Recently I’ve been noticing an alarmingly high amount of women over 40 that 1) still struggle with eyeliner 2) struggle with eyeshadow or both. So I decided to put together this post to help you understand how different these eye makeup products really are for us over 40s folks. And why it might be time to say goodbye to that black lower eyeliner you’ve been depending on since the 90’s.

It’s okay to change your makeup.

There, I said it.

As women, not only do we put ridiculously immense pressure on ourselves about our looks – why wouldn’t we with media images setting obscenely unrealistic and altogether unattainable looks to aim for?

But we can end up relying on the products, makeup looks and techniques that we used in our much younger years. Sometimes out of necessity, or familiarity and convenience, but also, out of a sense that, yep this is how I look my best!
Now, while that may have been true when you were a delicate 20-something, it may not be so true now, decades later.

So again, I am thrilled to remind you that it’s okay to change your makeup.

Now that you’ve been given permission to evolve and yes – change your makeup choices, let’s take a look at one of the biggest challenges we all seem to face when it comes to an over 40 face.

Your eyes. And more specifically, the hooded eyelid.

Yep, it was probably around the age of 45 that I noticed almost overnight, the skin on my eyelids giving up hope. Giving up gravity’s pull, and giving in to the laws of physics.

So this post purely focuses on comparing eyeliner and eyeshadows and how they relate to your hooded eyelids.

I hope it helps you make some changes for the better and see that hooded eyelids aren’t the end of the world. They do actually allow you to get creative with eye makeup, and yes – you can still look and feel fab!


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The Challenge of Hooded Eyelids

For those of you reading who may be under 40, here is a word of enlightenment on the subject of hooded eyelids. Not the most flattering of terms, a hooded eyelid basically refers to the excess skin that can create an overhang or hood onto your eyes.
Hooded eyelids can give your eyes the appearance of being smaller than they actually are, and that you look tired, or older than you actually are.

It happens with age, or genetic predisposition, as the skin on your eyelids loses it’s elasticity.

If you are really up for resolving your hoods for good, a surgical procedure, called a blepharoplasty can open up your eyes once and for all.

If you’re like me, and surgery is not on the cards, makeup can be a far more user-friendly and back-pocket-friendly solution.

So, never fear; dermatochalasis (the scientific name for hooded eyelids) can be minimized by using makeup very strategically to create an illusion of depth where the skin on your eyelid hangs over your eye’s original crease line.

Now, as we get into using eye makeup to sculpt, or re-sculpt our eyelids to camouflage the hooded eyelid appearance, you might be thinking of your favorite eyeliner to do the job.
Eyeliners create a solid, dramatic effect on the eye, right?

Well, yes, but they may not be the best, or most flattering solution for hooded eyelids.

Let’s take a look at why.


Why Eyeliner Might Not Be Ideal

I know an eyeliner might be your first stop when you apply your eye makeup in the morning. But, here are some reasons and different ways you may want to reconsider if you do have hooded eyelids and you’re relying on a pencil liner to soften them.

1. Aging Effect

When you apply a pencil eyeliner heavily, it can actually be aging to your eyes. It can be unflattering and add years instead of taking them off.
The thick line of your eyeliner can weigh down your eyelids, and end up accentuating any sagging skin.

2. Smudging and Transfer Issues

Because hooded eyelids cause skin on skin, where the fold of the hooded skin is occurring, this can result in light friction happening on your eyelid.

If you have a pencil line or liquid eyeliner on your eye, there is a good chance that you’ll experience the eyeliner transferring to the upper hooded area of your eyelid. So essentially, you’ll get that weird double eyeliner look, when you haven’t really wanted to.

Smudging and transferring of your eyeliner can also end up giving you that oh-so-unflattering raccoon-eyes look that no one over 40 is ever going for. Ever!

3. Application Challenges

As you know, once you pass 40 (do not collect $200!!!), a good, clean eye liner application really becomes something of a distant memory. I, for one, can whole-heartedly profess that I will never again go out in public sporting a classic cat-eye look for sure!

Your eyelid skin has a more textured surface that makes a crisp, clean eyeliner near-impossible to achieve. Plus, once your vision starts to go, it’s tricky to see your liquid liner work up close as well. There’s also a struggle trying to keep a steady hand, too.


Soft and flattering eye makeup. Image courtesy of Fizkes

The Allure of Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow, on the other hand, is definitely friends with the hooded eyelid. And the good news is, that with the right tools and techniques, you can still create the look of an eyeliner pencil but done purely with eyeshadows.
I’m going to say that again for the folks in the back.

You can create the look of an eyeliner pencil with eyeshadow, without the downsides of eyeliners!

And with the plethora of various eyeshadow products available today, I guarantee that you can find not only the best shade for your complexion, but also the best type of eyeshadow as well.

Good news, right?
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and most important reasons you might want to transition to an eyeshadow for your hooded eyelids below.


How Eyeshadow Can Elevate Your Look, Literally

1. Soft, Blended Looks

By using an eyeshadow, you can blend the product on your entire eyelid. This is a far more flattering technique to be using on an eyelid of any age, quite frankly. But particularly an eyelid that’s over 40. Remember, blending is your friend.
By mastering the blending technique, you can really achieve some amazing results with very soft and subtle shades. A blended look where you are blending away to almost nothing on your skin.

Blending is the best way to create a soft eyeshadow look or even a smoky look with your makeup.

2. Graduation of Color Intensity

By starting with a strong intensity of color close to your eyelids, and gradually fading upwards on your eyelid, you can essentially create the look that your eyeliner pencil does, but without it.

This technique also allows you to create a more dramatic look and sculpt your eye into an entirely new shape if you like. Remember, blending is key to this being successful.

Pro tip – Use a mixing medium or a product such as Sonia Roselli’s Water Elixir to create a more intense version of your eyeshadow close to your upper lash line.

3. Experiment with Color and Texture

Just because you are aging, it shouldn’t stop you from having some fun once in a while.

I love expressing myself through makeup. And again, in this day and age, there is no end to the variety of eyeshadow color, texture, and pigments available in the world of eye shadow makeup.

These days, I’m loving cream eyeshadow makeups. Not only are they super easy to apply, they can be applied really quickly, and blend with ease.
But you can also get creative with some different colors and a really vibrant eyeshadow shade. Just remember to use good eyeshadow brushes to blend them well. And there you have it – an exciting, and still flattering eye makeup look.

Isn’t it fun to throw on some vibrant colors once in a while?

4. Good Quality Brushes

I just touched on this above, but using good quality eyeshadow brushes is important for so many reasons.

  • It makes blending your eyeshadow easy
  • Good-quality brushes will speed up your makeup time
  • Fine bristles will be gentler on your skin and not drag
  • Longevity – investing more upfront means your brushes will last and last and last
  • Blending – good brushes are the key secret ingredient in blending successfully
  • A small eyeliner brush wil allow you to create to look of a pencil or gel liner but with the softness of a powder eyeshadow

Check out these eyeshadow faves…

mini earth toned eyeshadow palette

Urban Decay Mini

eyeshadow palette

Laura Geller The Delectables

Jones Road Just A Sec

Anastasia Beverly Hills Nouveau

What About Smudging and Transfer Issues with Eyeshadow?

While this may still be a concern you have, once you make the switch to eyeshadow, it’s definitely worthy of your thoughts. There are definitely things you can do to help overcome any transfer or smudging issues and prevent them from happening altogether. And ultimately, these all come down to your personal preference.

1. Use Waterproof Eyeshadow Products

By looking for eyeshadows that are waterproof or highly water-resistant, you can help offset any chance of transferral or smudging throughout the day.

2. Use A Setting Powder

I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t use powder on my over-40 face!” But remember, in makeup, there are no rules. You can use powder. You just have to know how to use it strategically and with a light hand. This is definitely a case of less is best if ever I saw one in makeup.
But a good quality setting powder is a great way to help set your eyeshadow, keep it in place all day, and prevent any smudge or transfer from happening.

3. Explore Eye Primers

While I’m not always a fan of layering and layering makeup products. And this is definitely true of anyone of 40. And I know I did just utter the words “less is best” a few sentences ago. I do love an eyeshadow primer.
Mainly because they work!
They act as a base on your eyelids, and whether you have oily eyelids, or teary, sensitive eyes (shout out to you if your eyes magically get all watery as soon as you have beautiful eye makeup one! That’s me for one!)
And, magically, a good eye primer will keep your eye makeup perfectly in tact, completely transfer-proof, and in place all day long.

4. Use an Oil-Free Makeup Remover

While you might be thinking, “Okay this sounds logical, but I put my eye makeup remover on at the end of the night. How does that affect my makeup application the next day?”
Believe you me, it can.
When your eye makeup remover contains oil, it can spread very easily, leave a residue, even when you think you’ve washed it all away. And in turn, wreak havoc on your eye makeup the following day.
By using a gentle oil-free eye makeup remover, such as a micellar water, you can remove any risk of this happening.
While we’re on the topic, I must share with you my must-have for taking off makeup that’s easy, quick, environmentally aware, and oh so good!

5. Use a Setting Spray

A light spritz with your favorite setting spray can be a super quick solution to help keep your eyes in place all day.

6. Use a Matte

A matte eyeshadow will stay in place more than a shimmer. And again, while I have said in the past to stay away from shimmers over a certain age, part of me loves to tell you to break the rules. So embrace a soft shimmer if you like, just know that they do have a tendency to spread, because of the properties of the minerals they are made from.

7. Avoid Touching Your Eyes

Honestly this is sound advice for everyone. All the time. Regardless of what you;re trying to achieve with your makeup.
But in context of this post, touching your eyes is a sure fire way to spread or smudge your eye makeup. It’s also an easy way to spread germs into your eyes. Gasp!
So keep your fingers out of your eyes, friend!!

And lastly, I just wanted to mention that no matter how strictly you follow some or all of these tips. Depending on where you are on the planet, your own individual skin type and eye shape will truly dictate how well your makeup stays. Or doesn’t.

Eyeshadow Vs Eyeliner Recap:

Eyeliner Might Not Be the Best Eye Makeup For Hooded Eyes because:

  • it can actually end up aging your eyes more
  • eyeliner can smudge and transfer
  • it can be challenging to apply well

Eyeshadow Can Be Used as an Effective Eyeliner Alternative:

  • to create soft and blended looks
  • use a graduation of color intensity
  • to experiment with color and texture
  • by applying with good quality brushes

Check out these good-quality brushes…

Sigma Deluxe Blending Set

Bdellium Studio Eyes Set

Bdellium Golden Triangle Set

Bdellium Eyes Only Set

Makeup is an Awesome Tool to Enhance Your Natural Beauty

I wanted to reiterate, at the very heart of my core message, which is all about celebrating what we have. Is the notion that makeup can enhance you. It can sculpt your face and eyes and help make the most of what you have. Sure sometimes you want to alter things, or hide things, and yes, to some extent makeup can do that. And do it well.
Ultimately I love makeup to celebrate our faces, and our journeys. And to help tell the story and communicate who we are and the lives we have lead.

I hope this post gives you some ideas and inspires you to try some new products, colors and styles. Look at some images of your favorite celebs and personalities that you always think look great and look like they feel great.
And do have play with your makeup. Because, why not?

It should be fun, and you have permission to experiment.

Let me know below in the comments if you’ve had a change in your makeup routine or been inspired to ditch the 80s eyeliner altogether. You can always DM me on Instagram as well. I LOVE seeing your results and progress, so don’t be a stranger!


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