Beauty tips for “older” women have always seemed to involve the word “don’t," as in “don’t wear shimmer anything” or “don’t use powder products” or “don’t wear your hair long”. The idea behind these tips is that those three things actually emphasize wrinkles rather than hide them.
If you’ve protected yourself from the sun and haven't spent years with a surprised look on your face while reading (like yours truly), most of your wrinkles are probably badges of honor — crying at your wedding, 36 hours in labour, seeing a best friend through a major illness, waiting up while junior stays out all night at prom, etc. You can’t hide all wrinkles, and why would you want to when you’ve reached that “certain age” (as the French like to say).
So, what does work for those of us over 40?
First off, wear your hair however you like. Sport a gorgeous gray mane like songstress Emmylou Harris, or keep your color like Susan Sarandon. Long, short or in-between is up to you.
Secondly, develop a skin-care routine that is easy and works for you. Buying the entire Erno Laszlo system might not be what you need; pick and choose products from different lines and customize them to suit your lifestyle and budget.
When it comes to makeup, let your personal preferences dictate color, product type and finish. I keep reading how I should be wearing cream blush, but cream blush sinks into my skin and vanishes within a couple of hours.
Do try to avoid matte foundations, because they can be drying on skin that is drying out. I’ll never be a tinted moisturizer type of person, because I REALLY need the coverage of foundation. But using it only where needed on well-moisturized skin is ideal — no matter what your age.
I recently read that two concealers can go a long way toward hiding dark circles under the eye. Start with a yellow-toned concealer that matches your skin tone/foundation color, then, after it dries, use a slightly shimmery peach-tone concealer to reflect the light away from the area. Pen-style products (YSL Touche-Eclat or Bourjois Anticerne Pour Petits Matins) are ideal for this purpose.
After years of hearing how frost emphasizes lines, it’s good to know that new products with a slight shimmer to them actually reflect light — which makes wrinkles less visible to the eye.
For blush shades, only those with truly dark skin tones should be looking in the tawny and plum tones. The rest of us can really warm up our complexions with clear pinks, peaches and apricots. If you have really dry skin, cream blush with a light dusting of a matching powder over it will provide staying power.
I’m not ready to give up my shimmering (or frosted) eye shadows just yet, and as long as I don’t have crepe-like eye lids, I don’t see why I have to. At this stage in my life, I just pair them with matte finishes and use a light hand. And as we have all heard from makeup artist Carmindy of What Not to Wear fame, a dot of shimmering nude/pink/peach eye shadow at the inner corner of our eyes helps to open the area up.
Eye liner in a rich shade smudged close to the lash line can actually help counteract sagging at the outer corner. Follow up with lots of your favorite mascara (or false eye lashes for special occasions). You might find it necessary to fill in your brows. I’ve found that my brows are getting a bit sparse, and gray, in areas. Using a tiny, flat brush and an auburn-taupe powder, I use tiny strokes until I achieve the look I want. Then I brush them into place with a tiny bit of wax.
You might find that your lip volume is decreasing; and that’s without having an accident like mine where they had to be glued back together! Use lip liner before any lipstick — either match your natural lip color or the lipstick shade you’ve chosen. And don’t be afraid of strong lip color — especially if you’ve been spending money on tooth whitening. Go cherry red (like MAC’s new Cult of Cherry lip glass), if you really want to.
In the early 1970s, the Clairol Loving Care hair color ads said: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better”. With the choices and improvements in skin care and makeup products available today for those of us over 40, that slogan just is more true than ever!