Author Charla Krupp’s landmark beauty book How Not to Look Old continues to provide useful makeup tips and tricks for women at midlife and beyond. When it comes to choosing and applying a lipstick, she advised that nothing ages you like “dark lipstick, lipstick bleeding into fine lines, cracked lips, thin lips, obvious lip liner, overly matte lipstick, or obviously fake plumped lips.”
Mature women do need specific makeup tips that solve their particular problems — like lipstick running away from their lips, for example! So, how can you apply lipstick for a gorgeous look without having it bleed or feather just moments later?
1. Prep your lips
Prep your lips by first exfoliating, then moisturizing, just as you do the rest of your face. Your lipstick will stick better to a smooth, prepared surface. Plus, the extra moisture will help plump your lips. Women over 50 may want to use a lip balm before applying lipstick for a youthful look.
2. Use concealer
Use a concealer along the edge of your upper lip to fill in lines and prevent your lipstick from feathering or bleeding.
3. Use lip pencil
Use lip pencil to recreate the lip lines that start to disappear with age. Use lip liner that’s either the exact color as your lips, or a couple of shades lighter. After you’ve shaped your lips, fill them in with the lip liner. This will help your lipstick adhere better and last longer — meaning less feathering and bleeding!
VN member Sharon Lee 123 uses this easy makeup trick, and says she has simply switched to using pencils entirely to keep her lipstick color from bleeding and feathering. “They seem to last a long time on the lips. I find them easy to apply too! I don’t use gloss, just the pencil. Some are “softer” than others. Some are pencil styles that I sharpen with a sharpener but some are in thin tubes that operate much like a lipstick tube. I think the pencil is ideal for older lips. I’m also a former smoker so I have wrinkles that don’t work with regular lipstick but the pencils don’t bleed.
“Don’t get that goth girl look, though! VN bloggers The Glam Gals caution: Use a light hand with lip liner! It’s a “good idea to use a liner to prevent lip bleed if you are over 50, but keep it soft in color and application,” they said. “You should not be able to tell you have it on.”
4. Add color
Add the color to your lips, and finish with a dot of gloss in the center of your bottom lip to give the illusion of fullness.Charla Krupp advises you to wear a pink shade of lipstick instead of a darker shade. A properly chosen shade of lipstick can compensate for dull complexions — a common problem for women over 50. Dark lips emphasize dark circles under the eyes, and the darker the color, the thinner your lips will look.
As Susan Tolles explained, “You know, black makes your rear look smaller, and white makes it look plumper, so follow the same principle when selecting your lipstick, and your lips will look fuller and sexier.”
Also, when it comes to choosing a lipstick, Krupp advises that creamy lipsticks work better and look more “dewy.”Lipsticks advertised as “all day,” or “long-wear” are great for those who don’t want to reapply, but they can be very drying and will emphasize your lip lines by gathering in the creases. (For a list of VN members’ favorite long-lasting lipsticks, see, Lipstick that really sticks?) Further, you’ll want to select a shiny lipstick, not a matte one. A dull shade won’t reflect light leaving your lips looking dry. Instead, choose a velvety lipstick with a bit of sheen.
Updated from August, 2012.