The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Lipstick Over 40

Now that you got your life (mostly, sort of) sorted out, it’s time to hit your makeup bag.
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated May, 2023
Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Lipstick

News flash! There’s no age limit for you to stop wearing lipstick. Age is just a number, which means you can still wear your favorite lipsticks over 40. But here, choosing the right lipsticks or avoiding lipstick mistakes could be vital for you.

However, you may need to swap some of your lipsticks to better suit your gorgeous lips as you age so you don’t make lipstick mistakes that could end up highlighting wrinkles, dry skin or hyperpigmentation that can show up as you get older.

So how can you choose the right lipstick to keep your lips looking beautiful, soft and youthful over 40 and beyond? Here’s your guide to the dos and don’ts of choosing lipstick over 40.

Do: Be Choosy About Matte Lipsticks

Do Be Choosy About Matte Lipsticks

Matte lipstick certainly has its benefits. It tends to stay on longer than glossy or satin formulas, and it doesn’t stick to forks or glasses. Matte formulas can also make a bold statement, especially in unique colors.

Yet with all the benefits of matte formulas, this is one lipstick finish you should start phasing out of your beauty arsenal over 40.

Matte lipstick has a drying effect. That means it can highlight wrinkles and dry skin, especially if you already struggle with dry skin. You can still choose matte lipsticks if you want. But look for hydrating formulas instead of those that leave lips (and the skin around them) looking parched.

Don’t: Go Too Dark

Don’t Go Too Dark

There’s something to be said about a dramatic, mysterious dark lipstick. Whether it’s a deep burgundy, a rich chocolate brown or a luscious plum, dark lipsticks can elevate any look.

But as we age, dark lipstick can make the lips look smaller. Thanks to less collagen in the skin, which can cause thinner lips. Combine less-than-plump lips with a dark lipstick. You may look older than you mean to, making it one of the most common lipstick mistakes.

You can, of course, still choose those delicious dark shades, just don’t go too dark for your skin tone. And if you already have thin lips, look for a plumping formula to help create the illusion of fullness when going dark.

Do: Look for Hydrating Formulas

Look for Hydrating Formulas

If you’re over 40, you should look for lipsticks designed to hydrate lips. These include formulas that have emollients, occlusives and humectants, such as:

  • Aloe
  • Beeswax
  • Ceramides
  • Cocoa butter
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Plant oils (such as jojoba, coconut or sunflower oil)
  • Shea butter
  • Squalene

Even if a lipstick is advertised as being hydrating, check the ingredients to be sure they align with the claim. Hydration is essential as we age, and tend to have drier skin that lacks the natural luster of youth, which includes our lips!

You can also look for a lip serum similar to a skincare serum. That will help prevent dryness and enhance the efficacy of these hydrating formulas for smoother, softer, fuller lips without professional treatments.

Don’t: Ignore the Lipliner Rules

Ignore the Lipliner Rules

There are a few lip liner rules you shouldn’t ignore so you don’t make these lipstick mistakes over 40:

Rule #1: Don’t choose liner darker than your lip color:

Remember the 90s trend that lip liner was supposed to darker than the lipstick you were using? We’re going to forget that rule ever existed. In fact, you should choose a lip liner that’s actually a touch lighter than your lip color. 

Rule #2: Stick to your natural lip line as much as possible 

If you’ve used lip liner in the past to try and draw out your lip line, that’s another habit that needs to go when you’re over 40, as it can make you look older. Keep the lip liner close to your natural lip shape and accentuate what you love about your lips for a natural yet beautiful result.

Rule #3: Go easy on the lines 

Choose a softer lipliner that will still help you define your lips but not leave a line that can be discerned from your lip color. Going too soft can cause the liner to bleed into wrinkles around your mouth as you age, but doing a harsh line can also make you appear older. Go for a balance of a softer stick with a sharp point for some definition.

Do: Reach for Lipstick That Matches Your Skin Tone

Reach for Lipstick That Matches Your Skin Tone

Choosing lipstick matching your skin tone will help you avoid one of the biggest lipstick mistakes that can cause a color you love to look unflattering.

Remember, warmer skin tones do best with lipsticks that have orange or yellow undertones while cooler skin tones look best in those blue-based reds or berry-toned lip colors. Use your skin tone and undertone as a guide to choosing a shade in your preferred color range that really suits you.

Determining your skin tone and undertone will help you find that perfect shade that you love and looks stunning on you! 

Don’t: Forget to Exfoliate

Forget to Exfoliate

Forgetting to exfoliate and moisturize your lips can lead to dry skin that looks older when you have any color of lipstick on. You need to prime your canvas. So, your lips are soft, glowing and ready to enhance whatever shade you put on them.

Use a gentle lip exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and help soften and moisturize lips. Doing so will help your lips look younger overall. Then, use a light moisturizer, such as a lip balm or serum, to hydrate your lips. So, they appear smooth and have a natural glow before you even apply a pigment.

Keeping your lips moisturized is an excellent tip to help you look younger even when you aren’t wearing any lipstick.

What Lipstick Mistakes Do You Avoid?

With a hydrating lipstick in a color that suits your skin tone and a little care when applying, YOU can wear lipstick at any age and look stunning doing so. Do you have any common lipstick mistakes that you’ve learned to avoid, especially over 40? Share them with us in the comments below!

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