Since our first book The Beauty Bible appeared, we’ve gone on to write an entire volume targeted at women over 40 – and packed with make-up tips. (Find The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible here).
But when that original book was written, make-up artist Stephen Glass shared with us his wisdom – and it’s worth repeating, today. In fact, he’s a genius at enhancing older faces, from 40-somethings to 80-somethings. Clients have been known to kick up their heels and throw their first birthday party for decades after a visit to Stephen – so here are his tips to help women ‘of a certain age’ look truly wonderful.
Know your skin Don’t take it as gospel that every woman’s skin dries as she gets older; women in their 60s and 70s can still have combination skin, with dry cheeks and an oily T-zone. Using too much rich nourishing cream when your skin doesn’t really need it can still trigger breakouts, spots or whiteheads.
Your skin may also get so used to one product, if it’s applied consistently, that it ceases to offer benefits. So get to know your skin and nourish it as and when it needs extra help. Try the alternating approach: smooth on night cream for a few evenings when your skin feels dry, then don’t wear any cream at all for a night or three. If you have very dry skin, try the other alternating approach, using two creams, say collagen one night and a vitamin cream the next.
Face up to your face Invest in the best magnifying mirror you can find and put it in the clearest (yes, that does mean cruellest) light. However depressing you find it initially, remember that you will end up looking infinitely better. Preparing your face like this is particularly vital for anyone who wears glasses. A magnifying mirror which has suction pads so that you can attach it to your usual mirror can be invaluable, too.
Review your make-up regularly As your face changes, your make-up needs subtle revision, too. Don’t be afraid of scrutinising the products and colours you use, and how you apply them. You may think, for instance, that your favourite foundation has changed, because it no longer looks so good on you – but the likelihood is that your complexion has changed, just as the skin around your eyes may alter their shape, or your colouring become paler. Don’t get stuck in a cosmetic rut. Take a ramble round the beauty counters and see which look you like, then play with products, ask for advice, have a free consultation, get samples. Don’t be afraid to take time; you make the decisions. Or go to a local make-up artist whose work you respect, or whom friends have recommended for a makeover.
Colour it natural Match foundation to your skin tone, however much that changes over the years. Avoid the temptation to use foundation which is tanned or darker than your own complexion. It dulls the skin, making it look lifeless and much older. Foundation should be very lightweight for older, fragile or lined skins, and always applied with a good sponge. For skins which have grown paler, colour can be added with blusher; for those who have become more florid, concealer and foundation can work wonders.
Even drier skins may need powder as a finishing touch The key is to drift the powder lighter over the face for a soft but flawless finish. Tip a little loose powder into the palm of your left hand (or vice versa if you’re left-handed); dip your large powder brush into it, then tap the handle to shake the excess off and stroke gently across the areas which need powdering only – perhaps just the T-zone.
Use cream or liquid blusher rather than powder rouge on your cheeks; it looks much better on a dry or lined complexion. For cheeks with high colour or broken veins, mix a little concealer with cream rouge and pat on in thin layers.
Try using lip pencil to outline and then colour in your lips, rather than lipstick; this will avoid bleeding into any tiny lines around the mouth. Top with gloss if you wish. If your lips have grown thinner with age, never use deep, dark colours; go for soft, bright shades such as coral or apricot.
Every woman of every age can get an amazing lift by using eyeliner. Use a soft pencil in charcoal, deep grey, deep blue, taupe or bronze green depending on your skintone. Dot along the outer third to half of your upper eyelids, right up against the lashes, then smudge upwards with your little finger; you can also try a few smudges under your lower lashes, on the outer corners only.
Use eye drops and (plastic) eyelash curlers to open and brighten eyes. Has an amazing effect, making them look more youthful. Then apply mascara in the direction of the lashes, rolling the wand up and away at the outer corners of the eyes, so the whole eye is drawn up. (Choose soft brown, grey or navy mascara, not black, if you have grey hair.)