How to present your best self—whatever your decade
Staring into the mirror when one reaches yet another decade can come as a bit of a shock, especially if it’s a magnifying mirror. At 20, one might wonder if they’re pretty or if their nose is a tad too long. Fly forward into the future to age 40, 50, and beyond and those musings in front of the mirror shift dramatically.
Where did those under-eye pouches come from? Why is there a red street map meandering across the cheeks? And when did the mouth start to mimic a sad clown?
Age-related facial changes are a reality but needn’t be something to focus on. By a making some simple changes in our beauty routines, imperfections can be softened so as not to be front and centre. It becomes about presenting your best self—whatever your decade.
BCLiving spoke with experts from four beauty brands—Samantha Legge, founder and president of Evalina Beauty; Janice James, Estée Lauder national educator; Natalie Rose Vella, Charlotte Tilbury lead artist; and Melanie Hutchinson, national education manager for IT Cosmetics—to discover which makeup techniques can serve you well past the blush of youth.
1. Skin perfect
The consensus of all our experts is that great skin is the basis for great makeup, and it’s vitally important at any age. “If I’m doing makeup on anyone, no matter the age, if they have great skin the makeup goes on easier and the makeup just looks so much better,” says Janice James, Estée Lauder national educator.
“You really do have to go back to your skin and make sure it’s in the best condition that it can be,” advises Natalie Rose Vella, lead artist Charlotte Tilbury.
First and foremost, it starts with a daily cleansing routine. James says a skincare regime consists of cleansing, toning, a serum and also a repair serum. “As you get older, as your skin is changing, you might want to add in another serum to address other skincare issues, like firming and [dark] spots and lines,” she adds.
Top of the list for keeping skin in optimum condition is hydration. “Well-moisturized skin will provide a smooth base texture for makeup and soften the appearance of dry skin,” says Melanie Hutchinson, national education manager for IT Cosmetics.
“We get dryer and dryer as we get older. So maybe in your 50s, you start using a night cream for the first time because it's way more hydrating than a day cream alone,” James suggests.
2. Flawless canvas
Once the skin is prepped, the next step is to create what James calls the flawless canvas. A primer is the product that will ready the complexion for foundation application.
Samantha Legge, founder and president of Evalina Beauty, says that a primer underneath your foundation "can make a huge difference to the longevity, texture and overall finish of your makeup at any age.” As we age, she adds, “a primer can also blur fine lines as skin is visibly plumped and smoothed, giving your skin a youthful glow.”
As primers are formulated to diminish the appearance of age-related imperfections and help create a luminous effect, many also have formulations that extend the ever-important hydration throughout the day to ensure skin remains plumped and smooth.
When choosing a foundation, opt for one that is light and offers buildable coverage. With constantly changing formulations, many foundations offer skin treatment benefits, as well as SPF protection. Rose Vella says, as an example, the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation “has an amazing transformational effect … It has a retinol in there, which is also day[time] safe, that improves the skin overtime as well as giving this instant luminous, dewy finish.”
James adds that new Estée Lauder Futurist Foundation, (arriving in early 2021) not only provides a radiant type of coverage for mature skin, it also “soothes, protects and hydrates the skin instantly and all day long.”
And for foundation on mature skin, a lighter approach is what will achieve a luminous, natural rather than cakey look.
“It is especially important as women age to find hydrating products that aren’t heavy. I want the woman to wear the makeup, not the makeup wear the woman,” Legge states. “You don’t want to see the foundation sitting on the skin or in any creases.”
Legge formulated the Evalina Beauty Dew BB Cream specifically with that in mind. It’s a lightweight cream that gives skin a natural glow and incorporates ingredients to benefit the skin such as squalene, grapeseed oil and Vitamin E.
The technique for applying foundation for a natural look is to start from the centre of the face and work your way out. Whether using a brush or a beauty blender, it’s more beneficial to dab the product onto the skin than sweep it across.
“With foundation, what you want to do is stamp the product onto the face rather than sweeping. If you sweep the product across the face, then you’re dragging the skin. Use kind of a bouncing motion across the face,” Rose Vella explains.
Less is definitely more sometimes, says James. She advises that that it’s best to have a foundation with buildable coverage, and you can start the application lightly with a pea-sized amount. If you find you need more coverage, you can go back over it again, she says.
Make sure you colour match to you skin tone correctly. Often women choose too light of a shade assuming, incorrectly, that it will brighten their skin tone.
“I know everyone wants that brightening effect but sometimes keeping it as close to your skin tone as possible, if not just a slightly bit lighter, is always the best option,” suggests Rose Vella. “Too light can enhance the problems of your skin.”
Concealer finishes the natural, flawless canvas look. Concealers too, are often formulated with skin treatment benefits.
“A little concealer can go a long way to brighten under eyes or complexion spot discolouration without looking like you’re wearing a lot of makeup,” says Hutchinson.
Concealer on the eyelids can also camouflage any redness or veins, and even eliminate the need for eyeshadow for an ultra-natural look.
James adds that a little concealer at the bottom corners of the mouth, blended upwards, make the lip area appear more youthful.
3. Colour you brighter
A soft, wash of colour with a cream blush will brighten the complexion, our experts all say. Cream blush, rather than powder, can be more flattering on mature skin. Transform a powder blush into a cream by mixing it with a bit of moisturizer or serum, Hutchinson suggests.
As with applying foundation, technique is important for blush.
“A classic mistake is applying your blush while you’re smiling,” Rose Vella says. “When you apply it while you’re smiling and then you stop, the blush is dropped and drags your face downwards. You want it to lift your face. You want everything to be going up not down. Place two fingers on the side of your nose and then brush out and up from there.”
Rose Vella also advises not to be fearful of adding a pop of colour on the eyelid as it also brings brightness to the face. Toss out that silly rule of eschewing any type of shimmer. A little sparkle makes the skin appear younger when it’s well prepped, she says.
James adds the same goes for the lips. Light colours are more flattering as darker colours make lips appear thinner and smaller. She suggests, though, if you truly love a darker colour, opt for a shimmer or a gloss as reflective finishes make the lips appear fuller.
The eyebrows, a feature that noticeably changes as we age, when cared for and accented, bring greater definition to the face—especially important as other features are softening.
“Brows can make you look younger,” says James. “They frame your face. They lift your eyes. If you do your brows well, you might not need as much, if any, eye makeup.”
Rose Vella advises to carefully choose the colour of the brow pencil or volumizing gel. “If you have blonde hair and the colour you choose is too warm, that can actually age you. Even with brunette hair, if you do the brows too dark, it can drag your face down or if they’re not dark enough.”
5. Tool tips
Achieving the best results with the proper makeup techniques requires not just the right product formulations and colours, but also the right tools. Getting the flawless finish means figuring out the best applicator for your skin and the product your using.
“Investing in good tools is a great practice at any age,” Legge counsels. “Great brushes are the key to creating a beautiful makeup look and the right brush can make a big difference to your application. A blending tool, such as a sponge, will also make a big difference to blend out a liquid or cream product for a flawless finish without excess product."
Legge adds that an eyelash curler is possibly one of the most overlooked tools. “An eyelash curler gives instant results for bigger, brighter eyes and can makes a huge difference in the look of our lashes, drawing the eye upward and creating length and volume,” she explains.
Adjusting makeup as we age not only improves one’s appearance but can boost confidence. It all comes down to achieving the right balance. It’s about figuring out what is enough—as in not overdone—to look rested, natural and polished.