Let’s face it (no pun intended), we’re all getting older. But that doesn’t mean we have to give in to the tiny assaults that time plays with the face and body. In fact, there are a few tricks you can tuck up your sleeve to keep you looking current - and minimize the signs of aging.
To start, use sunscreen or sunblock (even in the winter and on overcast days) as part of your daily makeup ritual to avoid skin damage. Put it on your face and let it absorb for a couple minutes before applying the rest of your makeup.
The first item to consider is foundation. Foundations, if not chosen and applied carefully, can make you look older and emphasize lines and wrinkles. Many think that the older you get, the more foundation you need to wear. On the contrary, heavy makeup can make you look older, filling in creases and large pores, making wrinkles and blemishes more obvious.
A tinted moisturizer works best. It helps conceal, evens your skin tone and provides moisture at the same time. A number of cosmetic companies offer tinted moisturizers, including non-hypoallergenic brands for those with sensitive skin or skin prone to blemishes. Many of these moisturizers also include a sunscreen of at least SPF 15. Lighter shades tend to show wrinkles more than darker shades, so pick a shade slightly darker than your normal skin and only use it on those parts of your face that have blemishes to hide or discolouration evened out.
Should you add powder on top of your foundation? Yes, but only lightly. It shouldn’t look caked on; just enough to slightly soften the shine left by a tinted moisturizer. Better yet, only use it on your nose and/or forehead, where oil tends to gather. Powder, if not used sparingly, can highlight wrinkles. Avoid using it around your eyes as it can settle in fine lines making them more prominent.
A little concealer under the eyes can help cover up dark circles, but too much can make you look like a raccoon. Apply a few light dabs and carefully pat it with your ring finger to smooth it out for an even result. If you are using a foundation, put the concealer on first and gently pat the foundation on top to blend it in without disturbing the concealer.
Make your eyes the focus of your face. Attractive, well made-up eyes can draw the emphasis away from imperfections in your skin. But don’t overdue it. Heavy makeup, applied anywhere on the face, can add years to your appearance. Black eyeliner and dark eyeshadow can look appealing on someone younger, usually because they want to look older, and that’s exactly what it will do to you - make you look older.
Mascara can help the appearance of sagging eyelids if you use it on the top eyelashes only. Apply a couple coats. Curling your lashes, helps open your eyes and make them “pop” even more. If you want to try false eyelashes, apply them to the top lid only and use individual lashes, not whole lashes for a more natural look.
Three eyeshadow colours can give you a polished look. Blend the lightest colour over your brow bone. Put a medium shade on your lid, and a darker shade just in the crease. Blend all three well so that you don’t leave obvious lines where one stops and the other starts. Avoid bright, loud colours. Popular shades are earthy and more natural looking.
Instead of liquid eyeliner, which can look harsh, apply a dark eyeshadow as your eyeliner. Use a wet thin brush to dab the eyeshadow into the upper lashes and the outer one-third of the lower lashes. Or use a soft eyeliner pencil and smudge it.
Frame your eyes with well-groomed eyebrows. Don’t over-pluck your eyebrows. Leave them as natural looking as possible, and never substitute eyebrow pencil for the real thing. Over-plucking eyebrows or colouring in an eyebrow with heavy pencil dates your look. If you have sparse brows, you can learn to add a little more fullness with some soft strokes of an eyebrow pencil, but be sure you don’t go too dark or heavy. Thicker eyebrows can look great on someone like Brooke Shields, but when it is done artificially, that’s exactly what it looks like - artificial.
When applying blush, sweep it across the whole cheekbone, not just on the apple of the cheek. Concentrating blush in too small an area can give a clownish appearance. Use a large fluffy brush that helps spread the powder. A creamy blush can work well too. Just make sure you blend it out over the whole cheekbone. And don’t try to go too dark - keep it subtle for a natural look.
Avoid the shimmer. It’s fun for young people, but on an older person’s skin, it tends to highlight every line, wrinkle and pore.
Lips tend to get thinner as we grow older. We moisturize the rest of our face but often forget our lips. Find a lip balm or lipstick that adds moisture. This will help plump up the lips. And look for one that has a built-in sunscreen. Your lips can suffer the same damage from the sun as the rest of your face.
Picking a colour that is a couple shades darker than your natural lip colour works well. Professional makeup artists often use three colours on the lips. The darkest shade outlines the lips; the next darkest shade starts to fill in the lip but doesn’t go all the way across the whole lip (blend so there’s no harsh line between the two). Apply the lightest shade to the centre of the bottom lip and the crown on the upper lip - plumper lips with a few strokes. Applying a little lip gloss can also help create the illusion of fuller lips. Even a bit of Vaseline will do the trick.
If you have sagging skin under your jawline, take the emphasis away from it by wearing attractive earrings or a pretty necklace that falls below the collarbone. But wearing both together can sometimes cause the opposite effect because the observing eye can get trapped between the earlobes and the chest, drawing attention to the neck area - the opposite of what you set out to accomplish.
Deep lines or crepe-like patterning on your neck can be disguised with haircuts that fall just below the chin or slightly lower. For a great example of this, find some pictures of actress Helen Mirren. She has some great cuts and styles that flatter her face, suit her age and give great style.
Long narrow scarves, especially those that have a linen or raw silk look to them are among the favoured accent accessories of today’s youth and have a European appeal. Wrapping it casually several times around the neck is a stylish way to cover up unattractive necklines.
A little knowledge on how to update your appearance can take years off your looks. Experiment until you find the colours, products and techniques that work best for you; have fun with it!
OCTOBER 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND
OCTOBER 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
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