Age Appropriate Makeup Tips


Age appropriate makeup tips can kiss my baby boomer ass.

I’m bummed about being a baby boomer. I’ve realized the context of “baby boomer” has changed completely. Now “baby boomers” mostly means “elderly”. Which I am not.

If I were one year younger, I’d be lumped in with Generation X, which is not known for their youth anymore, but still, better than elderly. Okay. If I were two years younger.

Anyway, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an article that said something like 5 makeup tips for older women. I told myself “No. No, don’t read it. You won’t be happy after reading it. Get to the kitten pictures and frustrating Donald Trump articles. Let this one go.”

I didn’t let it go. I will say the whole article was nothing but an ad for old lady makeup anyway, so there goes over half the authenticity right there. Not that we can’t write authentically about products, because we can. I’m just saying that if you’re trying to sell me something to improve my looks, you have to inspire me to buy somehow. Telling me all the shit I do is wrong can be motivating.

It can also be aggravating.

You know who knows what looks best on me? Me. I do. I am a goddamn expert at being me and whatever my makeup looks like after I put it on my face is what looks goddamn best. Regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Do you know what this article said? It said (and I am paraphrasing) that no matter how tempted we are, to never wear eye shadow.

Never wear eye shadow.

You know what? Fuck you. I like eye shadow. I see women who are older than me wearing eye shadow and do you know how it looks? It looks fucking awesome.

I was mad ten years ago when I read that women over 40 should never wear more than one color of eye shadow. I thought that was bullshit. I didn’t know that 10 short years later I shouldn’t have any eye shadow at all.

Says who? The company who sells the all in one makeup at the end of the article? Are they the ones saying we shouldn’t wear eye shadow anymore? Because that’s dumb.

Then I thought, well, I did give fashion advice that one time and it seemed to go over pretty well. I suppose I can give make up tips for the elderly. I mean, if the people selling old lady makeup can, then I can too. I am not discounting their makeup tips. I am saying, however, my tips are equally valid:

  • Eye shadow – Here is how to wear your eye shadow: On the area above your eyes. If you are wearing it anywhere else, then it is no longer eye shadow because it’s not shadowing any eyes. Wear the eye shadow, don’t wear the eye shadow. Who cares? Smoky eyes, dewy eyes, stink eye…whatever floats your boat. Wear all the eye shadow you want. This also applies to lip liner, eye liner, lip gloss, blush and bronzer. It’s your goddamn face. Paint it how you wish.
  • Liquid vs Powder – So yeah, another thing that article/ad said. Don’t wear powder based makeup, use a cream based makeup. I have used nothing but mineral powder makeup for over 10 years now. I like my mineral makeup. I am going to continue to wear my mineral based makeup. So, it settles in the lines of my face. Well, I guess that May the universe continue to smile on old women wearing false eyelashes.does make sense. If I have lines, then shit is going to settle there. Who says lines are a bad thing anyway? Who fucking says? Besides, my powder makeup sticks better than liquid ever did. I can rub my face because I’m tired or anxious or bored and not worry about rubbing all my makeup off. Or maybe I do and I just don’t care. I’m not sure about that.
  • Less is more – Unless you like more. Then more is more. Or less is less. Whatever works for you. I love seeing ancient old ladies wearing a fuck ton of makeup. They are made up and they look good. Better yet, they know they look good. I’m not saying I didn’t judge the old ladies with the turquoise eye shadow and bright orange lipstick when I was younger. I did not appreciate then, the way I appreciate now, how precious and important their self confidence is. Their willingness to be themselves without regard for asshole people having opinions about it is inspiring. My excuse for my shitty judgement in my younger days is because I belonged in the asshole category. May the universe continue to smile on old women wearing false eyelashes.
  • Lip Gloss – You know what I miss? Bonne Bell lip gloss, the glass tubes with the roller ball at the end. They kind of made your lips look like a freshly dipped Krispy Kreme donut. My preferred flavor was bubble gum, but I also owned cherry and root beer. I did not like the root beer flavor, but it was a gift and I was being polite. And I would use it in a pinch. Better to have a face that smells like root beer than have a lips that weren’t shiny enough to blind other humans if they reflected direct sunlight. This isn’t really a makeup tip, but it’s my blog and there are other posts here that make way less sense than this one.
  • Rouge vs Blush – I don’t think there is any difference between the two, other than if you say “rouge” then you are definitely older than people who say “blush”. I am at that sweet spot where I can go either way. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

If you read an article that tells you to stop doing something that makes you feel good about yourself, then do this: Flip off your computer screen with both hands. Click to the kitten pictures.

Being a baby boomer (but not elderly) has advantages. We are still sometimes afraid of what other people think, but we no longer feel compelled to cater to that fear. It’s quite freeing. I like that part of aging.

Don’t give up your eye shadow. I mean, unless you want to. Then you should totally throw it away.

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  • Now that I actually know you, I read it IN YOUR VOICE instead of SLJ. And it was glorious. Keep on making me laugh lady. You’re amazing.

  • I hate those generation labels. We are on the cusp and it makes me feel like a middle child. Make-up advice should be this: if your face has a shit-ton of wrinkles, Beware! Those folds can hold a lot of product. Apply your daytime makeup near a natural light source – meaning take a magnifying mirror over to the window (carry a glass of booze in the other hand – you’ll need it). I’ve seen too many younger women who look ridiculous after applying make-up (what’s with giant boomerang eyebrows for fucks sake?) If you’re applying evening make-up, good for you! You’ve got somewhere to go and the will to get there – yayyyy! As I’ve said before, M, I love your blasts-from-the-past. Bonne Bell bubblegum roll-on lip gloss? Fuck yeah!

    • Hahahha…thank you! Someone I work with was telling me about her niece who does makeup tutorials and she uses scotch tape on her face to get the right lines, etc. For all that is holy, I don’t have time for that shit.

      • Scotch tape?! Removing it will defuzz my face. I’d have to apply it all over otherwise I’ll resemble my backyard after my son’s first attempt using the lawnmower. Angles are harsh on us ol’ gals! They contrast too sharply with my extra chin and curvy undereye bags, never mind my emerging facial parentheses and droopy upper lids. Plus I just know I’d get tape stuck in my hair and that’ll make me cranky as fuck.

    • I did! I was so annoyed when I read it and thought…hey….you should write this down. HAHA. I love that being annoyed now translates to blog post material.

  • “Being a baby boomer (but not elderly) has advantages. We are still sometimes afraid of what other people think, but we no longer feel compelled to cater to that fear. It’s quite freeing. I like that part of aging.” This quote describes exactly how I feel. It’s nice to see that feeling put in words.

  • The thing that chaps my ass the most is that the glittery eyeliner makes my eyes water, now. Especially in the sunshine! (Yeah, I get the irony )
    I LOVE my sparkly eyeliner. And my shimmery brown eyes.
    And I would LOVE my huge spidery black mascara-ed eyelashes, too, but I gave up anything that crying removed when I went to rehab.
    The mirrors there weren’t that great, anyway. It was just easier to not start the day with repair work ahead.
    Then I got used to it.
    I agree, Michelle. As long as the eyeshadow is on the skin above your eye and below your eyebrows, wear the fuck out of it.
    You give the BEST advice!

    • We aren’t supposed to wear glitter anything when we are “a certain age”, right? We’re supposed to trade in for a “subtle shimmer”. HAHA!

      If you want bad mirrors (and lighting, too), stare at yourself in a mirror at either a Kmart or a Walmart store. Holy crap, I almost burst into tears right in the middle of the store a few years back! Talk about casting shadows in all the wrong places! Remember how, when we were kids, we used to stare into the bathroom mirror and use a flashlight to cast shadows and make our faces scary as hell? That about sums up my Kmart experience!

  • Excellent post, Michelle! I’ve been on a Facebook sabbatical for about five months now and I find myself far less agitated and aggravated. If I want kitty antics, I’ll just turn to the four right here! Haha!

    Bonne Bell used to also make this most-excellent gel blush! It looked so natural—more like a translucent stain. Back in my 20s, I used to have my pale skin, with my dark brunette hair in a shag, I’d rim my eyes with kohl liner, use that gel blush in red, put on my red lipstick and man, I was in my glory! 😀 My sister saw the cover of the 45 record version of My Sharona and said it reminded her of me. Hey, I was looking like that BEFORE that song came out! Sorry, Sharona! HAHA! You are also right on about the mineral foundation. I’m a late comer to this wonderful product, but it makes may skin look so smooth and conceals the dark circles in a much more natural looking way than cream concealer ever has. I became hooked. Plus, in the hottest, most humid months down here in the tropics, it doesn’t leave an oil slick on my skin. I hate moisturizers for “mature skin” that also do that to me. My sage tip? Any face cream or lotion that makes your skin look incredible in the coldest of cold weather will turn your face into the Exxon Valdes when summer rolls around. NOT a good look. Unless you like that look! :::wink,. wink:::

    Have you heard of or seen that book/documentary/social media sensation “Advanced Style”? Photographer Ari Seth Cohen takes pictures of and interviews all of these incredible older women, each with their own unique style and a shit load of confidence, humor and joie de vivre. They do NOT give a fuck what anyone else thinks; they are too busy creating and having the time of their lives to give a fuck about that! I want to be like them! A second volume of Advanced Style: Older and Wiser is coming out this month, too. I should write my own version: Older But Still Floundering On Occasion. 🙂

          • Paul and I saw Pat Benatar at the old (long since demolished) Hollywood Sportatorium back around—-OMG, 1982. I think I remember her wearing a short black skirt. Or maybe that was me! HAHA!!! I do know the red jumpsuit you are referring to though. She and her longtime husband, Neil Giraldo, recently played down here on Valentines Day. Still rocking! Just like us, Michelle! 😀

  • I don’t see where anyone is telling baby boomer men what to wear or not to wear. Especially on their faces. It’s so stupid. I can remember staring at the length of my Aunt Annie’s ear lobes and wondering how in the world her heavy earrings stayed on – it was fascinating. She wore heavy heavy makeup and perfume. She was exotic in my eyes, and would never pass the fashion police these days. Good for her. I plan to be the same.

  • You are my hero! I’m 35, so I’m definitely not elderly either, but your observations are so spot on and I love the way you write. Your sense of humor and confidence makes me feel happy. I love reading your blog!

  • Michelle, I love this – it made me laugh out loud with “Fuck you, I like eye shadow”. I have been reading the same thing about no eye shadow after 50, 60 whatever. I love eye shadow, the darker the better with eyeliner cat eyes and lots of mascara. the only thing I have changed is from frost eye shadow to matte finish. So there.

    You really rocked this topic! It is all about what we feel looks good on us. Fuck everyone else and those beauty experts.

  • I still have one of those glass lip gloss rollers. I’ve been rationing it for so many years that I’m not even sure it’s technically safe to use anymore – not that that’ll stop me, mind you. Sometimes it’s just a “blinding lips” kind of day.

  • I’m on the leading edge of the baby boomers, so the media have been calling me “elderly” for quite a few years. Phooey on ’em! I look better than my mother or grandmothers did at this age… mostly because they were already dead, but still, I’m just saying… as long as we’re still here, leave us the hell alone and let us do and wear whatever we want to wear. Except for maybe thongs. They’re just too doggone uncomfortable. Now if they were made of flannel, maybe…

    Fun post.

  • I read that about the eye shadow and rejected that idea too! Then just yesterday a friend told me about meeting her husband’s new boss and his wife.The wife had so many colors on her eyes and liner and lashes, my friend could not see her eyes and it gave me pause about that article. Oh well I say, I am elderly moving on to ancient!

  • “It’s your goddamn face. Paint it how you wish.”

    I want to put this on a t-shirt.
    Also I thought I was a Baby Boomer until I looked but I came along too late, and while the dates for Gen X are vague more Gen Xers seem to be younger than I am, and besides most of the time–not here, but elsewhere–when I hear people talk about Baby Boomers it’s to say they’re lazy and entitled and ruined everything and when I hear people talk about Gen Xers it’s to say they’re lazy and entitled and ruining everything.
    So both labels can go fuck themselves. I think Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are doing just fine and those of us who are Betweeners are going to be lazy and entitled and quietly ruin everything!

  • I don’t wear makeup, but my friend Briana (no, I won’t tell you how old she is; my mama may have raised a fool, but I do have a survival instinct…) really loves her MAC makeup, and it does look good on her.

  • As usual your instincts seem right on to me. Maybe the “no make up” article should have been preserved for 50-somethings who decide they don’t want to wear makeup anymore. Guess what? You don’t have to! You don’t gotta die your hair either! The age you’ve reached is called “You get to decide how to present yourself to the world, so have fun!” There is a YouTube channel called “Hot and Flashy” which I find helpful. She focuses on beauty for women 50 and older. She ways you can wear a shit ton of eye shadow so long as it’s not too shimmery and you use the right brush to apply it.

    A few weeks ago I was watching lots of David Bowie concert videos. I freaked out when I noticed that in one of my favorites, DB was my age now, which is 53. Then I watched “Valentine’s Day” which is from only 3 years ago. In only 15 years he turned into an old man! I made my 16-year-old daughter watch it with me, and she was very matter of fact about the whole thing. But then she reminded me of what Liz Lemon from “Thirty Rock” once said regarding aging. You can be a Madonna or you can be a Merle Streep. So my kid’s straight forward advice? “Be a Merle Streep, Mom.”

  • No eye shadow??? No way! I love eye shadow on women of any age. And the primary reason for that is the sentence I will quote from your article: “It looks fucking awesome.” The effort that women put in to enhance their appearance is much appreciated.

  • Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
    I don’t wear makeup often, except for stage, but when I do I wear a hell of a lot of it and I wear 3 colours of eyeshadow, so stuff the people who say I shouldn’t, I also favour purple and various shades of it. I also love eyeliner so I will be wearing that forever and as for lip gloss, that I do wear, even when I’m not wearing makeup as such. Love my mineral make up too, I don’t think it settles in the lines as it’s so fine but even if it does, screw the people who like telling us what to do.
    And double screw the person who keeps sending me senior dating links….

  • This post is BRILLIANT and so are all the comments. If I wasn’t going to bed I’d put my favourite deep blue silver sparkly eyeliner on right now! I love your straightforward attitude – eyes, eyeshadow – or not, as you choose! This is practically revolutionary, and it shouldn’t be. Thanks for the wake up call/post. I only look wrong when I try to be appropriate, not myself.

  • My mother drew on here eyebrows, wore false lashes, and plenty of eyeshadow till the day she died.

    While I don’t draw on my eyebrows or wear false eyelashes (no eye/hand coordination!) – no one will tell me how to wear my makeup!

    Although, I do have to say, the new multi-focal contacts don’t like it when I wear eyeshadow OR mascara. Rather than giving up the makeup, I’m going back to my old contacts and rock some awesome readers!

  • As always – a great provider of laughs to start my day.

    I completely agree – when I am feeling shit I tend to look like shit because I can’t be arsed to use make up. But I woke up last week sometime and went – I think eye liner and mascara are on the cards today – and they have been every day – until today – when I was really really late for work – and it’s Friday and there is nobody in the office with me so I went stuff it, no make up today – not even lip stick. So between no makeup, no lipstick and my hair scrunched in an elastic band – I’ll scare away anyone trying to make a delivery to our address today !!!!

    Have the best day xox

  • This was awesome!
    Seriously? No eye shadow after 40??? Then, I’ve been breaking that rule for 9 years and counting. Bonnie Bell, mineral foundation…you sing the song of my people.
    Seems that the media makes us feel old as f*ck anyway – I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.
    So glad I found you at Erma 🙂

  • Fantastic advice, Michelle. Plus so much more entertaining than those mags. I wear very little makeup but thinking I should start wearing more. I’m a woman of a certain age, after all. I loved the bonnebell rollerball lip gloss. Bubble gum was the best!

  • The most freeing thing ever is the lack of fux I now give. Really honestly don’t give — not like before when I pretended not to give them. Yep, my face = my rules. (I was also an asshole when younger. Now I want to BE crazy purple eyeshadow old lady).

  • This article just popped up on my feed today and I read it! I did not like the less is more advice. I’m sorry but I need MORE MORE and MORE to cover up all my imperfections (unless John Legend is in the room because he likes my imperfections). Also, I am NOT going totally gray, just no! 🙂

    • I always swore that I would never go gray. NEVER. I stopped dying my hair about 2 years ago and I totally dig my gray streaks. Until I see them in pictures. Then they suck.

  • Please read this comment in the voice of the Dos Equis – Most Interesting Man in the World –

    I don’t wear make up often, but when I do…..
    I wear whatever the fuck I want.

  • So….reading articles like that keys in my opposition reflex, which makes me want to do ALLLLLLLL those things. All of them. Even when I’m not the target audience.

    I think that blush tends to be a powder (!) and rouge tends to come in those solid sticks? But I could be making it up. I don’t really know. I learned my makeup on Youtube and beauty blogger websites.

  • I love this more than you will ever know…Bonnie Bell lip gloss. I have found my Tribe 🙂
    Fuck them for their judgments ~ I am Fabulous!

  • My makeup regime is burt’s bees watermelon lip gloss and if I really want to ‘doll’ up I wear mascara.

    I think I have some eye shadow somewhere – maybe it goes on once a year but I follow your advice and only put it on my eye lids, so , we are good, right?

  • I fall within that Gen X category and it’s the same shit in a marginally different package. Make up isn’t an issue for me. I like it. I wear it. No one says squat. The roving bands of hair critics on the other hand I can do without. I have long hair and I “twist it, pull it, bop it” to suit my mood. I sometimes get “the look” and even have been asked (in that tone of voice- you know the one) “what’s up with your hair”. I’m often tempted to ask if their certification is a university degree or college diploma because I always wondered how one became a member of the Hair Police Force.

  • I read the “I’m a grandma that is now a model with my white hair and perfectly structured face that doesn’t need make-up” article. I have thoughts about what she should do with her stick-o-make-up…very therapeutic thoughts.

    BTW – I think I’ve finally figured out what the voice in my head is doing in her spare time. She’s writing a blog and doing a damn fine job of it!

  • Just found your writing. Love your writing. Half the time I’m laughing and more than half, I’m agreeing.

    I spent over 10 years with short hair because my mom always commented that “women over 30 shouldn’t have hair past their shoulders.” Then I realized how silly and I got the gumption to let my hair grow. After all, I am well over 50!

By Michelle


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