I’ve always loved make up and wear it every day. It’s part of my identity and I wear it for me, not for anyone else.
While you won’t see me out and about in public without my face on, every now and again if I know I’m not going out I’ll have a make-up free day, but they are rare.
I actually find the process of applying it quite meditative. My everyday routine takes me about ten minutes and that’s the full works: foundation, eye make-up, lipstick, the lot. I play around with colour on my eyes but mainly stick with the same application process.
If I’m going out then I’ll make my eye makeup more dramatic. For special occasions, like my sister’s recent wedding, I’ll take more time and apply it professionally so it lasts all day without needing to be reapplied.
Whether you love it, hate it or fall somewhere in between, there’s no denying the fact that make-up can help some women feel more confident.
I often find, though, that many women would like to wear make-up but aren’t sure how to apply it. They feel intimidated by the store assistants and don’t want to ask for advice or sit on a stool in the middle of a busy store while they have several layers applied – a primer for this, a primer for that, etc.
The alternative is self select at the less expensive counters, where there can be a sense of overwhelm – where do you even start? I often have clients who have visited the posh counter for advice, had a makeover and ended up needing a second mortgage to buy all the items used, only to get home and not be able to remember what the products are for or how to use them.
These ladies in the stores are sales assistants first and foremost and it’s their job to sell products. Why sell one product if you can sell three?
Your eyeliner… a dead giveaway
Many women who choose to wear make-up still apply it in the same way as they’ve done since they learnt from Jackie magazine in the 1970s. It’s always possible to tell someone’s age by where they put their eyeliner!
For many in their late 40s, it was the fashion to put eyeliner all along the lower lash line – kind of like underlining the eye, with nothing on the top lid. But make-up styles follow fashion just like everything else and it’s good to refresh your look to stop yourself from looking dated.
Here are a few tips to help you look fresh and polished without being over made up:
Make-up looks best when it’s applied to good skin. Keep your skin hydrated by drinking lots of water and moisturising daily using a product especially formulated for the face. Exfoliating once or twice a week helps remove dead skin cells and leaves your skin looking fresher and more radiant, too.
These help your make-up last longer. There are many different types, some help to smooth out fine lines, others to minimise pores.
There are eye make-up primers and lipstick primers too – but I find they aren’t necessary if you follow my steps.
Use to minimise shadows and blemishes. A concealer with light reflective particles is great for hiding shadows, and is best used over the top of foundation, otherwise the foundation will dull down the particles.
If you’re trying to cover eye bags, try a matte concealer as this helps them recede – anything reflective would bring them further forward.
There are so many types to choose from, it really depends on the type of finish you want.
To find the right colour, try shades against your jaw line – the right colour shouldn’t show. Remember, you’re not adding colour to your skin with foundation, its job is to even out your skintone and provide a base.
You can use your fingers, a sponge or brush to apply foundation. I prefer fingers as it’s easy to get in all the nooks and crannies, hygienic because you can wash your hands after each use and also it warms the product, making it easier to blend.
Apply the foundation all over your face, starting at your nose and blending outwards, including eyelids and lips – this helps your eye make-up and lipstick stay put.
Set liquid foundation with powder, as this prevents it from ‘melting’ and helps it last longer.
Use a kabuki brush – with a short stem and dense bristles – to give your face a dusting. I find that using circular ‘buffing’ movements helps it to really set the foundation and leave you with a lovely finish.
Alternatively, a powder puff or bit of cotton wool will do the job. Don’t forget your eyelids!
As the elasticity goes in our skin as we get older, our eyelids can seem a bit droopy or saggy. The best way to apply eyeshadow is to use proper brushes, not the fiddly little sponges that you get in the packs. I prefer matte eye shadow as anything shimmery accentuates fine lines.
Apply a pale colour all over your eyelid up to the brow bone, with a darker shade in the crease. It’s best to pat the colour on rather than drag the delicate skin, then use a large soft brush to blend the colours so there are no harsh lines.
This is great for accentuating and opening up your eyes, making them look wider and brighter. A soft pencil is easiest to use. Start on the outer corner of the top lid and use soft, feathery strokes as close to your lashes as possible, working your way across the lid. It’s up to you how far across you go – experiment to see which look you prefer.
If you want to use it under your eye it’s best to just use on the outer third to avoid looking dated. Don’t leave the pencil as a harsh line – use a cotton bud to just smudge it slightly for a more finished look.
There are so many types to choose from – as a general rule those with thick bushy brush applicators are for thickening and those with thinner, rubber applicators are more lengthening.
To get the best results, get the applicator as near as possible to the bottom of your lash line and wiggle the brush up and through in a zig zag motion. Let it dry before applying a second coat to avoid clumps. Don’t pump your mascara as this just dries it out and doesn’t help with clumping.
For a youthful glow apply with a large brush on the apples of your cheeks. You can use shimmery bronzing products to highlight your cheekbones but be careful where you put shimmer, as anything with light reflective particles brings things forward.
Use a lip liner to outline your lips, choosing a colour close to your lipstick. You can colour all of your lips in with lip liner and finish off with gloss or lipstick. Remember, darker colours are more likely to bleed into fine lines than lighter ones, and will make your lips look smaller.
You can buy clear, waxy lip liner/primer products that help prevent feathering, too. Try to choose tones that are harmonious with your natural colouring – peach and coral shades for warm skin tones, pinks and mulberry for cooler undertones.
So whether you like the barely there look or the full-on approach, it’s worth having a think about your products, shades and techniques as you get older, to keep you looking fabulous every day…
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