Here at InStyle HQ, we’re staunchly anti-make-up rules and aren’t a fan of the idea of doing anything that’s ‘age-appropriate'. If you like a messy liquid line, a hell of a lot of contour, or want to play up both eyes and lips, we absolutely aren’t here to tell you to do it differently - whatever your birthdate. You do you.
That said, make-up can be baffling. Applying it can be mystifying, choosing colours a minefield, and, for anyone who errs on the side of wanting make-up to make them just look a little more groomed, it only gets harder as you get older and the fear of 'getting it wrong' sets in.
If that’s you, this guide will be your new BFF. We’ve drafted in make-up artist Emma Day - who counts scores of A-listers from Maisie Williams to Amber Valletta to Judi Dench - to give you an easy make-up guide to suit you whether you’re 15 or 55. Over to Emma…
Rather than hide fresh, teenage skin with thick foundation, I like to go in with as light a touch as possible and then emphasise brows and have some fun with brightly-coloured eye pencils and metallic or glitter eyeshadows. I’d really recommend steering clear of heavy contouring and instead opting for a cream blush and highlighter for glow.
Top products: Glossier Cloud Paints, Marc Jacobs Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks, Dermablend Foundation and Amazing Cosmetics Concealer if skin is problematic, otherwise Clinique Even Better Glow.
This is such a fun time for make-up as anything goes. Be adventurous. Skin is usually at it’s best so keep foundation as light as possible and enjoy colour - I like a strong eye.
My clients tend to want to look a bit more glam and sophisticated in their thirties. I like to apply individual lashes rather than obvious strip ones, and use a lot of blended metallic shades on eyes and favour reds and plums or pinky nudes and apricots on lips.
Now is the time to invest in really good skincare and illuminating foundations and primers. My focus when I’m doing make-up for women in their forties is mostly to enhance features without the make-up itself taking centre stage. Pay a little extra attention to eyebrows as they make have depleted with hormonal changes.
Cream eye shadows are brilliant when in your fifties and I'd generally recommend steering clear of anything too sparkly. I also love using lip liners in natural hues to create definition and plump lips up a little.
Top products: Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows in matte shades, Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner Pencil in Pillow Talk, Sisley Phyto Lip Twist Lipstick.
The main request I get from more mature clients pertains to skin: they don’t want their foundation to look caked or sit in wrinkles. I’d recommend avoiding mattifying foundations and instead focussing on something that’ll enhance radiance. If your eyes are hooded, you can get away with a smoky eye, but make sure it’s matte and doesn’t go too far above the socket - and blend, blend, blend.