Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Three Make-Up Must-Haves

When Father Time seduces Mother Nature, we Ladies pay the price. If you are une femme d’un certain âge, you know exactly what I mean every time you look in the mirror.

Fortunately, through the ages, women young and old have known the value of the skillful alliance of art and nature.

As her friends prepare the beautiful young Yum-Yum for her wedding to the wandering minstrel, Nanki-Poo, who is actually the son of the Mikado in disguise, they sing these words:

“Braid the raven hair —
Weave the supple tress —
Deck the maiden fair
In her loveliness —
Paint the pretty face —
Dye the coral lip —
Emphasize the grace
Of her ladyship!
Art and nature, thus allied,
Go to make a pretty bride.
Art and nature, thus allied,
Go to make a pretty bride.”
(“The Mikado” by Gilbert & Sullivan)

Even young Yum-Yum knows that natural beauty only takes a Gal so far and only lasts so long. Sooner or later, most of us turn to the cosmetic counter for a little help in looking our best.

In 1935, Max Factor of Hollywood created a cosmetic sensation when he introduced American women to Pan-Cake make-up.

Max Factor had developed Pan-Cake make-up from its theatrical predecessor, Grease Paint, for Hollywood’s new color films. It gave complete coverage and made stars, such as Judy Garland, look flawless and natural on film.

And for the price of a small, round pan of make-up, the average American woman could look like a glamorous movie star.

Since the days of Max’s Pan-Cake make-up, a dizzying array of skin care products and cosmetics have been launched on the market to the delight of some and the confusion of others.

While we women “of a certain age” do not expect miracles from our make-up, today’s cutting edge cosmetics are better able to deliver what we really do need from a make-up product as we age – subtle enhancement and natural coverage.

The following are the three make-up products I would grab if my house were on fire.

Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 by Laura Mercier ($42) - We’ve come a long way, Baby, from Max Factor’s Pan-Cake make-up to today’s lightweight, tinted moisturizers, and this award winning version by Laura Mercier is my absolute favorite.

It comes in an array of colors from Porcelain, the shade I wear, to Mocha. It’s lighter and sheerer than foundation and gives your complexion a healthy, youthful glow which lasts all day.

And the best part? It is simplicity itself to apply. Just use your fingers and see how beautifully and evenly it blends.

The oil-free version is great for summer.

Foundation Primer by Laura Mercier ($30) – As an artist must prime his canvas before applying his paints, so your face needs to be “primed” before applying your tinted moisturizer or foundation.

This lightweight, colorless gel creates a protective layer for your skin allowing your tinted moisturizer or foundation to glide over those tiny lines around your mouth and forehead and stay color-true the entire day.

It also contains antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C and E.

Laura Mercier suggests keeping it in the refrigerator for a refreshing, cooling effect on those hot summer days when you and your skin need a bit of a refresher.

Secret Brightening Powder by Laura Mercier ($22) - This powder looks white in the container, but as soon as you apply it, becomes invisible while adding a subtle brightness to whatever it touches.

I use it under my eyes and around my mouth, wherever I want to minimize a little darkness and add a little brightness. The light reflecting quality of its micronized pigments ensures that it will not settle into fine lines and will brighten any shadowy areas while remaining invisible. I call it my mini-facelift in a jar.

Well, Ladies, there you have it, my Make-Up Must-Have List. How about you?

What make-up products would you grab if your house were on fire?

What products can you absolutely not live without?

Do tell; we’d love to know!!!


  1. Oh, my. I don't know if I could possibly narrow it down to three! Yes, moisturizer is essential and so is primer. However, my eyes seem to disappear if I don't wear eyeliner, so that would have to be part of the package!

    I remember one contestant on "Survivor" one year brought eyeliner as the one thing she could bring with her. I can relate!

    Cindy at Notes in the Key of Life

  2. Perhaps I was a bit stingy here at only 3 items.

    What if I said 5, Cindy? What do you think? Which 5 would you choose to grab if your house were on fire?

    I would also grab my coral lipstick or Nectar lip gloss, which can do double duty as blush, and my copper eye liner, which can do double duty as a brow filler in a pinch.

  3. Brilliant post. Loved it. Beautifully written and full of history and help.

    Let's see, what can I not life without? It's not a product, but I would certainly grab my Shu Uemura eyelash curler, a wonderful verrrrry inexpensive lip gloss from Monoprix with the slightest tint and reflective something-or-others and blush. I used to pinch my cheeks but those days are over. Mother Nature has manipulated my face enough without me.

    I think the fewer products we have the better. Life is complicated enough as it is.


  4. Ah, yes, Tish, “un recourbe-cils” is indeed a beauty product in my estimation and a wonderful choice on your part.

    In fact, for a natural look in bedroom scenes French directors prefer to tint the lashes of their actress (no mascara) and then use an eyelash curler right before they yell “moteur”? So much more natural that way.

    Alas, the Scarlett O’Hara days of pinching your cheeks before you see Ashley at the Twin Oaks barbecue is long gone for me as well. (Sigh!)

    Loved your comments.

  5. Ooops! Ashley Wilkes's family plantation is Twelve Oaks -- not Twin Oaks. To all those GWTW afficionados I do apologize for the typo in my previous comment.

  6. Hey there, You've done an incredible job. I'll certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I'm confident they'll be benefited from this website.

  7. Antipodes mineral powder, Karen Mueller pinky-brown lipstick (both made in New Zealand) and a dark brown eye pencil which I would also use on my eyebrows


My dear Readers, I do so love reading your comments and appreciate the time you take to make them. To make it easier to leave your comments, I have disabled that annoying "Word Verification" setting, which Blogger (in its infinite wisdom) enabled without my consent.

If you have a problem posting your comment, just send it to me at

I will be happy to post it for you and link back to you. I look forward to hearing from you.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...