How to Apply Eyeliner Over 40: Step-by-Step Pictures and Tutorial Videos 

Best eyeliner tips for older women

by Linda Robison

Want to know how to apply eyeliner for older women that looks natural, smooth, and classy?

I got you covered!😊

You'll get tips on how to wear eyeliner if you have hooded eyelids, eyelid wrinkles, shaky hands, or wear contact lenses.

Plus, a step-by-step video on best eyeliner application tips for older women by award-winning makeup artist and New York City Mom, Debra Rubin-Roberts.

Should you wear eyeliner if you're over 40?

Best eyeliner for wrinkled eyelids. Woman with hooded eyelids.Eyeliner for hooded eyes over 40 a good idea?

So, is there something wrong with women over 40 that they suddenly forgot how to apply eyeliner makeup? No!

I hear this question often. Some women are even offended, as we all know 40 something is not old!

So, why make a post on this topic?

Because, as studies show, eyelid laxity (when the eyelids lose firmness and may droop with extra skin) can start as early as our 40s.

This can create an uneven surface that can cause the eyeliner to skip, look wobbly or jagged when applied.

But, we can solve that!

Solving problems applying eyeliner on hooded eyes with wrinkles

Eyeliner can really enhance your features and brighten your face! So it's a shame not to wear it because of eyelid skin issues.

If you have a hard time with eye makeup application because of:

  • 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. Application shouldn't be difficult, regardless if you use liquid, pencil, or gel liners.

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How to choose 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 
  • waxy pencil
  • eyebrow pencil

 Here's why these liners work best for mature eyelids...

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Are 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, wrinkles, or loose skin around the eye area.

Gel liners have a nice thick creamy texture, so they're easy to control during application. And, they usually come with a super thin brush, which makes gliding across thin or loose skin easier!

What about waterproof gel liners?

Even better! They prevent smudging, disappearing, or sticking to wrinkles, folds, and contact lenses. But, you don't want one that dries too quickly

Note: Why use a slower drying gel?

Using a waterproof gel that does not dry right away, allows you to fix or wipe off mistakes.

And, makes you (me) less nervous or under pressure to hurry up and get it right before it dries, and you have to start all over again! 😒

Another Bonus: You can also apply it inside the waterline (tightlining), as this gel liner will NOT stick to contact lenses, make 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 for contact wearers

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

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.

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

Speaking of 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 liner is a certain shade of dark green that helps brighten the whole eye area. You can 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. Plus, the color is so soft, you won't notice the liner, just your beautiful 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.

How to apply eyeliner for older women. What eyeliner color is best?

I add it above my eyebrows for a lift. It looks awesome if your face is properly exfoliated.

Do You Like Pencils Better?

Don't want to use a gel? That's ok, a pencil is just as good for mature skin and simple to use.

Just stay away from soft crayon types, they smear easily. Waxy ones last longer. See how I do it below...

Is putting eyeliner on your waterline bad?

Applying to your waterline (tightlining) isn't "bad," but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Some find it may irritate. Especially if they have sensitive eyes.
  • It may cause your eyes to appear smaller.
  • Test a small area first, even with ophthalmologist-tested pencils. They can still cause issues, as I've experienced.
  • Keep pencils and eyeliner brushes clean.

The only two I can use on the waterline are Maybelline pencils and Mommy Makeup waterproof gel liners.

Here is how to use eyeliner pencil on upper lid:

This is great for hooded eyelids!

If your lids are hooded or droopy, this application tip can help. This is my favorite!

Top eyeliner tutorial pencil. How to apply eyeliner step by step with pictures to the upper waterline.Here, I'm applying a Maybelline eyeliner pencil in black to the inside of my upper eyelid.

Apply a dark color inside the lash line, then bring the tip up at the corners. 

  • Take a clean pencil and gently smudge it onto the upper inner lash line. If needed, use your index finger to 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 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 or your eyes will look smaller.

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.

Also, 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? Winged eyeliner for older eyes

Here is a simple trick for a quick lift.

After you've finished applying your liner, just give the corner a little flick upwards. Simply draw one line straight up from the end of your eyelash line.

This helps lift the corners of the eyes. Perfect for women over 50!

How to apply eyeliner with pictures. How can I make my eyes lift?Simple, easy way to apply winged liner over 50. This little, tiny tip will make your eyes look more lifted.

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.

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.

How to put on eyeliner on lower waterline lid using Maybelline pencil eyeliner.Now add a little color to the outer lower waterline for more definition.

Using your index finger, lightly pull your lower eyelid down. Now run the pencil on the 1/3 outer corner of the inside the lower eyelid rim (water line). 

Note: Don't draw a line from end to end across the lower lid, it can look too harsh. 

A Few Notes About Lower Eyelid Makeup:

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.

NOTE: If you have sparse eyebrow hair, make sure they are filled in before applying any makeup. You'll be amazed at how important well-defined eyebrows are in accentuating your eyes and framing your face.😲

Best all day eyeliner pencil for older eyes?

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

My Favorite is:

Maybelline Pencil Wood Liner. It's hard to find in drugstores, so I often get in on Amazon.

eyeliner pencil maybellineThis is my two pack of Maybelline Black Eyeliner pencil.

I have very sensitive eyes, but Maybelline brands never bother me.

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

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 for inside the waterline.

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, this eye crayon works beautifully on upper lids. I love using it mainly as an eyeshadow.

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

Should a woman over 60 wear eyeliner?

best eyeliner for over 60I'm over 64 and I still wear eyeliner and I think it looks soft and natural.

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

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

Do you feel uncomfortable wearing dark colors?

Here is a lovely champagne colored liner. It also works as a shadow and cheek highlighter. The color is soft, yet brings out your eyes. 

You can see how it looks on me …

Eyeliner Tips for Hooded and Other Eye Shapes

Applying eyeliner on hooded and other eye shapes can be challenging. This tutorial offers 9 tips to highlight your eyes' best features.

Done right, eyeliner can make you look more awake, brighter, and sexier

How to apply eyeliner – Final tips

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

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 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.

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

Also, some ophthalmologists suggest that applying it to the waterline may cause dry eye syndrome overtime. 

FAQ - How to apply eyeliner

Have questions about application? See below…

Do you have a favorite eyeliner or application tip that works well for mature eyes? We'd love to hear about it. Come-on, join the conversation or post your pictures.

Q: Should liner 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 dark under eye circles, it's better just keeping it on the upper eyelids.

Q: How do you draw straight lines?

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 which is best?

A: The most important feature of eye 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. 

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

A: First, it's best to use one 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. 

Q: Can you use liquid on waterline

A: I don't like to use liquid liners. But, everyone is different. You can try it and see how it works for you.

Q: What waterline color makes brown eyes pop?

A: For brown eyes, I would try earthy tones like rich browns, deep plums, and dark greens can make them pop. These colors create a contrast that enhances the natural warmth of brown eyes. Experiment with different shades to find what works best for you.

Q: Is waterline eyeliner safe?

A: Some doctors feel that applying eyeliner to the top or bottom waterline may not be safe. They say that the waterline, (that's the inner part of your eyelid) has tiny glands that make tears to keep your eyes comfy.

When you put it there, it can block these glands, kind of like putting a cork in a bottle. This can mess up the production of tears, making your eyes dry and uncomfortable. So, it's like a traffic jam for tears, and that's not good for your peepers.

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