Long-Worn Makeup after 40: Side Effects, Prevention, and Skincare

long-worn makeup

Long-worn makeup can play a prolonged role in your 40s. Aging is like a fine wine. After the age of 30-40, less is more when it comes to getting a healthy glow on your ever-precious skin and reducing its fine lines.

Although you might get a self-esteem boost from wearing long-worn makeup, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to look good on you, not to mention it might not even be good for your skin in the long run.

But how can you be sure of what kind and how much makeup to use on your skin, or whether you should use certain kinds of makeup at all on your skin without experimenting on it and bruising it in the process?

When your old-day products aren’t working anymore, it’s not that you’ve lost your touch; you just need to reshuffle the rules to fit your face today.

One must be aware of the problems that occur due to long-worn makeup after 40. After 40, skin becomes thinner, making your complexion a bit duller and paler. Foundation can add back color and depth. As you start approaching menopause, estrogen levels drop, making the skin drier, so hydrating liquid formulas are best in this regard.

With some diligent research and picking new products and technologies developed specifically for older skin, there’ll never be a better time for a little tune-up.

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Why Isn’t Long-Worn Makeup After 40 Good for You?

Most makeup you buy from retail stores contains artificially introduced materials, even those that proclaim to be 100% organic. Naivete is the last thing you’d want plaguing your mind after turning 30, whereas the 40s are a far cry.

Pushing all that aside, whether you believe it or not, wearing makeup for long periods on your face gets more damaging and dangerous as you age. Your skin isn’t as resilient as it was during your youth, so you’d best put the least amount of strain on it as you can.

As your skin becomes paler with age and loses its natural glow bit by bit, dark spots, lines around your eyes, and pores on the skin become much more visible on your face.

A long-worn makeup will only accentuate those unwanted features instead of covering them up, not to mention the side-effects the makeup may cause depending on your skin type. 

Any Effective Ways of Replacing Long-Worn Makeup? 

The debate on whether makeup after your 40s is good or not hinges on just one word – “moderation.” No matter what, makeup makes you look a little better than you now actually look.

Remember that the job of makeup is to enhance your facial features, not to nourish them internally; so, what’s the reason you feel more beautiful when wearing makeup than not?

The reason is psychological because makeup gives you a confidence boost. A slight placebo effect, precisely. In this case, very little makeup that covers your facial flaws and alleviates your features is the best course of action. This also goes simultaneously with the amount of time you should be wearing makeup on your skin.

All in all, the less you wear, the more time you can keep wearing it, as it puts less strain on your facial features. Not only that, but since it takes much less effort to put on light makeup, you can always wash it off after 3-4 hours, giving your skin some much-needed breath of fresh air and natural moisture; and put it on again carrying a lightweight makeup kit with you during outings.

It’s a simple yet very effective solution for you ladies who work long office hours and are expected to look professional at work.

10 Side Effects of Long-Worn Makeup After Your 40

We live in a world where you are prone to judging yourself heavily based on what other people in real life and social media think of your looks. Wanting to look good on every occasion comes off as a natural desire in this case. This, however, comes at a steep price.

The makeup industry has been bragging for ages how a tiny bit of foundation and a dash of mascara can escalate your look instantly. Even if that’s true, applying makeup every day and that too for extended periods can take its toll on your skin and body.

So, here we’ve listed down 10 side-effects you may encounter due to long-worn makeup after 40:

1. Headaches and Heaviness Can be Common after 40

Chemicals like Diazolidinyl urea and DMDM Hydantoin, which tend to release formaldehyde, are common in cosmetic products and are used as antimicrobial preservatives. These chemicals generally cause headaches, irritation of the mucous membranes, and damage to the eyes.

If you have been suffering from headaches or nausea but can’t figure out why, try going easy on the makeup for a few days to see if the headache goes away.

2. Misuse of Makeup Products May Cause Hair Problems

long-worn makeup
Misuse of Makeup Products May Cause Hair Problems

Any side-effects occurring from the application of something always have two suspects- the manufacturer and the user. And here, “User Error” comes into play.

A product intended for skin does not necessarily mean it has no side-effects when used on hair. Different powders, sparkles, stray bits of foundation on your forehead sticking to hair, etc., can lead to a fair bit of hair loss, leading to a bigger forehead, much to your humiliation.

Not to mention you have a high likelihood of not washing it off from your hair after a tiresome day, as very few people have the self-awareness to anticipate this bit. In some special cases, you may even experience hair discoloration if not careful.

3. Unwashed Makeup Can Cause Pimples, Blackheads, and Acne

long-worn makeup
Unwashed Makeup Can Cause Pimples, Blackheads, and Acne

Acne is a common side effect of makeup that most women have experienced more or less on both sides of the age-mark 40. Your skin is a part of your body as any other organ. Think of it as your defender from the outside world, your knight in shining armor.

But, like any living creature, your skin must breathe and survive. 

When you paint your skin with makeup, you also end up clogging it. Some makeup types in liquids and creams clog the pores in your skin, making it unable to absorb air or moisture. 

This leads to pimples and blackheads, which can form acne when not cleaned regularly. Don’t forget to clean your makeup thoroughly with a natural cleanser before going to bed every single night to prevent your precious face from being invaded by the kingdom of acne.

4. Chemical Reactions Like Allergies and Rashes will Prevail

Chemicals known as Parabens, consisting of ethyl-paraben, butyl-paraben, and isopropyl-paraben, are compounded as preservatives to keep bacterial growth in cosmetics at bay. Parabens are responsible for various allergic reactions, such as irritation, blotches, scars, and blemishes on the skin. The other common allergen in cosmetics is Salicylate. It can spread painful rashes or hives on sensitive skin.

Mostly, the allergic reaction is not apparent until the symptoms become severe. Check the label for parabens before you buy any kind of makeup. If you notice early symptoms of reddening skin and rashes appearing, do not chalk them up to mere coincidence.

Try going cold turkey on the makeup for a while to see if that’s causing it.

5. Heavy Eye Makeup Can Cause Eye Infections

Women use eye makeup extensively, even by those who use very light makeup. But remember, your eyes and the skin around them are the most sensitive areas of your face.

Layers of eye makeup can be deteriorating to your eyes as they also slip into your eyes through the corners.

Too much mascara and eyeliner inhibit eyelashes’ growth and become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to irritations and infections.

6. Beware of Infertility Due to Adverse Makeup Chemicals

long-worn makeup
Beware of Infertility Due to Adverse Makeup Chemicals

Your skin directly absorbs skincare products and deodorants, so naturally, the chemicals in these products invade your skin and body. A study on rats found that butylparaben adversely affects testosterone’s secretion and the male reproductive system’s function. 

Though cosmetics consumers are majorly women, it’s still important to note the adverse effects of parabens on your reproductive system.  Parabens are widespread in the skincare industry, and even products labeled “Natural” have a high probability of containing parabens.

7. Long-worn Makeup after 40 Can Bring Premature Aging

When you use skin products for a longer period, the chemicals present in them tend to damage your skin permanently. You will notice skin aging signs like wrinkles or patchiness on your face and body with time.

While makeup aids you hide or cover flaws in your skin, the long-term effects could be the opposite. Likewise, considering how big the anti-aging products market is, cosmetic companies have no incentive to reduce the aging effects of makeup, making it one of their best marketing tactics ever to come around.

8. Hormonal Imbalance Can Spur from Testosterone Decrease

Prolonged use of cosmetics can impact your endocrine system and interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Triclosan is a commonly used chemical compound and can be found in products like acne-removal scrubs and deodorants to keep them free of germs.

Triclosan gets absorbed and accumulated in your body with regular use, affecting the thyroid gland causing a hormonal imbalance. This may lead to thyroid-related conditions like headaches, weight gain, and depression.

Many Parabens inside makeup block the normal secretion of testosterone as well. Although testosterone isn’t the major hormone for females, a decrease in testosterone doesn’t mean an increase in Estrogen, which is the major feminine hormone; leading to hormonal imbalance.

Again, testosterone is the hormone that gives you the motivation and drives to achieve your goals and just get up to go to work every morning; and an imbalance there will cause sudden spikes of depression and anxiety.

9. Makeup Ingredients May Lead to Skin Discoloration

long-worn makeup
Makeup Ingredients May Lead to Skin Discoloration

Skin products like sunscreens, moisturizers, toners, and creams contain agents that bleach or darken the skin. Cosmetic products that use poor quality ingredients which have not been regulated can lead to skin discoloration. The effect could be patches, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, redness, and freckles.

Though your skin is meant to protect you, it’s also very sensitive and needs proper care. Avoid using chemical products if you can for your daily skincare routine. Using chemical-based cosmetics regularly after 40 may have adverse effects on your skin and could even lead to permanent damage.

The best way to avoid these side-effects of makeup is by reducing cosmetics and switching to natural or herbal products. Don’t forget to read the labels of your products for harmful chemicals before you buy.

Also, check online for reviews from other people for the products you choose to buy for daily use. This minuscule advice might save you a fair bit of money and maybe even a lifetime of regret.

10. Formation of Cancers

Many of the chemicals available in the stores today contain toxic ingredients that could cause cancer with repetitive use after 40. With regulations in place, there’s testing on the ingredients before they can sell the products.

However, cosmetic companies only need to prove that there will be no immediate downside effects. So, there’s no conclusive research done on the long-term effects of all the ingredients. For reference, try and avoid products with the following ingredients:

  • Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (quaternion-15, Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol)
  • Phenacetin
  • Coal tar
  • Benzene
  • Untreated or mildly treated mineral oils
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Chromium
  • Cadmium and its compounds
  • Arsenic
  • Crystalline silica (or quartz)

Preventive Measures and Recommendations: Do’s and Don’ts of Makeup After 40

#1: Foundation Dos and Don’ts:

  • DON’T cake your face with makeup; more coverage doesn’t hide your dark spots’ wrinkles; it accentuates them, making you look older instead!
  • DO know that “lesser is better.” Get a sheer foundation or a light-tinted moisturizer like the one from Dedra Beauty and lightly apply it all over the face. Dab a damp makeup sponge into areas where you have wrinkles. It will soak up the excess makeup. You may use a foundation stick to treat individual blemishes or spots.
  • This approach may sound counterintuitive, but the more skin is visible, the better! As long as your skin is thoroughly hydrated, fresh skin looks more youthful than a covered complexion!

#2: Matching Your Foundation with Your Skin:

  • DON’T match your foundation to the area below your chin or the underside of your wrist.
  • A common misconception is that the foundation should be lighter than the skin on your face. The basis of this conclusion is vague at best and fictitious at worst. The foundation that’s paler than your natural skin tone exaggerates fine lines and makes you look worse than you naturally do.
  • DO grab a foundation that’s one to two shades darker than your regular skin tone. Even if your skin is ivory, you need to go a little bit warmer as you get older.

#3: Concealer:

  • DON’T put concealer under your entire eyes! A thick concealer in a pot or stick will get rid of shadows under the eyes, but it draws attention to the fine lines (which come with thinning skin as you grow older).
  • DO only apply it on the dark areas, NOT under the entire eyeliner! To locate the right hue, move your head down. The light will reflect where exactly your circles are, and you’ll notice they’re bluish. Using the concealer properly is all about correct placement.

#4: Powder

  • DON’T put powder anywhere near your eyes! The powder is fine for minimizing shine on the nose and the chin, but it exaggerates and sinks into wrinkles on other parts of the face, making your skin look parched. Youthful skin reflects light, but powder obstructs that light reflection as you age; this effect skyrockets and makes your skin look dull.
  • DO dust lightly over your T-zone.

#5: Sparkle Vs. Shimmer:

  • DON’T wear glitter or sparkles! Sparkles are the hot new trend worn by everyone from Katy Perry and Taylor Swift to Selena Gomez, to name a few celebrities. But here’s the problem, they have millions of dollars in reserve to repair their skin naturally or even get plastic surgery if it gets damaged. You need to protect your own to the best of your abilities and make better decisions.
  • DO go for an age-appropriate shimmer. It gives the same effect, but it doesn’t age your skin. I love a shimmer highlighter from Dedra Beauty. It’s subtle, soft, and highlights your best features. The shimmer gives your skin that youthful glow because it gives the effect of reflecting light.

#6: Lips

  • DON’T wear matte dark colors! Our natural lip line can fade with age, making lipstick prone to bleeding and, sometimes, feathering. It’s highly noticeable if you’re wearing dark colors on your lips.
  • DO go for a dark or bright color if and only if it’s a sheer gloss. This will help achieve youthful-looking lips.

#7: Mascara

  • DON’T apply mascara on your lower lashes. It can make your eyes droopy and give away dark circles. It makes the eyes look shabby and accentuates the under-eye wrinkles.
  • DO opt for a subtle, blended brown line on the bottom lid. You want to define the eyes with softness and blending, so don’t create a strict line. A great product to achieve this look, in my opinion, is the Smudge Pen by Dedra Beauty.

Light Makeup Hacks and Tips for Women in Their 40s:

1. Camouflaging Lip Lines

long-worn makeup
Camouflaging Lip Lines

Never skip moisturizers, especially around your mouth. It helps the skin look even, making any fine lines near your upper lip less noticeable.

As for grooving your lips, start with a lip balm of your choice, preferably one with beeswax. The emollient ingredient soothes lip lines and puts a barrier to keep lip color from pooling in. Hence, your lip grooves and draw more attention to them.

Finally, line your mouth with a pencil that matches your natural lip color to prevent feathering, and follow up with glossy lipstick. Such lipstick contains moisturizing castor, sunflower, jojoba, and sesame seed oils to soften any remaining lines further.

2. How to Get Foundation to Go on Smoothly Over Your Retinol Cream

Retinol creams, which stimulate collagen growth, are so good at fixing wrinkles that the FDA classifies them as just two ingredients that can officially claim anti-aging (the other is sunscreen).

The downside, though, is that foundation doesn’t exactly go on smoothly over them—the cream forms a film that can get lumpy or even pill when you try to apply makeup on top. To get a smooth foundation application without sacrificing the power of retinol, try this layering trick:

  • Step 1: Apply a basic lotion or cream without any active ingredients.
  • Step 2: After you’ve applied your retinol cream and before you apply your foundation, creating a smooth barrier between the two, wait a minute between each layer to give it time to sink into the skin.

And Voila! The foundation applies over the cream quite smoothly.

3. How to Make Filled-In Brows Look Natural

long-worn makeup
How to Make Filled-In Brows Look Natural

Time for a well-known fact: Whether they thinned naturally with age or are still recovering from years of over-eager tweezing, your brows aren’t as thick in your 40s as they used to be. Restore them to their former glory (and make it look believable) with a 4-step process:

  • Step 1: Start by using the pencil to fill in your brows with short, featherlike strokes.
  • Step 2: Next, layer a coat of powder over the pencil with an angled brow brush.
  • Step 3: Use a brow comb to soften and blend the brow, and set with brow gel.
  • Step 4: Not sure which color is right for you? Choose shades that match the darkest tones in your hair to add definition and create an eye-opening effect.

4. How to Hide Sun Damage

Chances are you didn’t always take the best care of your skin when under the sun, and now you have some dark spots to prove it. If you don’t want to splurge on pricey laser treatments, try this ingenious makeup hack instead:

  • Step 1: First, use your finger to cover each spot with a yellow-based concealer (it looks more natural than red or blue-toned shades), two shades lighter than your skin tone.
  • Step 2: Then, pat—not rub—your regular foundation over the spots, blending it beyond the edges of each one.
  • Step 3: Set it by very lightly brushing loose yellow-toned powder over your entire face and chest.

5. Softening the Lines Running from Your Nose to Mouth

  • Step 1: Downplay the fold running from your nose to your mouth (your nasolabial fold, to be exact) using a rich moisturizer for a plumping effect.
  • Step 2: Then apply a creamy liquid foundation to your entire face, making sure to apply it in the folds, too, to disguise shadows.

You can go even further and draw attention away from this trouble spot—and direct it to your cheekbones—by blending a bright pink blush onto the apples of your cheeks.

6. Get Fuller Lips Without Injections or Surgery

long-worn makeup
Get Fuller Lips Without Injections or Surgery

The more candles on your cake, the more likely you are to have thinning lips, thanks to a lack of hydrating oil glands and a loss of bone density.

This, in turn, can cause your lips to start to roll inward and look thinner due to the less-robust support structure around your mouth. But you don’t need to deal with needles or surgery to reverse the effect:

  • Step 1: Line your lips with a pencil a shade deeper than your natural lip color to define the outer edges.
  • Step 2: Then fill them in with creamy lipstick in a lighter hue, like a soft rose or peach. This will make sure to reflect light and create the illusion of the fullness of your lips.
  • Step 3: For extra oomph, finish the look with a gloss that contains collagen-boosting reagents that accentuate your lip’s features.

7. How to Choose the Right Foundation

Nothing is more frustrating and, frankly, horrifying than putting on foundation only to discover that it made you look worse—ashy, pasty, and more wrinkled, to be exact. The trick to avoiding that unpleasantness is choosing foundations and powders with yellow undertones.

Formulas with a yellow tint work best because most complexions have yellow undertones. If you can’t give it a test run, compare a few shades to determine which has more yellow versus blue or red. Reading reviews on products online before buying them can save you the trouble of experimentation on your skin in this regard.

8. Wearing Blush Without Looking Like A Clown or A Try-hard

You want to look vibrant—not like you’re auditioning to join the circus. Prime your skin for a smooth blush application by applying a face moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, which attracts water to the skin’s surface and restores volume and radiance.

Then try this two-step dance:

  • Step 1: Dab a hydrating cream blush that mimics the color of your cheeks after a brisk walk just below your cheekbone, blending up and back toward your hairline.
  • Step 2: Then follow up with a pop of powder blush just a shade deeper on the apples of your cheek to finish the fresh flush.

9. How to Keep Wiry Brows in Check

As if thinning brows weren’t bad enough, your sparse arches can start to get wiry instead of smooth and tame. The trick here is to trim, not tweeze. Plucking individual strands may leave patches, but reducing their bulky weight helps eyebrows lie flat.

Follow this method below:

  • Step 1: Grab a brow comb and brush your brows up toward your hairline.
  • Step 2: Then trim the tips that extend past your arches with cuticle scissors, as they’ll give you the most precise cut.
  • Step 3: Then, brush them down toward your eyes and snip any stragglers hanging way below your brow line.

10. How to Minimize Droopy Lids

Your eyes can be your best feature even if your lids aren’t quite as perky as they used to be in your prime time. I suggest lining top and bottom, keeping close to the lash line, and sweeping a soft, medium-toned nude shadow on the outer corner of your lid.

Make sure they blend gently toward the inner corner to add definition and depth to the structure of your eyelids.

Natural Alternatives to Manufactured Makeup Products:

Natural alternatives in your ‘after-40’ makeup regimen may prove more skin-friendly and healthful. The chart below comprises some effective natural alternatives to conventional makeup products:

Anti-aging makeup cream
  •         Dry Skin Brushing
  •         Coconut Oil
  •         Antioxidants
Cellulite creams
  •         Coffee-cellophane wrap
  •         Dry Skin Brushing
Exfoliant and Body Scrubs
  •         Epsom salts
  •         Baking soda
Lip Gloss/Lipstick
  •         Petroleum jelly
  •         Aloe vera gel
  •         Homemade Cream
  •         Jojoba and Essential Oils
  •         Cinnamon powder
  •         Fresh beet juice
  •         Natural powdered hibiscus


With all that said, what’s stopping you from moving on and stocking up on natural or herbal products instead of resorting to artificial makeup now?

Beauty may lie in the eyes of the beholder, but you undoubtedly need to ensure you know how to preserve that beauty.

So take the responsibility instead of listening to advertisers and online makeup ‘gurus’ selling you problems while selling you the solutions to those same problems later on at a steeper price. 

Toss out that lip gloss and break up with makeup. It’s time to go 100% natural to avoid the measurable effects of long-worn makeup after 40!

In Conclusion:

Beauty is no doubt in the eyes of the beholder, and whoever says otherwise is trying to sell you something. As I say this, you should never bank on the belief that makeup can provide you the beauty that your natural facial features can’t.

It can, in a very short-term sense, but then it makes you insecure in your original features and very heavily dependent on the makeup after that. Trust me, many cosmetic companies thrive off of your insecurities, and this is just one of their many marketing tactics, but I digress.

Makeup should be there to enhance your beauty, not provide it. If you take just one piece of advice from this entire article, make it this: Cherish your skin and always take recommendations from advertisements, social media gurus, and Instagram influencers with a grain of salt.

With that said, ladies, I wish you the best of luck with your makeup endeavors, till next time.

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