How Not to Look Washed Out After 40

By Mel - 4 min read

Since I have always been a pale person, looking washed out has always been an issue for me at every age.  I guess now that I am over 40, I am more aware of it and if I can find how not to look washed out after 40 then I am going to do it!

How Not to Look Washed Out After 40…..

Ask yourself these questions. Does my hair colour suit my skin’s undertones?

Am I wearing colours that lift my complexion?

Many times, looking washed out can be due to the wrong makeup colours and undertones that do not compliment the skin.

While the topic of colour goes beyond the realms of this post, I will share with you that the best way to lift the complexion is with wearing lipstick in the same undertone as your skin- blue or yellow- cool or warm.  It’s also worth taking the take time applying it. A great excuse perhaps to spend more time on you.

Here are the steps I find are the best for giving a flattering appearance and to help lift the complexion on all faces and age groups.

Good application, paired with the right shade for your skin tone, can really help you feel confident in all shades and colours, but you need to find the colours that are right for you.

How Not to Look Washed Out After 40? Think about colour and undertone….

Find the right lipstick shades. The one I am wearing here is a true red and is called Le Rouge by Itsmycolour.  It is a red that suits every skin tone and colouring. Other than true reds, lipstick shades will come in two undertones- cool (blue undertones) and warm (yellow undertones).  It’s extremely helpful to find out what your undertone is to ensure you are wearing your most flattering shade.

A general rule of thumb is to look at the the veins on your inner wrist. If they are more green or yellow then you may have a warm undertone.  If you have blue veins, then you may have more cool (blue) undertones.  

Think  also about what jewellery suits you best.  Ask for someone else’s opinion, if you’re not sure.  A tendency to wear gold, likely means you are warm toned.  If you suit silver, then may have cool undertone. If you suit both, then you are likely warm.

Go through your lipsticks and find ones that have the correct undertone.  Find lighter and darker shades you can use as a ‘go to’- one/s for a casual day look and darker shade/s for evening.  

Shades that are the wrong undertone will not help lift your complexion, unfortunately they will do the opposite so are best to avoid.

Find creamy lipliners in similar colours and undertone to your lipstick. Make sure the lip pencil glides along the lips surface. You don’t want the pencil to drag.  

I am wearing Retro Red by Itsmycolour but there are many others on the market. Test them first on the back of your hand to ensure they have a good ‘glide’.  Ensure your pencils are always well sharpened before you start appyling.

Once you have everything to hand, you will know how not to look washed out after 40….

Take your freshly sharpened lip liner and place a cross in the centre of your top lip under your cupids bow. If you have very thin lips, take the pencil just outside the lip line but very slightly. Then draw a line at the centre of the bottom lip. Again if you have very thin lips, then take the line just outside the edge of your lip.

Then take the lip liner from the outer edge of the lip into the centre on each corner (so 4 corners- each side of the top and each side of the bottom) and take it to where your cross is under the cupids bow. And do this method until you have a line all the way around your lips.

Then fill your lips in with pencil.


Take your lipstick and apply it straight from the stick or with a lip brush and sweep it across the bottom lip and them rub your lips together and fill in any gaps at the top with lipstick.


Take a cotton bud from the outer corner and blend and fill the corners working inwards. Do this on each corner of the top and bottom lips. Glide the cotton bud over the lip shape you have created gently to remove excess. Don’t forget to take any excess lipstick from the inner part of your mouth the avoid getting lipstick on your teeth (we’ve all been there!)

These steps will ensure your lipstick is less likely to ‘bleed’ and will last longer.

Spending just a few more minutes finding the right undertone and doing the above steps, will make a difference. 

Wearing the right shade of lipstick and applying it as above is the best way to not look washed out. It will immediately lift your complexion.  

It’s so important to find the correct undertone for your skin (not your hair).  Therefore, consider spending some time finding out what your undertone is. You could also consider colour analysis with a consultant in your area.  

Its My Colour is the company I work with and I would recommend them, as they have decades of experience.

I do hope you use this article to find the correct undertones and shades for all occasions and the application and the right products will lift your complexion and give you a great confidence boost.  As ‘they’ say….you’re worth it and you absolutely are!

Do consider joining the newsletter here. I am currently building on content to help support and inspire women over 40. The purpose always to encourage confidence and self acceptance.


Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

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About the author

I’m Mel and the author of Silver Styling. I help women over 40 find calm and confidence by encouraging a holistic approach to beauty.

I am a professionally trained freelance makeup artist, session hair stylist and beauty author, based in London.  You can find more about me here.

Do consider joining the newsletter as we start to build on content in 2022.

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