How to Look Really Old with Stage Makeup

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You wanna look old?  No!?


But it’s so fun!


Okay… I’ll be more specific.  Let’s put on stage makeup for old age.  I promise, it’s a lot of fun.


I totally freaked out my kids and husband.  The kids were watching me and saying how creepy I looked and asking me why I was doing this.  My eldest daughter wants me to do this for Halloween.  My youngest son said no to the creepy old lady face.  My husband jumped when I turned around.  So satisfying… I think.



Let’s do this.


Materials needed:  Highlight, Shadow, brown eye liner, two small/medium flat brushes, and two wide flat brushes.

This kit is the one I used in theatre for college. It’s got everything.

Nowadays, if you search for Ben Nye products all you’ll see is Banana powder. Stinking Kardashians.

You can get a smaller personal kit if you’d like, instead of the full kit.


Not pictured: eyeliner and two wide brushes


Here I am.  Yes, that’s before the old lady makeup, you dirty rat.  This is me at the end of a long day, okay. So there!  Yes, I did stick out my tongue.  I pulled back my bangs and hair so I could get to work. You should too.


pre-makeup face


Start with a fresh, clean face.

Put on a good foundation to even out your face for a good base. If your face is notoriously oily, I definitely recommend you put on a good primer first.

Picture Key:  White = Highlight  Black = Shadow

If you see a white arrow that is where you highlight.  If you see a black arrow that is where you shadow, etc.


We’ll start from the top of the face to the bottom.  It’s much easier this way, you won’t smudge your makeup as you work.


Also, start with the highlights first.  You put in the big area of highlights, then the shading.  Then you add the specific highlights in afterwards.  Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it.



First, we’ll age it with some basics.


aged forehead


Now we’ll add in some wrinkles.  To do this:

  1. Raise your eyebrows to wrinkle your forehead up.  Good.
  2. Draw a flat line in each wrinkle.
  3. Let go of your eyebrows.
  4. Go back with your shadow and draw the line a bit darker and then gently drag your shadow straight up.  Not a ton, just a little bit.  See the picture for clarity.
  5. Take your highlight and draw a very precise line just underneath the shadow.  It needs to be crisp.
  6. Take a look and blend where needed.  DON’T blend your crisp highlight line.


Don’t freak out!  At first it looks like brown lines on your face… it’s okay.


ONLY do these wrinkles where you actually have them.  I am blessed with few forehead wrinkles.  I have two barely there ones.  I win!


forehead wrinkles


As you can see, I have also done wrinkles between my brows.  These are the ones that’ll turn ugly when I’m older.  Yikes!

Treat them the same way, except DON’T blend the brown line.  Put a highlight line on the underside. If it’s pretty vertical, put it on the inside part of the line (the part closest to the other eye).




The best part!

  1. First, highlight lid.
  2. Take your shadow and start from the corner of your eye and get that eye socket shape.  Remember you’re old, your eye is going to sink in a bit.
  3. Then do the crease.  I naturally have a droopy lid – it will hang down when I’m an old lady, I’m sure.  This is why I have taken my shadow and drawn it down with the natural crease of my eye lid.
  4. Add shadow at brow bone at a downward angle to get the droop effect.
  5. Later I went back and put more shadow on my lid for it to be more sunken in.


eye 1



Now the eye bag.  Yay!

  1. Add shadow on your lower lid.
  2. Highlight underneath it. The actual bag area.
  3. Take your highlighter and outline the outside edge of the eye bag drawn a line.
  4. Take more highlighter and blend that line out.  It’ll look like a U.
  5. Take your shadow, draw the line just above the highlight line.  Blend up and in.  Make sure your bag is heavier at the corner and fades as it nears your eye.  It shouldn’t reach your outer eye.


eye 2


  • Last,  you take your brown eyeliner (or darker shadow) and draw a crisp line at the bottom of the bag (just above the highlight).
  • Take your shading brush and blend slightly (upwards).
  • Add in wrinkles (where they naturally occur) at your eyes.  Crinkle your eyes to find them.
  • Draw in the shadow, then add a highlight underneath!  Easy!


eye 3



With old age your nose is bigger.  It’s unfortunate, but true.  I’m making my nose wider and my nostrils bigger.

  1. To make wider you highlight down the nose, and the whole front portion of the nose.
  2. To make nostrils bigger, you highlight those as well, all the way to the crease where you nose and cheeks meet.
  3. Add shadow to the sides of your nose, draw a line right up next to the highlight and blend out to the cheeks into your foundation.
  4. For the nostrils, follow the natural curve, but just outside the actual crease to enlarge them.


nose 1


Yikes! What an angle!
Yikes! What an angle!




  1. Start at your nostril, follow the large crease down (if it’s hard to find, smile, then follow the crease) to your mouth.
  2. In the first picture I have a brown line crossed out.  I didn’t like the way it looked so I just wiped it off and fixed it.  No sweat.  You can see it fixed in the second picture.  
  3. Draw the line and have it keep going past the mouth.  Your cheeks are going to hang real low as you become geriatric.
  4. Blend that line out, it’s a bit thicker than the rest of your wrinkle lines.
  5. Add a highlight inside.
  6. I added some to my whole cheek, blended carefully, no hard edge.


cheek 1


For an apple cheek – they’ll be nice and full.  Probably from all that cake I’ll be baking as a sweet ole granny.

  1.  Start at the nostril and sweep out and up.
  2. Blend upwards.
  3. Add highlight to the middle of the cheekbone and the surrounding cheek area.  You just want it more concentrated there.
  4.  Add a light coat underneath the shadow as well.
  5. Add some blush to the apples of your cheek if you’d like.


 cheek 2





In old age your lips become thinner.  Boo.  To do this is simple.

  1. Put foundation or highlighter over your lips.
  2. On your bottom lip add a natural lip color, but just inside your natural lip line.
  3. On the top lip add a darker color also inside the lip line.
  4. Add contouring with some shading and highlighting to the surrounding mouth area.
  5. Add wrinkles to your lips.  Done and done.


lips 1




lips 2





  • Add highlight in a scallop motion alongside your jawline (above the ridge). It’s like a 3, lying on its back, but 3 scallops, instead of 2.


jaw 1


  • Add triangles of highlight underneath your scallop.  (See the picture below)
  • Take your shadow and start at the top edge of the bottom highlight.  Is that confusing enough?  Make it a hard edge.
  • Then blend the shadow up to meet the top scallop.  You don’t want a hard edge where those two meet.


jaw 2


Before, During, and After

Now, go back and touch up anything you’d like.  Your face may not be perfectly symmetrical, don’t worry about it.  Remember, this is stage makeup.  It’s best seen at a far distance, not right up close.  It’ll still look pretty dang sweet though.


before and after old

Meet Granny Rochelle!




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60 thoughts on “How to Look Really Old with Stage Makeup

  1. This is so great! Maybe I’ll dress up as the wicked step mother from Snow White for Halloween! It’s fascinating to read each step and see how it all comes together! It looks great!

    1. My daughter was going to let me until she saw my finished face. Now she keeps reminding me that I can’t make her look like a creepy old lady.

  2. Wow! I don’t think I have seen such a fun blog post in a while! Incredible! You did a great job. I don’t know if I have the patience to do that! LOL

    1. Thanks Carri, it was fun to do. I snuck up on my son to scare him. It was awesome. It really doesn’t take long to do the makeup. Plus it’s so much fun to watch yourself transform, that it doesn’t feel like a chore.

    1. I’d love to know what kind of stuff you do! There’s so many different ways to make yourself look old, it’d be fun to be a different one each time.

    1. I did take a pic of me smiling and doing a goofy face, but I thought the post was already picture heavy so I left them out. Next time I’ll throw one in just for you!

  3. Oh my goodness! This is such an awesome post. I love your twitter share links too–cracked me up! 😀

  4. Wow Rochelle, that’s really cool! My nephew use to act a lot and they had him looking like an old man numerous times and I always thought that was so neat looking. Never knew what was involved in doing this but now I know.

    Thanks for taking us through this step by step.


    1. Thanks Adrienne. Now you can show up to his plays matching! You might get a few strange looks, but it’d be fun.

  5. That is pretty freaking cool! I also love the Tweet it buttons within the post! I would LOVE to know how to do that! lol

  6. That’s really awesome! I didn’t read all the details of how to do it, but I loved all the pictures! I’m going to share with some of my theater friends! Can you do a post now on how to do the reverse! 🙂

  7. Quite a transformation… LOL… I love it! This could come in handy around Halloween. 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh! That’d be hilarious! I’d have to be super brave to do that. If I do it, I’ll let you know how it went, or if I got arrested for being a creeper.

  8. This is actually incredible. I would never have the patience to do it but WOW you look realistic! Haha.

  9. Wow! That is so cool! My sister watches that show – Face Off – and sometimes I catch a glimpse of the amazing things they are doing on there with stage make-up and effects. It is so wild to see the transformations. Your so talented!

    1. I love seeing the things they can do on the show. It’s fun to make those transformations! Stay tuned and you’ll learn how to do some of them.

  10. Woah! That is awesome. I played and old woman in a play in high school but my makeup didn’t look nearly that good! 🙂

  11. Thank you for your tutorial! I used it for our production of The Trip To Bountiful to make myself into an 80ish year old woman. It was invaluable. You are very talented!

  12. Hei, that’s very good! Nice job.
    Btw, I need these steps for my theatre project.
    But I don’t mean to make the character as old as you show here.
    So, do you have any suggests?
    Thanks before 🙂 (y)

  13. This was so very helpful! I am playing “Yente the Matchmaker” in a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” and I plan to use this tutorial as a guide to appear older. Was the highlight and shadow that you used powder or cream? Thank you so much!
    (PS. LOVE that you homeschool, I was homeschooled for all 12 years of my education and I definitely plan to do the same with my kids someday, God willing!)

  14. I loved your tutorial. Obviously I am a man. My daughter is playing a mid-seventy old lady in a play and I was wondering about the color foundation you used as well as the shadow and highlight colors. Also, what brushes do you use for each area. They have Ben Nye kits for me to use. Whatever help you can give me I would appreciate it. This is my daughters first play and I would like to do a good job for her. She is 15 years old. Thank you very much.

  15. It may sound funny but even after making yourself looking old you still looking awesome because of your eyes!
    FYI, most men are looking on the eyes, lips and hair when judging the woman’s face! If they like these three features, they will not care about under eye bags or wrinkles on the forehead:)

  16. Great work! I was looking for a guide to “old person makeup” for a skit this weekend. I’ll be bringing this along to do makeup! Thanks 🙂

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