I May Be Over 40, but I Will *Never* Stop Wearing Bright, Colorful Makeup—Here’s Why

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
Recently, I came across an advertisement for a line of makeup specifically meant for “mature” women—aka those of us 40 and over. While the company's message was inspiring (it's great to see brands speaking to my oft-forgotten demographic), the neutral lipstick shades it had on display were decidedly... not. 

As older women, we're often made to believe that neutral, natural-looking makeup is the only "flattering" option for our complexions. On the rare occasion that a woman over 40 is featured in a beauty ad, she's almost always shown wearing nude lipstick and barely-there eyeshadow. But "older" doesn't have to mean "boring," and just because I'm "mature" doesn't mean I want to stop expressing myself with makeup.

I've spent the past two decades experimenting with beauty, and one of the cornerstones of my personal style is vibrant, heavily pigmented eyeshadow. Green has long been my go-to, in part because it plays up my hazel eyes, but also because I believe that it perfectly expresses who I am: a youthful, free-spirited, old soul with an ample amount of rock star attitude. But now that I've reached the "mature" demo, I've found that the beauty industry is constantly trying to convince me that I need to swap out my brightly-colored makeup in lieu of something more "age-appropriate," or, beige.

But just like not all younger women love only colorful makeup (Well+Good's 31 beauty editor, for example, wears exclusively browns and golds), not all mature women love only neutrals. Look at Gwen Stefani, who, at 52, still regularly wears a red lip and bold eyeliner. Or Madonna, who debuted hot pink hair the same week she celebrated her 64th birthday. Or Debbie Harry and Stevie Nicks, who have both been rocking bright beauty looks well into their seventies. Though all of these women are over 40, they've refused to let society dictate their beauty choices—and I've committed to doing the same.

While there are certain beauty trends from my youth that I wouldn’t want to revisit (let's just say I'm fine to leave my brown lipstick phase back in my teens), I don’t buy into the philosophy that I need to adhere to certain expectations of how I "should" look simply because I'm not in my 20s anymore. As we age, we have no choice but to adapt to the changes in our bodies and lives, but we do have a choice in how we use makeup.

I'm not that different from who I was two decades ago, and I can strongly declare that nothing is going to deter me from staying true to who I am, and—of course—wearing my beloved green eyeshadow. Keep scrolling to shop my favorite products.

Makeup Revolution X Tammi Tropical Carnival Shadow Palette — $15.00

The London-based cosmetic company Makeup Revolution teamed up with beauty content creator Tammi Clarke to create this island celebration-inspired eyeshadow palette. Among the rainbow of 18 ultra-bright reds, purples, oranges, and blues are three stunning shades of green. I do love the striking “Saint Catherine” and the deeper “Definitely,” but when I break out this palette, I’m immediately going for the shimmering, emerald-hued “Greenz.” Whether as an accent or the main color, its brilliance will instantly transport you to a fête in the tropics.

Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow — $19.00

While the Urban Decay eyeshadows I used for many years were discontinued (R.I.P., Mildew), the brand’s reconfigured line of single shadows still boasts a great range of colors and finishes. While the champagne-shaded Sin and the golden-brown Half Baked are the only hues to return from the original lot, you can bet that I’m partial to “Psych,” a gold glitter-laced dark metallic green. As a solitary shade on my lid, it doesn’t just grab attention—it commands it.


Rimmel London Magnif’eyes Colour Eyeshadow Palette — $6.00

The affordability of Rimmel London’s Magnify’eyes palettes makes them ideal for anyone who likes plenty of shadow options without spending a lot of coin. Alongside the neutral shades in this Colour collection, there are electric and deep blues, a shimmery golden yellow, and bright and hunter greens. I apply a lighter green across my lid, then dust the darker shade outward from the center of my crease to create a fierce, dimensional eye.

Morphe X Lisa Frank 35B by Lisa Frank Artistry Palette — $30.00

If you were a child in the 80s, you are more than familiar with the cultural phenomenon that was Lisa Frank. Her whimsical designs and super-bright shades were everywhere, and thanks to Los Angeles-based Morphe, you can tap into your love for that nostalgia with this palette. Containing a whopping 35 eyeshadows in graduated shade groups, you may never run out of color combinations. Including the neon green “Peekaboo” and deep, dark “Forrest,” green shadow lovers get one complete row (and part of a second) of verdant vibrance.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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