Tuesday, 23 March 2010

TURN BACK THE CLOCK BEAUTY: MAKE-UP TRICKS FOR GROWN-UPS



The last time I wore this much slap, I was fourteen and given to loafing around Miss Selfridge, endlessly trying on burgundy sweater dresses and corduroy jump suits and testing their entire range of cosmetics on the back of my hand. My make-up look was every bit as eighties as the Iron Lady after whom my favourite lipstick was named: electric blue eyeliner and matching mascara, worn with a heavily frosted magenta lips, stripes of peach blusher and beige foundation with the obligatory tidemark at chin level. I was bang on trend, but looked utterly dreadful. Thinking about it still makes me shudder and the current and entirely un-ironic eighties revival has done nothing to rehabilitate the look for me.


Still, in one's Miss Selfridge years, one cares less about looking good than looking grown-up and trendy. The best part of thirty years later, the situation is completely reversed: the Barbara Cartland experience has taught me that high-fashion beauty looks must be approached with caution and, since I no longer anticipate difficulty if I attempt to buy fags or booze, looking older than my years has very much lost its appeal.


So where was I? Ah yes, I had promised , back in January, to talk about anti-aging make-up tricks. I also remember promising to post more often, but Real Life got in the way. I can't offer any short cuts - make-up that works hard tends to be hard work rather than the kind you can jab into your eye on the tube - but it will take at least five years off.

[Apologies to anyone reading this who's either under thirty five, or a man - it'll most likely bore the pants off you.]

Anyway. The basic problem as one gets older is not the lines and sagging as much as the ghastly, washed-out, careworn and tired look that develops. It's as if the cumulative effect of several decades of late nights appears all at once, and no amount of plastering on Guerlain's Midnight Secret or Clarin's Beauty Flash Balm or Lauder's Advanced Night Repair seems to make a difference. Young skin, it seems, has something almost oxymoronic: even skintone and colour. Harrumph, I say, staring despairingly at myself in the mirror, I look knackered and slightly dusty, like something on a shelf in the Oxfam shop. Dear readers, if you feel the same, I'm afraid there's no alternative than to find yourself a decent foundation: unless you have some kind of genetic miracle going on, there comes a point when flawless skin cannot be faked without it.


1.Foundation/Concealer
The trick is to find one with the right consistency: one that's not so thick it looks old-fashioned and collects in the troughs of all one's wrinkles, but which offers enough coverage to make skin look more even, conceals dark shadows under the eyes and glides over blemishes or incipient broken veins is key. Estee Lauder's Doublewear Light is the best I've found for the money (£24.50) - it doesn't settle in any lines, and nor does it need powder. I need something extra under the eyes (including on the outer corners, where there's some redness, and at the inner corners on either side of my nose: the blue shadows seem to have seeped up there too). Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage is a product of great genius - you mix the colours to the right shade with a finger and pat it on. It's not drying, so it doesn't emphasise the, hem-hem, laughter lines. Use it after foundation, so you don't use more than you need. If you're still a devotée of Touche Eclat, get someone to take your picture with flash photography: reverse panda is not a good look.

Magazines will always tell you that foundation must be applied with brushes, or those odd triangular sponges. Nonsense: Fingers are perfectly fine. The secret is to put it on the back of one's hand, dot it over your face with finger tips and then blend lightly from the middle outwards.

A note on mineral powder: my guru in all things, India Knight, swears by it, but like Face Goop, I'm not convinced its for me.

2.Colour

I never thought I'd use bronzer, being pale and not always very interesting, and don't ask me why it makes you look younger, but it does. Swirl a very small amount round the outside of the face and take it under the cheekbones. You don't want to look like Kate O'Mara, obviously, but it warms everything up. Grin like an idiot at yourself in the mirror and put a pinky pink blusher like Bobbi Brown's Slopes (£16.50) on the apples of your cheeks, blending it all in. Voilá - most very extremely youthifying.


3. Definition
Ignore the Givenchy bleached brow - you'll see it touted by beauty editors this summer as a key trend, but thin, weedy, pale eyebrows are very ageing. Mine are white blond naturally, but where would we all be if we put nature in front of nurture? A strong brow gives the face definition and helps 'lift' the eye. I get mine dyed at Benefit and give them a little dusting over with a little mouse-brown eyeshadow, but even naturally dark brows benefit from a little additional colour - Laura Mercier's Brow Powder duo is wonderful and lasts forever. A tiny dab of very pale highlighter (subtly used) just under the arch of the brow also helps to fake a bit of brow-lift. Eyeliner, particularly the gel liner sort that stays put, should be worn inside the top rim of the eyelid, pushing it close into the upper lashes. This gives the illusion of lusher lashes, which sadly seem to have got a little weedier looking than they used to be.
The easiest anti-aging eye-shadow is pretty neutral - a brown smokey eye seems to be very now, but it can easily look muddy and tired. Amethyst grey - Giorgio Armani Shade 12 for example - makes a good alternative neutral, blended just above the eye socket, but under the brow bone (worn in the eye socket it makes your eyes look sunken - instant zombie effect). It goes without saying that products with a lot of sparkle or shimmer can emphasise any nascent crepiness. As for mascara, it's black all the way - all the Dior ones are fabulous, as is anything from Lancome, especially Hypnose and the new oscillating one. Wipe the excess off the brush with a tissue before applying - much as I love Pauline Prescott, hers is not the eyelash look to aspire to.


5. Other young stuff
Lip liner stops lip colour bleeding, and drawn carefully just on the edge of the lipline, can also make lips look fuller (full lips = instant youngness). Obviously, it's essential that if you're going to do this, the lip liner must match your natural lip colour exactly, and should then be smudged very gently with a finger so that you avoid the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane look.
Lip gloss is good - again it makes the lips look fuller - but I can't stand the way my hair gets stuck to it if the wind blows.

My other tip is to only ever be photographed in an extremely complimentary light, and ruthlessly delete any pictures don't show you looking fabulous. In years to come, you'll forget that wasn't how you looked every day.


Here is an absurdly flattering picture of me in my 'look younger makeup', though I've slightly over-done the blusher: I'm far too vain to give you a 'before' picture, but if you really want to see what I look like without the slap, click here...



35 comments:

Em said...

Gorgeous post! And picture(s)!

Very true re. Touche Eclat. I thought I was the only person in the world who doesn't swear by it.

I'm a bit of a latecomer to taking time do 'do' my brows but it makes a huge difference.

Wildernesschic said...

Great post .. I am also with you on the Touche eclat .. you look great :)

Miss Welcome said...

First of all, welcome back!

Second of all, in spite of the fact that you're British, I hear Sara Jessica Parker's voice when I read your blog. I'm not sure why.

Third of all, if you don't mind my adding this to your list, the brand of mascara, eye shadow and eye liner La Roche Posay, which you can buy in any pharmacy in France (or online) works for people who have extremely sensitive eyes like I do. It doesn't contain titanium dioxide like the other mascaras and is the only one I can use. Just an FYI for other sensitives out there who desperately need some coverup.

And last of all, this was great advice. I've been superbly lazy about face care, but am not able to get away with it anymore, so thanks for the what to get and the where to put rundown for the rest of us who are not in the Biz.

And you look great! Before and after. ha ha

Cheers!

That's Not My Age said...

Wow what a transformation! You look lovely, thanks for the tips - I'm with you on the eyebrows, mine are naturally blonde too, I used to dye them myself but I've decided it's time to let the experts sort them out. So now I go to Blink.

lady jane grey said...

Oh, good ! So that tired, dusty look I got some time after my 40th birthday is nothing personal, there are more of us out there heaving it...
And yes, the brow thing, it really makes a difference.

Faux Fuchsia said...

Love this post and love the photo- your makeup looks fab.

Make Do Style said...

Great info and gosh yes I need some bronzer. But HOW I died at the mention of Iron Lady lippie - that pink, that metallic sheen OMG. I loved it so much xx

Rose said...

you look lovely in that picture- great tips- I am not yet 35 and didn't find it boring at all- Ih ave never really masetered not there lip liner and I could do with some help on the top lip especially. Must try again.

Marie said...

Great post. Like Rose I too am not yet 35 but this post is full of helpful information for anyone who wants to look fabulous like you do in that lovely picture. On concealors I love MAC's studio concealor with SPF and blended in it gets rid of even my biggest dark circles after one late night too many...

Looking Fab in your forties said...

There are a few products mentioned that I shall be trying out for sure! I don't use blusher and wonder how on earth my three daughters twirl it all over their faces but never look "over done". I live in anticipation for your next post which will no doubt tell me how to make my eyebrows grow, the corners of mouth to go back up where they were, so that I get rid of that sour faced look I have suddenly developed, oh and don't forget how to get rid of wrinkles. Thanks in advance!

Helen James said...

Thanks sounds promising, I am looking for a new foundation at the moment so I think I will try estee Lauder as I love most of their skin products but have never tried the foundation, and because I agree with most everything you have written I am trusting you to be correct with this recommendation too. x

Christina Lindsay said...

Great post and gorgeous picture. I agree with you on all of this especially Touche Eclat and mineral powder. which emphasises everything on me. I use Laura Mercier brow pencil in blonde as I have fair eyebrows but will be giving the powder a try now as well as the Estee Lauder foundation. I find the Lancome white undercoat is fabulous under mascara too. Thanks so much for your recommendations xx

skirmishofwit said...

I chuckled heartily over this post - I am still in my 20s but did not find it in the least dull, and I think we all have mornings where we look in the mirror and decide some (very) careful application of make-up is needed!

I discovered your blog quite recently through Weebirdy and eagerly await each new post.

ThatGirl39 said...

Fabulous post and you look amazing - am duly taking note of make up tips and will be trying them out in due course. I swapped my Touche eclat for a By Terry concealer - much better as it has a more extensive shade range. Oh the Iron lady lipstick... it was that one and a Boots 17 shade called Sweet Sizzle... memories!

cb said...

Great post, I am always looking for suggestions for makeup, it amazes me that no one has thought of doing a website that specifically targets the 40+, most cosmetic advertising assumes we have 20 something skin, which is quite frustrating. will be purchasing the secret camouflage asap it sounds great.

vicki archer said...

Great before and after! xv

Lisa-Marie said...

I'm 27, and you look younger in that picture than I do on the average day. Not fair!

mothership said...

Touche eclat - the HORROR! I abandoned that years ago, also because it smells peculiar after a month or so - ugh.
I haven't succumbed to foundation yet - can't bear having stuff all over my face - but I do make judicious use of concealer in the places that need it most (nb these are creeping wider and wider, so it's entirely possible that my whole face will be covered in it in a year or two).
On the brow front, I don't know if you have discovered (and discarded?) a wonderful sort of felt-tip pen by Sephora which helps fill in the brows and is much quicker and more accurate than powder and less crayon-y than a pencil. Helps to draw in a very convincing arch and the actual eyebrow hairs can be sort of stuck in the right place with clear mascara... Of course I may be looking a bit like Barbara Cartland myself..

Dash said...

Fabulous post Mrs T, thanks for all those tips, I will be trying some out, love the trip down memory lane, I was at the Miss Selfridge kiss and make up counter every saturday afternoon, Iron lady, Miss Piggy highlighter and a potful of stars, do you remember those?
That photograph of you is exquisite.
XX

Helena Halme said...

Don't know how I missed this post... I have a birthday coming up and will follow these rules to make at least feel better. Thank you for sharing your beauty tips.

Great picture of you!

Helena xx

Knackered Mother said...

You have no idea how much I've been looking forward to this promised post. You first mentioned it on the very day I came across a recent photo of me (well, of the baby actually, but me in the background) and the shadows under my eyes made me race the very next day to John Lewis where I bought the Bobby Brown concealer. It's too heavy so shall be trying yours. I was never a great make up girl but now, nudging 38, needs must. Thanks for great tips x

Alison Cross said...

Another thing one can do is run a little concealer around the mouth.

Then put your lip liner and lippy on. It makes you look a bit poutier. But don't over do it or you look like one of the Black and White Minstrels.

And if you don't remember the B&W minstrels, you don't need to be reading this blog post :-)

Ali x

Welsh Girl said...

Oh god. It all sounds like such hard work! I struggle to remember moisturisers (got a terrible telling off from a beauty counter girl about it last year!). I will admit though that I followed India Knight's mineral powder advice and LOVE IT. For me, it works brilliantly and lasts really well. I'm too frightened to try blusher though in case I get it horribly wrong. I promise I'll try harder Mrs T, honest I will!

Ania said...

I've tried mineral powder but it is so messy. I did, however, recently rediscover an old Body Shop All-in-One Face Base compact. Same kind of thing but pressed powder foundation is so much quicker and easier to apply and you can pop it in your bag for touch-ups.
If I'm really applying the slap, then I'll use just a little Max Factor Colour Adapt as a base.
The real trick to make up that I have discovered recently is to use an eyelash brush/comb to declump mascara before it dries and thus avoid the chip-shop girl look :)

Nellig said...

Brilliant post, and sorely needed.

LittleGreenFingers said...

I'm 38 this month and I will now be asking for all items mentioned for my birthday presents. Thanks you. I was struggling to come up with ideas.

Errant Aesthete said...

Dear Mrs. Trefusis,

You are a vision! Wonderful to have a face paired with all this inspiration.

sanjeet said...

Great post .. I am also with you on the Touche eclat .. you look great
data entry work from home

awhirlinlondon said...

Dear Mrs. Trefusis - thank you for this terrific post. I wonder if you could advise me? Am at a complete loss. I have been colouring my hair since I was quite young (early greys)and have spent the last year moving to semi-permanent in order to figure out what I should do with it because it seemed clear that the very dark brown (the hair colour of my youth) was beginning to throwing some very dark shadows on my ageing skin. Now that the semi-p is all washed out and I can see what my hair looks like I could really, really (oh please oh please) use some advice as to a colourist. Have been brave this long-- not so easy flashing all of this white-- and don't want someone to simply come along and smack it with more permanent colour plus some standard-issue highlights. Can you please advise? I'd be more grateful than I can say.

Charlotte said...

Love this blog, especially this and so many comments hating Touche Eclat - I thought it was only me that hated it.

Will be buying Laura Mercier concealer pronto.

Armani @ Selfridges are apparently doing a make-up lesson freebie on foundation.

Sad to say that the older I get, the more I realise that you have to spend money on everything, there really are no cheap cuts - makeup, hair colour and cut and (say it quietly) a bit of botox.

Sarah said...

Hi - maybe you'd like a post I also did on Miss Selfridge make-up? It's at

http://assarahseesit.blogspot.com/2010/03/back-to-future.html

I was also addicted to the Miss S make-up counter back then!

Enjoying your blog, best Sarah

Metropolitan Mum said...

A post after my own skin - I AM that forgotten dusty thing on an Oxfam shelf.
However, I recently found comfort in YSL's 'Top Secrets Flash Radiance Skincare Brush'. It makes the skin very even and prevents foundation from gathering in all those fine lines. Re the touch eclat - I completely agree. I found it very drying and it actually makes me look older, eek!
I recently started using a rich eye cream as a foundation underneath concealer (talking about slap...) around the eye area, and it works wonders!

Lorraine said...

The most consoling section of this fabulous post is "definition."

I was wondering why--other than exhaustion and old age--I look so frightening in recent photos.

The culprit: Elizabeth I no-brows. I've always had pale brows, but post-40 (WAAAY post 40) my brows have disappeared.

I will look into Laura Mercier brow powder, along with prayers to St. Jude.

Babycakes said...

Hilarious! Just clicked on the 'before' picture.

Am sure you look just as lovely without make up, especially with that bone structure.

Rosie said...

Great blog, great advice but sadly only a Black and Decker would fix my face.