well with mature eyes, from which you can simply build the colour. This will also help to keep the eye makeup in place. My favourite palette for creating a smokey eye is the MAC Connect in Colour Eyeshadow Palette in Unfiltered Nudes - it is key to use a flat shader brush and a fluffy brush to achieve the best smokey eye look.

A Quick and Easy Smokey Eye

Want to learn more about creating the perfect smokey-eye look? Check out my brand new short tutorial here that will help you to achieve this quickly and easily.

Well defined eyebrows

And, of course, a well-defined eyebrow lifts your look instantly.

For more guidance on how to create the perfect eyebrow to frame your make-up, I have some short videos on Instagram which might help - I have included the links at the end of this blog.

You can also curl your eyelashes if you want a more dramatic look. But even if you don’t fancy that, make sure you finish your special occasion eye makeup with a couple of layers of mascara. Don’t be put off by those who say mature women should stick to age-appropriate makeup and should not use black mascara – go with whatever colour you love!

Find your mascara moving throughout the day? Try a water-resistant mascara like Benefit They're Real or a Tubing Mascara which coats each lash with a polymer to form a tube - they are long-lasting and smudge-proof, staying in place until you are ready to remove! Great for those with sensitive eyes and/or contact lenses too! Try No 7 Stay Perfect Mascara or Estée Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero Smudge, Lengthening Mascara.

Add Warmth and Glow with Blusher and Bronzer

Your facial tone and texture can be completely changed with bronzer and blusher. There are some beautiful cream products out there that are particularly youthful looking, adding a little natural luminosity to the skin and loved by those of you with drier skin types as they can feel more comfortable. A cult classic is the Chanel Les Beiges Bronzing Cream but there are many other cream bronze products on the market (such as E.L.F., Charlotte Tilbury, NARS).

Bronzer adds healthy radiance to the skin; apply using a large brush from the mid-cheek and follow your cheekbones in circular motions up to the ear. Also, add a little around the hairline on your forehead and down the chin to provide a soft focus framing effect. Start small and then you can always add layers.

Using Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow at a make-up lesson
Sculpting the face using bronzers and blushers

Once we reach our 40s/50s and our features start to ‘sag’ a little, applying blusher to the apples of our cheeks is no longer a thing! The most effective way to give the impression of lifting our skin is to add blush to the tops of our cheekbones and blend upwards to just above the ear, for a more youthful makeup look. It is far easier to add more blusher than it is to remove, so start slowly! Blend gently in a circular motion until you are happy with the overall appearance.

Look for blush with peachy tones or a mixture of pink and peach such as the iconic NARS Orgasm which is available as a liquid as well as powder.

I particularly love the creamy Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge all-in-one multi-tasking product that can be applied to the cheeks and the lips – the same can be done with your favourite lipstick if it is natural and blush-coloured.

I am a massive fan of the quick and easy Nudestix which are crayons that are easy to apply and blend. The Soft and Warm Nudes mini kit is ideal for bronzer, blush and highlighting.

Let Your Lips Do the Talking

As our lips age, they tend to lose volume. So, although some ladies prefer not to use a lip liner as they have previously found it difficult to apply, I always apply a lip liner to avoid feathering around the edges. My recommendation for a nice, creamy lip liner is the Original Pillow Talk Lip Cheat by Charlotte Tilbury - it's a really natural shade that suits many skin tones and is long-lasting.

If you have lines around your lips, you may wish to try an 'invisible lip liner' (e.g. KIKO Cosmetics) to create a colourless barrier to prevent glosses and lipsticks from feathering.

Joint make-up lesson Essex
Give a woman the right lipstick and she can conquer the world

Remember, too, that a special event calls for a special lip colour! Just because we might be classed as “older women” now, it certainly shouldn’t stop us from wearing a bold lip colour - in fact this is the quickest and easiest way of boosting your complexion and making you feel fabulous. Reds or darker colours can be softened by dabbing onto the lips using your ring finger (rather than straight from the bullet). Adding a touch of lip gloss will also make your lips look fuller! Or go for a rose, cinnamon, peachy/coral colour with a hint of gloss. Beautiful!

Now for the Finishing Touches with Translucent Powder and Setting Spray

The final point in my special occasion make-up tips for women over 40, 50 and beyond, is to keep it firmly in place!

Long-lasting makeup for mature women with older skin is more than just a Christmas wish! Whether it’s for an all-day or an evening event, one thing you can be sure of is avoiding that unwanted ‘shine’ by applying a light dusting of translucent powder - formulas are so much more lightweight and finely milled than traditional setting powders. I love Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder or Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish pressed powder for on-the-go top-ups.

Or if you prefer to avoid powder, complete your special event look with makeup setting spray. Older skin tends to draw in moisture as facial lines absorb anything on the skin's surface. When considering makeup for older women, I go for a setting spray to keep any special occasion makeup in place and look fresh for the whole event. My recommendation would be the NYX Setting Sprays, available in Dewy or Matte finishes.

Special occasion makeup for over 40s and 50s is all about enhancing your natural beauty and feeling confident in your skin. By following these tips, and incorporating an age-appropriate skincare routine, you can look and feel your best for any special event!

Looking for more make-up and skincare tips?

If you'd like to find out more about how we can work together, maybe you'd benefit from a 1:1 or group masterclass or tutorial, or trial session, then please just email me for details or visit my website here to discover more about my make-up lessons. My wish is for you all to look and feel amazing for any special event.

Remember, though, this blog is not just for Christmas. You can use my special occasion makeup tips for women over 40, 50 and beyond to create some super looks all year round!

Justine Warwick Make-up Artist


*Use my Affiliate code LFTJUSTINEMUA for extra discounts when purchasing products via Look Fantastic.

** Use my discount code JUSTINEMUA for 15% discount when purchasing Rosalique on the Rosalique website.

Instagram videos - creating the perfect eyebrow

Want to learn A Quick and Easy Smokey Eye?

Check out my brand new short tutorial here that will help you to achieve this quickly and easily.

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