Editorial makeup artist Ricky Wilson has wanted to do a beauty shoot like this for years. “I’ve done makeup on women of all ages. What I’ve learned is that women over 40 have been fed a lot of false makeup ‘rules’ about what they should or shouldn’t do,” he tells me. “It’s my mission to break them.”

“Will this work on more mature skin?” is a question that has appeared in more than one comment sections underneath Man Repeller stories about skincare or makeup. According to Ricky, the answer is yes.

“The widely-circulated notion that you have to ‘cake’ makeup on mature skin to make it look good? That’s just false,” he says. “And the idea that once you reach a certain age you can’t pull off a dramatic eye and lip at the same time? Also false.”

To dispel these myths, Ricky shared his techniques and product recommendations for creating a fresh, cake-free makeup look on mature skin. He then explained how to transition the look from day to night with the addition of a smoky eye and red lip.

Our model, Jacky O’Shaughnessy, made headlines three years ago when she appeared in a lingerie campaign for American Apparel at the age of 62. “I’m comfortable,” she told Elle. “I don’t feel that any of this is inappropriate. When people talk about age-appropriate hairstyles, and age-appropriate dressing, well, whose age? And who are you?”

Ditto for “age appropriate” makeup.

Step One: Complexion Perfection

“The ‘less is more’ approach is so important here,” says Ricky. “A lot of women lose color in their faces as they age, so there’s an impulse to pile on foundation, but heavy foundation is more likely to settle into lines and wrinkles and accentuate them. I like to use a foundation that’s almost transparent, like Dior Dreamskin Perfect Cushion, plus a little concealer in certain areas to get more coverage.”

To combat under-eye puffiness, he recommends choosing a concealer shade that cancels out discoloration. “A common misconception is that you need a brightening concealer to counteract puffiness, but I’ve found that actually just draws attention to it,” he said.

Step Two: Sculpting

“A little bit of sculpting can ‘lift’ the face and add dimension,” says Ricky. He cautions against using a contouring color that’s too dark for your skin tone. “You don’t want too much of a contrast.” When in doubt, a shade just a touch darker than your face usually works best.

“Something I learned from doing Sharon Stone’s makeup is that you can use sculpting to outsmart gravity. In other words, put everything half an inch higher than you think it should go.” He demonstrated by brushing a sweep of blush *above* the apples of Jacky’s cheeks, closer to her under-eye area than her actual cheekbone.

As for eyebrow sculpting? “Try not to drop the ends of the brows too low when you’re shading them in — it can make your eyes look sleepy,” Ricky says. “I also recommend using a shade lighter than your actual brow color to keep things soft.” On Jacky, he used a NARS contour powder and a brow pencil from Anastasia Beverly Hills.

Step Three: Smoky Eyes

Ricky poo-poos the idea that metallic makeup only looks good on women in their twenties. “A lot of magazines will tell you to keep things totally matte past a certain age, but I’m all about a little shimmer. Anything in moderation,” he says. Ricky used a few shades of deep, warm-brown eyeshadow in Jacky’s creases to create depth, plus a touch of metallic shadow on the lid. “A brown smoky eye is a great option for women who are intimidated by a traditional black smoky eye.”

Ricky doesn’t skimp on the eyeliner and mascara, either. “Women with mature skin are told all the time that they should never put anything underneath their eyes, but I disagree.” After applying Makeup Forever waterproof pencil liner in black on the top of Jacky’s eye and in brown on the bottom, he applied a generous coating of mascara to create what he calls his signature “femme fatale clump.”

Step Four: Red Lips

To prevent lipstick from bleeding into lines or wrinkles around your mouth, Ricky advises applying a lip liner on the edges of your lips and only putting lipstick in the center of your lips, at least an eighth of an inch away from your actual lip perimeter. “Use the side of the pencil — not the point — to keep things soft,” he said. As a finishing touch, he dabbed highlighter on the corners of Jacky’s lips to lift up her smile.

Et voilà!

Now it’s your turn to talk. What other kinds of tips or tutorials for mature skin do you want to see on Man Repeller? Tell me in the comments. I’ll meet you there with a shiny sledgehammer (you know, for all the rule-breaking).

Photos by Edith Young; makeup by Ricky Wilson; modeled by Jacky O’Shaughnessy of IconicFocus Models. Jacky is wearing a Tome shirt and Monica Sordo earrings.


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  • Charlie

    Ooo I love this article and Ricky’s approach! My mum keeps asking me: is this make-up, shirt, bag age appropriate? And I always tell her… yes it is. I’m so tired of seeing these articles on my Facebook feed with titles such as: “What items to ditch when you are in your 30s”. I mean – 30s! We have completely lost it.

    I have a question I’m sure my mum would like me to ask. I don’t know if there’s a term for it so I will just describe it. My mum is like Benjamin Button, but the only thing really bothering her are the dark lines (I would say pleats?) starting from her nose, around her mouth and then stop at her chin. They drag her face a little. How can she cover them? Covering is such a tricky thing and previous attempts only drew more attention to it.

    PS. Jacky is stunning

  • Julie

    I am 44 and wish there were a lot more articles like this… makeup, fashion, shoes, nails. Anything and how to do it well for aging skin and bodies without sacrificing trends. Thank you

  • Nschne

    I am 45 and LOVE Man Repeller! My issue is I do not have the beautiful skin of the model shown in this article. So, while heavy foundation doesn’t look great it does cover the discolorations, hyper-pigmentation, acne marks and scars etc. Also, I have an issue with foundation sliding off regardless of primer, my oily skin has gotten drier but evidently not dry enough. I think I’m just a hot mess so completely ignore this message except for the loving Man Repeller part!

    • Amelia Diamond

      I’d love to do a story that tackles discoloration, hyper-pigmentation, acne marks etc. Making a note!

      • Harling Ross


    • Ellen Frei

      After years of being told by my facial massage therapist to moisturize more, I finally started to this year. Morning and night. The oiliness has disappeared! My skin is so soft. There is an initial adjustment period and I don’t cleanse with anything with alcohol in it. No more breakouts, either. I am 62. (I had acne as a teenager with all sorts of treatments, including using a sunlamp. As a result, I have had 11 skin cancer removals, mostly on my face. Moisturizing has helped diminish the scars and I use very little foundation.)

      • Nschne

        Ellen, do you mind sharing what you use to moisturize? There are so many out there (I know it’s very personal to the user) but I am curious. Thanks so Much! I know that’s one of my many issues both oily AND dry – thanks so much for taking the time to share

        • Ellen Frei

          Sure! I am a firm believer in Aveda products! Love their company philosophy and their products are wonderful. I personally use Aveda tourmaline charged exfoliating cleanser morning/night. Twice a week, I use radiant skin refiner in the morning. My daytime moisturizer is Aveda botanical kinetics hydrating lotion. At night: green science firming eye cream, botanical kinetics hydrating soft crème. Twice a week at night, Aveda tulasara radiant oil. The products may seem expensive but last FOREVER. I wouldn’t start out with all of them, just the exfoliant and hydrating lotion until your skin normalizes. I also take off all eye makeup every night. You might want to have one facial at their salon and have the therapist recommend the best products. Worth the money to get an expert’s advice. Good luck!

          • Nschne

            Thanks so much!

  • Flavia Flavinha

    ???? this woman looks like is almost 70 and the article include women of 40???? So, the article is doing the same than the industry does, putting women in two packages young less than 40, or old!

    • Amelia Diamond

      Hi! Sounds like there’s a miscommunication here: The makeup artist said “What I’ve learned [during his years as a makeup artist] is that women over 40
      have been fed a lot of false makeup ‘rules’ about what they should or
      shouldn’t do.” It is his mission to break them.

      Jacky O’Shaughnessy, the model in this story, is 65. (That age is based on the fact that 3 years ago, she was 62).

  • Samara E Jones

    I think that the point of this article is to show that at ANY age (not just 20’s or 70’s) you can have fun with your makeup. Add some coverage and concealer where you need it – whether you need it all over your face or just under your eyes. And play up your features! I love ManRepeller in that they are always trying to be inclusive to body types and ages.

  • Fiona Foran

    Love this! I am 50 and I love red lipstick and a bit of sparkle. If years don’t give you the right to do whatever the hell you like, what does?! 😉

  • YES! I love this! I’m 42 and it’s hard to find makeup tutorials for mature skin that aren’t done by young women. Well done Man Repeller!

  • Heather R

    Thank you for this MR. I’m nearly 49, I have no intention of hiding from my age or my aging. I just want to be feeling myself at every age. Love your site; so personable and relatable.

    • Harling Ross

      Thank you, Heather!

  • Ira Honings

    Love the lips! The eyes! The hair! The outfit! (Being 56 myself I love the story too!)

  • Mekalah Loxley

    Fab discussion and tips. I love (at 46) trying new make up and fashion styles. Also, I feel really inspired by ‘Advanced Style’. Here’s me with my neices on the beach this week… Age is an honour that we earn and we should be full of pride to wear it! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ed04bd382089c7758930d034b8e2ee0fe414db35942c02336279fb20125b2b60.jpg

    • Harling Ross

      love this pic so much

      • Mekalah Loxley

        Why thank you! I particularly liked my late night spelling of ‘nieces’.

  • I loooove this and I can’t wait to try it out on my cute 56 year old mom when she comes to visit in a few weeks!

  • clarissa biaggi

    LOVEEEEEEIT!!!! I’m almost 50 and red lipstick is one of my trait marks. For me all those mags articles about “dressing in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s”… are so ridiculous.

  • I do love this – I’m 39 so it’s hard only seeing tutorials for the 30 and under set. That being said, I’d love to see more 30-50 tutorials. It seems like women disappear from movies, internet and magazines during middle age.

    xoKaelen | http://darlingmarcelle.com

    • Yes! I notice this with style blogs too. It seems like you can only be stylish or fabulous if you’re under 30 or over 50. Why do people seem to get uncomfortable when a regular (not a celebrity or fashion insider) 40-year-old also enjoys fashion or trends? The only theory I have is that those are normal child-bearing years and society sometimes acts like women can only be mothers and nothing else while raising children. But that’s my only theory.

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Ann P

    This is brilliant – great job MR. Also, she’s basically wearing my go-to makeup ‘uniform’ for work! I’m 45, wear way less foundation than I used to, and I am all about the red lip and the mascara. Or the bright pink lip. Or the blue mascara. And matte schmatte. Wear the metallic eyeshadow. It’s the makeup equivalent of ‘life is short, eat the ice-cream’ in my world.

    In the last couple of years I have sincerely ceased to give a fuq about what anyone thinks about me, including whether my lipstick is too red, or whether I should be wearing that particular style of jeans / sneakers. It’s taken me this long to really figure out who I am and I plan on ageing gracefully (disgracefully? ) trying every new style that I want. Who makes these stupid rules anyhow?! Resist I say.. resist!

    • Harling Ross

      “matte schmatte” is my new life bio

  • Terry Alvord

    Thank you for this! Please do more! Ageism, especially as it applies to women, is so prevalent in our culture. I appreciate that Man Repeller is facing women and aging in a positive way! Keep it coming!!!

  • Anne Dyer

    I love her, and I love the tips but I don’t love the angle of the article. I’m going to sound picky but it’s bothering me and I’m a daily reader. I’m not sure the title needed the word “mature” in it. I don’t like that it’s assumed youth is the rule and age is the exception like we need a fluorescent arrow pointing at it. We spend about 10 years putting makeup on an unlined face and 30+ putting makeup on a lined face. So really shouldn’t youth be the exception?

  • Kimberley Boehm

    Thank you, MR. I love the tutorial on makeup I especially love Jacky’s attitude and beautiful gray locks. I dropped the dye when I was 41 and I’ve never regretted my choice. Too many articles, though, stress that red lips don’t work with gray hair. Wrong advice. I’ve felt more confident with a red lip since I decided to stay with gray hair.

  • Eme

    My grandma used to wear red lipstick as her beauty daily routine, it looked perfect on her. She even handled it better than me at her 80´s. Lesson learned: Follow what you feel comfortable with!

  • Sophie

    Love this! I would love to see an article on different ways of transitioning into grey hair! My mom keeps asking me what I think she should do, and the only articles I can find online are either for when your hair is grey or how to prevent going grey

  • Daria Ed
  • Sarah Mcgrew

    Love your posts, Harling! Keep them coming. Most women over 50 care about staying visible and “keeping up appearances” and you’re helping us 🙂

  • Itzel Herrera

    This post truly gets me excited about what is to come as I get older. Who cares about rules, stereotypes, or societal beauty standards. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!

  • Patricia

    I don’t have puffiness under my eyes but very dark shadows. What are some good concealers specifically for dark shadows? I’m 67 with fair skin and light brown hair generously highlighted by gray. I like the way it’s graying in real life but in photos, I look washed out. I’ve started using mascara and bright lipstick to help offset this.

  • SueM

    Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more. I’m 59 with (luckily and genetically) great skin and an abiding love of all discussions re makeup and skincare. I wear a dark eye and usually a more neutral lip gloss daily and am constantly experimenting with powder, cream, metallic and matte products. The tips from Ricky will be pondered and tried with much gratitude because it is VERY difficult to find makeup artists over a certain age who aren’t talking about “hiding” or “disguising” or being “subtle”.
    Fuck that if I may.
    If you are fortunate enough to have a time in your day when you are doing nothing but making up your face, it should be a love affair, a moment for yourself, an expression of appreciation for your own beauty and what it has to say.
    Let it shine.
    Frankly I love all articles from MR about makeup/skincare but it is cool when they’re more specific to type or look no matter what the age.

  • hannah sowd

    Great article! I’m 44 and have been a skin care therapist for 21 years. What can make us look “dated” as we age is staying stuck in the same style rut as when we were young. More fun features for the over 40 crowd please!

  • jolene73

    I’m 44 (albeit begrudgingly) and love the creativity & general awesomeness of creating different lewks on my somewhat slightly saggy face. My mother, on the other hand, is a sprightly 75 ex-gardener that we generally have to force hand cream on, she’s THAT opposed to what she sees as ‘beautifying’. However, I’ve recently talked her into investing in a eyebrow pencil and even she has agreed that it has made a vast difference. Eyebrows thin and fall out as we age, so as long as you don’t heavily crayon them in and end up looking like a boiled egg with a face painted on it, I’d say framing your eyes with terrific brows is a sure fire to enhance the natural beauty of your features and guarantee you give great face as you mature.

  • Ann Kamody

    Love this … except for the red lip. Very hard to pull off for most women of any age, I think. It’s pooh-pooh, btw.

  • Guest

    She looks amazing! I love this make up look, I’m trying to teach my mum some simple bronzing and highlighting tips as she just got a mini set.

  • NS Services for Autism

    $109 foundation?? Seriously???