Makeup Over 40

I want to share with you what I have learned about wearing makeup after 40. I have combination oily skin and I am oily in my t-zone.  The rest of my face is normal but textured with large pores on my nose and my cheeks near my nose.  I have always taken  good care of my skin but not much in the area of anti-aging (serums, night creams, eye creams) until the last few years. Taking  care of my skin has improved the appearance and texture of my skin which means when I wear makeup it looks more natural and I can get away with wearing less.

  • Moisturize your skin before you apply makeup (even if your skin is oily) believe it or not moisturized skin produces less oil. I use Clinique Moisture Surge Intense in the morning after cleansing my face. Moisturized skin also helps to prevent foundation from clinging to any dry or textured areas I may have.


Clinique Moisture Surge Intense $39 Sephora

  • Prime your skin-as you would prime walls before you painting; the primer fills in pores, fine lines and your foundation stays in place longer.  There are primers for specific needs (for a matte finish, smoothing  pores and fine lines, moisturizing, etc. I have found even with my combination oily skin I prefer a smoothing primer over a matte primer; matte primers can be very drying and can cause your makeup to look cakey. While smoothing primers smooth over textured skin and can also keep my oils at bay without drying me out. Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer is my absolute favorite a little goes a long way. I purchased my first jar in November and just replaced it last week.

Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer $39 Sephora

  • Foundation is your base and it is meant to even out your skin tone to create a blank canvas. Due to my combination oily skin I prefered a matte foundation which is normally full coverage. As I have gotten older I find matte full coverage foundation ages me by settling in fine lines and it tends to look heavy. I now opt for a light-medium coverage foundation that is more of a satin or demi matte finish. I find light to medium foundation gives a more youthful appearance to the skin.  Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick foundation is my favorite  during the week;  a stick foundation makes application easy and quick.  Some of my other favorites are: Make Up Forever Ultra HD, NARS Sheer Glow and from the drug store L’OREAL INFALLIBLE PRO-MATTE and L’OREAL INFALLIBLE PRO-GLOW (which I often mix since the matte is sooo matte) Foundation is my favorite face makeup I keep these and a few others in my rotation.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation $25 Sephora (Amber is my shade)

Make Up Forever Ultra HD $43 Sephora (Y425 my shade)

NARS Sheer Glow $47 Sephora (Syracuse)


  • Concealer is vital to cover “conceal” blemishes, under eye circles and it can also be used to brighten your under eyes to give the appearance of being awake (even if you aren’t). I am not into the drag queen super highlighted under eye that is a trend in my opinion that needs to die! After applying my foundation I use my concealer under my eyes to cover and brighten any discoloration I then immediately set with a little powder to keep the concealer from creasing. My favorite for last year or so is the SEPHORA Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer this concealer rivals many of the well known high end brands.

SEPHORA Gel Serum Concealer $14 Sephora (12 Pecan Pie)

  • Setting/Finishing Powders, I use to set my under eye concealer, put under my foundation in my t-zone to combat oil, and to smooth out the appearance of pores and fine lines. A lot of powders on the market are very finely milled and easy to blend into the skin to give the skin a flawless appearance. My favorites are: Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder Translucent, (I use set my under eye concealer and in my t-zone to combat oil. BECCA Soft Light Blurring Powder ( I use on the perimeter of my face to blur fine lines and pores)

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder $38 Sephora


BECCA Soft Light Blurring Powder $38

  • Eyebrows frame the face I no longer over pluck my brows I get them threaded once every 4-6 weeks and I just have them cleaned up. I think I look better with a fuller brow (not Insta Gram Brows really dark and unnatural) but a natural fuller brow. I use a brow pencil or powder to fill in any sparse areas of my brows very lightly, I also use a brow gel to keep them in place. I love Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder, ABH Brow Wiz (twist up brow pencil) ABH Clear Brow Gel  and ABH Brow brush. 
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow powder, Brow Wiz Pencil, Clear Brow Gel, Brow brush Sephora


  • Eyeshadow is optional for me, I used to do one shadow from the eyelid to the brow bone (this woefully dated me) this only works in my opinion if the eye shadow is the same tone as your skin. There are so many options with eye shadow both high end and drug store. To make any eye shadow  “pop” and to last all day it’s important to use an eye shadow primer. I am currently using the LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Shadow Primer, there are also some drug store options like Milani Eye Shadow Primer. I have added a few of my eye shadow palette favorites as well, ELF Mad for Matte and Need it Nude, Tarte tarteist PRO TO GO AND tartelette tease. 

LORAC eye shadow primer $20 Ulta


Milani Eyeshadow Primer $4 Walgreens


ELF (top) Made for Matte $10, (bottom) Need it Nude $10 Target


Tarte tarteist PRO TO GO (left) $20 Ulta, tartelette tease $20 Ulta


  • Mascara is something I thought was optional but I find it opens the eye and you look more awake when wearing mascara. On those I don’t  wear any makeup I will put on mascara and concealer to help me look vibrant and awake.  There was a time I would use any mascara until I tried DIOR SHOW ICONIC OVERCURL as a sample from Sephora, I was immediately sold! It is quite expensive for a mascara but it is worth every penny! There are may other options drug store and high end but this is my favorite.


  • Blush adds color and dimension to your face without it your face can look flat and one dimensional. Blush is not something I get excited about but I love how it looks if used with a light hand. I have a few  blushes that would go well with just about any makeup look. MAC Desert Rose, and LORAC buildable blush in the color CINEMATIC. 

MAC Desert Rose $26 Nordstrom


LORAC buildable blush in CINEMATIC $24 Ulta

  • Setting Sprays were a game changer for me I like to use MAC FIX + to hydrate or to diminish the look of “cake face” if you’ve used too much powder and URBAN DECAY ALL NIGHTER SETTING SPRAY to help the makeup stay in place all day.

Mac Fix Plus $24 Nordstrom


URBAN DECAY All Nighter Setting Spray $31 Sephora


I have learned I can’t do my make up without some prep work to my skin before applying and also using the right products that won’t date me or age me. I am not suggesting that you need make up or that you have to be as detailed (high maintenance) as I am. I love wearing makeup to enhance what I already have but I am equally comfortable with no makeup! You may be wondering how long does it take to do my makeup, during the week I can do a 5 minute face or up to 15 minutes it just depends how much time I have.

In the last few years I discovered primers, setting sprays  and concealers (makeup has changed drastically over the years).  What is your makeup routine? What are your favorite products? How long does it take you to do your makeup?


  1. May 5, 2017 / 11:11 pm

    Oh my goodness, this was like make-up 101 for me; thanks! I like wearing make-up, but I’m not very detailed, unless I have a very important event (like my wedding day! LOL). I don’t have half of the things you mentioned, but this was so informative!!! I do know I could use a good concealer for dark, under-eye circles. . . but I’m not a fan of every-day foundation. Could I get away with wearing a concealer alone? I haven’t found a fave yet–any drug store-priced recommendations? I love mascara and tend to wear it more these days. I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older, my lashes don’t seem to be as full. I tried a new mascara for my anniversary last year that had microfibers in it to give the appearance of falsies without going overboard. I think it is by Younique–wearing it is fun. This was a fun post, Karen. Maybe one day you’ll give us some tutorials!!! (hint-hint lol!)

    • Karen's Essentials
      May 8, 2017 / 9:10 am

      Hi Stacie, that was my intention with this post to share what I have learned about makeup. I am far from an expert but these things really work for me. You certainly don’t need all the things that I mentioned (I don’t need all the things I mentioned lol). There are days even weeks that I wear no makeup just concealer. mascara and I groom my brows this helps you look awake and your brows frame your face. I haven’t found any concealers at the drug store that work for me,the options for women of color is slim especially with concealers. You aren’t able to test products at the drug store so its hard to tell what will work. I have used Maybelline Fit Me concealer but I really didn’t like it. My favorite concealer right now is a Sephora brand concealer which I mentioned in the post $14 and it will last for about 3 months great selection and high coverage without being cakey, and it stays in place all day. I will try out some drug store concealers and do a post on my findings hopefully I can find a winner at the drug store. I have never tried the mascara you referred to but I heard its great. (I am a little nervous about fibers getting in my eyes) Tutorials/videos are in the works. 🙂

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