Make up tips
Make up is all about enhancing individual assets – it can lift your spirits, inject a bit of glamour and transform a ‘certain age’ into an uncertain one. It will even out a troubled skin and applied properly it can give an almost flawless finish.
To get the most out of your make up you need to review it every few years, especially as you get older, when skin loses its dewy look, it’s tone and texture changes, and your usual routine suddenly doesn’t seem to work as well. Here we give you some tried and tested ideas.
As you age less is definitely more – a 60 year old face needs little more than a 20 year old face, just different products and a new approach. A make up lesson (see below) is the perfect solution to persuade you to revitalise outdated make up products and maximize value for money on what you do buy. And now we have the BB ( beauty balm), CC (colour correcting) and DD ( daily defence) creams which perfectly blur the lines between skincare and make up. So the first step is to ditch your old heavy foundation and use one of these sheer one-stop products that will lighten your skin and hopefully knock a few years off too. Click onto any of the headings below for guidance on up to date products to create a fabulous new look.
Primer is the secret weapon for making tired skin look fresh, and it stabilises your make-up. To get an idea of its importance, think of primer as the bra and pants to your foundation, which will glide on more easily and last longer if you apply a primer first to prep your skin, to smooth fine lines and to even out skin texture.
Aim for a subtle light diffusing coverage, applying it only where your skin tone needs it, rather than applying a thick veil of makeup all over your face, which can make your skin look old, and can even highlight flaws.
Laura Mercier’s Foundation Primer- Hydrating and Tone Perfecting Cream will give you a good base and will make your foundation or tinted moisturizer much more effective in covering up pigmentation and blotches. Dab concealer ( see below) where necessary and then you will probably find you can use a lighter foundation, and avoid the risk of looking too heavily made up.
Foundation research has progressed enormously in the past few years. Stylist magazine reckons it takes 10 years for a woman to find the perfect foundation for her skin, and the majority of us are wearing the wrong shade, or we wear too much. But all is not lost as beauty houses now offer a much wider range of foundations, offering improved formulations to suit both your skin tone and skin type.
The key is to avoid heavy foundations , as these settle into creases and just make older skin look worse, and use much less than you might think you need. The latest innovation is “the skin brightening and illuminating foundation”. These are moisture rich, with clever light reflecting particles. All the advertising blurb goes on about radiant skin and illuminating particles, but actually I have tested some and they really do work well. They are very lightweight and feel more like a tinted moisturuser than a foundation. Coverage is excellent and they don’t rub off on clothing and mobile phones.
I would recommend Bobbi Brown’s Luminous Moisturizing Foundation , Clarins Skin Illusion Natural Radiance Foundation , Nivea’s Q10 tinted day cream and Garnier BB Miracle Skin Perfector
The much praised BB cream (BB stands for blemish balm) is a sort of half way house between tinted moisturiser and foundation, and acts as primer, concealer, blemish coverer and moisturiser, with UV protection, plus anti-ageing components too. The Daily Mail described it very aptly as “the Swiss Army knife of the beauty industry”
All make up houses sell them.
Reviews of Clinique’s Age Defence BB Cream have generally been the most favourable so far.
Then there are the CC (colour corrective) creams which are designed to take out redness and reduce dark spots. They are perfect as a lightweight colour tint. We have heard good reports of Darphin’s CC Cream Instant Multi-Benefit Care, Origins Smarty Plants CC Cream and YSL CC Creme Forever Light Creator.
Powder sets your make-up and keeps your face looking smooth and non shiny. Use a loose setting powder and dab it lightly onto the T zone to avoid a caked look, or apply it with a brush in downward strokes rather than a curved motion, to avoid lifting the downy hairs on your face and making your face look fluffy. Use sparingly to avoid dulling the skin.
Blusherlivens up your face and defines it, but get advice to choose the right shade for a healthy glow. Don’t apply too much and make sure you are putting it on in the right place – smile, apply to the roundest part of your cheek and blend it back and sweep upwards. The idea is to reinstate bloom rather than a streak of colour. A good tip is to apply it, turn away from the mirror for a moment, and then turn back to get a better idea of whether you need more or less.
Concealers. Remember that you notice your blemishes and broken veins far more than others because you examine them at close quarters in the mirror, whereas an observer will notice your smile, eyes and clothes way before any blemish or wrinkle. Mineral make up is ideal for concealing flaws, as it is light refractive, and is very good news for anyone wanting to cover up broken veins, rosacea etc. It is easy to use and gives a radiant finish. The key is to get a good match to your complexion so do buy in person rather than on line. The golden rule is to apply concealers after foundation, so you know where it is needed.
Spots can sadly still be a problem in your 50’s as hormones go awry, and you need to be careful as a squeezed spot in your 50’s will scar more easily than when you were in your teens. If you get the odd really horrible one then put a hot flannel on it, give it a gentle fingertip massage and apply a clay mask to draw it out. Recommended are:
- Eve Lom Rescue Mask
- Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque
- The Fab Pore Purifying Mask from Soap and Glory ( £10 from Boots) .
Then apply a spot treatment, and it should reduce considerably overnight. Try
- Origins Spot Remover
- Dermalogica’s Clean Start Bedtime for Breakouts
- Angel Balm developed by skin therapist Alexandra Soveral is effective at managing sebum production and reducing spot break outs. It is rich in anti-ageing oils, and also contains geranium essential oils to keep your skin supple.
- Priori Advanced AHA Facial Gel is designed to deal with spots, acne and clogged pores in mature skin.
Shadows and dark circles mean eye concealers and brighteners are a must, especially in winter when the skin around the eyes can look a bit more dull and jaded. They are highly effective when dabbed onto the inner corner of the eye and nose to remove the shadows, below the eye to camouflage dark circles, and around the nostrils to streamline the nose and reduce redness. Apply with your ring finger as it is a gentle applicator.
Puffiness A lot of the products on the market seem to have a cooling and soothing effect, but with limited success on actual puffiness. One of the best is Clarins Eye Revive Beauty Flash which immediately makes the skin round your eyes feel tighter and less puffy. Other effective creams are Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye gels from M&S, and Benefit’s Depuffing Action Eye Gel which has a light and refreshing feel and soothes that puffy feeling.
Eyebrows. Shaped professionally, eyebrows will give a lift to your eye area and make your face look well groomed. You can get them threaded & beautifully shaped into perfectly even arched brows at one of the eyebrow bars now found in many large stores. If you can, find a Blink Bar or Shavata Brow Studio . It takes 10-15 minutes and they usually offer a walk-in service in major department stores. They also remove lip and chin hair, which sadly sprouts with age!
Its a little uncomfortable and can make your eyes water, but it gives a much neater and more defined look than plucking, and is less harsh on the skin than waxing. Apply Savlon Advanced Healing Gel if you skin is a bit red afterwards.
Eye shadow needs a base on eyelids to camouflage imperfections and maximize the shadow’s staying power. Laura Mercier Eye Basics is a nice smooth one, as is Bobbie Brown’s Tinted Eye Brightener. Even if you don’t want to wear eye shadow, using one of these bases will lighten your eyelid area.
Eyeliner is a great look for evenings at any age to add definition to your eyes. It can be difficult to apply, but new products have made it much easier. To find out what suits you ask for a demo at a make up counter, and then practise as it takes a while to master. Make sure you get it into the lash line – you don’t want a gap between lashes and liner. Try YSL The Black Eyeliner or Mac Penultimate Eyeliner which are both easy to apply to get a precise line. To help keep your hand steady, rest the heel of your hand against your cheek.
Mascara. To me, even more than lipstick, mascara is my essential item of make up. If I had to choose only one item, mascara would be it. Unfortunately hormonal changes as menopause approaches not only change hair texture but can also thin eyebrows and eyelashes, so mascara that gives you longer and thicker lashes becomes increasingly useful.
Today’s sophisticated mascaras and lengthening serums with their new technologies now make this much easier to achieve. Brown is a softer colour if your hair is grey or fair, though I must admit to me brown is pointless – if you want impact it has to be black. As a general rule when looking at a tester, a fat brush will add thickness, and a thin one will add length. The key is to work up from the roots, working the bristles into the roots and then comb out to the roots. For bottom lashes, paint each one individually using the tip of the wand. You don’t need to spend a lot to get excellent results from mascara – Maybelline for example comes from the same lab as Lancome.
An eyelash curler is great for opening up your eyes and making you look less tired – you can get a battery powered brush which heats and curls, or a much cheaper manual one that clamps your lashes and curls them – though be careful not to pinch your eye-lids. Bobby Brown does one for £10.
Lips are rarely a woman’s best feature as she ages, as they tend to lose moisture and become drier, so the secret is to regularly moisturise to keep them soft and plump. The key routine is to moisturise, prime, line and then add colour.
Dark hairs on your upper lip? Keep a pot of Jolen Creme Bleach handy. It is easy to use, fast acting and available in Boots.
Lip balm is an essential, and will vastly improve the look of your lipstick, so always keep one handy.
Lip plumpersKaplan MD Lip 20 a new non-surgical lip plumper from the States. It is very effective on ageing lips as it significantly boosts and moisturizes lip volume to give a seriously puckered-up pout, and the effects can last for up to six hours. It comes in original clear gloss and four colours, and lips do feel instantly fuller.
Alternatives to help plump out fine lines and add volume are:
- Soap & Glory’s “Extreme Plump”
- Laura Mercier’s “Lip Plumper”
- Dior Addict “Lip Maximiser”
Refreshing your Make Up
Less is definitely more after a certain age and it is easy to get stuck in a rut with make up. Plus there are so many products on the market now it is really difficult to know what to buy to update your look.
A beauty bag detox every few years is essential. Half finished lipsticks and blushers that you are not convinced suit you – everyone has them. It’s time to ditch old staples and try something new.
Given what make up can cost a make up lesson is definitely a good investment. For a new day or evening look the simplest option is to book a session at a make-up counter at your local department store. Get advice on your lipstick too – the correct colour will lighten your face. Going with a friend makes the whole thing much more fun – and they will give you an honest opinion of what suits you.
It’s a bit trial and error as some make-up houses give better training to their staff than others, and sessions range from 30 minutes to an hour. Laura Mercier and Bobbie Brown both generally seem to have very well briefed staff, and know their ranges well. Also, perhaps because their founders are in the 50+ bracket, they offer informed and well tailored advice for those needing a bit of rejuvenating. They also have very natural ranges – so you won’t come away looking overly made up. And if you don’t like your new look you can always wipe it off and try another make-up counter.
For those in a rush, or who cannot be bothered to spend much more than five minutes putting make-up on, investigate the Bobbi Brown Make-up Facelift at one of their counters where they will show you how to use just a few products to do the whole job – tinted moisturizing balm and concealer to even out skin tone, tinted eye brightener, blusher, eye shadow, eye liner, black mascara and lip stick.
Personalised Make-Up Lessons
A personalised make-up lesson with a specialist ensures objective and independent beauty advice. Whilst relatively expensive, they give much added value, offering expert personal attention, and they easily cover their costs by preventing expensive mistakes on the overwhelming choices available. They are also the perfect gift for a landmark birthday or event.
Click here for advice from make up expert Jane Sinclair who works with Cosmetics a la Carte.
The following make-up artists specialise in middle-aged women:
Netia Hibbert is based in London. £85 buys you a 1 hour session at her house in Fulham where she will create a make up regime that will realistically fit into your daily routine. She will go through your make up bag, throw out the bad bits and suggest new products and colours, first giving you a day look and then enhancing it for a more dramatic evening look. She will also devise a shopping list tailored to your needs. Tel 020 7795 1604
Angela Davis-Deacon at Style on Call is keen that make up should be individual and is very aware that the right make up choice becomes so much more important with age. Tel 07961 837235
Louise Constad is based in Paddington . She is 50 and so has a personal appreciation of more mature skin issues too. She tries to work with make up that the client already has, and build on that, rather than suggest a whole new bag of make up and for £250 will devote 4-5 hours to you.
Isabelle Haddo will work with your age and style and offer you some very useful tricks of the trade.
Anna Paolozzi specialises in private make-up tuition for over 40’s and acknowledges that unlocking a look is key to enhancing beauty as we get older. Tel 07757 663936
Lost in Beauty at 117 Regents Park offers bespoke make up tuition in a friendly and welcoming environment, and has a fascinating shop which entices you to try all its wonderful products.