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2023 TikTok beauty trends for women in their 40s, 50s and beyond

'Latte makeup,' 'glazed-donut' and 'dewy dumpling': Why these hot looks are just right for mature skin.

Festive glowing eyeshadow make up in brown and pink colors with shiny and glitter sparkles close up. Beauty trendy concept.
TikTok beauty trends aren't just for Gen Zers: "Latte makeup," "glazed donut" and "dewy dumpling" skin all work for women of any age.

For most of our adult lives, Gen X women like me got our makeup and skin-care tips from magazines (Sassy, Lucky RIP). But in 2023 you'd be hard-pressed to find a popular beauty trend that didn't originate somewhere in the wilds of social media. More specifically, today, the hottest beauty trends come from TikTok, a cultural shift that's left many women over 40, women over 50 or, really, anyone not engaging with the app's chaotic/ever-changing algorithm, feeling out of the beauty loop. By the time most of us find out what's "in," it's already out.

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This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most older women aren't looking to leave the house awash in mermaidcore, nor to apply makeup so as to appear like a "strawberry girl." As one 53-year-old friend told me recently: "At my age, it's not like I want to follow every trend, in fact, I'm happy not to." And yet: "I still like knowing what's out there, I still like to feel cool, and I even — sometimes — want to try something new."

Research suggests that a sense of curiosity is a key to happy, healthy aging, an idea that experts say extends to our beauty regimens as well. "Having an open mind and being willing to try things that are out of your comfort zone is the first step," celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg said. Greenberg — whose client list includes 30-something actresses like Kaley Cuoco and Kristen Stewart along with many 50-plus stars like Chelsea Handler, Tracee Ellis Ross and Judith Light (she's also the brains behind the innovative beauty brand JamieMakeup) — said this sense of curiosity, along with an openness to changing things up, is crucial to getting out of dated beauty ruts and looking your best in midlife — and beyond. "As you age, your skin becomes more delicate and dull, so it's important to select makeup and products that will brighten your features; that make your skin look rejuvenated, renewed and enhance your natural beauty."

I asked Greenberg which 2023 TikTok beauty trends work best for older women — and how we can, if we choose, best implement these new-to-us looks.

TikTok Trend #1: "Latte Makeup"

Makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin applies makeup on model Cindy Crawford
The "latte makeup" trend, which uses warm neutrals and rich browns, will be familiar to anyone who followed supermodels in the 90s. Here's makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin applying the look on Cindy Crawford in 1994.

The phrase "latte makeup" was first coined by TikToker Rachel Rigler during a tutorial she filmed back in June. Rigler originally defined the look as "warm and bronze-y, milky and effortless" and, since her initial video aired, the hashtag #lattemakeup has racked up more than 415 million views. As many have pointed out, Rigler is not reinventing the wheel here: This trend will look familiar to anyone who remembers '90s supermodel makeup. Which may be why — unlike other food-named fads — #lattemakeup seems to be sticking around: Greenberg said it's a "hot" look for fall and beyond.

And, she said the trend — which involves "natural"-looking makeup in earthy brown- and rose-toned palettes — actually works especially well for mature skin. "This is the perfect trend for women over 40," Greenberg explains. "It softens your features and brings a youthful look back to your skin. The warm browns and neutrals are both sophisticated and mature." Plus, she said, "The look flatters any skin tone at any age."

Latte makeup for eyes

Brown eyeshadow for the best latte makeup for older women.
For eyes, the latte makeup TikTok trend is full of warm browns and dusty-rose hues.

For women over 40, the name of the eyeshadow game is "cream" — at this age, powders can settle into creases and accentuate fine lines. When trying the latte look for eyes, remember: The effect you're going for is low-key and casual — no need for the precision of, say, a cat eye. Just dab on and go.

These glowy cream shadows have a silky texture, and the Praline shade is ideal for the latte look. Pro tip: Choose a lighter shade for an inner-eye highlight and use a brush on the main lid to smooth the line out after you apply. 

$7 at Amazon

For #latteeyes, Greenberg loves this creamy brush-and-shadow-stick combo."If you're looking for a good and easy-to-use eyeshadow for this trend, Lime Crime’s Electric Slide Eyeshadow and Brush Stick in the shade BFF is a light, neutral nude brown that’s perfect for achieving that latte look," she said. 

$14 at Amazon

Danessa Myricks' Colorfix Cream Color consistently tops makeup artists' favorites lists year over year. It's a bestseller (and currently sold out on Amazon) for good reason: The shades are rich, layerable and the color really stays. The one I tried — Celebration, a chesnut-y metallic, shimmery-but-not glittery brown — looked the exact same on my lids six hours after I applied it.

$20 at Sephora

Latte makeup for cheeks

TikTok Beauty Trends For Women Over 40: older woman applies bronzer to cheeks
The "latte makeup" trend adds depth, warmth and brightness to older cheeks.

The cheeks are the real glow-up star of #lattemakeup. Not only do these creamy highlighters and bronzing blushes bring brightness and warmth to the face but they also accentuate bone structure, a thing that's weirdly important as gravity works against us. "The bronzed look adds dimension to your skin," said Greenberg. For the simplest, most non-fussy, non-Kardashian-Kontouring iteration of the look, start with a tinted moisturizer or lightweight foundation. Next, choose creamy (or even liquid) bronzers that won't rob your skin of moisture, in shades just a couple of steps darker than your natural tone (more severe contouring browns can drag the face down). Dab on with your finger or swipe up with a brush along the line just above the cheekbone. That's it! You're done.

A perfect starter bronzer from E.L.F., the company that makes high-quality, cruelty-free products at prices we can actually afford — it's even infused with argan oil and vitamin E. 

$7 at Amazon

Sometimes you just want ease of use in this harsh life — I adore every Merit product I've come upon and this sheer, error-proof stick is no exception. 

$30 at Sephora

Latte makeup for lips

FRIENDS -- Pictured: Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green
With latte makeup, the Jennifer Aniston/Rachel Green brown lipstick from the '90s is back in a big way.

Remember in the '90s when Jennifer Aniston and all the other cool girls were wearing brown lipstick and maybe at first you thought, "ew, brown lipstick," but then you quickly started liking brown lipstick and then suddenly brown lipstick went away? Well, it's baaaack. But this time, the colors are rich and warm, without quite so many death-becomes-her gray undertones.

The three shades included here— Pillow Talk, Walk of No Shame and Stoned Rose— are just subtle enough to look good on anyone without being so subtle as to lose the effect. The description says "matte," but I found these to be more moisturizing, they go on smooth and don't cake. The lipsticks are smaller than the average size but in no way tiny, and the cute packaging resembles a holiday ornament with a ribbon attached — this trio would make an awesome gift.   

$35 at Amazon

TikTok Beauty Trend #2: "Glazed Donut"

Overhead view of plain glazed doughnuts in a white delivery box on an aqua colored surface
The "glazed donut" TikTok beauty trend makes skin look glossy like, well, glazed donuts.

The "glazed donut" trend was first popularized by model Hailey Bieber on TikTok just around the time she started promoting her skincare line, Rhode. It's meant to describe — you guessed it — skin that looks glossy/glassy like a glazed donut. Since her initial offering, Bieber has added lips, all-over body and even glazed-donut nails to this beauty repertoire. “I want someone to want to take a bite out of my skin," Bieber told The Cut earlier this year. "I want you to want to bite me because it looks so delicious that you can’t resist.” Ahhh youth...

Silly as it may sound, according to makeup artist Greenberg, "This is another great trend for older women. The glowy-dewy look is all about minimal makeup, using products that are light and neutral on the skin." Plus, the emphasis here is on moisture, which older faces often lack — and need. Keeping our faces hydrated as we age can plump up the skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and brighten the complexion overall.

"I would recommend using a skin tint like this one as it has great skin-care ingredients," said Greenberg.

$40 at Sephora

This multitasking cream works as a skin primer, a high-quality sunscreen and a tinted moisturizer, and, with a boost from hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and niacinamide, it leaves behind a pretty pearly glow. 

$38 at Amazon

I came upon this lightweight serum plus foundation plus SPF a few years back on Instagram (of course), and now I wear it every day. The coverage is sheer, but just enough to boost dull skin and make me look more awake than I feel. 

$48 at Amazon

TikTok Beauty Trend #3: "Dewy Dumpling"

Shanghai Style Meat Dumplings
The inspo behind the "dewy dumpling" look: Shanghai-style dumplings.

Not going to lie, it took me 20 minutes to sort out what "dewy dumpling" skin could possibly mean. The phrase — and the look — is the brainchild (LOL, Can you call a TikTok beauty trend a "brainchild"?) of makeup artist Nam Vo, who, according to her TikTok account, believes skin should look "bouncy, wet and juicy like a dewy dumpling." It's that simple, friends.

Translated to real life, or at least middle-aged life, this look — similar to the glazed donut— is all about locking in moisture, which is always a boon to mature skin. While Vo's routine is a highly-involved six steps and heavy on cleansing (note: some experts say her recommended "double cleansing" can strip the skin's barrier and remove natural oils, which most older faces definitely need) and the products may be pricier than most of us would like to spend, her emphasis on regular nighttime skincare is on point. Especially on nightly use of a mild retinol and a quality moisturizer. If you're curious to try it out, you can shop Vo's entire regimen below.

Official Nam Vo "dewy dumpling" skin-care regimen

This award-winning cleanser feels more like a moisturizer than it does any kind of soap you've used. Bonus: It works as a gentle makeup remover as well. 

$38 at Amazon

A gel-like consistency makes this popular K-beauty product more nourishing serum than harsh, old-fashioned toner. It's meant to lock in moisture and reduce skin flaking even on the coldest/driest days; it can also help calm inflammation, causing some users to call it "liquid gold." 

$30 at Amazon

Most dermatologists agree that retinol can help soften fine lines and improve the appearance of aging skin, but many prescription brands can be irritating and harsh. "I have a love-hate relationship with retinol," Vo explains. Her pick is a highly-rated, gentle starter version, ideal for first-timers and everyday use.    

$84 at Amazon

"This is the place where most people age first," said Vo in her original video. "This cream has been used by my grandma, my aunt, my mom and I use it myself — love it!"   

$65 at Amazon
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$65 at Macy's$65 at Ulta Beauty

TikTok has gone wild for this rich U Beauty cream — reviewers call it "amazing" and say that it's "extremely moisturizing but not greasy." Vo said: "It has a texture like Elmer's Glue but in a good way, It's super glowy."

$68 at Amazon