The 10 Best Eyeshadows for Older Women for Every Kind of Eye Look

Thrive Causemetics’s eyeshadow stick won’t budge

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Best Eyeshadow For Older Women tout

InStyle / Reese Herrington

You’ve heard the old adage — the eyes are the windows to the soul. We like to think of eye makeup as the really lovely window dressing. But when eyeshadow starts to look like musty drapes rather than a luxurious curtain, it’s time to switch things up. In many cases, these frustrating changes to your go-to eye look are caused by getting older. 

When shopping for eyeshadow for older women, there are a lot of different factors to consider that may never have mattered before. That’s because as fine lines, wrinkles, folds, and other textural changes to the skin start to form, they change how eyeshadow “sits” on the lid. It can build up in creases, smudge more easily and, depending on the finish of the formula, call attention to crepey lids. 

But that’s not to say you have to give up on eyeshadow altogether! By simply purchasing certain product types, selecting specific shades, and following recommended application techniques, you can enhance your eyes beautifully. Our Best Overall pick is from Thrive Causemetics for its water- and smudge-proof formula so the rich pigment stays in place all day, and easy-to-use stick design. You also can’t go wrong with Pat McGrath Labs Mothership X: Moonlit Seduction, which offers a complimentary shade for every eye color and skin tone, plus a few bold, playful shades for a night out.

Best Overall

Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyeshadow Stick

Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyeshadow Stick

Thrive Causemetics

What We Love: Once this formula sets, it absolutely will not budge until you take it off.

What We Don’t Love: We love the shade options, but we wish there were more!

While the brand’s “liquid lash extensions” mascara may get all the hype, this longwearing cream shadow is what should be getting more credit. The shadow stick features rich pigment that is both waterproof and smudge-proof once it sets. 

Though many durable formulas, especially creams, can feel drying on the lids, this one doesn’t. It’s infused with hydrating and nourishing ingredients, like sodium hyaluronate, aloe leaf extract, and ceramides to keep mature lids feeling comfortable. 

Every shade can be worn concentrated or buffed out, which is easy to do — you can either use your finger or the generously-sized sponge tip at the base of the packaging (there’s a sharpener hidden in there, too). 

You can choose from eleven shades in either matte or shimmer finishes; the shimmers have a luminosity to them rather than a harsh sparkle, so they just enhance the eye rather than drawing attention to any texture. While the range of colors is unique (in addition to classic browns and taupes, there’s an olive green, sapphire blue, and warm cranberry), we’d still like to see more options, including grays and purples.

Price at time of publish: $26

Size: 1.4g|Type: Stick|Number of colors: 11|Shimmer: In some shades

Best Budget

e.l.f Cosmetics No Budge Long Lasting Eyeshadow Stick

e.l.f Cosmetics No Budge Long Lasting Eyeshadow Stick

e.l.f. Cosmetics

What We Love: These sticks are highly pigmented, so a quick swipe is all you need to get plenty of payoff.

What We Don’t Love: Some shades are more sparkly than shimmery.

It’s hard to buy anything of substance for $5 these days, let alone makeup, but this stick shows that it’s possible that a Lincoln can go a long way.

Fans in their 60s swear by this formula to highlight their eyes without caking or creasing — even when paired with hooded eyelids, which can be tricky. Even better, you won’t need to trace the stick onto your lid over and over again to get your desired shade, as the color is vibrant. However, some hues have a bit more sparkle than others, especially when layered on (Rich Amethyst is one), so you may want to try a few different options. 

You can also buy this product in a matte formula, though most of those shades are a bit more unexpected, like lime green.

Price at time of publish: $5

Size: 1.6g|Type: Stick|Number of colors: Nine|Shimmer: Yes

Best Splurge

Pat McGrath Labs Mothership X Eyeshadow Palette, Moonlight Seduction

Pat McGrath Labs Mothership X Eyeshadow Palette: Moonlit Seduction


What We Love: The 10 huge pans in this palette will last for ages.

What We Don’t Love: The sparkle in a few shades in this palette may be too much for some people’s tastes, and you’ll need to watch out for fallout.

“This one is perfect for those who would like a beautiful palette with a perfect mix of matte, shimmer, and pure pigment that blends like a dream and looks luxurious,” says professional makeup artist Natalia Thomas, who has worked with stars like Zazie Beetz and Karlie Kloss, and we couldn’t agree more. 

Pat McGrath Labs formulas are known for their saturated pigments and these shadows fit the bill. Every shade can be used wet or dry, applied sheerly or packed on, depending on the intensity of the look you’re trying to create. 

The neutral matte shades in the palette are incredibly silky and flatter all skin tones, while the shimmers, metallics, and duochrome add a fantastic “pop” to the eye. The latter formulas may deter you from making this palette an everyday go-to (the raspberry to blue shift of the duochrome is not for the meek), and you’ll also want to watch for fallout, but they can also be great for a night out. Our favorite trick to secure glitter to eyelids is to use a slightly tacky eyeshadow primer or apply using a brush dampened with Visine — it sounds crazy, but it works!

Price at time of publish: $128

Size: 19.5g|Type: Powder|Number of colors: 10|Shimmer: In some shades

Best Drugstore

Revlon ColorStay Crème Eye Shadow

Revlon ColorStay Crème Eyeshadow


What We Love: It’s lovely to have so many shade options at such an affordable price point — and it comes with its own applicator.

What We Don’t Love: The jar can be very difficult to open.

You’ll have your choice of jewel tones, neutrals, dark hues, highlighting tones, mattes, and shimmers from this wallet-friendly range, all in a waterproof formula that can last up to 24 hours. They can be used to create a sheer wash of color or a bolder look, depending on how much you layer on. 

You don’t even need to use your finger — the cap includes a hidden brush (which is a nice touch appreciated by those of us with longer fingernails). The shimmer pigments in these shadows are subtle, so don’t worry about them making your lids look crepey — but do heed the warning of many users of this product: The cap can be very challenging to unscrew; if you have mobility issues or arthritis, you may have difficulty opening this product for the first time without help.

Price at time of publish: $10

Size: .16 oz|Type: Cream|Number of colors: 18|Shimmer: In some shades

Best for Brown Eyes

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick

Bobbi Brown

What We Love: This is just one of many excellent shades from this range of easy-to-use, longwearing shadows.

What We Don’t Love: Longwear formulas like this one can dry out quickly if not stored correctly.

Our moms love this range just as much as we do, with this Golden Bronze shade being a favorite for the way the shimmer brings out the golden flecks in our own brown eyes. (FYI: While this one has shimmer, many others in the collection do not.) 

The formula is easy to sketch on and blend out with a clean fingertip or brush, or leave unblended for a more pigmented look. We like wearing it close to the lashline for day and all over the lid for evening looks. Just make sure you push the cap on until it snaps closed when you’re done using this product — if it’s not securely attached, the formula will dry out very quickly, rendering the stick unusable.

Price at time of publish: $32

Size: 1.6g|Type: Stick|Number of colors: 25|Shimmer: Yes

Best for Blue Eyes

Violette_Fr Yeux Paint Liquid Eyeshadow

Violettefr Yeux Paint


What We Love: This is one of the most durable and longwearing liquid shadows we’ve ever tried.

What We Don’t Love: We wish the packaging had a more precise doe foot.

Most people are familiar with this formula, courtesy of the effortlessly cool matte navy blue shade, but this shimmering shadow is another must-try. Despite the rich pigment, it can be sheered out very easily, so long as you work quickly, because once it sets, it doesn’t budge — even while you sleep (don’t try this at home). 

Be aware that this formula has a twinkling effect; though not intense, not everyone will like the way it looks on mature lids. Our only gripe is that it’s packaged with a flattened-out doe foot, which picks up a lot more of the formula than a traditional doe foot might, so you have to wipe off the applicator before using, so as to not apply too much product.

Price at time of publish: $31

Size: 2.79g|Type: Liquid|Number of colors: 12|Shimmer: Yes

Best for Green Eyes

Code8 Iconoclast Eyeshadow

code8 Iconoclast Eyeshadow


What We Love: Though not developed specifically for green eyes, this palette has every shade needed to beautifully enhance that eye color.

What We Don’t Love: It’s a bit pricey, but keep in mind you’re getting six shades.

Gold, pink, brown, and rich plum — these are the exact colors that make green eyes pop, and they’re all here in this palette from Code8 (plus cream and tan). The powder shadows are soft, with an almost fudgy texture and vibrant, lasting pigment. They’re formulated with sweet almond and evening primrose oils to keep lids soft and smooth, too. While it’s one of the pricier picks on this list, we’re not bothered — it’s six shadows for just under $10 each in one convenient compact.

Price at time of publish: $58

Size: 6 x 2g|Type: Powder|Number of colors: Four palette options, six shades per palette|Shimmer: In some shades

Best Shimmer

Armani Beauty Eye Tint Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeshadow

Armani Beauty Eye Tint Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeshadow


What We Love: This formula is buildable, smudge-proof, and lasts for up to 16 hours of wear.

What We Don’t Love: There is a learning curve with building up the formula.

Available in shimmer, metallic, and matte finishes, this liquid shadow from Armani is one of Thomas’s favorites. Her top shade is Rose Ashes, a beautiful rose gold that creates a sheer wash of color that looks delicate and natural on the lid. We also love the newer matte formulas, which make for a lovely contoured eye look (and some can even double as brow colors thanks to their lasting wear). We’re also a fan of the spade-shaped doe foot, which makes it easy to apply the product in defined lines or broad strokes. 

One thing to keep in mind is that it can be challenging to build up layers of this formula. If you want a high-impact look, try doling out some of the product onto a palette, then using a brush to apply.

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: .13oz|Type: Liquid|Number of colors: 15|Shimmer: In some shades

Best Cream

Ilia Liquid Powder Chromatic Eye Tint

Ilia Chromatic Eye Tint


What We Love: The formula is clean, comes in both matte and subtle shimmers, and a unique assortment of colors.

What We Don’t Love: Applying too heavily may make it crack, flake, or clump.

Ilia is known for its clean formulas, and we’re fans of this one in particular. Its cream-to-powder texture is available in neutrals, unexpected pastels, shimmers, pearls, and mattes. 

We’re particularly fond of Cork, a multi-purpose mid-toned taupe, Glaze, a luminous pearl that’s great for browbones, and Hatch, a wearable sage green with subtle gold pearl. 

The trick to this formula is not using too much; wipe a bit off the applicator before slicking it on. If you apply with abandon, you risk shorter wear time.

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: .12oz|Type: Cream to powder liquid|Number of colors: 16|Shimmer: In some shades

Best Powder

Jones Road The Best Eyeshadow Powder Eyeshadow

Jones Road beauty BEST EYESHADOW

Jones Road

What We Love: These are some seriously stunning and flattering neutrals — and many of these eyeshadows are modeled on older women

What We Don’t Love: The packaging is a bit flimsy.

Legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown has always developed formulas for skin of all tones and all ages. We’re loving this powder shadow collection from her recent clean beauty venture, Jones Road. 

Brown’s signature is neutral shades, and these are spectacular, ranging from cool grays and pewters to warm terracottas and deep browns, all with rich pigment in a soft texture. You have your choice of shimmer or matte, too. 

We’ll note that we’ve found Jones Road compacts a challenge to open in the past without assistance (and sometimes, we end up damaging it in the process), and it turns out we’re not alone; some fans have found that their pans pop out of the compacts or arrive crumbled. 

Price at time of publish: $25

Size: 2.9g|Type: Powder|Number of colors: 15|Shimmer: In some shades

What to Keep in Mind


There are many different eyeshadow formats available on the market; powder, liquid, and cream tend to be the most popular options. Our experts recommend a blend of all three. “I personally love a mix, using lightweight cream shadows first and then setting with a shadow powder,” says Brittany Lo, founder of the vegan skincare line, Beia. “If either are too heavy of a consistency, it tends to crease, which we want to avoid.” 

No matter what type of formula you use, use a light hand — start slow and let the applicator and the formula do the work, and don’t pack it on too quickly.


You know what colors suit you best, and you can’t go wrong with those. “Wear whatever color strikes your fancy that day,” suggests Thomas. “If you’re looking to enhance your eye color, try shades that are complementary to your eye tone on the artist’s color wheel. For example, rusty tones make blue eyes pop.” The warm coppery tones of Violette_Fr Yeux Paint in Marron Glacé stun on blue eyes.

MUAs often recommend gold, peach, green, and plum shades for brown-eyed beauties, and brown, gold, rose gold, gray, or taupe shades for those with blue eyes. Gold, plum, pink, and brown hues unfailingly look stunning with green eyes. Generally speaking, however, you can’t go wrong with neutrals. 


Whether or not you wear shimmer eyeshadow depends on how you like your makeup to look, not how many candles you have on your birthday cake. “I once had a mature client tell me she enjoys sparkle on her eyelids because it distracts people, then draws them in,” recalls Thomas. “I’ve always thought that was a brilliant way of thinking about makeup, as a distraction, something fun to look at. Why not throw a sparkle in there?” We love the shimmer options offered in the shade range Jones Road The Best Everyday Eyeshadow.

However, it’s worth considering your eyelids and any lines or crepiness they may have. “Shimmer, glitter, and granular textured shadows will fall into lines, then reflect light at different angles, creating more visible texture than desired,” warns Lujan. 

Lujan applies matte shadows on most mature clients, then reserves shimmer to smooth areas so as not to call attention to areas with more texture. “Avoid shimmer in the crease or anywhere you want to add depth, such as the lash line,” Lujan says. 

To make the most of your shimmery formulas, apply them strategically. Thomas recommends using a cream-to-powder formula, which tends to help shimmer better adhere to exactly where it’s been applied. (Ilia Liquid Powder Eye Tint is one of our favorites.) 

Your Questions, Answered

What type of eyeshadow is better for mature eyes?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — there are no hard and fast rules to makeup, regardless of your age. 

“Makeup is a form of expression,” says Thomas. “Life is too short to put yourself and your personal style into a little box. What you’re into and feel most confident in is completely subjective.” 

Before you even select an eyeshadow formula, Lujan recommends starting with a base — a foundation, concealer or primer. “Use a color that is as close to skin tone as possible,” says Lujan. “This will brighten the lids, reduce appearance of redness, and help hide visible veins. Then, set the base with a matte neutral powder or setting powder. You can also use an eyeshadow primer, if that’s what you prefer, but make sure that it’s not too heavy, which will not only call attention to texture but also crease.” 

Thomas likes using Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer  to create a silky smooth base that allows shadows to blend easier while improving wear.

From there, determine what type of shadow you want to use. Lujan likes to use powders, and recommends contouring the crease of the eye with a matte, medium-toned neutral shade while the eye is open. “This will help to push back any hooded lid space,” explains Lujan.

Alternatively, Thomas likes using longwear cream-to-powder formulas on her mature clients, which she says are highly effective and efficient. “I love using products that I don’t have to fuss with too much or touch up throughout the day,” she says. “Staying power is important for mature clients.” After blending out the shadow, she’ll add an extra pop by applying a more pigmented shadow on top.

What color eyeshadows are best for older women?

Select what you like and what feels good. “It’s less about the coloring and more about the placement,” explains Lo. “I suggest using a darker shade along the crease or slightly above to lift the eyes versus accentuating the skin too much.”

“You can never go wrong with neutrals, beiges, browns, or grays — and soft purples also look great on anyone!” says Lujan, before adding that it’s important to consider both your eye color as well as the undertone of the shadows you’re planning to use.

“Blue eyes can really be accentuated with anything that has a warm copper base to the shade,” says Lujan. “Green eyes will really stand out with anything in the pinky-purple family. If you’ve got brown eyes, good news: You really can’t go wrong.” 

Why Shop With Us

Emily Orofino is a freelance writer, editor, and consultant with over a decade of experience in the beauty industry. She has tried thousands of beauty products, including eyeshadows, throughout her lifetime. For this piece, she interviewed professional makeup artist Natalia Thomas, who has worked with stars like Zazie Beetz and Karlie Kloss, Brittany Lo, founder of Beia, and Nick Lujan, Director of Artistry & Education at Kevyn Aucoin, who has worked with Beyoncé and Kim Petras, among others.

Related Articles