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

How to apply eyeliner over 40: We'll show you natural looking eyeliner tips for mature skin, hooded or droopy eyelids, eye wrinkles, fine lines, poor vision, or shaky hands.

Also, how  to wear eyeliner on upper lash line, lower lash line and what type of eyeliners are best.

You'll also find an eyeliner tutorial for contact lens wearers who find that their eyeliner is always leaving residue on contact lenses. 

Click here to skip the video below!

Problems applying eyeliner over 40

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

  • 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 eyeliner makeup (pencil vs. gel)

I'll show you how to draw or put on eyeliner that's easy and looks natural. Applying eye makeup shouldn't be difficult, regardless if you use liquid liner, pencil eyeliners or gel liner.

How to Apply Eyeliner - Tutorial

Regardless of what type of eyeliner you use, it's best to use dash like lines across the whole eyelid.

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

  • how to get a smooth application
  • what dark colors work best for mature eyes
  • how to apply eyeliner on lower lashes and lower eyelid (TIP: never apply liner in the inner corner  of the eyes)! This will only accentuate dark circles.
  • which is better liquid eyeliner or pencil 
  • along with other great makeup tips

This easy eyeliner video will show you a simple trick for applying gel eyeliners for a classic, natural everyday-look that works well for eyes of all ages.

Choosing an Eyeliner for Mature Eyes

The best type of eyeliner for older eyes is a gel based, waterproof and smudge-proof liner.

1. Gel based liner

A waterproof gel eyeliner helps eliminate the problem of eyeliner disappearing, melting, or smearing into eye wrinkles, skin folds or hooded eyelids. It also prevents your eyeliner 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.

A gel eyeliner is best applied with a very thin pointed brush is an excellent choice for application control.


  • You'll have more control over the application
  • It won't deposit too much color per swipe
  • It won't disappear, melt or smudge as quickly
  • It won't leave as much residue on 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!

What I like about this eyeliner is it won't dry immediately, so you have time to wipe away any first time mistakes. And of all the gel eyeliners I've tried, this brand NEVER irritates my eyes.

2. Pencil Eyeliner

Don't want to use a gel eyeliner? Here is how to apply a pencil eyeliner with ease!

How to apply eyeliner pencil on upper eyelid

Sometime time after 40, our eyelids start drooping downward making the corners look turned down (sad look).

I found the best way to frame the eyes without accentuating that downward droop is to apply the liner to the inside at the lash line with a little simple tip to bring the corners...

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

Take a clean eyeliner pencil and place it right into the upper inner eyelash line. If you need to you can use your index finger, gently lift the outer corner of the eye. upper eyelid.

Top eyeliner tutorial pencilNo need to worry about winkled eyelids, poor vision, or shaky hands. This defines your upper eyelid and make lashes look thicker too

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 eyeliner 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 eyeliner 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 eyeliner pencil against the inner eyelash line 
  • slide the pencil back and forth a few times until enough color is deposited

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

Now give the corner of your eyes 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

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 eyeliner might work well on 20 somethings, 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 you skin, you may be able to wear a little bit of eyeliner 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 of the 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.

Why type of pencil eyeliner do I use? An eyeliner that stays on!

When it comes to pencil eyeliners, 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 - like the popular Urban Decay waterproof formula eye pencil.

But for some reason they all irritate my whole eye area. I do however, like Urban Decay's eye shadow. 

If you still have a problem with disappearing eyeliner, smudges, smears or problems with contact lenses read the tips below on the benefits of gel liners.

They provide great options for those who can't master the use of a pencil liner or want a softer look. Gel liners will simplify your makeup routine and make a big difference in the appearance of older eyes - giving them a more youthful glow!

Check out the recommendation by celebrity makeup artist Debra Rubin in this step-by-step tutorial.

What type of eyeliner to avoid for waterline

Applying eyeliner to the waterline can be a problem for contact wearers if the residue gets stuck to the rim of the lenses. Others just have issues with eyeliner that's always smudging, creeping into lines and wrinkles or just melting away.

If this sounds familiar, try these tips:

1. Avoid using soft, thick, crayon-like eyeliner pencils. For example, I love this L'Oreal Smoldering Eyeliner for outlining the top of my upper lid for a natural sexy, smoldering smudge.

But, I would avoid this type of eyeliner on the inside lid (water-line).

Avoid this type of eyeliner for contact lenses


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

However, that being said, this eyeliner works beautifully for on outer upper eyelids. It's hard to find this at the local drugstore, but you get it on Amazon.

Should older women wear eyeliner?

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 whole face!

Puffy Eyes or Under Eye Wrinkles

If you have issues with puffy or crinkly, crepey under eye skin - you can temporarily hide them 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...

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 eyeliner 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 eyeliners are difficult to apply because they don't depositing 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.

How to apply eyeliner - FAQ?

Q: Should eyeliner be applied on top or bottom eyelids or both?

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

Q: How do you properly apply eyeliner if you're hands are shaky or can't draw a straight line?

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 - click here. 

Q: What is the easiest eyeliner to apply if you wear contact lenses? I was told to try liquid liners by they just seem to smudge all over my eyes!

A: The most important feature of eyeliner makeup for contact lens wearers is to make sure it's not sticky or too soft or crayon like. Because the eyeliner residue can stick to your lenses. A water-proof 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 do you apply eyeliner over 60 if you have really saggy eyelid skin?

A: First, it's best to use an eyeliner with a very small, 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, lose skin.

A gel liner like the one mentioned above with a very tiny, thin, talon brush would work great for your situation. Plus, it's so smooth it will glide on without tugging on your eyelid skin.

Before You Go...What's Going On With Your 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!

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