How long has it been since you’ve updated your makeup arsenal? And I’m not talking the addition of a new eyeshadow or slightly different shade of lip balm. I mean, looking at your face, then casting a critical eye over those ol’ favourites and assess if they’re really still working for you.
Spending QT with the contents of your makeup bag may sound a little indulgent, and it is. But if you leave it too long you’re in danger of falling into a makeup rut, and the products you rely on to make you look better can actually make you look worse. Heck, older, even. That’s the predicament I was obliviously in; happily applying products first purchased as a 25-year-old to my now 35-year-old face. That is, until I met with Anne Salem, Australia’s National Make-up Artistry Training Manager for Clarins.
The way Anne mixed creams and applied products as she did my makeup piqued my interest, but seeing the result of her handiwork confirmed I’d been doing it all wrong. Assessing her work, I can without hubris say I looked glowier, definitely younger. But also, more modern… somehow. Had I been inadvertently ageing myself? Probably. It had nothing to do with genes and everything to do with my outdated makeup kit, and techniques.
Salem spoke as she worked, saying “The golden rule would be to stay away from powders, as they make the skin appear cakey and powders can age the appearance… After the age of 30 creams are our friend! Layering creams is the best way to achieve a supple look. Try cream foundations, blushes and bronzers, then just mattify the T-zone if you have oily skin.” She used a cream bronzer (this one, be be exact) for a subtle contour and the lack of powder made all the difference.
Later, I asked makeup artist friend Filomena Natoli (who’s responsible for faces of Lara Worthington and Elle Macpherson when they’re Australia) for her take. She agreed, saying “Powder all over the face adds age to the final look, I like to use a ‘point powder’ technique where I only mattify hot-spots. This also maintains the skin‘s natural hydration.”
According to Salem the major mistake most women making with their makeup as they age is “Assuming the make up in their 20’s will be “OK” for the next stage.” I’d been faithful to the same Chanel foundation since Miley Cyrus was better known as Hannah Montana, so guilty as charged.
Janet Muggivan is the founder of Beauty Dossier, an online beauty resource for women 45+, so is well versed in the anti-aging power of the right makeup. I quizzed her on the one product most women get wrong. Her response was surprising, black eyeliner. She explained “I always think giving up black eyeliner is like giving up coffee! But a coppery bronze, aubergine/plum, a navy or even olive will do the trick by adding definition, without looking dated. On the top lid is brilliant… think Dame Judi Dench… in her 80’s and her signature smudgey, navy top lid.” Indeed.
For someone who had been religiously wearing black kohl since, oh, um… Year 9, this was hard to hear. Ex-beauty-editor-turned-Go-To founder/general beauty legend Zoe Foster Blake backs Muggivan up, recently telling Mecca that she’s ditched eyeliner altogether, saying “I find it ageing on me and makes my eyes looks smaller.” Cue sharp intake of breath. Then I stared looking around at the faces/eyelids of colleagues, friends, and stylish women on Instagram… and those who looked the most ‘awake’ (and least like they were stuck in a 2012 timewarp) were sans-eyeliner.
On the matter of eyes, Natoli also advocated for the importance of a defined but soft brow. “Overly thin brows can age you, but can be easily corrected with a brow gel or pencil. In saying that, dark heavy block brows can also age you and add severity to your look. If you like a bold brow perhaps opt for a brow pencil that is a shade lighter- which is a softer approach.”
Muggivan suggested asking for brows to be “shaped, not thinned” by an expert, and recommended Benefit’s instore services. She said, “Brows are incredibly under-appreciated and as we age, something simple like this can open up your whole eye area… If you really want to up the ante get a fine tipped brush and a concealer (like MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre). Then using the tiniest amount, run an ultra-thin line under you brow. It makes it look sharp, like you’ve just had your brows professionally done.”
It wasn’t until I had my makeup done by someone else that I realised I’d been using the same techniques and – for the most part – the same products for about 10 years. Which would be fine, except that my face has (unfortunately) not been frozen in time – unlike my makeup routine.
(clockwise from top right)
A cream blush: Try Still Convertible Colour, $38, at Mecca,
A hydrating foundation: Try Clarins Everlasting Youth Fluid, $65, at Clarins