A Guide to Choosing the Best Mascara for Older Women
Mascara for Older Ladies
Recently, I had a woman email me asking my advice about mascara for mature women. She contacted me after reading an article I had written about eyebrow pencils for gray hair and was curious about the rest of my eye makeup usage.
I had to stop and think about whether I had changed my makeup over the years without realizing it. It turns out, I had. Sometimes these choices were subtle and other times it became quite a shift. When I began thinking about how aging changes our face, I realized it isn't just a change of color we need to make—there is much more to consider.
Should You Curl Your Eyelashes?
I always wanted to have long lashes that curled up and framed my eyes, but I didn't have those, I had straight ones which were light at the ends. In other words, they weren't framing my face, they were just there doing their job of keeping dust and particles out of my eyes.
I will tell you now that when I go out, I curl my lashes. This is something I have always done and at least for the near future intend to continue. There are some drawbacks though. One thing I have always hated was the look from the side. It creates a sharp angle which looked unnatural. From the front, it looked great and gave me a fanned out look which I liked. Of course, I could never get both eyes the same, perhaps it's the same for you. When I was younger, I used to use a pin to separate the lashes. Looking back, that was pretty darn dangerous and thank goodness nothing happened. Now my hands aren't as steady, maybe it's my coffee consumption or just a sign of aging but I don't use a pin, only the tip of the mascara brush or a lash comb.
Although I currently curl my lashes, I can see that as I age this may have to change. As we get older, our skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag. Gravity is a Bitch, wouldn't you agree ladies? You may think that this has nothing to do with whether to use an eyelash curler but it does. The skin on the upper eyelid below the eyebrow droops. It may also fall at the sides. A friend of mine had her eyes lifted saying it interfered with her driving. I questioned that but it is what she told her medical insurance company so she decided it was an okay reason to give me. Heavens, I don't know why some women have to make themselves feel guilty about having cosmetic surgery done, just admit it. Everyone is conscious of the way they look and if you want something done and can afford it, do it. But do it for yourself and be honest about it.
The problem is if you have deep set, drooping or hooded eyes and you try to curl the lashes, they touch or even poke at the skin above. Not only is this uncomfortable, it leaves a series of dots or smudges where the mascara is rubbing off. Even if you look down until your mascara is dry, over the course of the day, you will be left with a dirty smudgy line. I've included a video below where a woman with hooded eyes demonstrates her makeup routine.
In my family, false eyelashes seem to have jumped a generation. My mother loved them and so does my daughter. Perhaps they weren't the 'in' thing when I was growing up but they are once again popular. They are also more accepted now.
There are different types, some you can wear for a few weeks and others should be removed at the end of the day when you remove the rest of your makeup.
Colors of Mascara
When the woman I mentioned earlier sent me the email, I had to stop and ask myself, had I changed my mascara. The answer was yes, I have and although I thought this was because I was just trying different brands, it was more than that. I was altering my look to suit my age. Before I liked to go for a dramatic look and would wear a black. Now, I prefer a brown as black looks too harsh. As we age, our skin color changes and becomes less rosy and more ashen. Black mascara can give us a hard unappealing look. It may work for Morticia in the Addams Family but for the rest of us, less is more.
Although you may think there are just variants of black and brown, there are several colors of mascara for example, blue, pink and white. In my opinion, those garish colors should be left for those who are younger.
Sometimes it can be difficult to make a change as we have become comfortable with our look and continue to use the same product just because we have in the past.
If you've noticed your eyes are now more sensitive than they once were, you may opt for a mascara specifically for sensitive eyes. This could be one that has been tested (humanly), and won't cause irritation. The irritation in a mascara can come from a few different areas. It could be the mixture of ingredients or even fibers. Avoid mascaras that have fibrous particles in them which are meant to attach themselves to the eyelashes, thus building volume. These tend to flake off over the course of the day and fall into the eye or onto your cheekbones.
The cosmetic industry has seen the market for ethically produced makeup. These might include ingredients that are sourced organically or have not been tested on animals. Some of these may be from large well-known manufactures and others from companies which specialize in only ethically produced products and may have branched out and begun producing makeup.
Some of the ingredients in mascara can cause the glands to dry up causing dry eyes especially in women over 50. It's worth looking at the list of ingredients to be certain you're not sensitive to them.
This is the brown mascara I wear for day-to-day use. The more I read about what is in cosmetics, the more I cringe. I worry about the years I spent wearing what I now know to be some seriously toxic ingredients.
Be aware that the ingredient list on this product is wrong. It doesn't have parabens like it says. The company has changed the ingredients.
For me, as a white-gray blond, this brown is better than a black mascara. I have no itchiness or irritation when using this. However, it isn't waterproof and if I perspire a lot, I have noticed I do get some smudging. For me, though, this is something I prefer than the chemical which is used to make it waterproof.
If you need glasses wearing makeup can pose a few problems as it makes it difficult to see what you're doing when applying eye shadow and mascara. If your eyesight prevents you from safely applying mascara, try using a magnifying glass. I have seen, as I'm sure you have as well, those glasses that flip down to allow makeup to be applied. I've never tried them but would be interested to hear if you have and how well they worked for you.
The other consideration with regards to glasses is the length of your eyelashes in relation to how high your glasses sit on your face. This could be a problem if you wear false eyelashes especially. Check that your eyelashes aren't going to hit the lenses or the upper frame. For reading, I wear narrow glasses and I have noticed when I look up, my eyelashes rub the upper frame. For me, it isn't that big of a problem as I only wear my glasses at night (normally) for reading a book and I always remove my makeup before going to bed.
If you don't feel your mascara has enough impact if it isn't black and heavily applied, consider eyeliner. Both the liquid and the pencil are great alternatives if you don't want to or can't wear mascara. It still can draw attention to the eye. Now, however, at our age, our eyelids aren't as smooth as they once were. It's like painting on crepe paper! Avoid the desire to straighten out the skin by pulling on the eyelid. Instead, use your non-applying hand to lift your eyebrow. Goodness knows we don't want to be making more wrinkles than is necessary. Here too, heavy eyeliner can be aging.
Eyeshadow Colors for Mature Women
Your makeup colors are your own choice but if you're revamping your mascara, now may be a good time for a total change. If you love the color you use, perhaps a toned down shade. Browns, creams, and peach work well together. These are the colors I choose now where I used to wear charcoals, grays, and a muted white.
© 2018 Mary Wickison