When makeup is applied using the correct techniques and products, it enhances our natural looks. When it is applied with a heavy hand, particularly when we are older, it can add years to our faces. For a woman of over 50, less is definitely more.
As older women we are exposed on a daily basis to hundreds of adverts urging us to buy anti-ageing skin products that will turn back the hand of time. As Rosalind Russell once said “Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic” and we are often tempted to buy too many products. That being said, we do want to look as good as we possibly can. Many of us over the age of 50 are being inspired to rethink our approach to makeup. We are often stuck in a rut of using products and outdated techniques that are no longer suited to our ageing skin. Buying the right products, learning some new techniques and applying makeup with subtlety is key to creating a dewy, fresh look.
8 Makeup mistakes to avoid
- Don’t apply a thick layer of foundation in an attempt to hide wrinkles and blemishes. It gives a cakey look and emphasizes lines.
- Don’t use too much under-eye concealer, especially one that is too light. Trying to conceal dark circles, especially with a lighter concealer, will only emphasize bags and wrinkles.
- Don’t just keep wearing a shade of lipstick that has always worked for you. Your hair colour and clothes have changed over the years and your lipstick needs to change too.
- Don’t go outside your lip’s natural line. The color tends to get caught in the lines around the mouth and ‘bleed’, making you look much older.
- Don’t apply blush too far above or below the cheekbone. Blush that is applied too high will emphasize the area under your eyes and if applied to low, it makes your lower face droop. Blush that’s too intense can make you look like you’re trying too hard to look younger.
- Don’t forget about your eyebrows as they frame your face. However, make sure you enhance them softly as a harsh, overdone brow is a real faux pas.
- Don’t apply heavy eyeliner on your lower lashes as this can add years to your face.
- Don’t experiment with frosty and glittery eye shadows in later life. It will just draw attention to saggy eyelids.
Transforming makeup tips and techniques
- Use primers under make-up—it will help even out skin tone and texture, and keep a lightweight foundation on for longer.
- Powder has gained a bad rap for ageing women but there are powders today that make your skin appear translucent, like an HD pressed powder.
- Pat concealer from the inner corner of your eye to the mid-point. Using it under the outer corner highlights wrinkles. Don’t apply it directly under the eye but a bit lower so that it reflects upwards, hiding dark circles.
- Experiment with lipsticks and look for tones that match your gums or inner lip. Some say older women should not wear dark coloured lipsticks but the danger of lipstick is more in the texture than the shade. A sheer red can look stunning on an older woman.
- Give a sparse brow emphasis by defining the arch and subtly shading in any thin areas with quick, short pencil strokes. Use a slightly lighter colour than your natural colour. Defining your brows correctly can give your face an instant lift.
- If you apply eye shadow, stop short of the end of the eye to achieve a lifted, wide eyed look. A tasteful matte shade defines your eyes subtly without being too overpowering.
- A foundation should be carefully selected to match your skin tone. Spend a little more on a foundation that gives coverage without adding texture. A great tip is to test foundations on your chest area. Try three different shades and choose the one that disappears.
- When using mascara, you want your lashes to look full and lush. Avoid lengthening mascaras and focus instead of a thick, full formula product.
Good makeup choices for older women
Andrea Robinson, author of a book called “Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks and Truths for Women 50+.” says “Forget about makeup reclaiming youth,” She believes instead that good makeup reclaims you.
She advises, “:Get down to the six bare necessities: tinted moisturizer or foundation, cheek color, lip liner and lipstick, mascara and eyeliner. It should all fit in a small makeup bag. ”
The Ili Leather Cosmetic pouch on the left is made from genuine leather with a sturdy zip top closure. It has a fully lined fabric compartment with a zip wall pocket. It comes in different colours and is really cute but really small. Take Andrea Robinson’s advice and pack in the bare necessities. It may be a little small for a full-sized pencil but but it will hold foundation, mascara, primer, lipstick, lip liner and blush. It has a tiny pocket inside where you can keep nail scissors and tweezers. Pack it and slip it in your purse for everyday use. I absolutely love this little pouch but I must warn you it will challenge your packing skills if you want to include more than the bare essentials.
Here are some great products for older women:
Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer is an oil-free, 60% water based primer. The revolutionary formula has oil absorbers for a smooth matte finish all day, light diffusers to minimize the appearance of imperfections, and vitamin C and peptides to help even skin tone and promote collagen production.
The key thing to consider when choosing a foundation for older skin is texture and lightness. You don’t want anything too matte. Light-reflecting products are best and Lancome’s Teint Miracle fits the bill admirably.
Laura Mercia Secret Camouflage contains a unique two shade system so you can custom-blend your own shade. One shade matches the undertone of the skin and the other the skin’s depth of colour. You don’t need much product to achieve perfect coverage because it contains a high level of pigment.
Cindy Josephs, super model and makeup expert, has a new line of multiple use cream sticks. She believes in celebrating your age and wearing it proudly. She says “Beauty is about natural color, glow, moisture and joy! You don’t have to ‘put on’ your face anymore. You already have one. Are you ready to reveal your skin and features and let them radiate the natural beauty you have?” Apply her sheer berry to your cheeks, eyes, lips, forehead and neck. Use an irridescent champagne for the inner corner of your eye, cheekbones, shoulders and decollete. An olive oil and beeswax moisturiser will help plump up your lips and can also be used on your cuticles and around your eyes. These products are only available from her store.
L’oreal Paris Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara can be worn all day with no clumps, flakes or smudges. The Patented Instant Impact Brush is 50% bigger than a classic brush so it builds volume fast. This product is opthalmologist and allergy tested – it’s suitable for sensitive eyes.
Bobbi Brown has some great eye pencils and natural brow shapers that will help you to create the perfect frame for your face.
Bobbi Brown Brow Pencil in Ash
Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper and Hair Touch Up – blonde
Some other brands with great products for older women are Mary Kay, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, Origins, Josie Moran and Chanel.
The bottom line
Join the revolution and turn your focus away from anti-ageing to positive ageing. We have many positive role models of women who look their best in their fifties, sixties and even their seventies. Ralph Lauren says “Real beauty, like real style, has no age.” Gone are the days when we have to overpaint ourselves to try and look younger.
With the philosophy of less is more, we do not have to buy hundreds of products but rather focus on those that will enhance our beauty as we age. We are fortunate to be able to buy new products that create a more natural softer look. Finally, we need to apply products with the right techniques. Many of us get stuck using outdated techniques that have worked well for us since our teens and twenties. We need to learn what works best for us as older women, using light and shadow to our advantage to minimize wrinkles and make our skins look fresher.