Old Age Makeup: A Brief Tutorial

shutterstock_177091976Knowing how to properly apply makeup grants you the ability to alter your appearance, in subtle ways for your every day life, and more drastically when the occasion calls for it. For many people, makeup is an accepted part of the daily routine, while others apply makeup for specific purposes, such as performing on stage. One of the most unique, and most useful, varieties of stage makeup is old age makeup. Applying makeup with a specific technique will allow you to change your entire appearance, and look many years into the future for an idea of what you may one day look like. If you’d like to learn how to apply old age makeup, look no further than this guide.

What You’ll Need

Stage makeup in general can be very costly, involving a lot of powders, creams, brushes, and the like. Most basic stage makeup kits will include the tools you need to apply old age makeup. One of the more popular kits is old by the Ben Nye makeup company. To apply your old age makeup, you’ll need the following products, adjusted to your particular skin tone:

1. Basic foundation (cream is far better than powder for these purposes)

2. Shadow and highlight creams

3. Contouring shades (ex: color wheel with brown, yellow, beige, etc.)

4. Flat application brushes

5. One stipple sponge

6. Cream application sponges

7. Face powder and applicator puff, to set the makeup when finished

8. White or grey brush-in hair color, with eyebrow brush for application

These are the fundamental tools needed to apply old age makeup. As stated before, these will likely be included in any stage or professional makeup kit you’re likely to purchase.

Applying Your Old Age Makeup

When applying your old age makeup, and in fact almost any makeup, the first thing to do is to apply an even base coat, using foundation that matches your skin tone as closely as possible. This will even out the tone of your skin and provide a template onto which you’ll apply the rest of your makeup. When applying old age makeup specifically, you’ll most likely want to skip applying any lip liner or color, mascara, or contouring makeup, because older people tend to look washed out. Leaving your base coat as it is will help achieve a washed out look. If you have particularly bright lip color naturally, you can put foundation over your lips to contribute to a washed out appearance.

Often, the most prominent part of an older person’s appearance is the presence of wrinkles. Older people get wrinkles around their eyes and mouths, between their eyes (frown lines), and on their foreheads. Depending on the particular shape of your face, your wrinkles may be placed a bit differently. The easiest way to decide where you’ll be creating wrinkles with makeup is to move your face around, experimenting with a variety of expressions. Make note of where lines appear on your face when you smile, frown, grimace, or make any face that you make often. These lines are the ones most likely to turn into wrinkles later on, so creating them with makeup will make your face appear more convincingly old.

To create a wrinkle with makeup, you’ll need two flat brushes, the highlight cream, and the shadow cream. A good place to start is the crease that forms from the side of your nose, down to the edges of your lips. Draw a thin line of shadow along this crease on either side of your face. Press the brush down harder towards the middle of the line, and press more lightly on either end of the line, so it gently fades away rather than beginning and ending abruptly on your face. Once you’ve drawn this line, draw a similarly shaped line with the highlight cream, directly next to the shadow line, facing to the outside, toward your cheek rather than your mouth. Next, use the flat brushes to blend these lines into your foundation, using a gentle sweeping motion. Imagine that you’re trying to pull the shadow line toward your mouth with the brush, and that you’re trying to pull the highlight line toward your cheek. The goal here is to create the illusion of a deep crease. The shadow will do this, and the highlight will create the illusion that the skin around the crease is puffed outward.

Next, you should repeat this process of creating two lines with highlight and shadow on the crease that naturally forms between your chin and your lower lip. Blend the highlight downward toward your chin, and blend the shadow upward toward your lower lip. You can add similar wrinkles on the very edge of your lips, or where dimples are if you have them.

Wrinkle lines often form on your lips as well. To see where these should be placed, pucker your lips as though you’re blowing a kiss. You can make your mouth look more realistic in old age makeup by drawing highlight and shadow lines very, very lightly on your lips to match these pucker lines.

To include frown lines in your makeup, draw similar highlight and shadow lines between your eyebrows. Most people have two distinct wrinkles, one next to each eyebrow, when they age. Remember when drawing any of these wrinkles to blend the highlight and shadow lines into the foundation, so they look as real as possible, fading away slowly at the edges rather than noticeably beginning or ending.

The place where you can apply these wrinkle lines most liberally is your forehead. Simply raise your eyebrows to see where these lines would appear on an older person’s face. These wrinkles should not look too uniform. You should include some long creases as well as some short ones, and they should not all follow the same path across your face. Looking at photos of older people will help you understand the kind of variety that comes along with wrinkles and aging faces.

Squinting will show you where a very specific kind of wrinkle would appear on an older face; these wrinkles are commonly called “crow’s feet,” and they appear on the outside edge of each eye, due to years of squinting to see, and similar movement. These lines, too, should fade out slowly, and should be blended toward each side of your face.

Arguably, the most difficult aspect of old age makeup to realistically create is bags underneath the eyes. This is a very common characteristic of an aged face, and one of the first signs of aging to physically appear. To create an eye bag, start by drawing the outline of a bag with shadow. Also use the shadow to draw a line right beneath your bottom eyelid. In between these two shadow lines, blend some highlight. This will make the skin underneath the eye seem puffy and inflamed. You can also place some shadow between your nose and the crease of your eyelid, and a small bit of highlight below the shadow that outlines the bag. These lines should be blended like the others, but less intensely if you’d like the bags to appear more dramatic. To make the skin by your eyebrows appear droopy, you can place some highlight on the skin below outer edge of your brows, with a bit of shadow beneath it.

To finish off the aged look, you can create the illusion of age spots by using your stipple sponge. You can use a combination of yellow and brown makeup, stippling unevenly on different areas of your face, to imitate age spots. Age spots commonly appear where freckles would appear on a younger face, to give you an indication of where you should stipple. When this is complete, you can brush some of your grey or white hair color into your eyebrows. This is a small aspect and takes little time, but it contributes greatly to looking older. If you have particularly full eyebrows, you may want to cover the ends with putty or foundation, as older people most often have much thinner hair than their younger counterparts. Grey or white color can also be applied to your hair, though it may be easier to wear a wig to make your makeup more convincing.

If you’re satisfied with your old age makeup, you can use your powder puff to apply face powder, setting the makeup and allowing it to stay put for a longer period of time.

More Makeup Skills

Makeup allows you to transform your face in all kinds of ways, and old age makeup is just one example of those transformations. Other kinds of makeup applications include: disaster makeup, animal makeup, contouring makeup, and character makeup, in which an actor’s makeup is designed to visually indicate something about his or her character’s personality. A number of online tutorials and books exist to help you further develop your makeup skills, and any other skills required to alter your appearance. The ability to apply makeup correctly and with talent is both an incredibly fun and a significantly useful talent, but it takes a lot of practice.