Tips for luscious lips in midlife

August 1, 2019
Woman applying red lipstick to lips

Woman applying red lipstick to lips

This post is part of the Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson.  I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way.  To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.

Pamela says:

Unless you are one of those rare women blessed with luscious lips that have stayed that way throughout the decades, there is a fundamental rule that must be obeyed as you age: ditch the super-dark lipstick. Even if you’ve worn nothing but deep reds for as long as you can remember go straight to your nearest department store and work you way through the lighter colours. As we age our lips lose collagen and they thin. The darker the lipstick colour, the thinner your lips will look. Just think about it. Why do you wear black pants? Worse still, there is nothing less attractive than seeing dark lipstick ‘bleeding’ into the lines around the mouth!


Thin lips:  By all means define your lips with a liner, but it’s best to use the same colour as your lipstick or just a shade darker. Choose shiny gloss and creamy lipsticks to give the illusion of fullness. Never line outside your lips, and don’t waste money on products that claim to temporarily plump your lips – they can irritate your skin.

Loss of definition:  As we age we lose lip definition, and if you’ve been quite minimalist in your make-up approach, you may find you now need a lip liner and lipstick. Again, don’t line outside the mouth, and if you can still see the pencil after you’ve filled in your pout with lippie, blend the line with a lip brush to soften the look.

Lines around the mouth:  Smoking is one of the main causes of these lines, as is sun damage and genetics. Prescription-based retinoid creams will help lessen the lines. Before applying lip colour, plump your pout with a hydrating balm (an eye cream will also work). Experts suggest lining and filling in your lips with a lip pencil then apply lippie and top it off with a little gloss.

Loss of colour:  Toss out your beige or brown lippie (they’ll only emphasise the problem) in favour of vibrant cherry, berry, rose or apricot hues. A lip stain is a pretty way to add colour: make your own by mixing lip pencil and lip balm directly on your lips, and blending with your finger.


The classic red pout can be yours! It’s important to know the shade that suits you. Women with ‘cool’ undertones to their skin should wear blue-based reds, while orange-brown shades look lovely on ‘warm’ skin. 

TIP: if the veins on the inside of your arm look blue, your skin tone is cool; if they look green, it’s warm.

My thoughts:

Well first up I’ve gotta say that when it comes to lips I’ve been pretty lucky. I actually really like my lips! They’re quite full (not thin) and I’m happy with them. They don’t seem to have thinned as I’ve gotten older. Yes there are a few lines around them now where once there wasn’t but they’re not hugely visible or bothering me.  When I do a big ‘teethy’ smile though, my lips seem to disappear. I don’t like my ‘teethy’ smile for that reason and also because my teeth are small and a bit gappy and my face goes round and pudgy looking. That’s why when you see photographs of me, I’m doing the grinning kind of smile rather than the ‘teethy’ kinda smile. I wish I had the Hollywood teeth for a big teethy smile but I don’t. I do however have great lips so that is what I like to show rather than the alternative.

When it comes to lipstick colours I have to say that I have never liked the super dark colours. Still don’t. Never will like them. I like red, varying shades of pink, neutral tones, and not much else. I don’t do the bright red glossy lips anymore.  I might ‘stain’ them slightly with a touch of red lipstick (not lip pencil as Pamela suggests) and top with a bit of lip gloss but no more. Mostly, I stick with tones of pink and generally more at the blush pink end of the spectrum than the hot bright pink end! I don’t use lip pencils. I like a natural look and find them a bit too much for me!

How do you feel about your lips?  Are you suffering with any of the lips issues mentioned here or are you happy with your lips like I am?  What do you think of Pamela’s tip for determining whether your skin tone is cool or warm?  I think the veins on the inside of my arm look more blue than green which would make my skin tone cool.  However, I always thought I was warm, so I’m a little confused now. Tell me your results!

Ciao for now,


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  • Reply Joanne Tracey August 1, 2019 at 7:36 am

    I went through a stage where I loved the dark colours – even wearing dark purple at one stage…in matt, no less. These days I don’t wear as much lippy as I should going mostly for a “stain” (I love Bobbi Brown’s lip crush range) or a neutral lip gloss…

    • Reply Min August 2, 2019 at 8:56 am

      I’ve just never liked the dark colours – on me or on others (to be honest). I do like matt lipsticks though! I don’t wear much lippy these days. I’m more a ‘stain’ look kinda girl – a way of adding some colour but not having that make-up/lippy look. I like a bit of lip gloss over the top to keep my lips feeling moist and stop them drying out etc. I must check out Bobbi Brown’s lip crush range! 🙂

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee August 1, 2019 at 7:37 am

    I will ask about that retinoid cream next time I’m at the dr….I have a lot of those lines.

    • Reply Min August 2, 2019 at 8:57 am

      I’d love to hear what you find out — where you get it — how much it costs — whether it helps! 🙂

  • Reply Sanch @ Sanch Writes August 3, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    I love my red and pink lippies but I also use lip balm especially in winter. Not too fussed about my lips to be honest and I don’t think it’s something I’ve thought about all that much.

    • Reply Min August 4, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      To be honest, my lips aren’t something I give a great deal of thought to either! I know that I’m happy enough with them so it’s not something that bothers me at all. However, lips are covered in Pamela’s book in the ‘Beauty chapter’ and as I’m working my way through the majority of what she covers, here we are! lol I’m the same as you with the red and pink lippies but nothing too bright or out there for me! 🙂

  • Reply Theresa Muth August 7, 2019 at 7:16 am

    I definitely have the lines around my lips thing going on. I usually wear some type of gloss. Burts Bees lip balm really helps! I shared on my sm! #MSTL

    • Reply Min August 7, 2019 at 4:36 pm

      I’ll have to look into that Burts Bees lip balm Theresa – thanks! 🙂

  • Reply Victoria August 7, 2019 at 11:26 am

    I wore red lipstick for years and still do on occasion. I have never worn really dark colors though or a totally matt lip color. I have one color of lipstick I have worn for years by Lancome and I am scared to death they will discontinue it. lol Also drinking with a straw all of the time makes lines around your lips.

    • Reply Min August 7, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      I’ve always been quite subtle with my lipsticks, preferring not to wear really bright colours and never dark colours. I know exactly how you feel when you have a colour and brand you love and you hope like crazy they never discontinue it! I never thought about drinking with a straw causing lines around your lips but I guess when you think about how you hold your mouth to drink through a straw it makes sense. Luckily I rarely drink through straws! Lol

  • Reply Leanne | August 7, 2019 at 11:56 am

    I’ve never been a red lipstick wearer (always worried it will end up on my teeth – I’ve seen too many women with lipstick teeth to risk it!) I tend to stick to a rose colour for lipstick with a bit of gloss if I’m in the mood. My mum is never without lipstick – she puts it on half a dozen times a day (and doesn’t need a mirror to do it!) I’m more an au naturale girl so lippy is for special occasions only. And I envy you having full lips!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Reply Min August 7, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      I hate the lipstick on the teeth thing too Leanne – another reason why I’ve never worn the really bright and out there colours. I prefer the more natural look too – my colour of choice is a rose/pink but not bright and not one of those ugly lolly colours. Fussy much? LOL

  • Reply Bree August 7, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    Lips… Until 3 years ago at the ripe old age of 61 I never wore lipstick. While on our first holiday with my sisters, Paula let me use her lipstick…ah what a difference. I do still walk out the door without any on but thats rare. I even put some on when going to darts. #mlslt

    • Reply Min August 8, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      I can’t believe you’ve gone through life without lipstick! lol Must admit as a teen I rarely wore it. Just wasn’t into it. I like it now but just subtle, not too bright or brash. It really can make a difference. 🙂

  • Reply Candi Randolph August 7, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    I’ve never been a red lipstick person. When I wear lipstick it’s usually a soft color with a creamy finish. My lips are thinning a bit with age, but I work on them often with my natural face lift exercises, so am happy that they are not getting any thinner. And, I have never smoked, so don’t have lots of those little lines around my mouth. Last, I invested in Invisalign braces a couple of years ago (best money I ever spent on myself) and now my teeth are almost straight so I’ll smile in pictures. 🙂 #MLSTL

    • Reply Min August 8, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      I like the soft colours too Candi. I did use to be a smoker but I am lucky in that it has not given me bad lines around my lips *touch wood*!

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyonds August 8, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Hi Min, my colours in lipstick have changed over the years and although I do like red, finding the right shade and tone is not easy. I usually now wear a softer colour with a gloss and go for a darker eye if I’m going out for dinner or somewhere special. You have reminded me though that I should update my lipstick before my holiday in September. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL .

    • Reply Min August 8, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Sue – I have the same problem with red – some are too bright and brash for me so finding the right one can be a bit difficult so I generally stick with softer pink tones these days. You must be starting to get very exciting about your trip coming up. Have a great day! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Amy Johnson August 8, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Great tips! TFS! I was thinking I need to toss out some of my darker and/or brighter shades. They don’t look as good on me as they use to. I also have the “My lips disappear when I smile” issue…but I think I always had that problem. Visiting from MSTLL

    • Reply Min August 9, 2019 at 9:31 am

      Thanks Amy. I think I’ve probably always had the ‘my lips disappear when I smile’ problem too. It’s not something that has just come with middle age. I’m just more aware of it now I think. Silly how we can get hung up on things like this, but there you go! 😉

  • Reply Nancy Andres August 13, 2019 at 5:57 am

    Dear Min, I don’t wear lipstick, because I haven’t found one I’m not allergic to. I use jojoba oil to keep my lips moist. Will re-share this post as I’m visiting you from #MLSTL.

    • Reply Min August 13, 2019 at 11:03 am

      Oh Nancy that’s disappointing for you that you have an allergy to lipstick! I wonder what ingredient it is that causes the reaction? Good that you look after your lips with Jojoba oil – I love that stuff!

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