LESS IS MORE, so they say, particularly for femmes d’un certain age and makeup. Say no to glitter, bright eye shadow that could creep into crepey lids, and, whatever you do, don’t dare ring your lower lids with dark eyeliner. Are these prohibitions gospel? Isabelle Williams, makeup artist at Red Door Spa in Chevy Chase, agrees with some of the conventional wisdom but is more laissez-faire about rules.
Get a Good Base
Makeup professionals concur that starting with hydrated skin is a must. Williams says to meet the challenges of sunspots and dry skin with lightweight, creamy products. Instead of heavy foundation, she suggests using a BB cream (aka beauty balm), which is a tinted moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF. The many options include Elizabeth Arden’s Visible Difference Multi-Targeted BB Cream with SPF 30 ($33); Clinique’s Age Defense BB Cream ($37) and Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream SPF 35 ($44). (Choose a shade by applying the cream close to your neckline so face and neck match. Don’t test it on your hand.) Blend with a foundation brush with soft bristles or your fingertips. For a polished finish, take a big brush without powder and buff your face, smoothing the foundation and removing most of the shine. Then apply a cream blush close to the apples of your cheeks. Too close to the jawline drags down the face. In order not to make the blush too severe, swirl the brush around a lot to ensure the color is deposited like a natural flush.
For more coverage on dark spots or dark circles, use a concealer like Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat ($40 at Sephora) that reflects light. To camouflage dark under-eye circles and lighten the eye area, dab on an eye cream, followed by a concealer applied to the corner of your eye, close to your nose. Lightly blend but avoid crow’s feet. To flatten the appearance of bags under the eyes, apply concealer in the crease of the bag not directly on top.
Frame and fringe
The runway craze for very light, almost non-existent brows has luckily not migrated out of high-fashion circles. Defined brows put the focus on your eyes and give your face an overall lift. Find a professional to wax and or tweeze yours into shape and instruct you how to work a pencil and brush to keep them groomed. Williams likes Blinc’s eyebrow mousse for defining brows and holding them in position. Choose a color that nearly matches your hair at the roots, not a highlighted strand. You can also add oomph to thin brows by feathering them in with eye shadow, using an angled brush.
Along with brows, lashes give depth to your expression; they dress your eyes, says Williams. They do thin with age, so she advises trying a lash enhancer, such as Prevage’s Clinical Lash + Brow Enhancing Serum ($100) or NeuLash Lash Enhancing Serum ($150), to help strengthen them. Then use volumizing mascara to plump them up; don’t just apply mascara to the tips, get at the roots for the most lift. Place a tissue underneath your lower lashes to make it easier to coat them with mascara and not smudge your eyes.
Keep it fun
Where Williams departs from the rest of the crowd is her belief about “not eliminating the fun in makeup.” Bright eyeliner in blue or green can do wonders to brighten your face at any age, she says. For women who like their eye makeup minimal, press navy, teal, dark green or eggplant eye shadow into your lash line with a slanted brush. That will wake up the color of your iris and make your lashes look fuller. (Use a Nars eye shadow, which doesn’t crease. Apply Touche Eclat to your lids beforehand.)
What’s most important, says Williams, is to be yourself. Feel like channeling your inner siren with dramatic makeup? Go for it, but avoid using heavy foundation and either extremely dark or light lipstick. Bordeaux or wine-colored lipstick, which has been so popular for the past couple of seasons, ages you drastically, as does matte makeup. If you like the look of shimmer, wear some under your eyebrow or on your lips. Don’t be afraid of a bright lipstick, but choose one that’s moisture-rich in a satin finish; it will stay put with a soft-tip lip liner and a glaze or gloss in a lighter shade.
— Janet Kelly