Are you struggling to find the right makeup look for your gray hair? Part of the fear of embracing your gray hair is the fear that it will make you look washed out and older than you are. There are several tools to help you shift that narrative, including makeup, clothing, or a fresh haircut. If you wear makeup, adjusting your routine can complement your gray hair and boost your self-confidence. The good news is you may not need to adjust much, just a little tweak here and there. These makeup tips for gray hair should help you on your way.
I am not a makeup person, I never have been, I am currently writing this without a drop of makeup on and I’ve run errands today…honestly, I don’t even care in my day-to-day. I have even gone long stretches of time not wearing makeup at all. However, as I embraced my gray, developed hyperpigmentation and redness, and as I have gotten older, I began to enjoy the process of finding great products and application methods to help me boost my self-confidence, feel put together, and look a little more professional.
With the right makeup techniques and color pallets, you can achieve a fresh look that highlights your silvers and your best features. From choosing the right foundation to adding a pop of color to your lips, there are several tips and tricks to help you look and feel your best. You don’t have to wear much either to make a little bit of a difference that helps you feel great about yourself.
Depending on where you started, you may find with your new grays, makeup changes will be simply adding a little more, using a little less, or none at all…whatever that may be the choice is yours. One of my favorite aspects of getting older…doing what I want regardless of someone else’s rules.
If you feel like your grays won’t match your skin tone you might need to adjust your makeup a little, when we dye our hair, we naturally adjust our makeup to complement it, but I have found Mother Nature rarely ever gets it wrong, our eyes, skin, and hair (even as it changes in life) always match perfectly.
Whether you’re new to makeup or a beauty expert, this post is meant to give you ideas to accentuate your gray hair and boost your self-confidence. Let’s dive into a world of color.
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A Great Start to Makeup: Gentle Cleanser, Moisturizer, & Sunscreen
First up is gentle cleansing, no matter what, you need a clean base. Followed by moisturizer and sunscreen to create a smooth canvas for all makeup. Without them your final look won’t be as resilient or flawless.
Remember for best protection against the harmful rays choose a sunscreen that is SPF 46 or more and contains both UVA and UVB filters.
The Two Things You Need to Know for Flawless Makeup
It can be truly overwhelming choosing the right shades and products. The first thing I ever learned about makeup and clothing was that if the colors you choose match your skin tone and undertones everything else will always look just right.
Understanding your skin tone and your undertones will be of the most help and knowing these will help you to better pick colors even when ordering online. Thanks to 2020 many companies have done a great job describing what skin tone and undertone the colors are made for.
Not sure what your skin’s undertone is:
Here is a simple way to tell, look at the veins on the inside of your wrist in natural light:
- If they appear a blue or purple tone, you likely have cool undertones.
- If they have a green hue, you likely have olive or warm undertones.
- If you aren’t quite sure you probably have neutral undertones.
Another way to tell your undertone is your metal choices:
- If silver has always looked best on you, you likely have cool undertones.
- If gold has always been the best fit for you, you likely have warm undertones.
- If you are lucky enough to wear both metals, you likely have neutral undertones.
Your undertone generally never changes.
Your skin tone is the shade of your skin from light, to medium, to dark. Your tone can change with aging, hormones, skin damage, and tanning.
In general, when looking for colors to wear: warm colors will have red, yellow, orange tones, and cool colors will have purple, blue, and green tones.
Remember your grays also will fall into warm, neutral, or cool tones.
Makeup Tips for Gray Hair: Choose the Right Foundation
One thing many women forget to change as they go through life is their foundation color or formula, your skin tone changes sometimes seasonally, and as you age. The wrong color or formula can make you look older than you are.
Type of Foundation
Update the type of foundation, you may want to stop using powder foundations especially when you notice the powders settling in your fine lines or making your skin look or feel dry. You may want to switch to tinted moisturizer or liquid foundation. If you hate liquid foundation and you are already disagreeing with me…I hear you…go with a cream foundation, which is ultimately what I landed on and love.
Choose a foundation color that matches your skin tone and undertone. If you have a cool undertone, go for a pink or beige based foundation, while a warm undertone suits a yellow or golden based foundation. A neutral undertone can wear both, and now there are neutral shades just for you.
Remember that using a brush and a lighter hand with foundation and concealer helps enhance your natural beauty rather covering you up, and you avoid the cakiness that can happen with too much.
For a natural flush, choose a blush that complements your skin tone. If you have a fair complexion, go for light pink or peachy shades. If you have a medium or olive complexion, try coral or warm rose shades. If you have a deep complexion, opt for berry or red wine shades.
If you tend to be red, like I am, you may even choose not to wear blush at all and just let your natural flush peak through under your foundation. You can always use highlighter to accentuate your cheek bones.
Remember that even when you distinctly fall in the cool or warm categories you can also wear neutral colors. Just as neutral skin tones can wear either or.
Eye Makeup Tips For Gray Hair
I have hooded eyelids and eyeliner is the place I get a chance to be a bit bolder with my eye makeup. I love eyeliner and enjoy purple, plum, light teal, charcoal, and silver with my cool skin and dark green eyes.
Whatever you choose pick colors that complement and accentuate your eye color. Pick shades that aren’t too heavy or dark for pale skin tones if you are aiming for a more natural look.
Some makeup gurus will tell you that black eyeliner can be too harsh for gray hair; I say, that entirely depends on your gray if you still have more pepper than salt…go for it.
Another great tip for eyeliner is to make sure you pick the line style that best accentuates your eye and lid shape. Whatever you choose, match that undertone, pick warm colors for your warm undertone, and cool colors for your cool undertone.
Eye Shadow For Gray Hair
When it comes to eye makeup with gray hair, you want to choose colors that complement your features. Navy blue, charcoal gray, silver, rich purples, and dusty rose are great options. Navy blue and charcoal gray can add depth and definition to your eyes, while silver, purple, and dusty rose can add a pop of color.
Neutral shades like beige, taupe, soft peach, and brown are great for everyday wear.
Personally, I have hooded eyelids, so I keep it super simple with a soft pink highlight in the corner and from the lid to brow and then a soft blush or plum color on the outer corner. I often use my blush as my darker tone, because I love a natural look.
Eye Opening Tips
- Use an eyelash curler to open up your eyes and make them appear larger.
- If you wear nothing else on your eyes, try to add mascara to your routine, it helps highlight your eyes and make them look more open and brighter.
Overall, I think the key to eye makeup with gray hair is to enhance your natural features. Stick to a color palette that goes with your skin tone but doesn’t overpower you, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, be bold, and experiment. If you want some great ideas on how to make your eye color pop check out Glam Girl Gabi’s video on eye color and makeup.
I have given color ideas here, the truth is you can wear any color you like, the key is picking the hue that is most suited to your skin tone and undertone and your eye color. For instance we can ALL wear red, it is just a matter of what hue you pick. Justine does an amazing job in this video helping you understand color theory and how it works for warm, cool, and neutral colors.
Makeup Tips for Gray Hair: Emphasizing Your Brows
Your brows are an essential part of your makeup routine, especially with gray hair. They frame your face and add definition to your features. Here are some tips for emphasizing your brows:
- Use a brow pencil or powder to fill in any sparse areas.
- Brush your brows upward and outward with a spoolie brush to create a fuller look.
Choose a brow shade that matches your darkest remaining hair color or is about one shade lighter.
Remember to keep your brows groomed and trimmed. Use a brow gel to keep them in place. Avoid plucking out white hairs from your brows this can make your brows appear thin and patchy.
Don’t forget to highlight your brow bone with a light eye shadow or highlighter. This will help accentuate your brows and make them pop. Use a small brush to apply the highlighter directly under your eyebrow.
With these tips, you can achieve perfectly emphasized brows that complement your gray hair and enhance your overall makeup look.
A wonderful silver supportive brand for eyebrow products is Eye Embrace.
Great Lipstick for Gray Hair
Lip color is where most people growing out their gray hair start to have a little fun. It is not something I ever thought I would care about. I am a lip balm sort of gal, and often forget to reapply lipstick so it just wasn’t something I wore unless it was for a special event or photos, but I have found myself searching for that perfect color!!!
You can go neutral, bold, or anything in between, you can still find a great color to make it all come together.
Bold Lips with Gray Hair
When it comes to makeup with gray hair, bold lips are a great choice. A bold lip can add a pop of color and make your look stand out.
Choose a lipstick that complements your skin tone and hair color. For warm undertones, try a warm red, deep rose, or bold coral shade. If you have cool undertones, go for a blue-based red, bold pink, or a deep berry shade.
A great tip for keeping your lipstick in place, use a clear lip liner to define your lips and prevent bleeding. The great thing about clear is you can have one liner and you don’t have to match it to any other colors. I learned this the hard way after wasting money on mismatched lip-liners.
When going for a bold lip, remember to keep the rest of your makeup a little understated to accent the beautiful lip color. With the right lipstick, you can feel confident with your gray hair.
That Natural Look
For a natural look, choose a lip color that is close to your natural lip color. If you have a cool undertone, go for muted shades of pink, berry, or a mauve. If you have a warm undertone, try shades like dusty coral, peach, and a taupe. If you have a neutral undertone, you can wear both cool and warm shades.
The key to a natural look is soft colors, cool-toned skin pairs well with rosy pinks and plums. Warm-toned skin looks great with taupe shades, rose gold, and light coral or peach. Cool colors will have a hint of blue, magenta, or pink. Warm colors will have a hint of orange, brown, or gold.
Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to lipstick. Experiment with different shades and finishes to find what works best for you and your gray hair.
Check out this video on a great new lipstick brand for all ages I have found:
No Matter What You Choose Keep Learning and Exploring
Find brands you love and trust, and follow influencers that know their stuff about makeup for the mature woman. Our skin is different, and our makeup will be too.
I love brands that are clean, cruelty free, and I aim for products NOT labeled for anti-aging.
Brands I Use and Recommend:
People I Follow:
Nikol Johnson, she also has her own line of makeup.
Infinite Garden by Beth K, Beth does some great reviews of many brands and types of makeup.
Justine Leconte, if you want to learn about skin tone, undertones, and colors to wear Justine has some great advice.
Glam Girl Gabi, Gabi does some beautiful make-overs on women with silver hair.
I hope you found this post educational and helpful.
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share.
As always it is about so much more than the hair.
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