Beauty Trends 2018: Making the Latest Beauty Trends Work Over 50

This is the first in a series of articles about beauty—how we achieve it and redefine it as we get older. 

I haven’t quite timed it, but I’m guessing it takes me, oh, about six minutes to do a full face of daytime makeup. I know this because I do the same thing. Every. Single. Day.

A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the school of “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It,” my daily beauty routine consists of the following:

  •      Moisturizer, anti-aging foundation; concealer under eyes and on lids to mask ever-increasing redness.
  •      Hi-Def powder to matte things out; plus peachy powder blusher.
  •      Neutral shadow from brow to lid (combating the redness that’s barely held in check by the concealer), with cocoa eyeliner top and bottom, smudged with a brush.
  •      Mascara on curled lashes.
  •      Pale pink lip gloss.  

Unless I’m suffering from a cold or a hangover, this pretty, predictable lineup gets the job done—amped up a bit for nights out—but the game basically stays the same. On the down side, I find I have to push myself to try new trends, stray from my usual shades, or even change up the cosmetic textures (say, cream for powder, matte for metallic). Which is weird, because I’m a die-hard beauty junkie/writer and an avid guinea pig, and trying new things is supposed to be my jam.

Trying beauty trends that are just a little out of your comfort zone can lead to some serious gorgeousness.

The problem is, I’m now a 55-year-old beauty junkie/writer. And there comes a point when it just feels safer to go with what you know, rather than allow a beautifully pore-less, 25-year-old salesperson to convince you to drop $60 on a “glow kit” designed to bring out youthful luminescence. (You know damn well said shimmer is just going to make itself at home in your creases and lines—challenges that Counter Chick hasn’t even begun to grasp.)

But safer isn’t always better, and trying beauty trends that are just a little out of your comfort zone can lead to some serious gorgeousness—and the kind of confidence that conveys who you are at this stage of your life: Gutsy. Feminine. Discerning.

I say discerning, because I’m not expecting you to grab the latest runway looks and bring them back to your bathroom counter. Most of them—copied precisely—would elicit a horrified OMG Mom! from even your most grown-up offspring. I’m talking about tweaking trends ever so craftily so they become wearable, not weird. Let me show you how with five beauty trends 2018 hot spring looks.

Trend 1: Thumbprint Eyeliner

 Beauty Trends 2018: Making the Thumbprint Eyeliner Trend Work Over 50Imagine a cat-eye malfunction and—ta-da!—you’ve got the hippest look of the season. This somewhat irreverent take on winged liner involves intentional imperfection, with upper and lower lines meeting in what looks suspiciously like an inky FBI fingerprint at the outer corner of your eye. Gigi Hadid pulls it off. Me, not so much.

The tweak: Trade the intensity of liquid liner for a dark grey or espresso shadow, using a pointed brush, like MAC’s #219 Synthetic Blending Brush to connect the lines and create your outer “blob.”

Trend 2: Violet Everything

Beauty Trends 2018: Making the Violet Everything Trend Work Over 50

Clinique Long Last Lipstick, No. 29 Heather Moon. $29.63

The last purple eyeshadow I bought was in 1975, a nice little palette by Aziza (remember that name?) that I hid in my closet because I wasn’t yet allowed to wear eye makeup. But flash-forward to 2018: Pantone’s color of the year is a punchy shade called Ultra Violet, which basically means purple reigns once again. You’ll see it blooming in shadows, liners, lipsticks, and more. It is not for the faint at heart.

Pantone’s color of the year is a punchy shade called Ultra Violet.

The tweak: As my Mom used to say, everything in moderation. Wise words. A few options:

Trend 3: Eye Bling

We’re not just talking metallic shadow here. Actual trails of rhinestones, gems, and sequins are currently being affixed to the eyelids with lash glue. If you’re over 40 and not currently contracted with Dancing With the Stars, I’d advise you keep walking and/or save these babies for a nice scrapbook project.

If you’re over 40 and not currently contracted with Dancing With the Stars, I’d advise you to stay away from rhinestones on your eyelids.

The tweak: There is something alluring about a hint of glint dressing up evening eyes. But you can do it semi-tamely with Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner, a glam-rock, water-based liner that contains superfine sparkly stuff in a clear base. It comes in 11 cool shades (love me some Grind, an iridescent baby pink), which you can paint super-thinly along your lash line. No glue required.

Trend 4: Clumpy Lashes

Beauty Trends 2018: Making the Clumpy Lashes Trend Work Over 50Excuse me, but haven’t we spent, like, 30 years trying to unclump those f*cking things? Well, you can thank the folks at Christian Dior for finally putting an end to those dangerous safety-pin maneuvers, as retro, stuck-together lashes made a reappearance on the runway.

The tweak: Go for a thicker, more lash-coated look by choosing a mascara designed to bulk things up without going all Twiggy on you…like YSL’s The Shock Volumizing Mascara.

Trend 5: Rose Gold

Beauty Trends 2018: Making the Rose Gold Trend Work Over 50

Benefit Cosmetics Rockateur Rose Gold Cheek Powder. $54.99

It’s fabulous in jewelry, gorgeous on a gown, and almost has me pulling out my wallet every time I see this luscious shade of pinky metallic in an eyeshadow palette. But be forewarned: If you’re in your mature years, the skin around your eyes is likely already sporting an unflattering pink cast; sweep some rose-gold shadow over that and you simply look like an older woman who has been crying. (Not cool, no matter how major a moment the color is having.)

 The tweak: Better to relegate the precious metal to a gentle wash of blusher that warms up your face—try Benefit Cosmetics Rockateur Rose Gold Blush. Just enough shimmer to catch the light…but not enough to throw a spotlight on lines.

Also in Our Beauty Series:

Cindy Joseph: Meet The Pro-Aging Revolutionary

Midlife Identity Crisis: Am I the Woman I Thought I Was?

Zen and the Art of Facial Hair Maintenance

Further Reading

The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age 

Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+

Christie Brinkley’s Timeless Beauty: Over 100 Tips, Secrets, and Shortcuts to Looking Great