A Guide to Choosing the Best Mascara for Older Women

Updated on October 23, 2018
Blond Logic profile image

Middle-aged women are forgotten about by retailers. I offer help with clothing choices, skincare, and healthy eating for the mature woman.

Mascara for Older Women
Mascara for Older Women | Source

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.

Eyelash Curler
Eyelash Curler | Source

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.

Drooping eyes
Drooping eyes | Source

False Eyelashes

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 on me. 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.

Sensitive Eyes

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.

Ethically Produced

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 that 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.

Ecco Bella All Natural Brown Mascara Perfect for Sensitive Eyes Volumizes and Lengthens Eyelashes
Ecco Bella All Natural Brown Mascara Perfect for Sensitive Eyes Volumizes and Lengthens Eyelashes

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.


Wearing Glasses

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.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Mary Wickison


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      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        3 months ago from Brazil

        Oh Shauna, I feel for you.

        Until that redness on your eyelids goes, you're right not to wear any makeup. It could be an allergy, or a type of contact dermatitis. That could be caused by a reaction to a change of face soap, shampoo, laundry soap etc.

        I have noticed dark circles from too much computer time.

        The lady who does the hooded eye tutorial, explains her technique well.

        Thanks for reading.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        4 months ago from Central Florida

        Mary, in the last couple of years my eyes have gone from big and bright to hooded. I hate it. My eyelids are also now pink (have no idea why!). I haven't worn eye shadow in years, but until a few months ago, I'd wear mascara and maybe some eyeliner on the lower lid. I've even cut that out now because I seem to have a problem with my eyes becoming red and irritated on a regular basis. I know it's a combination of age, droopy upper lids, and working on a computer 40 hours a week. I also wear glasses now.

        I never wore a lot of makeup when I was younger, with the exception of eye shadow and mascara. Now I don't do my eyes at all. I wear Almay pressed powder on my face, blush and pink lipstick. That's it. On weekends I go bare-faced.

        I'm definitely going to watch the hooded eye tutorial. And yes, getting older is a Bitch. Why can't our skin and bodies keep up with our minds?

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        6 months ago from Brazil

        Glad you enjoyed it. The woman in the video isn't me, but I felt she explained it so clearly, I felt it would be a benefit to the readers.

        Thanks for reading and your comment.

      • profile image


        6 months ago

        The video of you applying makeup to hooded eyes is the most informative and sensible one I have ever watched. ***** to you.

        Will buy the products you named as I need a better look. Thank you.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        7 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Angie,

        I'm glad you found it useful. Thanks for reading.

      • profile image

        Christine Watson 

        7 months ago

        Hi Angie

        Thank you for the tutorial for hooded eyes. I will be trying the tips. Great video.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        8 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Audrey,

        What a great tip, I will have to try that. I am finding it more difficult to curl my eyelashes as I get older. I also like the idea the woman in the video mentioned about curling it twice to make it look more natural.

        Great to hear from you, thanks for your comment.

      • vocalcoach profile image

        Audrey Hunt 

        8 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

        Thanks, Mary, for these helpful tips. I am in the group of aging women who qualify for the "over-the-hill" group. But what a marvelous climb it has been. I love this hub and I'm all for curling the eyelashes. Mine are naturally straight. I apply a little heat to the eyelash curler, using my hair dryer. It's helps the lashes to curl faster and holds the curl longer.

        Super hub!

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        8 months ago from Brazil

        I do wonder who comes up with such wacky ideas. What good is such a long wand?

        I think you'll like the one from Ecco.

        Thanks for sharing your experience.

      • profile image

        C Garcia 

        8 months ago

        Great tips but I was also looking for a mascara recommendation. I have been waiting for my Estee Lauder (Sumptuous Extreme) to run low so I can switch. The wand is tooooooooo long (don't know what they were thinking!), the wand is heavy and the mascara flakes and smudges easily.

        I'll give the Ecco Bella a try. Thanks.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Dianna,

        I think the adage about teaching old dogs new tricks is wrong. I love discovering new ways to improve. If I can find a way to do something better, I am up for the challenge.

        There are so many talented ladies who have found a life hack for making the eye look lifted.

        I'm so pleased you enjoyed the article. Have a wonderful weekend..

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        9 months ago

        You have made my day! I am on the hunt for a good mascara and I will try the Ecco Bella brand next purchase. As I age, I am finding makeup to enhance the process but you must know how to apply it properly. Thank you for the helpful suggestions.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Audrey,

        Isn't it funny, the more comfortable we are in ourselves, as we age, the less makeup we use.

        I just wonder if it is in fact, a mask we wear. You're right, keep it simple.

        Thanks for your comment.

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        9 months ago from California

        I use less and less makeup--even when I makeup at all--I need to use it for professional reasons, but a little mascara and lip gloss is about it for me--good ideas here Mary! Thank you!

      • nikkikhan10 profile image

        Nikki Khan 

        9 months ago from London

        Your daughter is right regarding extensions, may be I should wear them occasionally to get used to them.And hopefully would find some great mascara as well.Thanks for the extensions tip dear.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Nikki,

        We have to love the products we use, so keep looking and I am certain you'll find one that's perfect for you.

        Regarding the extensions, according to my daughter, the more you use them, the easier it gets.

        Thanks for reading and I hope you find a great mascara.

      • nikkikhan10 profile image

        Nikki Khan 

        9 months ago from London

        Some great tips Mary to wear mascara, I have one from Mac but I am not really satisfied with it.Need to try some other brand and may be colour.

        I am not very good with extension lashes, so just wear them sometimes.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Thelma,

        I think many of us have changed our daily routine with makeup. When I was younger, I didn't want to go to the shops unless I had my 'face on'.

        I'm pleased you found the information useful, great to hear from you.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        9 months ago from Germany and Philippines

        Great and very informative hub. I seldom wear mascara and have not used eyelash curler in my life. It is indeed difficult to apply mascara as I get older. Thanks for sharing Mary. I have learned a lot from this hub.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        The key is to go subtle. Toning down the colors and opting for demure instead of dramatic. I think we get into a routine where it is easier to not wear it, but if we make a little effort, we can get back into the habit. I always feel more confident when I have makeup on.

        Give it a whirl again and see how you go.

        Thanks for reading.

      • profile image

        Jo Miller 

        9 months ago

        I haven't used eye makeup for years. I just think it is unbecoming as we age. This article makes me want to try some again, though. Thanks for all of the information.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Dora,

        Regarding the sagging, I have found if I wear a high bun or ponytail, it is amazing how many years i can remove.

        Great to hear from you.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Ouch, that has to hurt!

        If you're wearing contact, then definitely look for a sensitive mascara. Also avoid ones which are beginning to dry out, you don't want bits falling into your eye.

        Thanks for reading.

      • Natalie Frank profile image

        Natalie Frank 

        9 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Great article. I haven't considered whether I need to change mascara as I get older. I still use blackest black and liquid eyeliner. But I do have trouble applying it as I wear glasses and with my contacts I need magnifying glasses which makes it tough to apply. The number of times I have stuck the wand in my eye is frustrating - I never though of a simple magnifying glass! Plus the mascara for sensitive eyes - I haven't even seen it but will be looking for it. Thanks for the article.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Linda,

        I think we can get so excited about a new shade or the hype surrounding a product, we forget to delve a bit deeper.

        For so many things we have always done without thinking, we need to slow down and reevaluate what we are doing and using.

        Maybe this is the wisdom that comes with age.

        Thanks for your comment.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Ruth,

        I think it's all about staying adaptable and doing what we feel is best for us.

        I agree with the curler, they do pull. I once had an unexpected sneeze when I was curling, nearly ripped my eyelashes out!

        Thanks for your comment.

      • CaribTales profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        9 months ago from The Caribbean

        Mary, I agree that the sagging and the drooping is against us. I admire you for keeping up and sharing all these beauty ideas.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you for sharing the makeup tips and for reminding us about safe ingredients and the use of animal testing, Mary.

      • RuthCoffee profile image

        Ruth Coffee 

        9 months ago from Zionsville, Indiana

        Good info. Everything changes as you get older. I stopped using mascara altogether around 50. My lashes aren't as thick and it just didn't seem worth it except on a special night out. However, I did start using eyeliner (which I didn't really use when I was younger) and I wear it only on my top lid. Love it. Love not having to pull on my lashes with a curler too.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Jill,

        We all seem to be aware of the additives in food but not in our cosmetics. We disagree with animals testing but don't look into what is being used that needs testing.

        It's especially important when we think it is being put near our eyes.

        Glad you liked the video. Although it's quite long, I felt she made some valid points about possible problems and finding a work around solution.

        Thanks for reading.

      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        9 months ago from Brazil

        I'll bet you never knew how much we women have to consider when choosing our makeup. Guys just throw on a shirt and jeans and they are ready. Not so for us women.

        I do, however, appreciate your support.

      • The Dirt Farmer profile image

        Jill Spencer 

        9 months ago from United States

        I hadn't thought about the additives. Thanks for a thoughtful article. I liked the video tutorial, too.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        9 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Not in this lifetime for this guy. Just stopping by to wish you a great week.


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