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Makeup Tips for Women With Gray Hair

Inside: Gray hair makeup tips and application techniques.

With so many women adopting their natural gray hair over the past few years, naturally, the topic of makeup comes up.

image of pinterest pin

Which makes sense – after all, our hair frames our face and we don’t want there to be a jarring contrast between the two!

I’ve been dye-free since 2018, and I always assumed I’d wear more makeup once I went gray.  I’m super-pale so I figured that, without the dark hair framing my face, I’d look completely washed-out.

But the opposite happened!

My silver hair brightens my complexion up so much that, at 54, I wear less makeup, in lighter colors, than I did before. Go figure!

I’m not a makeup expert myself, so I asked Asa Suriano, a clean beauty expert, and blogger, to answer all of your questions about this hot topic.

Make sure to watch her video, as it includes bonus information that you will not find in this post! – Katie

image of pretty woman gray hair
Asa, my guest blogger, from Gray Is Gorgeous

MAKEUP COLOR PALETTE FOR GRAY HAIR

Women worry gray hair means one should switch out all makeup to cool tones to match our cool hair color, but this isn’t always the case.

image of a woman with gray hair and makeup

Your skin’s undertone is still key when making all color choices.

While many things change about our looks as we transition from our natural hair color to gray, our undertone will not change, and it matters more than ever now.

Your undertone is either warm, cool, or neutral, and regardless of your hair color, it determines what colors look best on you (both in clothing and cosmetics).

The easiest way to determine your undertone:

  • If the veins on the inside of your wrists are blue and you burn easily in the sun, you are cool.
  • If the veins on the inside of your wrists are green and you tan easily, you are warm.
  • If you cannot really decide on the vein color and you don’t really burn but don’t tan super easily, you are neutral.

I will share more about what this means in each section and also in the tutorial video below.

Adapting Make-up for Gray Hair
Asa’s Video Dives Deep Into Makeup Color Selection for Gray Hair as well as Application Tips

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

TIMELESS MAKEUP APPLICATION TIPS

Skincare

Your makeup will never be a 10 if your skincare is a two!

Regardless of whether you like a full-coverage foundation or a light, tinted moisturizer with SPF, you should start with a clean, exfoliated, properly hydrated face.

Women often blame a product for poor performance, but if your skin is too dry, makeup will sit on top of it and enhance the dryness.

A perfect skincare regimen includes four steps:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone or prep
  3. Treat
  4. Protect

It may seem like a lot if you are just a soap and water gal like I used to be, but it really only takes minutes, and the benefits are plentiful.

Clean Beauty Tip: Switching to safer skincare can seem daunting but start by switching the products that stay in contact with your skin the longest: serums, moisturizers, and sunscreens.

Flawless Face Makeup for Grey Hair

As we age, even though we may see more on our skin that we’d like to hide, less product will look best. Heavy makeup is aging and can draw attention to fine lines and wrinkles.

image of woman gray hair and glasses

Tinted moisturizer with SPF

Apply like you would a moisturizer, with your fingers. All-over coverage is especially key if you are using this as your sunscreen.

Find a product with skincare benefits so this product can work triple duty for you: as a daytime moisturizer, foundation, and sunscreen all in one!

Color choices are often more limited with tinted moisturizers, so the color choice is most often based on skin tone (fair, light, medium, deep, for example) versus undertone.

Foundation

For color selection, look for descriptors as to whether the color is for warm or neutral undertones.

I have never seen one mentioning cool undertones, so if you are cool or neutral, a warm foundation will look too orange or yellow on your skin.

  • Be sure to apply a sheer sunscreen prior to application.
  • Start with less than you think you need in the center of your face where you need most coverage and use a damp beauty blender to apply.
  • Blend out toward the edges and avoid using too much where creasing is a possibility, like the forehead.
  • Look for formulas with skincare ingredients to get more bang for your buck!

Concealer

If using for blemish or redness coverage, match the color of your foundation and apply with a damp blender directly over the areas of concern.

Build coverage as needed. If using for brightening, either under the eyes or as a highlight, use a shade two shades lighter than your foundation.

Apply with fingers or a damp blender.

image of makeup brush

Blush

Choose a color appropriate for your undertone and brighter or bolder than you wore before embracing your natural hair color.

This doesn’t mean you need to be heavy-handed, but what has worked in the past will not give the pop and brightness that is so flattering with gray hair.

  • If you have a warm undertone, you will look best in warm blush colors like peaches, corals, or orangey reds.
  • Those with cool undertones will look best in bright pinks, raspberries, or blueish reds.
  • Neutral undertones will look great in either warm or cool colors, but should stick to the mid-range of either, like peaches or raspberries, for example versus bright coral or hot pinks.

Apply high up on the cheekbone for lift. Cream blushes are great for mature skin and work double and triple duty as lid and lip colors as well.

Contour

Choose a bronzer or caramel shade of blush and apply directly under the cheekbone, at the temples, and along the sides of the nose for definition, contrast, and additional lift.

Cream options are more forgiving but there are more color options in powder form, and many will be labeled as warm, cool, or neutral.

Highlighter

Powder or cream highlighters can bring immediate brightness when used at the top of the cheeks, browbone, and on the cupid’s bow of the lips. These are non- undertone specific.

Eyes

Eyeliner

Lining on the top and only on the outer edge of the bottom lid opens the eye rather than closing it in. Black may look too harsh, so try navy or violet.

Mascara

Similarly, using mascara only on the top lashes helps lift the look as well.

Clean Beauty Tip: Mascaras are notoriously toxic and preserved with formaldehyde, so I highly recommend switching to a safer brand sooner rather than later. Mascara flecks drop into our eyes and are absorbed readily.

Eyeshadows

Use your undertone to guide you and go for more of a bold choice over super neutral shades in your undertone family. We need deeper colors for more contrast.

A darker color on the outer edge and crease with a light color on the lower lid can make the eye pop, especially with a light highlight shade at the top on the browbone.

Brows

This is the one color selection you should make based on your hair color versus your undertone color.

Brows are tricky and color selection can take time. Look for taupe, cool or ash brown, or gray pencils, powders, and gels.

There are warm and cool grays available, so play around until you find the best fit.

Play with darkness as well. Too dark can be harsh and too light will not create enough contrast.

Lift the upper edge of the brow when applying product to create lift.

Powder

If you have oily skin or are heading out into super humid weather, powder can be very helpful.

Just use a very light hand and only use where needed because powder can settle into lines, bringing attention to wrinkles.

Lips

Like blush, you should choose lip colors based on your undertone and go for shades bolder than you are accustomed to.

  • If you have a warm undertone, you will look best in warm blush and lipstick colors like peaches, corals, or orangey reds.
  • Those with cool undertones will look best in bright pinks, raspberries, or blueish reds.
  • Neutral undertones will look great in either warm or cool colors, but should stick to the mid-range of either, like peaches or raspberries, for example versus bright coral or hot pinks.

Clean Beauty Tip: Gray hair and bold lip colors are meant to go together but many lipsticks are contaminated with lead. It’s best to splurge on a safe brand since we eat whatever goes on our lips whether we mean to or not.

Luckily, there are many options in safe lip colors from lip glosses, tinted balms, to sheer and bold lipsticks.

FOR THE MINIMALIST

If makeup isn’t your thing, you can still look great with a few simple steps.

  1. Use a non-toxic self-tanner or a tinted moisturizer with SPF to add color to your face and increase contrast with your glorious silver
  2. Wipe on a little cream blush on cheeks and lips for an instant pop of color
  3. Add a coat of mascara-. . . and boom. Done.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the best color lipstick to wear with gray hair?

The best color will still depend on skin undertone and skin tone, but brighter shades will help brighten the complexion and cool berries and reds will help make the teeth look whiter, which is a quick anti-aging hack.

What are your best eye makeup tips for mature women?

Less is more, shimmer should be used strategically, and cream options will help with minimizing crepey lids.

Should wearing gold or silver jewelry change our makeup style/colors?

Gold jewelry looks best on those with warm or neutral undertones to their skin and silver looks best on those with cool undertones, so the makeup that best suits your undertone will be the best fit for whatever jewelry you decide to wear.

Do you have any suggestions for under-eye circles?

Find a good, clean eye cream with caffeine as an ingredient and choose a concealer two shades lighter than your foundation and use as little as possible to start, building coverage as needed.

Less is more because heavy makeup draws attention to problem areas.

Should I wear more makeup if I’m wearing glasses?

My less is more approach should cover this. I only wear readers right now but I think it will hold true.

Conclusion

I hope you have found this article and tutorial helpful and feel more confident about how to use makeup to enhance your gray hair and natural beauty. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media, as it helps me grow my audience and spread the word about our Silver Revolution!  And remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Pinterest Feed for more gray hair tips and product recommendations. Thanks!

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One Comment

  1. I enjoyed the video, but checking out the prices of the products, holleeeeee! There’s no way I could ever justify paying that much. So I will try the tips and see how I do. I am definitely a minimalist when it comes to make up and don’t have time for fussing that much; but the tips on using two shades lighter for concealer are up my alley with my dark circles under my eyes. Also where to apply blush, oops! Been doing that on the apples of my cheeks because I wear glasses. I always thought I was a cool undertone but maybe switching up those shades will be an improvement. Thanks for all the info and tips! Much appreciated!

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