A lipstick in your preferred shade can instantly elevate your complexion and serve as the ideal finishing touch for any ensemble. Certain lipstick shades and textures can make your pout appear smoother and more voluminous, while others may actually reduce the prominence of your lips and highlight fine lines.

We consulted with celebrity and professional makeup artists and beauty experts who unanimously suggested steering clear of six specific lipstick shades if you’re over 40 and aiming for a more radiant, flattering and vibrant appearance this summer. They also shared some chic and flattering alternatives to try.

Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Kerrin Jackson, celebrity makeup artist and creator of The Makeup Refinery, Heather Adessa Spadaro, pro MUA and founder of the Makeup + Hair Co., Margina Dennis, celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert,  Mandie Brice, professional makeup artist and instructor and Alyssia Chang, pro MUA and founder of Prevail Beauty.

@ericataylor2347 Lipliner mistakes #lipliner #lipstick #dosanddonts #makeupmistakes #makeupover40 #over40 #matureskinmakeup #lipplumper #plumplips #makeuphacks #makeupartist #fy ♬ original sound – Erica Taylor

MUAs Share 5 Lipstick Shades That Might Not Be As ‘Flattering’ For Mature Beauties, And Chic Alternatives

1. Deep Burgundy

Darker lip colors like deep burgundy shades can “draw attention to the lines around the mouth and on the lips,” Dennis says, as we “naturally lose color in our face and lips as we age.” Instead, she recommends opting for “rose, peach, terracotta, soft reds, watermelon, berry, and raspberry colors” as they can “convey a youthful pout.”

The 125 Best New Beauty Launches Of 2023

2. Blackish Red

The trend of dark lipstick “comes and goes with much regularity these days,” Jackson says, but she adds that “this fad will never help anyone look younger.” This, she notes, is due to “simple principles of light.” Black or dark red shades “absorb more light than lighter and brighter shades,” she continues.

What that means is “on your lips, these lipstick shades actually make your lips appear thinner” than they are and “that, in turn, results in aging your face.” The best way to avoid this “aging illusion,” Jackson recommends, is by “avoiding dark lipstick shades altogether.”


3. Cool-Toned Deep Red

It’s essential to match your lipstick to your skin tone and undertones, Spadaro notes. One common mistake is opting for cooler-toned deep red lipsticks that might not be as flattering as warmer ones. “I think the most important thing is to be using the correct color for their skin tone,” Spadaro says.

“Depending on the undertones of your skin, the shade of red would change, that would be the determining factor for the correct shade for you,” she adds. Regardless of your age, she explains that “this should be the way of picking a shade of red, or any shade really.”


4. Deep Plum

Deep plum shades can “make your teeth look more yellow,” Dennis warns, adding that “blue-toned lip colors can make the teeth look whiter.” When it comes to deep plum lipsticks, the color combined with a matte formula “can emphasize wrinkles and dryness,” she notes.  “As we get older we loose the rosiness in our skin and lips, and a drab lip color like this will draw attention to it,” she goes on.

Dennis also points out that “moisturizing and balm lipsticks in shades that emulate a youthful flush” will be more flattering. “A clear lip liner or one that matches the lip color will keep the color from feathering and look more natural,” she also says.


5. Red With Gray Undertones

Another shade of red to avoid if you find that your skin is lacking a rosy, hydrated look is a red with gray undertones. To find the best color for your undertones, Brice has a helpful hack. “In terms of choosing a color, I would try a few and see what works best, but a good guideline is understanding undertones,” she says.

“If you look better in gold jewelry, you’re likely a warm undertone, and colors that have more of a red base will be best, like corals, bronze-toned pinks, and even a muted red,” she explains. “If you’re cool-toned, silver jewelry looks best on you, and you can do colors with a hint of blue, like more purple-ish pinks.” If you’re a neutral undertone, you have more options, and Brice suggests doing a deeper dive into lipsticks on the market. “Some brands actually use either “warm” or “cool” or “neutral” (or N, C, W) in the names of the colors,” she notes.


6. Pale Nude

“Too nude of lip color can make you look washed out,” Dennis warns. To steer clear of this, opt for a nude lipstick that’s slightly darker and rosier than your natural lip hue.

Very light shades, she adds, can highlight fine lines, making a slightly deeper shade that complements your natural color a safer choice.


The Bottom Line

The main way that anyone “can end up making themselves look older with lipstick,” Chang concludes, is by choosing the wrong color, or opting for “formulas that are either too matte or too glossy.” Matte lipsticks can “highlight any dryness or flakiness in the lips, while excessively glossy formulas can emphasize the appearance of fine lines.” She suggests “choosing a lipstick or lip liner with a satin finish for a more youthful look.”

She goes on to say that “one of the most common ways anyone accidentally makes themselves look older with lipstick is by not properly prepping the skin around their lips.” This can “cause the lipstick to bleed and settle into fine lines and wrinkles, making them more visible.” To avoid this, she says to always “make sure to exfoliate your lips regularly and apply a lip primer before applying lipstick or lip liner.”