Makeup and I have had a tough relationship over the years! As I got older, I just couldn’t be bothered with that full-face stuff, particularly when you realize how bad it is for the skin. Not to mention that wearing a full face of heavy makeup as a woman over 60 makes me feel like Cruella De Vil!
But something that has stayed a steady constant is mascara. Even on days when I can’t bring myself to dab on some lipstick, I will swipe a mascara wand two, maybe three times.
In fact, it’s a running joke that I was applying mascara in the hospital during labor.
I’ve tried a lot of mascaras over the years, and not all of them are made equally. I can’t use the same Covergirl crusher mascara I used when I was younger, so I set out trying close to 50 mascaras for women over 50 when writing this article. Not all mascaras are made equally, so you’ll find the best mascaras for each desired result in a different section in this article.
If you want my opinion — I’m never gonna stop using the Estee Lauder Sumptuous Lashes!
Best Mascaras for Volumizing / Best Thickening Mascaras
Any good mascara can darken your eyelashes, but a volumizing mascara can magically multiply your lashes, making it seem like you’ve got way more than you do!
L’oreal Paris Age Perfect Mascara is one of the best options for mature women. This mascara is in L’Oreal’s ‘Age Perfect’ beauty line and uses jojoba oil and conditioning serum that care for your eyelashes as well as give them great volume.
This is the sort of mascara that’s actually good for you, and I love the feathery texture it gives my lashes, instead of getting all clumpy and hard. Since it’s formulated for mature skin, it’s not going to be aggressive or filled with chemicals like the regular drugstore stuff we’ve put our eyelashes through all these years. This product is designed for women over 50 so that the little lashes we have left don’t fall off!
It truly is a ‘magnifying’ mascara, my super sparse lashes got boosted into visibility with a single swipe. PSA: this is a washable mascara, and absolutely will leak down your face if you get a little emotional, so make sure you choose the waterproof version if you’re that kinda gal.
- Instantly visible volumizer for fuller lashes
- Black and brown shades
- Cares for your lashes: Jojoba oil, vitamin e, and conditioner
- Buildable formula
- Great for sensitive eyes
- Gentle brush
- Doesn’t do much for length
- Can be too heavy for the bottom lashes
- Can get clumpy with more than two coats!
- NOT smudge-free, this is a washable mascara
Estee Lauder is a slightly premium mascara that does wonders for thin lashes. While this is easily double the price of drugstore mascara, boy can you feel the difference! The brush is tapered and gentle, for one, and the formulation goes on buttery smooth. The only reason I keep going back for this one is that it’s practically anti-flake, and has never come off in bits and pieces.
This is a beauty staple if you need that extra volume. It’s also waterproof.
- More volume than regular mascara
- Singles out every lash
- Zero clumping and zero flaking
- I wish there was a brown version!
- Doesn’t do much for lengthening short lashes
This is another premium excellent mascara that really thickens your eyelashes. I once got asked if I was wearing fake lashes when I had this on! You have to learn how to use it though, this Dior thickening mascara has an ‘XXL’ sized brush that is quite literally a double-edged sword. The XXL brush means you only need to apply it once. But if you’ve got shaky hands, you could get mascara everywhere else.
The formula is much thicker as well since it is a good thickening mascara, but also means that you can’t really do more than one coat.
- Lots of volume for fuller lashes
- XXL brush for quicker application
- Thicker formula, only one coat necessary
- Need to apply a primer for better results
- Can be too much for the bottom lashes
- Can clump if you do too many coats
- Not the best choice if you wear contact lenses
Best Mascaras for Length
For those of you ladies blessed with short lashes, a lengthening mascara does wonders in making your eyelashes longer so they frame the eyes.
Secret tip: You’ll get the best results when you use an eyelash curler before a lengthening mascara so that they’re not too straight and falling over your eye.
This Neutrogena lengthening mascara has a tapered brush and is really easy to apply. I generally need a few coats to get the desired effect, but I love that the formula has vitamin e and olive oil to provide some TLC.
This is a mascara that’s great for thinning lashes as well, and it gives you a decent amount of volume while making it look like you’re wearing expensive lash extensions! Use with a lash curler for the best results.
- Comes in black and brown
- Doesn’t need lash primer application
- Enriched with olive oil and vitamins
- Great for thinning eyelashes
- Comes off easily with makeup wipes
- No waterproof option, this formula is washable
I love this mascara, and no, it’s not just because I love Jessica Alba.
Honest Beauty is a great brand if you’re particular about all-natural ingredients (as you should be!) and this mascara is a 2-1 option that comes with a Lash Primer as well. I find that it gives my eyes a very natural, everyday kind of look: but I wouldn’t use this one on special occasions when my lashes need to be on their best behavior!
- Great lengthening result
- Extremely long-lasting mascara
- Tapered brush
- Doesn’t smudge, even with oily skin
- No synthetic fragrances
- Not waterproof
If you’re serious about giving your lashes some capital-L length, then you should definitely give this mascara a chance. I had pretty high expectations when I tested this mascara out since it is a high-end mascara, but it’s worth the splurge.
You don’t need much product to get the instant long lashes you want, so it does last for a while. The best part is that it doesn’t ever get completely dry and brittle — your lashes still feel soft and natural.
This isn’t just length, you get a lovely feather effect with natural volume.
- Grows your eyelashes with prolonged use
- Moisturizes eyelashes
- Lengthening and slight volume
- Anti-clump and anti-flake.
- 100% Vegan and Cruelty-Free product
- Doesn’t come in any colors other than Black
Best Waterproof Mascaras
Another great clean-beauty brand that’s perfect for you ladies with runny eyes! My eyes tend to get itchy and watery when I use products with too many chemicals, and I know this is the case for other women over 50 as well.
Most clean mascaras made with natural ingredients don’t come in a waterproof formula, so it’s easy to see why PÜR’s mascara gets all the rave reviews.
- Peptides that actively prevent wrinkles and fine lines
- Celiac-disease friendly, gluten-free
- Lots of volume and length
- Easy to apply
- Needs oil-based cleanser when removing makeup
Here’s another great inexpensive mascara by Neutrogena. This one is for healthy volume, but I would recommend it for its eye care and eyelash care properties over the volumizing abilities. It does give your eyelashes a good bit of volume and length, but nothing too striking, making it a great everyday option.
This is a completely waterproof mascara, and it never clumps or flakes.
- Smudge-proof and waterproof
- Fortified with almond oil and olive oil
- Hypoallergenic ingredients for sensitive eyes with contact lens
- Dermatologist and Ophthalmologist tested
- Natural Black brown color
- Comes off best with mineral oil and other oils
- Brush is too long and big, can make application a little tricky
Best Washable Mascara for Older Women
Sure, waterproof mascara is great for keeping your mascara on through sweat and tears: but it can’t come off with water and soap the way that washable mascara can. If you don’t anticipate getting all emotional: you’ll probably love a regular washable mascara to make the makeup removal as stress-free as the makeup application!
This has been one of my go-to mascaras for years. Hourglass is an all-in-one mascara and gives you the sweet spot of volume and length. This is the kind of mascara that looks barely there and natural with one application, but can be almost too dramatic if you keep layering it on! (I like to stick to three coats, and no more!)
The brush is tapered and slender, which really helps me get the bottom lashes singled out. Hourglass is a natural, vegan, and cruelty-free brand.
- Comes with primer
- Conditioning gel formula that makes lashes stronger over time
- Lengthening and long-lasting
- Light to wear
- Doesn’t clump or flake
- Special hourglass shaped brush
- Can get brittle and hard if you apply too many coats.
Best Mascara for Sensitive Eyes/Hypoallergenic Mascara
If there ever was a mascara made for allergies on mature women, it’s this one that deserves a spot in your makeup bag. None of those fragrances and synthetics notorious for eyelashes falling out.
I love that this mascara doesn’t completely dry out, and it’s always slightly moist on your eyelashes. That also means you shouldn’t touch it during the day. The brush definitely stands out for me: the design gets every single lash singled out for a fuller appearance on natural lashes.
- Great tapered brush
- Green-beauty makeup products
- Comes off with warm water, easily washable
- Pumps up thinning lashes
- Soft black color designed to complement silver hair!
- No waterproof options
- No other color options
When you have sensitive skin, all your makeup needs to be hypoallergenic, especially mascara. This mascara is made from cold-pressed argan oil. This handmade organic mascara is a PH-balanced non-irritant, which is great for contact lens wearers.
The formula feels super light, almost like it were a whipped body butter. Just like the BOOM! mascara, this one doesn’t dry out completely and is not waterproof. So hands off!
- Water-resistant (not waterproof)
- PH balanced
- Organic and natural ingredients
- Plant-based vegan formula
- Specially designed for older women
- Brush could be a little softer on the eyes, have to be careful with application
Best Natural Mascara/Blonde Lashes/Redheads
While most women look for blackest of black mascaras for that lush definition, true blondes and redheads know to stay clear! If you’re blessed to be 1% of the human population (redheads!), you’ll need a mascara that’s not quite as harsh. If your natural eyelashes are blonde or very light brown, black is going to look high-contrast.
While I’m a natural brunette, I did have to switch to brown mascaras when I went the old box-dyed blonde route a few years ago — and I truly understand the struggle. Here are some of the best brown mascaras on the market for older women:
These waterproof mascaras come in four shades specially designed ‘Just for Redheads’. You can choose between Ginger Red, Ginger Auburn, Ginger Brown, and Ginger Cocoa for the closest match to your natural eyelashes.
These are volumizing and lengthening in one mascara, and are a go-to all year round!
- Lots of color options to choose from
- Specially designed for Redheads
- Perfect makeup for natural days
- The right mascara for volume length
- Doesn’t need makeup remover
- Not completely smudge-proof, have to be a little careful
Now here’s a gem of mascara for my older ladies! It comes in the shade ‘Pearl Grey’ which is really flattering for silver hair and gives you a lot of volume and length while looking completely natural as if you had no makeup on.
Granted, it’s not black and won’t suit heavier makeup looks: but if you’re looking for an everyday look that suits your age, this is it.
- Natural everyday look
- Silicium that strengthens your eyelashes
- Hypoallergenic and great for sensitive eyes
- Curved brush
- Not as noticeable as black mascara
- Doesn’t need makeup remover
Mature Mascara Makeup Secrets Revealed!
Here’s why you can’t use any regular old mascara when you’re over 50!
- Most women of our age have thin and sparse lashes, it’s just what happens over the years. Whatever lashes we do have, have to be taken care of. That’s why you should only use mascaras with nourishing natural ingredients like jojoba oil, olive oil, castor oil, aloe vera or almond oil. These plant-derived waxes and oils will moisturize your lashes and strengthen them, so they can withstand long hours of holding mascara.
- Our eyes get more sensitive as we age, which means runny eyes are a common occurrence. Things that wouldn’t irritate your skin suddenly start to, so it’s a good idea to stick to hypoallergenic products. If you use contact lenses, all the more reason to use a hypoallergenic mascara.
- Runny eyes or sweaty oily skin is a recipe for disaster when you’re using washable mascara. If your eyes tend to get moist, or you’re just a big old softie and tear up often — get waterproof mascara!
Washable or Waterproof Mascara?
- If you’re lucky and things tend to stay pretty dry, a washable mascara is great for you and saves you a whole lot of trouble at the end of the day.
- Taking off mascara isn’t as easy as swiping a few baby wipes. Mature skin needs gentle treatment, so use the right oil-based mascara remover or makeup remover with soft cotton pads to loosen up the product and wipe it away. Never rub aggressively or pluck it from your lashes dry.
Black Mascara or Colored Natural Mascara?
- As a general rule, blondes and redheads tend to look better with brown mascara over black. The dark black color of mascara can look fake compared to your lighter hair.
- Even if you’re a brunette with really pale skin, black can be too harsh for your eyelashes. The best way is to try out both. You’d be surprised at the difference between the darkest shade of brown and black!
- Sometimes the lighting can play a big role. I find that I can pull off black mascara in the winters when my makeup is a little heavier (I love darker fall lipsticks), and the lighting tends to be dimmer and more artificial. But in broad daylight of summer months, the black tends to look jarring! That’s when I whip out dark brown mascara.
How to get thick natural-looking lashes with mascara techniques?
Tip #1 – No mascara on your bottom lashes
Skip the urge to swipe that brush on your lower lashes! As older women, the upper lashes are sparse enough but the bottom lashes can be counted on one hand! Using mascara on your lower eyelashes can result in a ‘spidery effect’.
Tip #2 – Use a primer/serum a curler
The best mascaras can add thickness and length, but it’s only really visible when your eyelashes are curled upwards. Otherwise, they stick down straight over your eyes, actually creating the illusion of smaller eyes.
Eyelash curlers are inexpensive, easy to use, and don’t take more than a few seconds.
Using a primer or serum on your lashes before you add on the mascara can fortify them, prevent breakage, and even create fuller lashes as the product builds up. Besides, it moisturizes your eyelashes and makes them easier to take off later on.
Tip #3 – Apply only on the tips
If you want a more natural and fuller look, curl your lashes and then apply the mascara only on the tips. This might sound like a strange technique but it really helps your lashes look curled upwards and longer.
If you’re keen on the full volume, then wiggle the brush closer to your eye line, letting product build upon the base of each lash. For the final coat, use your brush vertically to really separate and single out each lash and prevent clumping.
Tip #4 – Always take it off at night
Mascara dries out with exposure to air — we all know this. That’s why leaving it on overnight can cause it to dry excessively. It’s much more likely that you’ll pluck out eyelashes when trying to rub it off the next morning — yikes!
Tip #5 – Don’t pump your mascara
I don’t know where we picked up this habit from, ladies, but it’s just about the worst thing you could do to your mascara. Introducing extra air will dry your mascara out way faster and also introduce bacteria from the atmosphere into your precious tube.
Bat those lashes!
Don’t let age fool you into thinking you’re any less beautiful! You deserve to invest in your beauty and wellness. There’s no such thing as ‘too much makeup’ for a particular age, and we all could use a little extra confidence now and then.
Speaking of confidence, once you’re done buying a tube of mascara (or three!), check out the best bras for mature women too.