How to Apply Eyeliner Over 40: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Video 

- Should you wear eyeliner if you're older?
- How to apply liner in your 50s?
- How should a woman over 60 wear eye makeup?

We'll answer these questions and show you natural looking eyeliner tips for droopy eyelids, eye wrinkles, fine lines, or shaky hands.

Also, how to apply eye pencil on upper lash line, lower lash line and what type are best for older skin.

You'll also find an eyeliner application tutorial for contact lens wearers who have trouble with liner leaving residue on lenses. 

Should you wear eyeliner if you're older?

Problems applying eyeliner on hooded eyes with wrinkles

Eyeliner can really enhance your features and brighten your face! But many women over 40, 50, and beyond have a hard time with eye makeup application for many reasons, including:

Best eyeliner for wrinkled eyelids? Woman with hooded eyelids.
  • wrinkled or hooded upper eyelids
  • drooping or sagging upper eyelids
  • poor vision
  • shaky hands
  • don't know how to apply correctly to enhance mature eyes
  • are not using the right liner makeup (pencil vs. gel)

I'll show you how to wear liner that looks natural. Applying eye pencil shouldn't be difficult, regardless if you use liquid liner, pencil liners or gel liners.

Choosing the best eyeliner for seniors

From my experience as a "60 something year old woman" I found the best types of liner makeup for older eyes is either:

  • gel based, waterproof liner
  • waxy pencil liner
  • eyebrow pencil

 Here are why these types of eyeliners are best for mature eyes...

Gel Eyeliners Better Than Pencil?

Is gel eyeliner easier to apply?

Yes! Gel liners are especially easy for those who have no experience using liners or have a hard time applying them (like me!).

And for older women who may have issues with unsteady hands or wrinkles and folds around the eye area.

They have a nice thick creamy texture, so they're easy to control during application. They usually come with a super thin brush, which makes application and control super easy!

What about waterproof Gel Liners?

Even better! Waterproof gel eyeliner helps eliminate the problem of the liner disappearing, melting, or smearing into eye wrinkles, skin folds or hooded eyelids. It also prevents your liner from sticking to your contact lenses.

You can also apply this type of liner inside the waterline, as this gel liner will NOT stick to contact lenses, making it suitable for contact wearers.

So, a waterproof gel liner offers the following advantages:

  • You'll have more control over the application
  • It won't deposit too much color per swipe
  • It won't disappear, melt or smudge
  • Best eyeliner for contact wearers

How to Apply Eyeliner Tutorial: How should an older woman wear eyeliner?

Regardless of what type of eye makeup you use, it's best to put it on in dashes, like little lines across the whole eyelid.

Check out this helpful "how to apply eyeliner step by step with pictures video" for other liner looks over 40.

It covers:

  • how to get a smooth application
  • what colors work best for mature eyes
  • how to apply eyeliner on lower lashes and lower eyelid 

Best waterproof gel eyeliner

I've tried lots of waterproof gel liners, and many are too thick or chunky and leave floating deposits in my eyes.

The gel liner listed below is the only one that doesn't irritate my eyes and best for contact wearers because it won't smudge your contact lenses.

Click on the pictures below to see all the gorgeous gel liner colors and a closeup of the super thin (made in the USA) hand-cut Pointed Eyeliner Brush!

Showing soft gel liner and thin brush. This is the best eyeliner for mature eyes.
how to apply gel eyeliner using a gel brush

I also like that this gel liner doesn't dry immediately, so you have time to wipe away any first time mistakes.

This line of gel liners come in a lot of different colors, but my favorite is the Hunter Green because it makes my eyes look brighter!

Speaking of eyeliner color and brighter eyes...

How to make eyes whiter with eyeliner

Certain colored eye pencils can help the whites of your eyes look whiter, brighter. 

Just how some lipstick colors can make your teeth look whiter, certain colored eyeliners can make the whites of the eyes look whiter too.

And, no, this does not involve using white eye pencil, which in some cases, can make the eyes look dull or yellow.

This eyeliner is a certain shade of dark green that helps brighten the whole eye area. Click here to watch this video and see how it works.

What color eyeliner is best?

Whether your eyes are green, blue, hazel, or brown, all look good with eyeshadows or liners in the dark brown, taupe, or rusty warm colored family.

This creamy gel liner below is my favorite and seems to work with everyone's skin tone and color. Plus, it's soft, so don't notice the liner, just your eyes!

Here I'm wearing this brown/champagne color, and I've added a bit to the lower lashes. It frames my eyes, but it's not so dark to emphasize any puffiness or dark circles.

Which is a problem for older women wearing eyemakup.

what eyeliner color is best

How to wear eyeliner without looking like you're wearing eye makeup?

You don't want people to notice your makeup, you want to notice your beautiful face. You want that natural, barely-there subtle look.

So a simple trick is to apply the liner to the upper waterline and (using the brush) smudge it in-between the lashes, down at the roots, to fill in any white gaps. This will make your eyelashes look thicker too.

Do You Like Eyeliner Pencils Better?

Don't want to use a gel liner? That's fine because a pencil liner is just as good for mature skin and very simple to use. Just make sure to stay away from the super soft crayon type as they can smear easily. 

I prefer a waxy pencil, it stays on longer. Here is how to put on an eye pencil liner with ease…

Here is how to use eyeliner pencil on upper lid:

Sometime time after 40, our eyelids start drooping downward, making the corners look turned down (sad look). How can you apply liner without accentuating droopy eyelids?

Top eyeliner tutorial pencil. how to apply eyeliner step by step with pictures.No need to worry about winkled eyelids, poor vision, or shaky hands. This defines your upper eyelid and make lashes look thicker too.

Apply the eye pencil to the inside of the lashes and then bring the tip up at the corners. 

Ok, here is how I apply an eye pencil on the upper lid.

  • Take a clean eye pencil (an eyebrow pencil works well too) and smudge or rub it into the upper inner eyelash line. If you need to, you can use your index finger, gently lift the outer corner of the upper eyelid.
  • Make sure the pencil is not too sharp, you want a smooth rounded tip, so it glides on the upper eyelid easily and doesn't hurt or poke your eyelid.
  • Then run (sort of smudge) the pencil back and forth into the eyelash roots along the outer 1/3 of the eye only. Don't go too far in toward your nose, as this can make your eyes seem small and too close together.

The beauty of this eye pencil application if you have poor vision or shaky hands, there is NO need to draw a straight or even line.

You just need to:

  • press the liner pencil against the inner lash line
  • slide the pencil back and forth a few times until enough color is deposited

Also, it's a good idea to clean your eye pencil by wiping it with a paper towel moistened with rubbing alcohol. Give it a few minutes to dry before using.

How do you lift your eyes with eyeliner?

Now give the corners a lift.

There are all types of eyeliner tips, but this last step can really give your eyes a nice lift and works best if you wear mascara.

Simply draw one line straight up from the end of your eyelash line. When you open your eyes, that line will blend in with your lashes, giving the eyes an uplifting appearance.

How to apply eyeliner with pictures. How can I make my eyes lift?

Remember, don't draw the line out (like cat eyes style) as this will most likely draw attention to any sagging of the eyelids. You need to compensate by drawing a tiny line straight up.

Heavy cat's eyes style might work well in your 20s, but once the eyelid starts drooping, you need to compensate by drawing the line-up toward your eyebrow corners.

I found that by drawing one thin line upward gives the eyes a nice lift. 

How angled should that line be? That depends on the shape and amount of laxity in your eyelids. But for most women, a small dash angled toward the tail-end of your eyebrow works great. Play around and to see what works best. 

Now, just add mascara and your eyes have definition, lift, and a bit of pop—without looking over-done or heavy.

How to apply eyeliner pencil on lower eyelid:

Depending on your eye shape and the condition of your skin, you may be able to wear a bit of liner on the lower lid.

If so, try this EASY tip and see how it looks on you.

Using your index finger, lightly pull your lower eyelid down. Now run the pencil on the 1/3 outer corner only of the inside the lower eyelid rim (water line). If you draw a line from end to end across the lower lid, it can look too harsh. 

how to put on eyeliner lower lids. Eyeliner application.Now add a little color to the outer lower lids for more definition

Note: Make sure to keep the color deposit very light. You just want a hint of color outlining the lower lid to make your eye stand-out.

Depending on the shape and size of your eyes, some women choose to skip this step completely.

Also, many find some eyeliner color from the upper lid will transfer to the lower lid when they blink, and this is often enough to provide a light outline for the lower lid.

Best all day eyeliner pencil?

When it comes to pencil liners, I prefer a hard waxy pencil (over a soft crayon) because it gives me control on color deposit and stays on all day.

My two favorites are: 

  • Maybelline Wood Eyeliner Pencil and 
  • Maybelline Master Precise Skinny Automatic Pencil

I have very sensitive eyes and have tried plenty of eyeliners, but the Maybelline brands never bother my eyes.

They provide great options for those who can't master the use of a pencil liner or want a softer look. 

Worst-case scenario, if you still have a hard time putting on eyeliner makeup, try using a dark eyeshadow. This might be easier to apply and allow you to practice.

Then you can move onto long-lasting eye pencils and gel liners.

What type of eyeliner to avoid for waterline

Avoid using soft eye makeup like Kohl pencil or this thick, crayon-like eye pencil by L'Oreal.

Avoid this type of eyeliner for contact lenses


  • First, it's hard to control and often deposits too much color.
  • Second, it's so soft and will leave a residue on your contact lenses.
  • Third, it will melt, smudge and disappear too quickly.

However, that being said, this eye crayon works beautifully for on upper lids an eyeshadow. I love it and use it mostly as an eyeshadow.

It's hard to find this at the local drugstore, but you get it on Amazon.

Should a woman over 60 wear eyeliner?

best eyeliner for over 60

I say yes! Because everything seems to fade with age!

As we age, everything seems to tone & color, hair color, eye color, even eyelashes and eyebrows fade.

So a little eyeliner applied correctly can help make older women look less tired, enhance eye color and even brighten our entire face!

If you feel uncomfortable with dark eyeliners or your coloring (hair and skin) is very fair. Here is a lovely champagne colored liner, shadow and cheek highlighter that is so soft, yet brings out your eyes. 

You can see how it looks on me here!

Puffy Eyes or Under Eye Wrinkles

Applying eyeliner to puffy or wrinkled eyes is difficult and can be frustrating. There are a few ways I deal with puffy eyes – depending on how much time I have and how bad the puffiness is.

1. You can temporarily hide the puffiness with one swipe of the Easy Eye Solution Instant Eye Tuck Serum.

You can buy it on Amazon or get it here on SALE with FREE shipping...

2. You can try a cold compresses, but can be compresses can wet and messy. However, this cooling globe is not.

cooling globe

This Cooling Gel Globe is a new favorite, especially for my tired, allergy-irritated, itchy eyes.

It's cold and dry, and I just keep it in the fridge. That way, it's always ready when I need a little cooling relief for puffy eyes.

3. A good face massage does wonder not only for puffy eyes, but for your entire face and double chin.


This is my Kansa wand. When I have the time, I use it to de-puff my whole face, especially the eyes, and double chin area. It really works and is not a hoax.

Check out more information about the Kansa wand and see how I use it here.

How to apply eyeliner – Final tips

Remember, there is no wrong or right way to apply eyeliner.

How you apply it or what type of liner you use all depends on many factors, like your eye shape and what issues you may have. 

it’s a matter of what works best for you. 

A Note About Hard Wax Eyeliner Pencils: Some complain that hard-waxy type liners are difficult to apply because they don't deposit enough color, especially when they're brand new.

So here is what you can do:

  • Try warming it up a bit, by placing the tip into the palm of your hand for a few minutes. The color will glide on more easily.
  • Or, consider rolling the tip between your fingers (make sure your fingers/hands are clean) for a few seconds. 

If you have any eye issues or medical conditions, always consult with an ophthalmologist before applying eyeliner or eye makeup.

FAQ - How to apply eyeliner

Have questions about applying eyeliner? Search below or feel free to ask us here.

Q: Should eyeliner go on top or bottom?

A: That's a personal preference. You should try it both ways and see which looks better on you. If your eyes are very small, or you have a lot of discoloration and dark under eye circles, you're probably better just keeping the eyeliner on the upper eyelids.

Q: How do you do straight lines when doing eyeliner?

A: You really don't draw a straight line when applying eyeliner. It's much easier and looks more natural to draw tiny dashes (- - - ) across the eyelid. Celebrity makeup artist Debra Rubin shows you how to easily do this in this step-by-step tutorial.

Q: Can you wear eyeliner if you wear contacts, and what eyeliner is best for contact lens wearers?

A: The most important feature of eyeliner makeup for contact lens wearers is to make sure it's not sticky or too soft, because the eyeliner residue can stick to your lenses. A waterproof gel liner or a hard waxy type pencil seems to be easy for most women.

Liquid liners work too, but many women find them hard to apply because they deposit too much color too fast. The gel liners mentioned above from Mommy Makeup goes on light and smooth and takes a few seconds to dry - so you can clean up any mistakes without problem.

Q: How should a 60-year-old woman wear eyeliner?

A: First, it's best to use an eyeliner with a tiny, thin applicator - like a thin brush. Pencils are difficult because you have to sharpen all the time and sometimes those sharp points can hurt and tug on soft, loose skin.

Second, a water-proof gel liner like the one mentioned above with a very tiny, thin, talon brush would work great for your situation. It's smooth and will glide on easily without tugging on your eyelid skin. It's water-proof so it won't settle into fine lines and crinkly skin.

Third, just apply little dashes across your upper lid and see how you like the look. If you want more definition, you can try to apply a little on the outer-corners of your lower lid. It's really a matter of personal preference and what looks best for your face.

Q: Which eyeliner is best for mature eyes?

A: Of course, this is a personal preference. But I noticed if the liner is too soft, it melts away into the fine lines and crow's feet around my eyes. So I like waterproof gel liners.

The gel liner listed in the article above (by Mommy Makeup) is waterproof, but stays removable for a few minutes in case you make a mistake and need to wipe it off and re-apply again.

Before You Go... What's Going On With Your Eyebrows?

How to fix sparse eyebrows.

Well defined eyes need full-looking eyebrows to help frame the face and provide a more youthful, approachable face. Thin, spare, barely-there eyebrows can make you look older, washed-out, or tired.

Click here to see how to make eyebrows thicker, fuller without makeup!

You might like these

Anti-Aging Beauty Club

Join the Club and get Special Offers, Updated Before & After Pictures, Free Face Exercise Videos and Tips, New Product Information, Anti-Aging News, and More…

P.S. I respect your privacy and will never share your email address! You can unsubscribe any time.

Questions/Comments or Just Wanna Chat?

Contact me

Visit the Anti-Aging Beauty Blog or contact me here.

Check us out at these locations:

Pinterest Button
Twitter Button.
Facebook Button.
Instagram Button