Make-Up That Ages You  | 7 Sins of Slapping It On

By Sonia Eyles

Remember the good old days of jumping out of bed – bright-eyed & bushy-tailed, fresh-faced & fancy-free … ?

A quick shower and you were ready to go!

Unfortunately as you get older, not only are you a little slower catching the return train from Bedfordshire, it also requires a bit more time and effort to replicate some sort of youthful glow.

Where once you could slick on a bit of bright red lippy and you were hot to trot, this tried and tested strategy has a looming expiration date.  You can’t assume the same results at 45 as you had when you were 25.  You need to recalibrate your whole approach.

You wouldn’t expect to use the same type of paint on brick as you would on glass, so why try and use the same make-up products you used 20 years ago when your canvas is now quite different?

Here are seven make-up habits you need to leave trailing in your fabulous middle-aged wake:

1. Leaving Cake Crumbs

Powder foundations are done and dusted.  That pun was intentional. They will cake and flake like a facial sandcastle. You naturally start to lose some moisture in your skin as you age which is the precursor to wrinkles and expression lines.  It is here the dust will settle and accentuate your dermal nooks and crannies.  Stick to lightweight liquid or cream foundations, or even tinted moisturiser.  This goes for setting powders too.  Swap those for setting sprays.

2. 50 Shades of No Way!

It would probably surprise you to see just how many shades of foundation there are out there.  If you had them all lined up side by side, the prospect of choosing one … let alone the right one … can be daunting.  A sad fact of aging is that your skin tone starts to morph from its unblemished maiden radiance into something quite sallow.  The usual suspects are broken capillaries, age spots, and a thinning epidermis.  It would be worthwhile having an expert colour-match your new complexion to the appropriate tint.  This goes for concealers too.

3. Patching It Up

Blame it on your failing eyesight if you will – but going to town on your contouring application can create shadowing and weirdness where you don’t want it.  I know you’d desperately like to bring back those lovely high cheekbones from your heyday, but you also don’t want to look patchy and gaunt.  And – if you are going to get out the old bronzer and highlighter, make sure you blend like a Black & Decker.  You can use a brush for this, but much like when an artist does a pencil sketch – the most effective way to blend the lead smoothly is to use the fingers.  By using harsh brush strokes and forgetting to graduate the tones – you’ll look more Picasso than Di Vinci.

4. Copping a Shiner

I know, I know … shiny things!  Somehow we’re drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  Sensationally disco and just a little bit Deborah Harry, it’s achingly difficult to avert your eyes from an enticing display of shimmery loose dust.  However, as with powder foundations, these little guys will stick to your every pucker, especially on the eyelids.  If you want to add a hint of lustre to the eyes, dab a touch of powder to the upper mid eyelid only.  Don’t even think about applying it to the brow line, and certainly steer clear of smile lines and crow’s feet.  This will make you look crepey.  And really … crepes are for the kitchen.  The same premise goes for metallic eye shadows.  These will also crease and clump and enhance the bits you don’t want to advertise.

5. Cranking It to 11

Tone it down, baby!  Harder, faster, louder should be left to the rock stars.  You may want to add some noticeable pigment to your ever-increasing pallor, but if you use strong colour on your cheeks and lips, you will look more like you’ve been to Transylvania.  Keep it natural and pretty.  You want to look feminine, not frightening.  You weren’t born with bright red lips and crimson cheeks, so why start now? You can still create a modern look, but just opt for softer hues.  Remember – less is more

6. Clowning Around

Ok … you have a whole gamut of colours on your palette – surely you should use them all!  They’re ready for the taking.  That peacock blue looks so pretty on your lampshade.  And the Ultra-Violet Shimmer at the end there … it’s the exact same colour as your formal frock from 1987 – which you loved! 

Put. The. Brush. Down!    Stop.    Breathe.

It’s terribly disappointing to discover, but most of this spectrum has now become obsolete in your post 40 bag of tricks.  Bright colours pack simply way too much punch for skin that’s already struggling against the hands of time.  If you want to pull off gaudy and garish – then you’re sorted.  But I suspect that’s not what most of you are aiming for.  It’s time to give into your skin’s natural tonal characteristics, as indeed nature intended.  Yes, I’m talking browns and peachy pinks.  If you’re stinging to incorporate a splash of colour – you can still use blue – but reach for the muted blue-grey tones instead.

7. Getting Twiggy With It

From 1960s icons to the lads of the New Romantic era, heavy black eyeliner and mascara featured front row centre.  This look is crazy cool if you have wide innocent eyes and/or a penchant for outlandish dress-ups.  But … ho-hum … that old thing called aging comes home to ruin the party again.  A coat or 2 of black mascara is fine on the top lashes – you can actually create the illusion of opening up the eye more.  But don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need matching bottoms.  This application has the nasty habit of casting shadows under your eyes like you haven’t slept for a week (which you may or may not have … but no one needs to know that).  Same goes for thick dark eyeliner – leave the bottom alone.  It will just drag down your whole face.  Instead, apply a bit of brown eye shadow with an angle brush on the bottom lash line.  This will frame the eye without looking like Mei Xiang.

Of course, the healthier your skin, and the more you’ve looked after it over the years, the better any of these strategies will deliver.

Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using the right skin care products for your skin type can go a long way. 

And, if you’re GOING to slap it on – make sure it’s Banana Boat SPF 50+.