It’s time to take on some beauty rules, and may the best (wo)man win.
Beauty Rules from Good Housekeeping Magazine 1958
Let’s start by talking about foundations. Sounds pretty straightforward, but the subject is actually a bit controversial for those of us of a certain age.
Many makeup artists advise against it, warning that it will settle into the lines of your face and make you look older. Opt instead, they say, for tinted moisturizers and BB creams or nothing at all. Nothing at all? Years ago, in the pre-tinted moisturizer/BB cream days, a woman dermatologist told me that a good quality foundation was actually the best protection a woman’s face had against pollution and the elements.
We all know that the right shade of foundation applied with a light hand evens out your skin tone and can minimize imperfections. So, are we to give it up altogether just for a few little lines? Some women have little or no lines well into their eighties and nineties. Others are not so lucky. When Mme Mère died at 97, she didn’t have a line on her face. Her cousin Dottie, on the other hand, was a cautionary tale.
Dottie’s hobby was moving. I can’t imagine a worse hobby, but there it was. She never stayed anywhere longer than a year. I don’t recall visiting her and cousin John in the same place twice. Finally, when John retired, they moved to Florida. Two years later we saw them on a visit back east and Dottie’s face looked like an old leather handbag that had seen hard times.
“You see that,” Mme Mère whispered to me. “That’s what the sun will do to your face if you’re not careful.” From that day on I decided to be very careful.
Model Cindy Joseph, creator of Boom Skin Care and Cosmetics, and a woman in her mid-sixties who recently married the love of her life, doesn’t think that women need to give up wearing foundation after a certain age. Here is her advice:
“If you’re going to use a foundation to even out skin tone, find one that gives coverage but doesn’t add texture. Be willing to spend money on a foundation and take your time to experiment and find the exact right shade. Matching your skin tone exactly is critical.”
The word that caught my eye in Cindy’s quote is “experiment.” I love to experiment, particularly in the kitchen and in front of the mirror (Admit it, you thought I was going to say ‘in the bedroom,’ didn’t you?).
I have always been a believer in “a little of this, a little of that and why not add a little of that to this?” A while ago I noticed that my skin needed a little warming up. Nothing major, just a touch of something.
As most of you know, I have been wearing Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer in “Porcelain” for years and years, which I set with her Translucent Setting Powder. The porcelain shade matches my skin tone exactly; however, suddenly it just made me look a little too cool and pale. So, I decided to add a bit of warmth. I mixed two little drops of Porcelain with one little drop of Nude (the next shade up) on the back of my hand and voilà!! Just that little touch of warmth made all the difference. The experiment was a success.
It’s not uncommon for a woman to find that her perfect color match is actually between two shades, so mixing them together might just create the perfect custom blend for you.
I wear tinted moisturizer and setting powder on a daily basis. Since tinted moisturizers do not have the same staying power as foundations, on those days when I need to go from morning, through afternoon and into the evening with no time for touchups,
Last time in Going Gray the Right Way, I talked about the three most important elements of great hair: a great cut, a great color and a healthy shine.
When it comes to our faces, as the natural glow of youth fades, we can add a bit of that youthful shine back with strategically placed highlighters and cream blushers, the older woman’s best friend. But what about our eyes?
“This is a hard one, but do not wear any eye shadow at all (and especially no contour eye shadow in the crease because it gives the appearance of deepening the crease). A little bit of mascara is OK.”
Oh no! Say it ain’t so, Cindy. I disagree. Depending on the condition of your eyelids, I see no reason not to wear eye shadow at our age.
The skin on your eyelids is some of the thinnest skin on your face and thins out even more as we age, sometimes leading to discoloration. A little eye shadow in the right shade can help to minimize discoloration and smooth things out. I don’t generally wear eye shadow for daytime, but I always brush a little face powder over the entire eyelid area to even things out before I apply my mascara.
As to avoiding shimmery eye shadow? No way. I love a bit of shimmer for evening. My trick is to add a shimmery eye shadow to the lid and then go over it lightly with a matte shadow in a similar or contrasting color to tone it down just a bit.
Remember, ladies, beauty rules, like most other rules in life, need to be bent or broken from time to time. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make your own.