A Guide to Ageless Makeup for Women Over 50, According to an Industry Veteran
In her 73 years, Sandy Linter has lived many lives as a makeup artist.
In 1969, the Brooklyn-born, Staten Island–bred visionary began her career working for famed celebrity hairdresser Mr. Kenneth Battelle in New York City, his clients Jackie Onassis and Barbara Walters serendipitously ending up in her makeup chair. In the ’70s, she struck out on her own, landing high-profile editorial work with photographers such as Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, and Arthur Elgort while embodying the era’s work-hard-play-hard mentality and becoming a dazzling fixture at Studio 54. And by the ’80s, she was regularly painting the faces of supermodels Iman, Cindy Crawford, and Patti Hansen for major campaigns and in the pages of Vogue. Since then, Linter hasn’t slowed down. In fact, with age, her skillset has grown, as she’s continued to work with a laundry list of famous faces including Christie Brinkley, Elizabeth Hurley, Debbie Harry, and Rita Wilson.
“I can remember being ‘young Sandy the makeup artist’ and then middle-aged and then further on than middle-aged…” she laughs, in reference to her personal evolution over her decades-long career. At a time when the fashion industry is, at long last, embracing women above a certain age, Linter believes there’s no time like the present for older women to not just embrace makeup, but have fun with it. “There are no rules!” she insists, with just one addendum: “Wear the makeup, don’t have it wear you. Instead of trying to hide flaws, enhance what you’ve got.” From natural-looking coverage to subtle tricks that make the eyes pop, here is Linter’s guide to ageless beauty.
Create a Glowing Base
Needless to say, following a dedicated skin-care routine—cleansing, moisturizing, and exfoliating—is an essential strategy for achieving a healthy complexion, especially over time. Before applying makeup, spread on a veil of a hydrating yet weightless moisturizer on clean skin. “Heavy moisturizers are just not compatible with makeup,” says Linter. According to the pro, La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream strikes the right balance between nourishing the skin for a dewy finish, without compromising the layers that follow. After the moisturizer sinks in, you can target areas with fine lines or dry patches with a quick-absorbing primer, like Dermablend Insta-Grip Jelly Face Primer with its smoothing gel texture, as desired.
Cover Up Conservatively
“You can’t hide wrinkles, so don’t try to, because you’re only going to draw more attention to them,” says Linter. To even out skin tone, she suggests using a moist sponge or foundation brush to apply a sheer, hydrating foundation, like Kevyn Aucion The Etherealist formula, so that it “doesn’t look plastered to the face.” Then, use a robust yet lightweight creamy concealer that blends easily—Giorgio Armani High-Precision Retouch Concealer is her go-to—on the more ruddy or hyper-pigmented areas. For the eyes, concentrate on the under eyes and inner corners to effectively counteract dark circles. “Most women get darkest on the inner corner of their eye as opposed to the outer corners where you smile and have the laugh lines,” she explains.
Warm Up the Skin
When choosing a foundation or concealer shade, one might be inclined to seek out an exact match, but Linter suggests going a shade or two warmer to ensure you don’t look washed out. “If it’s too matchy-matchy, it can age you,” she says. And in that case, it’s especially important to extend coverage beyond the visage. “After the face, take a foundation brush and blend very slightly around the neck so it doesn’t look obvious,” instructs Linter. Then comes bronzer—and not just for the cheeks. “I use it on everyone over 50 because it warms up the skin in a natural way,” she explains, adding that she’ll sweep Serge Lutens Complexion Perfector under the cheekbone, down the sides of the nose, across the forehead, and under the jawline for a chiseled glow.
Sculpt and Lift Subtly
Smiling while you apply blush has long been cited as a universal, tried-and-true technique, but it’s one that’s not as effective as you age, says Linter. “Instead of on the apples of the cheeks, I like to apply blush at the top of the cheekbone and then blend inward,” she explains. “You want to point the attention up to enhance.” As for shades, she prefers muted rosy shades like MAC Powder Blush in Prism. “I’ve been using it since the ’90s!” she says. For extra impact, Linter will layer—first with a cream formula, like Stila Convertible Color, and then finish it off with a powder. “Sometimes just the cream is enough,” she says. As for setting powder, it’s a step Linter usually skips, but looks to Dermablend Banana Powder if necessary.