Makeup Tips

Have you changed your makeup application recently? I’ve made a few adjustments and worn less makeup as the years pass. However, studying my face at the end of the day helped me see that the final effect was not what I intended. Instead, color gathers and travels or smudges into expression lines around the eyes and mouth.

I start with a clean face and fill in my now sparse light-colored brows with a cool grey brow pencil here. If you also have unruly brows that need some gel, this clear one is the best I’ve found. Next, I use a black eyeliner pencil found here to fill in the base of my upper lashes and the waterline on the top lid only. After smudging and blending to just the outer corners of my lashes, I add a dark eyeshadow on the top of the lashes to further blend and soften the line. The color ‘Storm’ here is a great one for this step. Blend the color up to the orbital bone and just above. Next, I blend the color ‘Cocoa’ here with it to look more subtle. Finally, I also apply the color ‘Chamois’ found here at the inner corners near the nose to brighten up that area.

I use a soft eye shadow brush to apply the color and blend carefully, but not beyond the outer corner of my eyes. I try to keep any color near the center of the lid only. As we age, the corners of our eyes and lips may turn down, so if I follow the line to the end, it makes me look sad.

You can see in the photos below that I keep the color mostly above the lash line on the top lid only. If I add any mascara or shadow on the lower lashes, it looks too harsh. If I continue the lipliner and color to the corners of my mouth, that also travels too much and emphasizes the downturned corners. Blending and blotting have become much more important as I age. I strive for stain rather than color sitting on top of the skin, and I always use a very light hand.

My lip color is Little Black Dress (now discontinued). My (always black) mascara is here. I also like the brand here.

I no longer wear foundation and rarely use blush, but I sometimes use a tinted moisturizer here to give my skin a dewy finish and to provide some SPF. Unfortunately, my face flushes easily, so blush is nearly always too much. Also, you can see from the age spots and freckles that I enjoyed being in the sun a little too much.

Foundation can give a one-dimensional look that requires more time and artistry than I am willing to apply. It also gathers into my lines and creases, making them more noticeable. I am not a fan of contouring and highlighting, so I never add those steps.

Skincare has become much more important to me as I age. I use the same routine twice daily and tweak it with the seasons. For example, I use more moisturizer and oil in winter and only a lighter daytime moisturizer in summer. All the products are defined here.

I skip color on my manicures, but I do a pedicure every week and often use Dutch Tulips here. This color is perfect for me because it falls between red and pink.

None of my items are new, so the links are to similar current items. TopPantsShoesBag. The statement necklace is by Petra Meiren, a jewelry designer from Germany. It is from Caravans in Asheville, NC. I wore this look when I joined the gals in Bravissima! to have dinner and tour the new Martin Center in Johnson City.

After the tour, our group enjoyed a delightful dinner at Wellington’s in the Carnegie Hotel next to the Martin Center.

I have been a consultant for and using Beautycounter since 2017. As a result, I may earn a small commission from your purchases from this website at no additional cost to you.

  1. Hello Susan, you always make things look so fresh and smart. I love the grey on you. I’m pleased that you enjoyed your outing with friends.

  2. Good morning. As a pensioner my wardrobe is just about where I’d like it, too. Some downsizing of pants is still ongoing. Now onto makeup! I walk trails with my dog before attending an AquaFit class and then return home
    To check garden and get started on chores around the house. I have never worn more than daily SPF lotion, black mascara and colored lip balm but would like to try eyeliner-my lashes are also thinning. I am 64 and fair skinned with dark hair and hazel/brown eyes. What color eyeliner would you suggest?

  3. Susan, thank you for this informative post! The close-up photos help to illustrate what you describe. I appreciate the time and attention to detail that you put into creating this post. It will help me so much! Thanks!

  4. Hi Susan: Your posts are always so informative. I love the outfit you are wearing in this post. I often cannot find a grey eye pencil, so am really thrilled that you linked to one that I may purchase on line.

    You mentioned that you get a pedicure weekly. I am curious if you do it yourself or do you go to a salon?

  5. Good morning! Love this post. Can I please ask what shade you use in the tinted moisturizer? It’s so hard to decide online. I am similar colouring to you. Thanks v much

  6. Wonderful tutorial and recommendations, Susan. Only one thing left out: a mascara recommendation! Yours looks feathery with no clumps. Information please?

  7. I also use Dutch Tulips as my choice for pedicures. I love that color! Your skin is fabulous.

  8. Thank you for this post! I needed this so much for my own eyes. Now I need to learn to have a soft touch when I do my eye makeup. Appreciate your time that you give all of us. Have a great day!

  9. Thank you very much for this post. I was never much of a makeup wearer until the past few years. I have found my face needs a little help these days for me to look awake. I think your makeup enhances your face and looks very natural. It’s exactly the look I am going for. I agree that skin care is so important.

  10. Beautifully applied eye makeup. I really like your new hairstyle! Nice outfit too. Navy and white is lovely at this time of the year!

  11. Susan,
    I always notice how your necklaces lay so perfectly.
    Mine move when I do and I thought possibly you have a secret of keeping
    The jewelry around the neck and down the front in place.
    Would so appreciate any suggestions.

  12. I appreciate your honesty about your makeup routine. As we age it is important to modify the application.
    Do you recommend a concealer to cover dark circles?
    Do you use an eyelash curler?
    I wish I could apply some eye shadow but I can’t with droopy lids.
    You look fabulous!
    Thank you again.

  13. I’ve been waiting for your latest makeup update – thanks so much for sharing! Your skin is lovely! I’m also a big fan of lining the upper waterline, especially as my delicate eye skin gets more stretchy.

  14. Thank you so very much for sharing your make up tips! They are extremely valuable. As I get older (73), I have wondered about foundation. I use it only for special occasions now. Your suggestions for eyeshadow placement and colour are very helpful. Thank you!

  15. I love this look, so classic and yet with a casual flair. A go anywhere style.

    I have a question on how do you make eyelids look better when they are “puffy.” or the bedroom eyes? When you look at my eyes, there is no indentation as the lid almost closes slightly over the eye. I’m not sure if I am correctly saying this but I sure need help to make the lid look less imposing. Wish I had your eyes….or at least the lids, wink!

    I would appreciate any advice you could recommend to me on how to accent my eyes as the lashes hardly show on top and the lids are most prominent.

    Clara from Iowa

  16. Susan
    Do you ever use any face powder?
    If not does your tinted moisturizer sometimes look a bit shiny?
    Thank you
    Margaret Ann

  17. You look fabulous as always Susan! (A previous poster asked about tinted moisturizer without sunscreen, you might tell her to check with a Mary Kay consultant. I too cannot put most sunscreens on my face as I am highly allergic to some sunscreens and I know some of their products do not have sunscreen)

  18. It looks like the brow gel includes tint. I have white hair and darker brows which shade would you recommend?

  19. Leslie, if you are looking for an SPF-free tinted moisturizer or foundation, you might want to try Look Fabulous Forever’s Continuous Cover Foundation or Light Look Beauty Balm. I use a separate SPF (SuperGoop or Elta MD or Austrialian Gold Facial) and also prefer my base without SPF. Also, many foundations or tinted moisturizers have an SPF that is too low to protect. Look Fabulous Forever is a British brand founded by a woman at age 65 and made for older women and is sold online only; they have a US-based distribution hub so the products do arrive quickly. I love their face primer and lip primer and really like their mascara and eye shadows a lot. Overall I find their products are nice and good quality and the options are great to keep it simple.

    I also like a lot of BeautyCounter products, thanks to Susan’s recommendation. I am currently using the CounterTime line and really like the cleansing oil a lot (I think it is my favorite cleansing oil). I also love the Charcoal soap to wash my face in the morning as it is not too drying and gives me a fresh face to work with – skincare is more important these days. Like Susan, I am pairing down my makeup. I am still working so I do wear more makeup than I would if retired.

  20. This is an excellent post today seeing how makeup applications can evolve over time through your personal experiences. Thank you! I wish you could do a video on the changes you have made. I truly appreciate the photos but I would love to see the applications in real time and for you to speak of them as you apply them. The Carnegie Hotel is stunning and it was so enjoyable looking through the Gallery of photos. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Susan, I apologize for submitting another comment but I didn’t realize until I took a closer look at the eye shadow selections you mentioned that they may be available in luminous, matte or semi-matte. Which would be the best choice among the three? Thank you.

  22. This is a particularly lovely outfit.

    I read and try to apply many of your tips on clothing and makeup. I agree that as we get older, less is more in makeup. Thank you.

    We love the pictures of your travels. We live in Indiana, but have traveled in your area several times.

  23. Hi Susan, thanks for the make-up tips. I will be ordering a few.
    When you do your own pedicures, is it a dry pedicure, or if you soak what do you use?

    Thanks, Pat

  24. Susan, your skin is beautifully even-toned and very smooth which makes not using foundation an easy option for you.
    But there are many like myself who are covered in freckles and age spots and who may have a touch of age and sun-related vitiligo and certainly many wrinkles (expression lines). In that case we can all use a touch of the lightest BSB and foundations to even out our tone.

    I would LOVE to wake up in the morning and do nothing but it’s wishful thinking so I do the best I can with the littlest I can and hope for the best. I will be in 70 in a couple of months and always live by the dictum ‘Look Good Feel Better’. (I was the founding volunteer coordinator in my state for that international cancer charity begun by Estee Lauder and the words stuck).

    Cheers and I love your blog.

  25. Hi Susan, I love all your blogs, you are a great inspiration to me and long may you continue. I have 2 weddings to go to next year, the first one is my nieces daughter’s and the second is my Son’s, the first is beginning of June and the second is one month after in July. If you were going to two weddings close together, what would you wear? I love both your style and the way you style outfits, my colouring is very similar to yours, I’m already slimming down as I put on weight over the lockdowns, I’m 67 yrs old and 5’ 5” tall. I can’t wear high heels but a small heel is ok. My go to colours are navy, white, light grey, with pink, blues, especially light blue. I’m a cool tone, light, bright. I hope you can help.
    Kind regards
    Denise King from the UK.

    1. Hi Denise. My favorite colors to wear to a wedding are plum or navy. Wear nude shoes, subdued jewelry, and carry a small metallic bag. Pearls are always perfect for the daytime.

      I hope this helps you put together a look that is appropriate for your special events.

  26. I live in UK love your blogs, think you are such a beautiful lady inside and out

    Regards and love Carol Bosworth

  27. Susan, I have used Dutch Tulips on my toes for about 40 years. I’m surprised they haven’t discontinued it. Sometimes in the summer, I switched to Crimsun depending on the color of what I was wearing but that was discontinued and I can’t find anything close to that color. It was in the peach family but subtle. Not garish.

    Thank you for your eye makeup tips. I am 76 and also have Grey hair and brown eyes and I struggle with what color to use for my eyes that goes with everything. I don’t want to have a dozen colors in my drawer. I am going to visit Merle Norman and get these colors you mentioned. Unfortunately, the one where I live on the coast of N.C. has closed so I will have to travel a bit to one but that’s okay. It will be an “outing” for me.

    Thanks again for the tips and please keep up the blog. I look forward to it.

  28. I agree with Karen S. Could you please do a video showing in real time how you apply your eye makeup ! It would be so helpful! Thank you.

  29. You always look so nice. I am inspired to try to cut back on makeup as I am “older”. Will try your ideas. Enjoy all your posts. They make me want to travel to your area.

  30. Thank you for the excellent tips! Have you thought about doing a video on applying your eye makeup?
    Have a incredible day!

  31. You look beautiful and classy! I agree on my 66 year old face makeup settles. I am also using less. I enjoy your information and fashion tips so much! Stay well and enjoy the rest of your summer.

  32. Susan,
    Do you have any recommendations as to nail care ?Despite using solar oil, gentle filing and not using my fingernails as “tools”, I seem to fight (and usually losing ) a battle with peeling nails. Acrylic nails from LONG ago and aging have really not been kind to my nails. Polish or no polish ? Professional mani or not ? Is “ Less is more” the better route to take here ? I am open to everyone’s suggestions …

  33. Susan, thank you for mentioning Bravissima! Women Sponsoring the Arts! in your blog. We also have a website at, with information for any woman who’d like to join us in sponsoring the Arts in our beautiful Appalachian Highlands Region. Or they may simply make a donation on our Facebook page, and we’ll put their name, along with our other donors, on our website!
    I love your makeup tips! You looked lovely, as always, at our Bravissima! soiree last Thursday night for our tour of the Martin Arts Center and Wellington’s dinner. I am one of your lucky followers who gets to see you in person, and I must say you look even more polished and beautiful than your photos suggest. We are lucky to have you in our community!

  34. Thank you Susan for another wonderful article. The close-up of your face is spectacular! I especially appreciate the links to products to use. I’ve had a hard time trying to find products for my eyebrows; I will try some of your suggestions. I don’t think you’ve addressed this problem many women our age deal with — downy facial hair, chin hairs and some hairs on my neck. They seem to spout hourly. Even though I’m fair skinned, I’m forever going after those guys. Any tips?
    Keep up the good work — you’re a treasure.

  35. I have an idea to offer for nail care; the Creme Abricot nail cream by Christian Dior. This is an iconic product that has been around for decades and worth every penny. It totally softens cuticles and is restorative to nails. I have vrry rough cuticles all the time and struggled for years till finding this product, which I only need to use twice a week for maintenance. It’s as miraculous as they say it is. Since Covid I’ve found it online shipped from overseas…Germany I believe…but it arrived swiftly without problem.

  36. Thank you Susan for posting this. I am nearly 70 and I, too, have cut back on my makeup but I was still doing some things that did not produce the result I hoped for. I followed your tips today and it made all the difference. I very much appreciate your willingness to share your experience.
    Best regards,

  37. I love Dutch Tulips! Perfect color! I also gave up foundation 2 years ago. I live on the TX coast and focus on moisturizer and a stick blush and lip color. It’s all I need most of the time here.

  38. Susan, thank you for the tips, much appreciated. If I were to try a Beauty Counter product what would you suggest? thank you.

    1. If I were going to get only one item, it would be the Cleansing Oil here. Many cleansers are way too harsh, which causes more harm than good. This one allows you to massage your face and neck but turns to a lotion when you splash water on your face.

  39. Nancy, I was having the same nail problems you described until I started taking the OTC supplements biotin and glucosamine, as well as using Sally Hansen’s clear Hard as Nails. Now at 70, my nails are stronger than they’ve ever been! Good luck!

  40. I know everyone has there own preference in the use of makeup. I am 74 and love to make my eyes pop so people will look at my face, not over doing the eyes to look like a clown. I’m a retired hair stylist from Ohio. I always look at people eyes when they talk and smile.
    I switched from black mascara to brown mascara. I line the bottom lid very lightly and do not go past the lashes. I line the top lid from the middle to the end of lashes very close to lashes and do not go past the lashes. If you keep the corners open the eyes look brighter and bigger. I use eye lash curler on top lashes. I use black mascara on the lashes. Another trick to do to make the eyes brighter use emerald green eye liner on the top eye lid not going past the lashes.
    I do not use makeup either. I use tinted moisturizer, and a light dusting of the cheeks with a blush.
    You have beautiful blue eyes.

  41. Susan, hope you can help me I am 81, 5’0, and weigh 115. I can pass for 65. I have Talbots field jackets and their jean jackets. Which would hou think would look better on me. I am leaningto jean jacket length. I wear slim ankle and leggings. I work for a construction from home, have stg 4 cancer(metastatic breast cancer) but going strong and want to look my best. Oh yes, my oncologist and I are going skydiving when I am 95! When I found out I had cancer 2 years ago, first thing I asked, should I return my new boots.

    1. I am so happy to learn that you are still going strong, Barbara. You are an inspiration! I have both the jacket styles you mention, but I find that the jean jacket length is more flattering on someone who has short legs.

    1. I apply the oil over the entire nail, making sure I get it underneath and around the edges. If I am applying the oil over fresh polish, I let it dry for a few minutes and then add the oil, avoiding touching the polish with the application brush.

  42. How ironic! I’m looking for tips about what to wear to my (50th!) class reunion this fall. Festivities will be at the Carnegie in Johnson City! You look mah-vehlous!

  43. You look beautiful! Thank you for the tips. As a 65 year old, I find less is more in the makeup department. I always enjoy viewing and reading your articles. You always look so stylish.

  44. Thank you for blog. I enjoy your classic style. I was introduced to Beauty Counter by a dear friend and have been using it for about a year. I’ve noticed a subtle improvement in both texture and look.
    May ask what kind of bras you use under the spaghetti strap chammies you wear? I find my third layers are sometimes hot or uncomfortable and I want to take them off. I do not like my bra straps to show but I also haven’t found a strapless that is comfortable yet.
    Love Mr. Mickie’s socks!

  45. I just love your posts. They feel real and they are always informative.
    You mentioned that the Little Black Dress Lipstick is discontinued. Do you have an alternative suggestion? We are similar in coloring.

  46. Hi Susan, I hope this finds you happy and well!!! I recently bought an entire skin care “routine” from Beautycounter. I got tired of using several different brands and the tons of samples I had and decided to bite the bullet and invest in a good product line. Well…I just love it!! My question for you (and you may have already answered this in the past).. what do you do when you travel. It’s too hard to decant so many products to take with me especially for short trips and the glass containers are too heavy to carry around for the longer trips.
    Thanks for everything!!

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.