Three makeup looks every woman over 40 should know

party makeup looks like quarantine and beyond – Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph

In an age of supposed inclusiveness, it goes without saying that anyone, regardless of age, can enhance their eyes to any shade they desire without recrimination. And yet, as a beauty writer with more insight than most, I struggle between the impulse to express myself freely and society’s expectation of a woman approaching 50 who, let’s be honest, is encouraged to stick around. firmly in the neutral end of the color spectrum.

Admittedly, my own biases kept me from taking makeup risks. As a GenXer who first experimented with color in arguably the most tasteless decade ever, the 1980s, I can’t quite brush off the tasteless frosty lipstick and blue eyeshadow. roughly applied that I wore from memory. Alas, with Alexis Colby and Boy George as references, my naivety and tight fourteen-year-old face couldn’t compensate for the garish way I painted my features, even in retrospect.

Although my formative makeup experiments are marred by unrefined textures and limited pre-YouTube craftsmanship, I have no doubt that makeup is one of the cheapest ways to elevate an otherwise plain dress while still giving the wearer an armor of social trust similar to a stiff drink. Let’s not forget that whenever times get tough, we all reach for lipstick and glamour. And since I’m currently abstaining from drinking alcohol as well, I’ll take all the chutzpah I can get.

Eager to sidestep aging standards and expand my expertise beyond a comfortable repertoire of fail-safe nudes, I enlisted the help of Nikki Wolff, the $2 million makeup impresario. Instagram followers thanks to her addictive weekly makeup tutorials, resulting in an enviable list of celebrity clients, including Salma Hayek and Demi Moore. Her Instagram account @nikki_makeup is a meditative stream of transformative makeover videos that leave you wanting more.

If Wolff’s social media is a snapshot of makeup magic, her new makeup masterclass experience slows down the whole process, revealing in hyper-focused detail how to recreate her most requested looks at home. Launching with three party looks: Wearable Glamour, The Perfect Smoked Out Liner and, my favourite, A Modern Take on Colorful Eyes, the course is available to buy from from £39.99. Otherwise, follow the steps for my own party makeup with @nikki_makeup, below/opposite.

annabel nikkimakeup makeup evening looks

annabel nikkimakeup makeup evening looks

Dinner at

If your schedule is littered with endless after-work drinks, then this high-end version of the nude will seamlessly transition from day to night with the least amount of effort. Start by applying a foundation that’s right for your skin type, which Wolff says is one of the secrets to making it last late into the evening, followed by your favorite foundation.

Then, line the eyes with a soft kohl pencil in a greyish-brown tone – here Nikki used Giorgio Armani’s Smooth Silk Kohl pencil in shade 11, £17.20 ( – and blend with an eyeshadow brush in small circular strokes (MAC Eye Shader Brush 239S £16.80,, is the perfect size – not too fluffy or too small). “If you mix too vigorously, you will strip the pigment. All you want to do is move the shadow around to diffuse the edges,” says Wolff.

party makeup - Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph;  Getty;  Getty

party makeup – Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph; Getty; Getty

Then, press a similar shade of eyeshadow (matte is the most flattering) on ​​top, which will help set the liner in place and create definition. Focus on the outer corners and the top of the lash line. For evening, add a shimmering touch to the center of each eyelid. Finish with mascara, or if you’re brave, false eyelashes.

Using a cream blush such as Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick £44 (, which Wolff says enlivens the complexion in a way that powders cannot, apply – on the padded part of your cheeks, blending upwards and outwards. If you have oily skin or are worried about opening pores, a powder blush is best and be careful not to apply it too high on the cheeks which can “flatten the face”. she explains. Lips should stay matte – it’s more chic, says Wolff.

Try a liquid lipstick like By Terry’s in Vintage Nude £29 ( that stays put without drying out lips.

Go out

For the perfect smoky winged liner look (Wolff’s most requested makeup), repeat the above but with a dark brown liner. MAC’s Eye Kohl at Costa Riche, £17 (, is suitable for everyone. With practice, the idea is to emphasize the outer corners by popping the pencil out and smudging upwards. You should now have a soft brown base covering the eyelid that you can layer the color over. Using the shade Smoke from Natasha Denona’s Glam Palette, £51.2 (, gently press the pigment on top. Blend with a clean, fluffy brush before applying a dab (less is more) of black eyeshadow near the lash line and outer corners for added intensity. Gently blend before finishing with a final shimmering touch on the inner corner and center of the eyelid.

party makeup - Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph;  Getty;  Getty

party makeup – Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph; Getty; Getty

Add mascara, then apply concealer under the eyes. To prevent it from settling into the creases, Wolff suggests applying a few dots to the inner groove only, blending outwards and making sure to leave a few millimeters of space below the eyes for a natural look. flattering. If you have dark circles under your eyes, depending on your skin tone, choose a slightly pinkish shade that will neutralize the blue. For me, Wolff used Dior’s Backstage Flash Perfector in 2N, £23 (

The eyes are the main focus, so stick to nude lipstick like Vieve’s Modern Matte Lipstick in Comin’ In Haute, £21 ( If you are likely to be photographed with flash, it is important to blend shine around the nose, forehead and under the eyes with a translucent setting powder (different from finishing powders) using a small brush to avoid over-dusting – tops of cheeks, cupid’s bow and even the tip of your nose should shine to reflect the light.

Go out

If you go straight with a colored powder shadow, says Wolff, it can appear uneven and the color can smudge under the eyes, which tends to put people off experimenting with bright colors, so start with the pencil color. . Using a chunky pencil like Nude Stixx Cream Long-Wear Eyeshadow Pencils, £22.03, ( which comes in a range of shades from nude to bright blue, draw directly on the eyelids and in the crease.

On me, Wolff applied a pale lilac to the inner corner of my eyes and a darker purple shade to the crease and outer corners, blending the two shades together very gently with a blending brush. Using a finger or a flat brush, then tap a shimmering lilac eyeshadow in the center to lift the eyes and add the party. “There’s this misconception that mature women shouldn’t wear sparkles on their eyes — that’s just not true,” says Wolff. The only caveat? Keep the glitter particles in the inner corners and middle of the eyelids, avoid crow’s feet if they bother you. Purple suits my green eyes, but, says Wolff, any color is suitable for any age as long as you line the upper lash line with black gel or liquid eyeliner. “Without it, you’ll lose definition, especially if you have dark eyes,” she reveals.

color make-up party - Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph;  Getty;  Getty

color make-up party – Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph; Getty; Getty

If you’re using purple on the eyes, stick to a glossy lipstick that will give a youthful look to the overall look. I’m wearing Uoma Beauty’s Salute to The Sun Black Magic Hypnotic High Shine Lipstick in the shade Cleopatra £16.12 (

Out Out makeup definitely requires the hair to look shinier and polished than the effortless, undone look I usually go for. Zoe Irwin, hairstylist at John Frieda Salon in Mayfair, says: “It’s 90s Upper East Side glamor meets Hollywood starlet. Think Adele in Vogue or Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. They recently launched a “Glow to Go” service – which is a hair shine treatment. Creating the at-home look is all about getting the hair in the best possible condition so it reflects the light well.

Zoe loves Sam McKnight’s new moisturizing hair mask that makes a difference even on blonde hair, which is harder to shine than brunettes. Zoe also recommends using a hair oil on wet hair before drying it, such as Living Proof Vanishing Oil or Virtue’s Hair Oil. And a really easy cheat is the Babyliss 9000 Cordless Hot Brush which helps straighten hair while adding Veronica Lake waves and va-va-voom.

Do you have a party makeup look? Share your tips in the comments section below

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