Aging doesn't mean losing pride in one’s appearance. Seniors want to look their best and grow older gracefully. Many wear very little makeup, perhaps a little powder, blush and lipstick. A no-fuss approach to their makeup routine seems to be a priority. So, with this in mind, below are some basic suggestions for the application of cosmetics, and the appropriate colours and choices for mature women.
Start with your skin. Cleanse, tone and moisturize before applying cosmetics, and before bed. Apply a day moisturizer on clean skin. Moisturizer allows makeup to be applied more easily. If you don't like using a foundation, you can purchase tinted moisturizers. Some moisturizers contain an SPF, which is recommended year-round.
Use a lighter hand when making up your face. A green colour corrector can neutralize redness caused by broken capillaries or sensitivity. A mauve colour corrector can be used for sallowness or dark spots. It's applied before your foundation.
Choose a water-based foundation to even out skin tone. It helps to protect the skin from the elements and smooths the appearance of the skin. Lightly blend it on your face with your finger tips or a dampened makeup sponge on the spots you need it. I prefer not to use latex sponges as they absorb too much product and don't seem to blend well. (However, I do use latex sponges to clean up any residue left over from powered eye shadow that may fall on to the face).
For foundation colour selection, avoid pale beige and choose a shade that has been tinted with peach or pink. Skin tone and pigment fades as we age, so a little colour enhances the complexion. Some people suggest a dewy, youthful look, but that can make your face look shiny making imperfections more noticeable. Don't use a shade that's too dark; a lighter shade is better.
Concealer can be used to camouflage darkness under the eyes or pigmentation marks. It should be a shade or two lighter than foundation, otherwise it enhances puffiness. Choose one that's not too dry; a creamy opaque formula or a liquid formula will blend easily. Apply concealer after you've applied foundation as it blends better. Dab it with your pinky or ring finger as the skin under the eye is the thinnest on your body and requires a delicate touch.
Loose powder can be translucent or slightly tinted to match foundation. Apply lightly with a big fluffy brush to minimize shine to the centre of the face in downward strokes and downwards to the neck as the fine hairs on your face will lay flat when you apply powder that way. Keep all your brushes clean by periodically washing them in a gentle shampoo (e.g. baby shampoo), lay flat and let them air dry.
On cheeks, smile and apply a matte powder blush with a fluffy brush to the apple of the cheeks, blending up to the hairline. Don't apply too close to the nose. Use a light hand. Shades should be soft and gentle, like peach and soft pink for light skin, and cranberry and plums for darker skin.
On the eyes, avoid bright colours or frosted shadows. They emphasize crepiness and can look harsh. Eye shadows are used to highlight the eyes and to add a glow to the face, so matte powdered shadow is best. Avoid strong, dark colours as they are aging. Colours should be a few shades lighter than your eye colour. For example, try melon, fern green, periwinkle, beige, pink, copper, soft charcoal or light mauve; while avoiding black, navy, purple, emerald green, fuchsia, burgundy or khaki.
If you choose to use eyeliner it should be soft in colour and/or application, no hard lines. You can use a wedge shaped brush to apply a powdered shadow along the eyelash line for a smudgy look. Circling the eyes with liner will make them look smaller. An eyeliner pencil is better than a liquid liner as it's softer.
If you use eyebrow colour, choose something soft and light. Brush on in short, feathery strokes. Use soft gray or taupe, not dark brown or black. Make sure your brows are not too thin or too short. Do not shave your eyebrows. Tweeze them regularly to keep their shape.
Apply brown/black or brown mascara. Jet black can look harsh.
Lips: Once again, don't wear anything that's frosted or glossy as it emphasizes the lines around the mouth. A lip fixative helps to stop colour from feathering. Define lips with rose or coral liner. Fill in with a lipstick in soft colours, like coral, rose, soft red; or for darker skin types, plum. Use a creamy lipstick or an all-day lipstick. Wear a lip balm in the winter or if you're out in the sun a lot.
Remember to apply makeup with a light hand and blend well for a soft, natural look. And don't forget to cleanse your skin at night and apply a night moisturizer.
If you're trying to recapture your “natural” colour in your hair, you may be in for a surprise. As your skin lightens with age, your hair will tend to look darker. So, if you choose to colour your hair, pick a colour that's a little lighter than your former natural colour or ask your hairdresser to put in highlights for a more natural look. Stay away from frosting or brassy tones.
The colour of the clothing you wear close to your face should improve your skin tone. Black can be harsh as it's the tone of the colour that's reflected on to your skin. Turtlenecks may be great to hide neck imperfections, but try adding your favourite scarf to soften the look and help complement skin tone.
Finally, the key to aging gracefully is to enhance the attributes that you've already got; to take pride in yourself and appearance; and to take care of your health and well-being. And seniors have the inner strength and wisdom to do just that!
JULY 2012 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE