Helen Mirren's Makeup Artist Doles Out Age-Appropriate Beauty Advice

For those of us with the fleeting advantages of youth still on our side, trying new beauty trends is as easy as watching a YouTube tutorial and popping down to your local Sephora. But for those of us who've had the privilege of enjoying life a little longer, makeup doesn't always seem so user-friendly. We consulted two beauty professionals experienced in making up some of the world's most gorgeous women: Hollywood makeup artist Elaine Offers, who counts Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, and Ellen Degeneres among her celebrity clients, and MAC Cosmetics senior artist Neil Young, who worked with legendary style icon Iris Apfel on her collaboration for the brand. Read on for their tips!
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Nora Crotty
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For those of us with the fleeting advantages of youth still on our side, trying new beauty trends is as easy as watching a YouTube tutorial and popping down to your local Sephora. But for those of us who've had the privilege of enjoying life a little longer, makeup doesn't always seem so user-friendly. We consulted two beauty professionals experienced in making up some of the world's most gorgeous women: Hollywood makeup artist Elaine Offers, who counts Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, and Ellen Degeneres among her celebrity clients, and MAC Cosmetics senior artist Neil Young, who worked with legendary style icon Iris Apfel on her collaboration for the brand. Read on for their tips!
Helen Mirren. Photo: Getty

Helen Mirren. Photo: Getty

When I was a child, my gorgeously tan grandmother instilled in me her belief that all women look better with makeup on. Now an octogenarian (though she'd be hard pressed to admit it), Grammy's the one asking me for makeup tips. But all too often, she finds herself disappointed in the way my winged liquid liner looks on her own eyes. Likewise, her skin's changing texture has affected the way certain products appear on her face.

For those of us with the fleeting advantages of youth still on our side, trying new beauty trends is as easy as watching a YouTube tutorial and popping down to your local Sephora. But for those of us who've had the privilege of enjoying life a little longer, makeup doesn't always seem so user-friendly.

We consulted two beauty professionals experienced in making up some of the world's most gorgeous women: Hollywood makeup artist Elaine Offers, who counts Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, and Ellen Degeneres among her celebrity clients, and MAC Cosmetics senior artist Neil Young, who worked with legendary style icon Iris Apfel on her collaboration for the brand.

"I truly believe anyone of any age can wear most beauty looks," says Young. "It’s just a case of adapting it to be more age appropriate."

So ladies, put down that magnifying mirror for just a minute and read this instead: Just in time for Mother's Day, our experts will tell you the absolute best way to wear the beauty looks you love while still acting your age. Skin, eyes, lips, and hair--it's all in here.

Proceed!

EYES

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Both Offers and Young agree: The secret to youthful eyes lies in expertly groomed brows. Offers suggests getting brows professionally shaped and tinted to save time in the morning--or, if you're not ready to commit, "Choose a flattering eyebrow pencil a shade or two lighter than your hair if it's dark, and a shade or two darker if your hair is gray or silver."

Says Young, "Eyebrows that are too thin add years onto your face. Thicker, more luscious brows are associated with youth and vitality." He recommends brushing brows upwards to open up the face.

As far as eye makeup is concerned, it's best to stay away from anything too intense. As per Young, "hard or heavy eyeliner can leave the eyes looking small." Offers recommends wearing "neutral liner on the top lash line" in colors like brown or taupe. Wear mascara only on the top lashes for a subtle lift, as bottom lashes are prone to smear.

But don't count out bright colors entirely. As far as following celebrity makeup trends, Young says older women can certainly still get in on the fun. "Try a sweep of eye liner in turquoise as opposed to a full lid," he says. But Offers warns, "keep in mind that the images in magazines are often Photoshopped, red carpet looks are done by professional makeup artists, and flash photography blows out imperfections." It's best to draw inspiration without attempting to replicate exact looks.

Click through to see our product recommendations.

EYES

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MAC Eye Kohl in Minted, $16 • Sephora Classic Brow Brush, $10 • Benefit Browzings kit, $30 • Urban Decay Naked Basics Matte palette, $27 • Clinique High Impact Mascara, $16

SKIN

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

The key to healthy, younger looking skin? Products that glow. Offers loves products with "built in luminosity to diffuse imperfections," that you can find in a variety of formulations including tinted moisturizers, light to medium coverage foundations, BB creams, and mineral powders--many of which also include multitasking SPF and skin perfecting ingredients.

Young recommends priming skin, either before or after applying foundation, with a light attracting product. Moisture is also important. "Hydration is key to keeping the skin looking plump and smooth, but primers also boost the performance of moisturizer."

Whatever you do, says Offers, "avoid opaque and heavily pigmented products" like foundations and powder blushes that are too matte. Sheer color glides better over skin and is easier to blend, building color gradually. Apply cream cheek color to the apples of your cheeks to give your face a fuller appearance.

Click through to see our product recommendations.

SKIN

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MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Base, $40 • Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Bare Perfection Makeup, $33 • Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush, $7.99 • Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector, $35 • Sircuit Addict+ Firming Anti-Aging Serum, $115

LIPS

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

One of the biggest complaints older women have in regards to makeup is lipstick bleeding or feathering. To avoid the issue all together, Offers recommends swapping out your old heavy lipstick for one of the sheer new lip stains on the market. Exfoliate lips prior to applying, and "smile to stretch out lip wrinkles" for the most even color application. Finish off with a tinted lip balm to lock in moisture.

But if the idea of chucking your favorite lipstick is a total no-go, there's an alternative, says Young: Primer. "Primers are an excellent way to prevent bleeding from lipstick as they act like a barrier, holding back the color," he says. Follow up with a lip liner close in color to your lipstick for long-wearing, lasting color. Young warns that older women should avoid frosted lipstick (and eye shadow, for that matter), which are inherently aging in nature.

Click through to see our product recommendations.

LIPS

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Stila Lip Crush Lip & Cheek Stain, $24 • CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain, $7.89 • MAC Prep + Prime Lip Primer, $16 • Fresh Sugar Lip Polish, $22.50 • Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color Shine, $48

HAIR

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

A big question many older women are faced with is when they "should" stop coloring their hair. For Offers, it's an individual's choice entirely. "I think a woman can stop coloring her hair whenever she wants to," she says--but don't underestimate the power of a great haircut and conditioning products. Just as with dull skin, dull hair is incredibly aging.

Look for moisturizing serums and conditioners with light reflecting agents. Deep conditioners and oils help keep hair shiny and frizz-free. "Aim to keep that glow!" says Offers.

Click through to see our product recommendations.

HAIR

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Nexxus Youth Renewal Rejuvenating Elixir, $16 • John Frieda Colour Care Line, $6.99 • Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Mousse, $24 • Neutrogena Triple Moisture Professional Deep Recovery Hair Mask Professional, $6.99 • Moroccan Oil Frizz Control, $28