Makeup Bag Must-Haves In Your 40s

You probably see some signs of aging now: a few fine lines, some sun damage (as in spots and uneven skin tone) and a little less radiance. But all in all, nothing the occasional mental-health day—and some strategically placed makeup—can’t minimize. Here’s what you need

by Genevieve Monsma
Photograph: Todd Huffman

1. Primer
At this age, an all-over-the-face primer is important because you’re starting to battle both fine lines and enlarged pores. A primer fills in and masks those imperfections, allowing your makeup to go on evenly and stay on, says Zomnir. She also advocates usingan eyeshadow primer,though if that degree of specialization makes your head hurt, just use face primer on your eyelids. Try Laura Geller Spackle Under Make-Up Primer (shown above; $25; laurageller.com) or Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer ($10; drugstores).

2. Barely There Foundation
A few fortunate forty-somethings may still be fine with using just a tinted moisturizer to even things out; if you’re one of them, check out the recommendations for thirty-somethings on page 97. But for most of us, when we want to look our best, we find that foundation is the key to flawlessness. Just be sure to keep things light. A sheer liquid formula should fill the bill—just apply it where you need it‚ usually in the center of the face, especially around the nose, says Zomnir. “I focus foundation around my nostrils—even a little inside them,” she says. “I think redness around the nose ages you.” Try Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Makeup (shown above in No. 30 Beige; $45; chanel.com).

3. Concealer
“Not everyone needs it, but if you do, it’s time to choose a product that’s emollient, especially if you’re putting it under your eyes,” says Roncal. Patricia Wexler, MD, a dermatologist in Manhattan, concurs: “In your forties, you start to lose estrogen, and the skin becomes drier. So your cosmetics need to offer more moisture.” One cover-up every pro swears by: Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer (shown at left in Beige; $70; saks.com). It’s pricey, but many experts tell us it’s the best, and because a little goes a long way, it lasts. A lower-priced alternative: Revlon Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer ($10; drugstores).

4. Brow Color
“In your forties, brows get sparser, so most women look better if they do some filling in,” says Kashuk. A colored powder usually provides a better thickening effect than a pencil. One to try: Benefit Brow Zings (shown above left in Medium; $30; benefitcosmetics.com), which comes with powder, tweezers and a holding wax to keep your brushed-up, fuller-looking brows in place.

5. Sheer Eyeshadow
For every day, a light-colored shadow (such as cream, pale pink or camel) makes eyes look brighter—a helpful trick at an age when you’re probably burning the candle at both ends. For the most flattering results, Ahnert says to opt for formulas that either are matte or provide just very subtle shimmer. Try Laura Mercier Luster Eye Col-our (shown above left in Golden Crème; $22; lauramercier.com).

6. Matchy-Matchy Eyeliner and Mascara
“Your lashes are just starting to thin, so one way to make them look fuller is to use an eyeliner in the same shade as your -mascara—black, brown or navy. Then carefully line the top eyelid thiscloseto your lashes,” says Ahnert. The goal: to make lashes look extra-dense at their roots. Finish by swiping on a volumizing mascara. A good combo: CoverGirl Liquiline Blast Eyeliner (shown at left in Brown Blaze; $7; drugstores) plus Dior Diorshow New Look Mascara (shown at left; $29; sephora.com); both products are available in black, brown and blue.

7. Bright Blush
The makeup artists we spoke with were united in their cheek-color picks: Ditch the neutrals; buddy up with bright. “Your new best friend is pink or peach blush,” says Roncal. It perks up dull skin and, if applied at the top of the cheekbone, has a lifting effect. Try Bobbi Brown Blush in Nectar or Apricot (shown at left in Nectar; $24; bobbibrown cosmetics.com).

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