It is easy to get stuck in a rut with eye makeup, and your best look in your twenties may not have weathered that well into your fifties and beyond. It is surprising how many of us stick to the same basic cosmetics as the years go by and gravity, inevitably, takes its toll on our faces. How should we change our approach to eye makeup as we get older; what products should we use – and what, if anything, should we change? 

While researching this feature we came to the conclusion that the most important thing to do when it comes to eye makeup as you get older is to prevent the product sinking into wrinkles by means of a good base layer underneath. The introduction of primers and concealers into your routine will be well worth any extra time, and will reduce the need to top up your makeup during the day.

By Terry Eye Base Prime to Fix Eyelid Base Perfector: £29, Cult Beauty

Normally I adhere to “less is more” when it comes to layers of makeup, but this primer has shown me the error of my ways. It is specifically designed for the mature face, using active ingredients with anti-ageing properties, including precious minerals (amethyst and tourmaline) to remove creases and firm the contours of the eyes. Smoothed on the eyelid with the fingers, it provides a light and comfortable base, which gives you the confidence that your eyeshadow will stay put all day without melting into the creases or otherwise migrating where you don’t want it to. I have found that for the first time ever my eye makeup looks the same at the end of the day as it did at the beginning.

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Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift: £40, Liberty

This under-eye brightening concealer definitely comes into the category of “things I never knew I needed and now can’t do without”. Dotted in a downwards triangle under the eye and lightly tapped in with the forefinger, the magic fluid settles over tiny lines, puffy dark circles and general sagginess to give the brightening effect that it promises, diminishing the appearance of eye bags so that they don’t dominate your eyes. And it lasts all day. It is always a joy to find something that does exactly what it says on the label. Available in two similar shades.

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Estée Lauder Double Wear Custom Coverage Correcting Duo: £24, Harvey Nichols

The dark, puffy circles under our tester’s eyes were just asking for the tender mercies of this clever, velvety concealer, double-ended for light or more serious coverage. The applicator brush makes it very easy to dot gently under the eye and tap in for a natural but definitely improved look. This one really does correct, camouflage and conceal, as promised, and contains silica for oil control as well as soothing aloe. Apply before your foundation and it will last all day. Different shades deal with different problems – peach proved excellent for a natural look under the eyes, although there are seven other options to choose from.

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Cosmetics a la Carte Superwear Gel Eyeliner: £26, Cosmetics a la Carte

Fine lines under your eyes and eyeliner can start to seem a bit incompatible as the years pile on, as the eyeliner often settles into the ridges and bumps, but if liner has always been part of your look it is unimaginable to give it up. At this point you could consider modifying it a bit by switching from black, which can look harsh on an older face, to a softer grey or brown. You might also want to change from liquid eyeliner to a pencil. These soft eyeliner gel pencils are a good halfway house: quick to apply, and fulfilling the mission statement of staying put without settling into the tiny under-eye wrinkles that can play havoc with eyeliner. We like the shade Mystic, a dark grey that is kinder than a solid black, and Baroque, a soft brown, very understated and subtle. Both of work well for mature skin, look good and stay put all day, and there are four further shades in the range.

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Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl: £19, Charlotte Tilbury

Our tester loved this waterproof kohl eyeliner pencil in Barbarella Brown, which glides on smoothly and stays put all day, even on the crepey skin under her lashes. She felt that the colour gave definition that was more flattering than her previous, “rather harsh” black pencil. It also includes crushed pearl powder, which boosts the production of collagen, and therefore helps to add some elasticity and firmness back to skin. Six shades are available.

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Tom Ford Private Shadow: £29, Harvey Nichols

Non-colours in a million shades of beige are very much not the only way forward for the older face. This collection from Tom Ford will certainly lift the spirits. Each individual palette provides a really brilliant pop of colour. Our favourite is Emerald Sun, a deep, dark green which, surprisingly, complements pretty much all eye colours. The lovely, bold colours in this range of 30 highly pigmented shades last all day, are crease-resistant and look surprisingly subtle on the eyes – although you can layer them on for maximum impact.

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Chanel Longwear Powder Eyeshadow: £26, Harrods

There is something so classic and glamorous about Chanel eye shadows. Popping the compact open to look in the generously sized mirror and decide whether to apply the shadow with the brush or sponge tip makes you feel like you’re in a 1950s movie. In 17 interesting and unusual colours, ranging from a soft, clear pink to a vibrant denim blue and in matte, satin or metallic finishes, they last all day, and the simple act of using them just makes you feel better. The fact that the soft, fine powder stays firmly in place makes them a particularly attractive proposition for the more mature face. There are 13 shades available.

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WunderBrow 1-Step Brow Gel, £19.95, Boots

A balding eyebrow is a total giveaway, age-wise, and these days you can find help, such as this terrific fibre-gel product, which skates over the gaps, transforming your unruly, sparse or thin eyebrows into something altogether more orderly, thicker and thus more in line with current style in the brow area. My natural eyebrow shade is somewhere between pale blonde and invisible: the blonde version in the collection of five shades, which ranges all the way to jet black, gave me pleasingly solid eyebrows that I could actually see, teased into a more natural look with the little spiral brush in the pack. Apparently, the magic blend of hair-like fibres, pigment and gel will last without budging for up to three days, but I found it came off perfectly easily with the rest of my makeup at night. Available in five shades.

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Max Factor Natural Brow Styler Clear Eyebrow: £5.99, Superdrug

This looks like a mascara tube, except that it is completely clear, and performs a wonderful service for patchy eyebrows, giving a foundation that you can build on without emphasising the bald bits. Just sweep the clear (invisible) styler gel across your brow to shape it, before adding colour by using pencil or liquid brow colour (on top of the improved brow surface you have created with the gel). You can use Max Factor’s Brow Shaper Pencil, which comes in a range of shades, for a well-defined brow as thick as you want it to be.

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Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour: £23, John Lewis

This product gives a durable, creamy colour that is easy to apply with accuracy, and ends the day looking pretty much as it started. There is a good range of 18 shades in this long-time favourite. Our tester went for Fog, a creamy, solid-matte neutral, which gave a true colour that layered well under a bolder powder colour.

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Chantecaille Brightening Eye Kajal: £25, SpaceNK

This aloe-infused eye brightener was a completely new product for our tester: a soft eye pencil that you apply inside the corners of the eye to give a touch of brightness that provides a nice little boost to the look of your eyes. Apply to the inner lash line where it will reduce any appearance of redness. It’s available in this nude shade, which we found to be subtly effective.

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Max Factor Masterpiece High Definition Waterproof Mascara: £9.99, Boots

Mascara is better applied with a smaller wand as you get older, as you get a more realistic look – that’s the advice from Caroline Barnes, Max Factor UK makeup ambassador. She recommends this one, and our tester found that it has many advantages, of which the main one has to be no clumping, combined with a natural finish that makes your lashes look defined and separated, but not too emphatic. Available in a rich black or black/brown shade.

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Sisley Phyto-Eye Twist: £32.50 Harrods

Our tester found these eye twists reassuringly similar to a child’s wax crayon and very easy to apply and blend. They come in a range of 12 very wearable colours and she was pleased to confirm that the waterproof formula lasts all day, as promised. She used it as an eyeshadow, but it also works as a pencil or eyeliner. As is usual with this brand there are skincare benefits; it’s enriched with plant-based active green tea, white lily and camellia, to protect the delicate skin of the eyelids. Available in six shades.

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The Verdict : Eye makeup for mature faces

In a field full of winners, ByTerry and Trish McEvoy are brilliant camouflage; Tom Ford’s gorgeous colour makes a bold statement and Cosmetics a la Carte draws a very fine line.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.