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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend Beauty: Makeup tricks for older skin

By Donna

I never wore much makeup until my thirties, when I started to need a little extra help. Once I reached my forties, I became aware of the need to walk that fine line that so many women cross of not keeping makeup age-appropriate. Just as with clothing, wearing cosmetics in colors and styles intended for teenagers is far more aging than learning to accommodate the changes in your skin and facial structure. We mature ladies would look just as silly in cheek glitter and wacky metallic eye shadow as we would wearing belly shirts and cheerleader skirts.

I normally wear glasses, so eyeliner is a must, and the one thing I will put on even for a short grocery store run. I always wore a kohl-type black liner and thought I looked fine. Then I saw an episode of What Not To Wear that changed my life – Carmindy was doing a makeover on a middle-aged woman who always wore black eyeliner, and she used dark brown on her instead. The difference was so amazing that I went out and bought one. Lo and behold, it looked much more natural, and I looked well rested and five years younger! Needless to say I have been using it since, with occasional forays into L’Oreal HIP liner in the eggplant shade – its fabulous too. My favorite brown liner is Jane Gliding Liner in Velvet Brown, soft enough to smudge but never greasy or runny. Whatever brand you end up with should fit that description so it won’t be draggy and dry on your lids.

I also try to make sure my eye shadow is not too shiny, which is hard sometimes; many shades look matte in the package but once on the eye they are glittery or shiny. Try to get yours at a store where you can sample it first. A little highlighter is fine, especially for evening, but glittery shadow can look really garish if your lids are not what they used to be.

I made the switch to using mineral powder makeup a couple of years ago. At first I could not figure out what I was doing wrong, as I never got good coverage, and then a light bulb went on – it needs something to stick to! In colder weather, I use an oil-free tinted moisturizer as a base (Jane again) and then mineral foundation over that once it has set. I just use a foundation primer most days now that winter is over. My current favorite is Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy Luminizing Face Primer – whew! It has a slight sparkle that makes me look awake, and which is subtle enough to look good under the minerals. Oddly, I tried Smashbox Photo Finish with mineral foundation and it rolls off in layers when I apply the powder – the Carmindy stuff is a third of the price of that and it works much better.

I have tried several brands of mineral foundation and Bare Minerals is very good, as are Milani Minerals, Almay Pure Blends and L’Oreal Bare Naturale. (Yes, I would like to try more of the high-end brands, but mine is a drugstore budget.) I apply it with a large powder brush and/or a velour puff. The main trick is to find a mineral formula that does not get shiny when you buff it, and to not over-buff it. I like a finishing veil – the gold standard is Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, but I also like the Milani finishing powder and the L’Oreal. The finer the milling of the powder the more natural the results will be. I finish it off with powder blusher applied sparingly with a large Kabuki brush and swept up to the hairline at the temple; another Carmindy tip is to use a pink shade with some coral in it to lift the skin tone – if you are older and you still use a darker plum or deep rose blush like you used in the Eighties, it’s probably making you look older, unless your skin tone is very dark. Even women of color can benefit from a coral-toned blusher, however; it’s amazing how much fresher it looks than shades that veer toward the blue end of the spectrum.

As for lip color, I always loved dark tones when I was younger, including those purple-browns made famous by Urban Decay, lacquer reds, and deep berry tones. I can still get away with a darker color if it’s a sheer or a gloss, but I am really careful now and I stick mostly with shades that are fairly close in tone to my natural lip color. My lips are not all that full, and dark shades just make lips look thinner, especially when they are matte, so the rule is the opposite of the eye shadow rule: shine is good! Too much frost looks bad on everyone, but a glassy shine or subtle glaze is great for softening the appearance of a mature face. Just remember, too light is just as bad as too dark, beware of nudes, beiges and overly pale pinks that can make you look washed out and tired. And the biggest rule of all: No lip liner for you! Not unless it’s the invisible kind that just keeps your lipstick from bleeding. I have one of those but I don’t need it very often, since I am rarely found wearing a standard full-pigment lipstick these days. I like Ulta’s house brand of sheer lipstick shades, and glosses and balms of every kind, whether stick, wand or pot. Even a colorless gloss can work if you prefer to play up your eyes instead – pick either eyes or lips when you want to do an all-out glamour look, but not both. Only Joan Collins can get away with that.

Image credits: Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot, one of the funniest movies of all time, imdb.com; Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy Luminizing Face Primer, ulta.com

18 Comments:

Blogger Eleven European Mystics said...

Donna, as I am 49 I identified with many of your indications, and decided to share some of my own findings. Becca Cosmetics system of finding the most natural skin tone is great, leaving it elegant and natural at once, and its Turkish Rose blush is simply stunning, Hauschka rose cream is a must above 45, as are some of Chanel lip shades, being natural yet sophisticated, compensating intensity of colour with great quality pigments and texture. And YSL Touche Eclat, a saviour at all hours. These aren't drugstore budget products, but Becca and Hauschka are not too expensive. I enjoyed your confessions of a dame of a certain substance. :-)

6:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Koki said...

I am loving this makeup and nail polish weekend experiment!!

I have been a huge fan of Jane Iredale cosmetics for years, long before mineral makeups became widely known. With very pale yet at the same time yellow-based skin it is the only makeup I've ever worn that actually makes me look better than without. The Amazing Bases are amazing, along with the liquid minerals base. I haven't found a product of hers that I don't love, and best of all they don't irritate my skin, make my lips peel, or turn my eyes rabbit-pink (never a good look!).

1:48 PM EDT  
Blogger lovethescents said...

What an informative article. I am in my mid thirties and usually don't wear any foundation, primer, etc except on days when I'm most exhausted. I started using Stila tinted moisturizer to even out the tired. Some bronzer on top, a hint of blush and that makes me look awake and natural enough. I should look into those mineral makeup eh? Just seems a bit high-maintenance at the moment....

3:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous surely-shirley said...

Though we all believe we will never need make-up for old skin, still thank you. I will now what to do when I get of age!

5:05 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I love that movie! I've never worn makeup on my face (only mascara and lipstick), but am thinking that the mineral makeup sounds very cool! Must investigate. Thanks for this post. :-)

6:26 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

EEM, I have heard good things about the Hauschka rose cream, I want to try it someday soon. And I visited the Web site - the Becca primers look wonderful!

12:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Koki, I think the Jane Iredale foundation products do seem to be too yellow for me, but I covet some of the line nevertheless. If I were more dextrous I would snap up that Pinot Noir liquid eyeliner, the color is to die for.

12:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Lovethescents, when my skin is behaving itself - at over 50 I still get breakouts! - all I need is some tinted moisturizer and mineral finishing powder over it, and of course my touches of color. Some people like the glow they get from a tinted moisturizer, but I still get shiny, so I do need to use powder with it.

12:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Surely-shirley, i have to say that I did prepare for my maturity by using sunscreen once it became available (when I was a kid there was no such thing) and wearing hats in the summer. Along with never smoking and drinking very little (maybe too little if all that red wine hype is true), I am fortunate to have pretty decent skin for an old broad. :-)

12:18 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Elle, I really like the minerals - after a certain age I had a lot of trouble finding liquid foundation that did not sink into what lines I have no matter how I applied them. I need something on all the time, because I also have mild rosacea episodes, and wearing makeup actually soothes it. Even the bare minimum of a tinted moisturizer with a mineral finish over it makes so much difference in my skin. I am always trying new stuff to see if there is a better solution out there as my skin changes.

And yes, isn't that a great movie? I crack up every time I see it. I especially love Jack Lemmon, he was one of my all-time favorites.

12:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Alexandra said...

You are absolutely right about black liner -- too harsh for most of us. My mother wears a lovely soft charcoal and always has (it still looks great on her at 72!). I have slightly different coloring and prefer a deep brown and an eggplant. Unlike you, I don't buy liner as it's too heavy and hard to manipulate. I like a standard powder eyeshadow with a fine liner brush and a bit of water I can go from a soft line for the day or something more dramatic for evening -- perfect every time and it lasts at least eight hours.

11:39 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

In regards to mineral makeup, the only I can wear is by Trish McEvoy. I love it. No itching, no weird matte-sheen thingy going on and no breakouts. The colors are pretty good also. It's higher end, but so worth sampling. :)

~Dawn

7:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Eleven European Mystics said...

Flora

The best Becca primer is the mineral spf 30, a no breakouts genious, and the tinted moisturizers, which are full of pigment yet very light in texture.

8:57 AM EDT  
Anonymous Aparatchick said...

I've had really good luck with Aromaleigh's mineral makeup (lots of shades!), but I have a question for you. Where do you find the Sally Hansen makeup? I've looked around locally and no one seems to carry it.

6:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Alexandra,I almost never wear liquid liner, I am far too klutzy for that - when I refer to eyeliner I mean a soft pencil - that way I can smudge and blend and work it into my upper lash line. (I rarely wear mascara for the same reason - no skilz!)

1:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Dawn, I would like to try that! My skin is pretty sensitive so thanks for the tip.

1:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

EEM, I will keep that in mind. A high SPF is something I really do need.

1:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Aparatchik, I get mine at my local Ulta store - if you don't live near one, and there are very few, Ulta.com is great, and they have frequent free shipping specials. I have seen some Sally Hansen makeup products at Rite Aid and Walgreens, but the "Inspired by Carmindy" line is harder to track down.

1:12 AM EDT  

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