Life after 40 rules in a lot of ways: You’re no longer humming with the constant insecurity and self-questioning you experienced throughout your 20s; you’re more settled and comfortable in your own skin. But speaking of skin, that’s one thing that isn’t quite as easy now that you’ve got a few decades under your belt. Spots and lines around your mouth, forehead, and eyes that definitely weren’t there in the ’90s—evidence of an expressive life and many hours in the sun—have caused your makeup to sit in, well, not quite the same way it used to. But modifying your makeup products and routine to suit your new skin needs is easier said than done. We’re not all professional makeup artists, after all, and learning what looks and application techniques are most flattering on aging skin can be seriously challenging and time-consuming.
Fortunately, we have the perfect celebrity makeup artist to help navigate. Enter Jamie Greenberg, a Hollywood makeup artist whose handiwork can be found on the likes of age 40–plus icons like Gwyneth Paltrow, Rashida Jones, Chelsea Handler, Maya Rudolph, Lauren Graham, and Julie Bowen. Greenberg is also the creator of Jamie’s Swag Bag, a monthly box of her makeup and skincare finds—the next one launches in a few days on June 14.
We asked Greenberg to share some of the most common makeup mistakes she sees women over 40 making—plus a few tricks that will instantly up your makeup game. Keep scrolling to see her hot tips!
The best-applied makeup in the world will still look dull and cakey without healthy skin underneath. But Greenberg says she sees a lot of women over 40 expect their makeup to do all the work for them. “Many women don’t hydrate or have a full skincare regimen,” she says. “I highly suggest finding products that feed your skin. It is imperative so that makeup can look more natural on the skin.“
Dehydration and fine lines and wrinkles are often the key concerns for aging skin (though everyone’s skin type and issues are different). Below, check out a basic skincare routine to try if you want to plump and de-wrinkle your skin without too much effort.
Poorly blended foundation looks wonky on everyone, but it’s especially obvious on more mature skin. “Many women haphazardly schmear on foundation or tinted moisturizer with their hands and often miss spots or create lines of demarcation [at the neck or hairline],” says Jamie, who adds, “It’s so important to take your time and put it on evenly.”
Instead of slapping on foundation with your fingers, try a thick foundation brush, like the Rodial The Airbrush Foundation Brush ($55) or EcoTools Wonder Cover Complexion brush ($9) or—Jamie’s favorite—a classic Beautyblender (don’t forget to dampen it) for flawless application.
Greenberg says this is one she sees a lot. Women get so accustomed to the look and products they’ve been doing since college that one day they wake up, it’s 20 years later, they’re on the last little stub of a very old lipstick, and their whole look is super dated. “We don’t keep the same clothes and wear the same thing every day. The same thing goes for skincare and makeup,” says Greenberg. “If it’s old, throw it out.”
Greenberg says she has friends who’ve had pans of eye shadow for 10 years or more. “Not only is that unsanitary, but it also looks bad on the skin,” she says. “Also, I’m all for a signature style, but it’s fun to switch things up.” It doesn’t have to be a total overhaul. Make a simple change! For example, try navy liner instead of black, a coral lip instead of nude, or a dewy foundation instead of matte. Experiment with filling in your brows with a fiber-rich gel instead of a waxy pencil, or even go for colored mascara. “Little changes make a big difference,” Greenberg says.
It sounds so simple, but Greenberg says learning to curl your lashes is a must if you don’t do it already. It’s a really simple, instant way to look more bright-eyed and energetic, as if the past two decades simply never happened. Shu Uemura’s iconic lash curler makes the process totally goof-proof.
Dark circles and bags under the eyes, as well as crepey crows-feet, are concerns for almost everyone over 40. And while concealer works like a Band-Aid to cover them up, treating your under-eyes with products formulated with active ingredients like caffeine, peptides, and chemical exfoliators will make your makeup look even better. “Eye masks are a weekly occurrence for me that make such a difference,” says Greenberg. “Do them while you do your hair for a special event or if you feel tired. It’s a game changer!” Pro tip: Keep your eye care products in the refrigerator so that when you apply them, the coolness will work to depuff any bags.
Not a makeup tip in the classic sense, but according to Greenberg, a flattering haircut, style, and color can do twice the work makeup can do. And try doing your hair before your makeup—that’ll make the process less stressful. “Hair can take away a lot of the anxiety on the face. When I do my hair, makeup is so much easier!” Greenberg says.