MUAs Share 3 Dull, Aging Eyeshadow Colors To Avoid Over 40—And What To Try Instead For Spring

Using eyeshadow can be an effective technique to accentuate your best facial features, while also helping to create a more youthful appearance, provided that it is applied correctly to complement your specific eye shape and skin tone.

To gain timeless advice on how to use eyeshadow effectively over 50, we spoke with professional makeup artists and experts who also shared insights on three shades that are universally unflattering (and two better alternatives), regardless of your age or skin tone.

Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Kerrin Jackson, celebrity, film and television makeup artist and creator of The Makeup Refinery blog and Oscar Velasquez, professional makeup artist and beauty expert.

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Experts Share 3 ‘Unflattering’ Eyeshadow Shades To Avoid Over 40, And Chic Alternatives For Spring

1. Metallic Red

One eye makeup color Jackson suggests skipping if you want to look younger or more awake is a mettalic red one. “Red eyeshadows can add years to your face simply by making your eyes look tired, irritated and generally giving a look of being unwell,” she explains. There is “very little” that is flattering about a red eyeshadow, Jackson stresses, and she always recommends “avoiding red on the eyes altogether.”

As seen on BeautyTok, Pinterest and elsewhere, “metallics are back,” Jackson says, and “for us over 40s, that may not be such good news anymore.” A shimmery red eyeshadow, she adds, can be “particularly cruel to even the most slightly textured skin.” As a celebrity makeup artist, she says she ultimately “avoids metallic eyeshadows on older skin because shimmers and metallics are so harsh on textured and wrinkled complexions.”


2. Bright Crimson

Similarly, a bright crimson shade also isn’t often becoming for mature skin. “I generally avoid red eyeshadow because it is such a tricky shade to get right on the eyes,” Jackson continues. This, she says, is purely because of the “color of our blood,” which is red, of course.

“What happens when we cry, or have an allergic reaction to something, rub our eyes, or get a bruise? Our skin and eyes go red,” she continues. This, she says, is why using a red eyeshadow can inadvertently look like “you have been crying, have allergies or something unpleasant altogether is going on. It’s not a very appealing or flattering look.”  


3. Sparkly Sheer

A shimmering, sheer eyeshadow is also not the best option for it can inadvertently highlight fine lines, Jackson says. Due to the light-reflecting flakes or ingredients in many shimmer products, this kind of eyeshadow can “end up highlighting every wrinkle, line or textured surface you usually spend your makeup time trying to soften,” Jackson warns. They can even “cause lines and wrinkles to look more pronounced” than they actually are, she continues.


2 Better Alternatives For A More Flattering Look

1. Satin Finish Shadows

When it comes to the type of shadow to look out for, satin finish eyeshadows boast a subtle hint of radiance, lending a dimension that is neither completely flat like matte nor too flashy like shimmer. As a result, they are an excellent choice for women above the age of 40, who desire a moisturized and smooth appearance.

Velasquez notes that when it comes to eyeshadow colors for mature beauties, looking at your natural eye color and then finding “shades on the opposite side of the color wheel” is a great place to start. As Jackson shared before, skipping red colors and anything that is too shimmery is good to be safe, though!


2. Neutral Matte Shadows

Since the use of metallic or sparkly eye shadows can exacerbate the appearance of lines and wrinkles, Jackson says that the best bet for mature beauties is to “avoid these products and stick with neutral colors and matte eyeshadow types instead.”

“If you must use a shimmer eye shadow, try a cream-based product that you can blend in softly,” she concludes. This will be “far more flattering and flexible on your skin” than a powdery metallic or shimmery eyeshadow. Got it!

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