If you’re in your 40s, chances are you have some tried-and-true products in your makeup bag. I know I do. Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing LipColour Balm ($19), Nars Orgasm Blush ($32), L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Marasca ($12), Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer ($23), and Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Oil-Free Foundation ($65) are just a few of my favorites. The formulas work well with my skin, and they're different than the ones that worked in my 20s and 30s.
Curious about the beauty products other people in their 40s are loving, I tapped 11 everyday women and beauty experts to share what makeup works best for them. Ahead, the cosmetics you should give a try, too.
Foundation: Maybelline Fit Me! Dewy and Smooth Foundation
A foundation that packs hydration and sun protection is always a welcome addition, according to Dina, 45. "Maybelline's Fit Me Dewy and Smooth Foundation provides all-over luminous coverage, hydration, and a dewy complexion that makes me feel and look great," Dina says. The key ingredients at work are humectants, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, that absorb water from the atmosphere of your skin and hold it in place on your skin. "Consider them water magnets for our skin," says Registered Physician Assistant Angie Seelal. "Plus, dimethicone helps to seal the hydration into the skin by acting as an occlusive barrier."
Monroe, 48, always reaches for Clinique's Age Defense BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30. She calls this her "all-in-one for a five-minute face," adding that it primes, brightens, and evens her skin. New York-based makeup artist Mickey Williams, 47, also raved about the product. "I love any cream that combines SPF and tint because it’s the easiest way to get a face on, in a flash," Williams says.
"I dab this highlighter on my cheekbones, bridge of my nose, lids, and brow bone," Sherri, 40, says. "It lights up my face." Mickey Williams agrees that an allover highlighter adds instant luminosity. Her favorite is Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter. "It’s sexy, youthful, and I apply it at the very end of my makeup routine, so I can put it just where I need it like my upper cheekbones, forehead, nose, and jawline," Williams explains.
Eye Cream: Obagi Clinical Vitamin C Eye Brightener
Lucie, 45, applies eye brightener daily. She says Obagi Clinical's Vitamin C, blurs dark circles. Seelal explains the product's adaptogen complex is what allows it to even out skin tone. "It contains a yeast ferment and adaptogen Rhodiola Rosea that hydrates and helps energize the look of tired skin around the eyes," she says. Additionally, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate provides a stable form of vitamin C, which helps brighten our skin and adds a healthy glow.
Setting Powder: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder
For Nina, 49, the Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder is a daily staple. "The loose, fine-milled powder acts as a magic matting veil and doesn't get stuck in my fine lines, that I admit, exist," she says. This powder is infused with hyaluronic acid meant to prevent dryness—and pretty much give you new skin. "Moisture-retaining hyaluronate is specifically suited for dry skin sufferers," according to Seelal. "Finely milled powder is great for mature skin and will look completely translucent."
Cream Blush: Nars The Multiple in Orgasm
"We tend to gravitate towards colors like Orgasm because it has a golden hue," Williams says. "Anything that has a warm shimmer will always make us feel glowy and more youthful." This formula is silky and weightless—and infused with monoi and tamanu oils that blend effortlessly for a second-skin finish. Julia, a 47-year-old consumer of the multi-purpose cream stick, agrees. "It gives me a flushed glow that makes me feel sexy. I will also dab some on my lips and lids, too." Williams says it's best to apply the blush on the apples of your cheeks and swipe back to the hairline. Then, use a buffing brush to blend the color into the skin.
"Shimmer—not my teenager’s chunky glitter makeup—gives my eyes a bit of spark," says Eva, 49. She's right. It's not that young, cool, glittery look you see on Hunter Schafer in HBO’s Euphoria. It’s more subtle, and when it catches the light, it just looks fresh. "For mature skin, always look for warmer shades with champagne tones, rather than slick silvers or grays," says Williams. "If your eyes are crepey, avoid the corners and lay the shimmer on your lid with a brush. The softer the eyeshadow, the easier it will be to blend, so look for really cushiony options."
Lip Plumper: BeautyBio Plumping Lip Serum
Liz, 42, is always gushing about how BeautyBio’s Lip Serum provides "injectable-like results." Ingredients include collagen, hyaluronic acid, and sunflower seed oil, which work to plump fine lines and wrinkles, according to Seelal. "These ingredients can penetrate deep into the layers of skin on your lips to assist your cells with rejuvenation and restoration," Seelal says. "Continued use intensifies the results, and in time, fine lines and feathering are less noticeable. Your lips will feel more hydrated and healthy."
Neutral Lip Liner: Trish McEvoy Long-Wear Lip Liner
Melissa, 41, isn’t ready to try lip fillers yet, so she uses Trish McEvoy's Long-Wear Lip Liner to create the illusion of fuller lips. "If I line my lips just outside the natural edge, I see a boost of volume,” Williams notes. She recommends first applying a lip balm that has a cushiony feel to it—not something that absorbs completely but rather fills in the fine lines to make your lips appear smooth but transparent. “Then, use a neutral liner to line the top lip following the outer edge. Follow on the bottom and make sure to only line the areas that you want to appear defined. Once the liner is applied over balm, gently press your lips together to move the liner inward and blur any sharp edges." The result? Natural-looking, fuller lips.
Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil
Claire, 40, relies on various shades of Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil. In her late 20s, a makeup artist at a Bloomingdale's counter explained that pressing a liner in between each lash along the lash line creates a lush and full look before mascara. "Getting into the lash line with liner will do wonders at waking up eyes. It also gives the illusion of thicker lashes," Williams says.
Mascara: Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara
Kate, 48, reaches for Too Faced's Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara when her eyes need a pick-me-up. "I love this mascara because it coats my lashes in a deep, inky pigment," she says. "But it also seems to perk up droopy lids and my sometimes tired-looking eyes." Willams agrees a rich, black mascara can work miracles on tired eyes. "Since our eyelashes get lighter and more sparse as we age, a volumizing or lengthening mascara can make eyes appear more open," she says.
Purnamawati S, Indrastuti N, Danarti R, Saefudin T. The role of moisturizers in addressing various kinds of dermatitis: a review. Clin Med Res. 2017;15(3-4):75-87. doi:10.3121/cmr.2017.1363
Herndon JH Jr, Jiang LI, Kononov T, Fox T. An open label clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of a retinol and vitamin C facial regimen in women with mild-to-moderate hyperpigmentation and photodamaged facial skin. J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(4):476-482.