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The Power of the Right Lipstick for Older Women

The Power of the Right Lipstick for Older Women: How to Find It and 7 Ways to Wear It

The right lipstick has the power to help us look and feel beautiful and confident; especially those of us who are over 50. Today we’ll talk about how lipstick benefits us, how to find that perfect lipstick color and 7 different ways to wear our lipstick so we get the very most out of it.

First, a few fun facts about lipstick.

The desire to color our lips goes back thousands of years and started with fruit plant juices and insects. People from the Sumerian civilization are credited with being the earliest users of lip color and Mesopotamian women used ground up precious jewels to add color and shimmer to their lips. In 920 A.D. an Arab scientist invented solid lipstick by pressing color and other ingredients into a mold. And in 1923, James Bruce Mason Jr. invented the swivel up tube which gave us modern lipstick as we know it today.

The Benefits

There are some real benefits to wearing lipstick that we don’t really think about much:  lipstick protects our lips from the elements—especially cold and wind; it provides hydration, brightens our smile, and it can enhance our complexion if we choose the right color. It also makes our lips look fuller and plumper (which is especially important for those of us over 50 since our lips do get smaller and paler as we get older.)

Lipstick has come a long way from ground up stones and dead insects to the advanced formulas of today, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: the ability of lipstick to provide the most important benefit: a psychological boost that lifts our mood. As actress Monica Belluci said, “Lipstick is the most valuable weapon in a woman’s make-up kit. It has the power to transform the appearance and mood of the person wearing it.” And research not only bears this out, but it also concludes that women who wear lipstick are perceived by others as more confident and in control.

Today Show style editor Bobbie Thomas noticed how lipstick could lift a woman’s spirits when she was working in a rape crisis facility. As she watched a survivor testing out a new tube of lipstick, she could see the spark in the woman’s eyes as she applied it.

The Power of the Right Lipstick for Older Women
Before and After

The Right Color

The most important thing with lipstick is to find the right color which can not only enhance our complexion but also bring amazing radiance to our face. The wrong color can absolutely wash us out or age us. And since pictures are worth a thousand words, I’ll share some pictures of what I’m talking about in the video (see above or HERE.) Two of the pictures show how wearing lipstick that is too dark can age us. In the video I’ll also show you “before” and “after” photos of three wonderful women for whom I did a makeup consultation. Notice, particularly, their lips in these before and after photos. There’s no question that the lipsticks in the “after” photos serve to brighten their skin and create an overall look of radiance to their faces. In the video, I’ll also share with you before and after photos taken at two different photo shoots where I was the makeup artist. Again you’ll see how the lipstick truly transforms the faces of these two women.

Two Important Factors

Next, let’s talk about the two most important factors in choosing the lip color that’s best for you: the first is to consider our skin tone—which is the outer color of our skin that we can easily see. It can be fair, light, medium, tan, or dark. And I think we all have a sense of where we fall in this continuum. For every-day wear, many of us may prefer to wear a lighter or darker color based on how light or deep our skin tone is. But it can certainly be fun to step outside our comfort zone from time to time to wear a brighter lip color than we might wear on an everyday basis.

But by far the most important thing we can do to find our perfect lip color is to determine the undertone of our skin. We have a cool undertone, a warm undertone, or a neutral undertone. If we’re not sure of the undertone of our skin, there are nine questions that can help us make that determination. I did a video going over all nine of these questions and here’s a link to that video:

Five of the Nine Questions

But let me take just a few minutes now to touch on five of the nine questions that provide what I think are the best clues to the undertone of our skin. The first clue is to determine the color of the veins on the underside of our wrist. If they are blue, we have a cool undertone; if they’re green we have a warm undertone and if they’re somewhere in between, we most likely have a neutral undertone. Now it can sometimes be really difficult to determine this color, so let’s run through the other four questions which will give us good clues as to whether we have a cool, warm or neutral skin undertone.

The second question to answer is: do you tan or burn? Most people with a cool undertone will burn and those with a warm undertone will tan. And if you burn and then tan you may fall into the neutral category.

The third question is: do you look better in silver or gold jewelry? If silver makes your skin look more alive, you most likely fall into the “cool” undertone category. If gold is better, there’s a good chance you have a warm undertone.

Neutral Lipstick Colors and More

Question number four is: which group of neutral colors looks best on you? Black, grey and white or ivory and tan? If black, grey, and white are best, most likely you have a cool undertone. And if ivory and tan are better for you, most likely you fall into the warm undertone camp. In the video, I’ll demonstrate this clue with two pieces of clothing from each of these two groupings: white and ivory. The ivory color really washes me out and the white color really makes my skin look more vibrant. So if you have a cool undertone, you’ll look better in white, grey and black. And if tan and ivory are better colors on you, you probably have a warm undertone. If you look good in both color groupings, you’re very fortunate indeed and have a neutral skin undertone.

And the fifth question is: are you more drawn to—and do you get more compliments–when you wear coral or pink? Those who are most comfortable with pink and are most drawn to it—most likely have a cool undertone and those who are most drawn to coral most likely have a warm undertone. And, as you might guess, if you like both, you may fall into the neutral category.

Cool and Warm Undertones

Now let’s talk about some of the lipstick colors that look absolutely gorgeous on those with cool undertones and those with warm undertones. Those of you with neutral undertones can wear both cool and warm colors, but probably not the deepest or brightest shades of these colors. Colors that look fabulous on those of us with a cool undertone are pinks, raspberries, plums, and blue-reds. Those with a warm undertone look gorgeous in peaches, corals, oranges, and orange-reds.

Next, let’s take a few minutes to talk about how we can stretch both our makeup budget and our lipstick wardrobe by using our lipsticks in seven different ways. First, we can simply dot lipstick onto our lips to create a lighter stain. This method gives us some color, but just a light, subtle application. Second, we can use it as a blush.

Lipstick Application and More!

Third, we can apply our lipstick with a brush. There are retractable brushes or non-retractable lipstick brushes. Using a brush helps us be more precise with our application. With a lipstick brush, we can also really work the lipstick into our lips which means we can get longer wear-time with our lipstick. And, we can more easily put two or three colors on the back of our hand and work them together to create a beautiful custom shade of lipstick.

Fourth, if we first apply lipstick, then put one sheet of tissue over our mouth and roll on just a tiny bit of powder over our lips with the tissue in place, we can create more of a velvety look to our lips. Fifth, we can lighten or darken our lipstick with lip gloss. The sixth thing we can do is first apply lip liner all over our lips and then put lipstick over it.  This can definitely change the color of our lipstick. And if our lipstick wears off, we’ll still have some color left on our lips from the lip liner.

And finally, #7, we can mix two different types of lipstick formulas together to get an interesting look.

I hope this article and video have inspired you to have some fun trying out some new lipstick shades and given you some ideas about how to use lipstick in some interesting new ways.

What are your favorite lipsticks? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this page! 

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional, working makeup-artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back.  In addition to her work as a makeup artist for a major cosmetics line, she founded Boomer and Beyond Beauty and recently launched her “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” YouTube channel for women 50+.  Elise is also an author and speaker and hosts Normandale Community College’s monthly Learning Well Edge Talk Radio show where she interviews experts in the field of health and wellness. 


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  1. I’ve been dying to tell everyone about this lipstick by Color The World! I’ve tried everything on the market to not have my red lipstick bleed into fine lines around my mouth. I ordered my Color The World lipstick that claimed not to bleed into lines. It works!!! Wore for two weeks as trial. Now I ordered 6 colors and plan to clean out my lipstick drawer.
    It’s natural ingredients and a portion of purchase price goes to charitable groups
    I love bright colors…red, fuschia etc. these aren’t quite as bright as I normally wear but I actually think my face looks better with these colors. Try them!

  2. Great info! So many woman need to be aware of cool and warm undertones. You explain it so clearly!
    I have ALWAYS been a lover of lipstick, and usually wear a blue-red shade💋 I wear lipstick because it makes ME feel good, and makes me happy!
    I’m a young 73 and will wear lipstick forever!

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