Whether you call them wrinkles, creases, laugh lines, or crow’s feet, one thing’s for sure: If you’re like most women, you try to delay or disguise them for as long as possible. And while there’s nothing you can do to prevent wrinkles altogether—they’re part of the natural aging process—you can make them less conspicuous with the proper makeup techniques.
Try these tips from makeup pros to hide wrinkles and look your most fresh-faced.
Step up your moisturizing habits
Yes, you’ve heard this advice plenty of times, and there’s a reason for that. “The difference between a raisin and a grape is hydration,” says Connie Elder, founder and CEO of PEAK 10 SKIN. “The best way to disguise wrinkles is to hydrate them,” she says. To keep your skin hydrated from the inside and out, make sure you drink plenty of water and always apply a moisturizer after washing your face (and before putting on makeup).
If you’re over 40, a moisturizer alone won’t slow the aging process, so applying a serum first and then layering a moisturizer on top works best, Elder says. When choosing a serum, look for one that lists hyaluronic acid as one of its top ingredients; hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it helps preserve moisture. Once your face is well hydrated, not only will wrinkles be far less noticeable, but your makeup will also go on much smoother.
Use a silicone primer
Silicone-based primers are a magic weapon for many beauty professionals. “If you think of the wrinkle as a small valley, the silicone fills that valley, creating a smoother surface for you to apply your foundation,” says Caitlin Picou, a makeup artist and owner of Kismet, a boutique cosmetics brand.
The best way to apply primer (such as bareMinerals Prime Time, $25, ulta.com) is with your hands or a small brush—a sponge will just soak up the product. After you moisturize your face, “apply a small amount of primer, about the size of a dime, to the center of your forehead, nose, each cheek and chin, and then rub it in, focusing on the problem areas,” says Picou. Give the primer a few minutes to set before applying your foundation and other makeup.
Lighten up on the foundation
Just because you have wrinkles doesn’t mean you have to use more or heavier makeup. When you use a full-coverage foundation or are too heavy-handed with your application, the makeup settles into the wrinkles, pronouncing them even more, says Josephine Fusco, a makeup artist and skincare expert.
Stick with a light- or medium-coverage foundation. Applying it with a damp sponge will help soften the foundation, giving it a sheerer and flawless look, Fusco says.
Or, you may be able to ditch foundation altogether. “Lightweight makeup, such as BB creams, tinted moisturizers or airbrush makeup is great for giving coverage without accentuating fine lines and wrinkles,” says Kiralee Hubbard, a makeup artist and founder of Aeroblend Airbrush Makeup.
Make chiffon your color
Color correctors aren’t just for redness and undereye circles and dark spots. “A color corrector in chiffon is brightening, which helps disguise wrinkles by lifting darkness from the area, says Shara Strand, a makeup artist and owner of SHARA Makeup Studio in The Pierre Hotel in New York City. ”
Add the color chiffon sparingly in the deepest part of the wrinkle, then blend by tapping with your ring finger,” she says. Don’t worry that the chiffon color will clash with your other makeup. Strand says as long as you mix it with concealer to temper it down, it works with all skin tones.
Put away the powder
Even if you’ve been using powder to set your makeup forever, it may be time to do away with it. Powder tends to settle in the fine lines and crinkles of the skin, making them look worse, so it’s best to skip it. If you can’t give up your beloved powder, “avoid applying it to areas that have a lot of wrinkles, such as crow’s feet,” Picou says.
Work your eyes
First off, skip the falsies. “False lashes draw attention to saggy eyelids or crow’s feet,” says Hillary Kline, a Minneapolis-based makeup artist and beauty blogger. To give your lashes a boost, reach for an eyelash curler and mascara: Curling your eyelashes can help give the lashes more volume and definition, which will help disguise wrinkles, she says.
Frosted or glittery eye makeup is another no-no since it will settle into fine lines, making them more obvious. Kline recommends first using a matte eyeshadow primer or a thin layer of concealer on eyelids. “I then place a light beige shadow from the lash line to the brow bone, followed by putting a taupe, light brown or gray in the crease for added definition,” she says
Lastly, avoid liquid liners, which also settle into wrinkles. “Instead, use a softer shade eyeliner pencil and apply it along the upper lash line only,” says Kline.
Highlight your blush
Make your cheeks pop to take attention off of sagging skin or wrinkles. “A cream-based highlighter is excellent to apply under your blush because it will keep a glow shining through the blush, eliminating the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines,” says Fusco. You don’t have to overdo it. A few taps with your ring finger just prior to the blush application is all you need.
Once you move on to your blush, choose the right color and location. “Wear a shade that compliments your skin tone—rosy pinks and peaches for fair skin; pinks, peaches and mauves for medium tones; and corals, oranges or berries for darker complexions,” Kline says. (MAC Powder Blush comes in a wide range of complexion tones. Buy it for $23, ulta.com.) “Avoid applying the blush lower than your nostrils because that draws the face downward and can make you appear older,” she adds. Too high (as in above the cheekbone), and it will look unnatural and clown-like. The best technique: Smile, apply it to the apples of your cheeks, and then blend well.
Perfect your pout
Prime, line, and color is the name of the game when it comes to lips. Just like the primer you use on your face, a lip primer helps give you a smoother (and longer-lasting) base for your lipstick. A lip liner that is closest in color to your chosen lipstick will prevent the lipstick from feathering and filling in the fine lines around your mouth, Picou says.
After you line your lips, color between the lines. That will help your lipstick last longer and prevent you from having the dreaded ring around the lips as your lipstick wears off during the day, Picou says. Finish with the lipstick of your choice but try to stay away from mattes. They don’t have built-in moisturizers, so they make wrinkles stand out more.
Don’t forget your neck
Even if your facial makeup is flawless, wrinkles on your neck will blow your cover. “Be sure to pull your makeup past your jawline,” Hubbard says. You don’t have to wear much, but the makeup will help hide neck creases and give you a more blended look. If your neck is paler than your face, Hubbard recommends dusting on some bronzer rather than adding more makeup.
Take a second look
What looks good in your bedroom or bathroom may be unflattering outside of it. Try to apply makeup in natural light, if possible. Then, regardless of where you put it on, remember to check your makeup in two different lights to make sure the blend is correct, Strand says. If your blending is off, it can highlight wrinkles. So check (and then double-check) your makeup—even if it means stepping outside with a hand mirror.