The makeup and skincare pivots that best complement mature skin are well-documented here at Who What Wear. Some of our all-time favorites are in the 40-plus club—ethereal humans such as Tracee Ellis Ross, January Jones, Drew Barrymore, and Kerry Washington—so delving into the practices and techniques that keep them looking fresh is always fun to do. And it's not that hitting age 40 means you suddenly need to overhaul your entire beauty routine, but it does mean that you've likely graduated into the category of mature skin and that there are some considerations you might take into account to keep your glow going for the next few decades.
One area where a shift is likely necessary is under-eye concealer. It's a makeup technique used by folks of all ages to brighten and add dimension to the face, but the types of concealers one uses might look a little different based on age and the state of the skin. "Those over 40 should avoid thick, pancake-like concealer formulations," says celebrity makeup artist Autumn Moultrie, who is responsible for creating beaming complexions on clients like Viola Davis and Laila Ali.
But aside from the formula, celebrity makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown points out that shade matching is up there in importance as well. "Finding the perfect concealer shade is the great age equalizer in cosmetics," she told us. "While age does play a factor in determining which formula to use, skin tone and coverage needs are the only factors used to determine which shade will best conceal and brighten under-eyes. As a general rule, I choose a color half a shade brighter than the rest of the face for dimension and refreshing properties."
Ahead, Moultrie and Brown break down their favorite concealer formulas for mature skin and share tips and tricks for the best results.
"Mature skin can be dry, so stick to liquid formulas," Brown instructs. She loves luminous formulas, like this YSL one, calling out that the built-in glow factor helps naturally conceal discoloration and keep under-eye skin looking youthful. She says that applying this kind of formula in layers, buffing it out between each application, makes for truly undetectable under-eye concealer.
"Under-eye skin, in general, is very thin, and mature under-eye skin tends to also have fine lines," she Brown continues. "The best go-to formula is a thin liquid concealer with luminous properties to conceal and add brightness to the face." She loves this affordable option by L'Oréal for effortless and effective concealing.
Moultrie agrees that luminous formulas are among the best for mature skin, adding that they're multi-use products. "It can be used over makeup as a midday touch-up or under makeup as a concealer aid. It brightens in a way that a concealer does not and is often just what we need," she says.
Another thing makeup artists love about luminous formulas? The ease of application when they're housed in a pen with a brush attached. "The built-in attached brush makes for easy application and touch-ups throughout the day," Moultrie says.
Moultrie also says that the cardinal rule for under-eye concealer on mature skin is prepping with eye cream. "The under-eye area needs to be moisturized first. That step makes the biggest difference," she notes. "Moisturize the area first and wait for the moisturizer to absorb." She says doing this keeps the concealer from looking dry or overly thick.
According to Brown, blending under-eye concealer with a brush is the way to go. "I like to whisk the product onto thin under-eye skin with a small, sparsely packed fluff brush. It melts the product into the skin and keeps application light," she says.
A makeup sponge is another great tool that keeps concealer application light and not too cakey, which is key for mature skin types. "Even if it initially looks good, thick product on thin under-eye skin won't wear well during the day and will separate and look heavy on the skin," says Brown.
"To further the brightening properties of the concealer, I like to set with Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for under eyes," Brown explains. "It's lightweight and creaseless and helps diffuse fine lines and wrinkles. It comes in two shades, so it really works for all skin tones."
Stretchy concealers are another liquid formulation that creates natural, lightweight coverage that won't overwhelm mature skin. "For the most natural look, I use the Glossier formulation," Moultrie told me. "It works very well on men and women who don't like to look like they are wearing anything."
According to Moultrie, one of the most common concealer mistakes is applying it too liberally and too close to the lashline. Especially for mature skin, this error can leave the skin utterly bogged down with makeup. "Less is more when it comes to concealer, and it does not necessarily need to be swiped under the entire under-eye area. Sometimes just applying it to the dark socket near the nose is all you need," she says. The control you get over stretchy concealers is great for keeping your application light.
"For a filter-like blurring effect, I like to apply liquid concealer in a few dots under the eyes starting in the inner corner," Brown says. "To keep application light, I use a fluffy eye shadow brush and whisk the product into the skin. Whisking it ensures the product isn't heavily splotched on but is slightly diffused."
We love this new-ish formula by Kosas, because it's lightweight in texture, but the coverage is top-notch. Brown says that using your fingers with a formula like this one is the way to go.
This retinol-infused eye cream is perfect for mature skin. It addresses puffiness, dark circles, and wrinkles to visibly refine the delicate under-eye skin. Just remember Moultrie's advice to always give your skincare time to sink in before you go in with concealer.
Brown calls out this fluffy brush as one of her favorites for whisking under-eye concealer into the skin so that the finish is light and airy. This way, it won't settle into fine lines. "Aging is a blessing few get to see," she says. "Embrace the character of your unique face and don’' try to draw on a new one by being product-heavy." Preach!
This firm sponge is another one we're loving for even, smooth makeup. It's perfect for smoothing out any visible brushstrokes that might be left behind without picking up too much of the concealer you've placed on your skin.
To lock under-eye concealer into place, Brown suggests a finely milled powder. She insists that, especially for mature skin types, it's important to lightly dust on any powder, instead of firmly packing it on. She loves this translucent option by Becca.
For Moultrie, eliminating the need for setting powder altogether is another technique she likes to use for her clients with mature skin. She says that under-eye concealers that lock into place on their own are a great workaround. "This Tom Ford concealer requires you to move quickly because it dries quickly, but once it dries, it STAYS," she insists.
Moultrie also likes using this formula by Shiseido, also calling out that it comes in a wide array of shades to complement folks of all skin tones. She says this is the go-to if you like a bit more coverage and you want your concealer to stay put without powder to set it.
Make Up Forever also makes an excellent self-setting concealer that can lock into place without loading powder on top of it. "Keep your application thin and only use as much product as you need to brighten under your eyes," Brown advises for keeping under-eye concealer natural.
This concealer is lightweight and luminous but dries in such a way that setting powder is absolutely optional. It contains microspherical powders that blur and brighten. It also stays put all day long. Moultrie also recommends applying concealer under the brow bone to further brighten up the entire eye area, making it even easier to use less product under the eyes.
For concealers that set themselves and dry down a bit more matte than the dewier options mentioned earlier, extra moisture under the eye is key to keeping the product from drying out an drawing more attention to fine lines. We love this ultra-nourishing Kiehl's eye cream that has avocado and shea butter to keep the skin under the eyes moisturized and supple.
Moultrie likes applying self-setting formulas with flat brushes, then further blurring out the product with a makeup sponge.
This unique microfiber sponge is velvety to the touch and evens out any rogue brush strokes with ease.
Still need a hit of powder? We love this no-frills, affordable one. It's light and luminous and disappears right into the skin when used appropriately. Just remember—the lightest dusting will do.
This post was previously published and has since been updated.