Eye Makeup Mistakes That Make You Look Older

Aging is both beautiful and complicated. With it comes wisdom and memories and a collection of people who love us. But who among us wants to look older than we actually are? We can and should be proud of our age, but there's nothing wrong with employing tactics that help us retain our youthfulness if that's what makes us happy and confident. Makeup can help us retain a youthful look, but, unfortunately, it can also do just the opposite.


Makeup can age you in several different ways, many of them stemming from one feature — the eyes. The eyes are a powerful, transformative part of our bodies, but several makeup mistakes involving the eyes can result in an aged look. If you feel you look older than you are and want to change this, you might be making any of these common eye makeup mistakes. Keep reading to learn how to fix them.

You're wearing too much eyeliner

When we first experimented with makeup, many of us wanted to look older, and the easiest way to do so was by applying loads and loads of eyeliner. Apply that same principle to maintaining a youthful appearance — just reverse the technique. Instead of wearing as much eyeliner as you did when you first discovered the product, scale it back. Keep the product on your top lid, and choose a shape that best suits your eyes. Apply it sparingly, and if it has a different thickness throughout, such as with a classic cat eye, make sure the thickest part is on the outer corner.


You can also try a no-eyeliner look. It's quick and easy and instantly adds youthfulness to your eyes. If you feel your eyes get lost in your face without eyeliner, try tightlining your eyes — it'll help define them without being too harsh. You can also use liquid eyeliner to draw a super thin line across the upper lash line. It'll be barely noticeable, but it'll keep some emphasis on your eyes without adding years.

Your eyeliner is too dark

Another common culprit for aging our faces is wearing eyeliner that's too dark. We've been conditioned to believe black eyeliner is the superior color, but that's not always the case. Yes, it certainly has its place, but some looks don't call for black eyeliner, and it can be inadvertently adding age to your face. For example, if you give yourself a pastel eyeshadow look with a bright shimmer, finishing with a black wing will add a harshness to it that takes away from a youthful glow. Instead of finishing with black liner, try a color that's closer to the pigment of the shadow you used, or finish with a navy, brown, or grey if you still want contrast.


Those same colors can be of great use when wearing liner sans shadow. If you've got a bold lip or sculpted your face with contour, keep the eyes lighter by wearing a lighter liner. It'll help you keep your youthful appearance, but you'll still be able to rock a wing or define your eyes.

You're overdrawing your brows

As we've learned over the past decade, brows can make or break a makeup look. Plenty of makeup wearers realized they'd choose to fix their brows over completing several other steps in their routine if pressed for time, and it's because brows make a tremendous difference in the face's overall appearance. But that difference can also backfire. If you're not careful with your brows, they can easily age you. One of the most common culprits is overdrawing the brows.


An overdrawn brow is easy to spot. It's apparent there's pigment outside the natural hairs, and the shape is chosen instead of being worked with. Luckily, these are easy to fix. Instead of choosing a new shape for your brow, use what's there as a stencil. Using your natural shape will help you look younger, and it'll be easier to apply. We understand that sometimes it's necessary to add pigment outside of your natural brow, but, to avoid aging yourself, you need to do it correctly. Use products that yield a more natural look, such as brow pens and gels, instead of pencils and pomades. Those products are great for filling, but they can easily create a harsh look when used for drawing.

Your brows are too dark

Another common brow mistake that easily ages the face is filling the brows with too dark of shades. Too dark of a brow can cause a jump scare, so make sure you're selecting shades and products that suit your face. A good jumping-off point is your natural brow color. Use a product that's either the same or just a shade or two darker than your natural brow color. If you prefer a darker brow, don't go any darker than your natural hair color.


Another way to avoid filling your brows too darkly is by ignoring trends in products. Makeup trends are going to change, but you don't need to purchase a new brow product every time one is released just to have trendy brows. Many brow products come in a limited shade range, and if a new product is released that doesn't match your brows, don't buy it. If something comes out in your shade, purchase it if you'd like and update your brow routine — just be sure to use products in your shade to avoid aging yourself.

You're wearing too much concealer

Concealer can be tricky to master. It requires expert shade matching and loads of blending to get good results, and just a little too much can make you look older. Concealer is supposed to be a finishing touch that brightens the under-eye area and covers any blemishes or insecurities your foundation missed. When too much is applied, concealer looks heavy and creases throughout the day, and we all know what creases do to our faces vis-à-vis aging.


To avoid wearing too much concealer, apply a light layer and blend it out before adding more. A little goes a long way, especially with a full-coverage concealer, and you can always add more if necessary. Another good practice is to apply concealer with a brush instead of the accompanying wand, as this will help you use less product (you can still use a beauty sponge to blend if that's your preference). A final option is to avoid using concealer at all. Try using an under-eye brightener instead of a concealer. It'll still cover dark circles, but it'll look more natural than concealer. It's not great for covering super dark circles, but it's a good option if those aren't a concern.

You're wearing the wrong shade of concealer

It's important to apply the right amount of concealer, but it's also important to apply the right shade. The wrong shade of concealer can dull your face, and a dull face looks older than a bright one. Luckily, we're in an era of makeup where more and more brands are offering more and more shades of concealer all the time, so it's easier to find a shade match than ever before. Brands such as Fenty Beauty, Rare Beauty, and Tarte all have tons of shade options.


Concealer, like foundation, should be chosen according to your undertones. If you have a foundation that matches, read the product description to see if it mentions the undertones. If it does, use that to guide what concealer you choose. If it doesn't, look at the veins on your wrist to determine whether you have natural, warm, or cool undertones, and use that to guide your choice of concealer. Beyond your undertones, your concealer should be a shade or two lighter than your foundation. If you're using a shade that's the same as your foundation, it's not brightening your under eyes as well as it could be and, thus, aging you unnecessarily.

You aren't using color-correcting concealer

One eye issue that ages us and is (almost) totally beyond our control is dark circles. Pesky dark circles are a major insecurity for many of us, and they're tough to cover. This often leads to using too much concealer under the eyes, which, as we discussed, instantly ages you. Avoid making this mistake by using color-correcting concealer. Apply a layer of peach color-correcting concealer to neutralize your dark circles, and finish by applying a layer of your regular concealer. This will cover your dark circles without using too much product, and it'll instantly breathe life back into your eyes.


Color-correcting concealer can be used for more than just dark circles, though. If you have any redness aging you, use a green concealer, or use blue concealer to cover dark spots or other instances of hyperpigmentation. Just be sure to always follow up with your regular concealer. Color-correcting concealer is meant to neutralize and help cover, not offer full coverage or make blemishes blend in with your skin.

Your concealer is cakey

You might also be aging yourself by using a cakey concealer. Cakey concealer can absolutely be the result of wearing too much concealer, but if you've reigned in the amount you're applying and are still noticing a cakey finish, the issue is likely the product you're using and the techniques you're using (or aren't using) to apply it. First, consider your skincare routine — make sure your skin is properly moisturized. Next, take a close look at the products you're using. Are they meant for your skin type? Do they jive with each other? If your concealer doesn't work well with your primer or foundation or if it's not meant for your skin type, you need a different formula.


After you've sorted out the formulas, consider how you're applying your concealer. What are you using to blend it? Are you setting it? Is there too much product in areas prone to creasing? Figuring this out will take some trial and error, but you can start by using either powder or spray to set your concealer and blending concealer into those creased areas instead of directly on top.

You're lining your waterline

The waterline is another tricky area for many of us when we're applying makeup, and a couple of wrong practices may be aging you. One such practice is lining your waterline. Now, this practice doesn't need to be completely removed from your makeup routine — it just needs to be refined. One error is lining your waterline with a black pencil. Black pencil liners are notoriously harsh, and having such a bold waterline adds age to your face. It also smears incredibly easily, and that smearing results in raccoon eyes, which, in turn, ages your face.


We get the appeal of lining your waterline. That extra pigment can create a sultry look, but there are softer ways to do it that don't make you look older than you are. If you want to line your waterline, use a different product instead. Reserve your pencil liner for your upper lid, and use eyeshadow instead to line your waterline. Eyeshadow is a softer product that adds a subtle, sultry pigment that doesn't age you. You can also apply it to make your eyes look bigger. For an even softer look, opt for brown or grey shadow instead of black.

You aren't lifting your eyes

It's amazing what a little concealer can do. If you feel your eyes look droopy and are adding extra age to your face, give yourself a free mini facelift with your concealer. It's a lot easier than it sounds. To get that lifted look, apply concealer at an upward angle starting underneath the outer corner of your eye and ending perpendicular to the tail of your brow. Do this on both sides, and blend, blend, blend. This will help you retain a youthful look, and it can be done even without contouring your entire face.


To do this when wearing eyeshadow, remove the shadow from where you're going to apply concealer beforehand using either a cotton swab or a microfiber towel. The point of the carefully-placed concealer is to act as a highlight, and it won't be as effective if it's layered over dark eyeshadow. Removing the eyeshadow before applying your concealer will also help keep your concealer from looking cakey, so it's a worthwhile extra step.

You're applying your eyeshadow incorrectly

We all have different eye shapes, and years of experimenting with eyeshadow looks have led us to discover which eyeshadow applications and techniques look best with particular shapes. Once you've determined your specific eye shape, learn what techniques best suit it.


Remember that other eyeshadow faux pas can lead to an aged look, too. While we love a smokey eye, one that's too dark can age your face, as can a super glittery eye. For a more youthful look, opt for neutral shades and soft shimmers. Be light-handed with your application, and use brushes instead of your fingers so the pigment's a little subtler. There's a time and a place for a great eyeshadow look, but if the goal is to look more youthful, less is more. Using a simple eyeshadow can still look beautiful, and it'll keep you from looking older than you are.

You aren't curling your lashes

Another way to retain a youthful look is by curling your eyelashes. Curled lashes help open your eye and maintain a brighter appearance. Break out your eyelash curler and give your lashes a little lift prior to applying your mascara to get that youthful look. If you're wary of standard eyelash curlers, make sure you examine the tool before each use to ensure the pads are properly placed and secured to avoid clipping your lashes. If you're totally against the tool, consider using a heated lash curler instead.


You can also get lifted lashes other ways. Simply applying your mascara properly can help a tremendous amount, so make sure you're applying from the base of your lashes and moving your wand up instead of straight out. Look for curling mascara, too, and try using a lash primer. If those techniques don't help, you can get a lash lift. Lash lifts are a semi-permanent procedure that leave your lashes curled and lifted without the use of an at-home curler. This procedure does need to be completed by a professional, though, and it may not be accessible to everyone. If you don't want to mess with that, a quick trick to more youthful-looking lashes is simply swapping out black mascara for brown.

You aren't applying mascara to the outer lashes

One last eye makeup mistake you might be making that's adding extra years to your look is not applying mascara to the outer lashes. When you're applying mascara, be sure to apply it to every lash, paying special attention to the outer corners. Emphasizing the outer lashes is going to have the same effect on your eyes as the concealer hack. It's going to lift your face, creating a more youthful look. Use your wand to apply mascara to the outer corners by starting at the base and moving upward and outward. Thinner wands work best for this technique and are your best bet at keeping the mascara solely on your lashes.


If you're crunched for time, focus your mascara efforts only on the outer lashes. If you have blonde lashes, take one quick swipe so they're all the same color, but spend most of your time lifting those outer lashes for that lifted look. If you have dark lashes, you can probably get away with skipping the lashes in the middle of your eyes. If you're a falsies girl, opt for lash clusters placed on the outer corners instead of applying a strip lash across the entire eye.