I think makeup suits everybody, is a flipping wonderful thing and I will never feel ashamed of my obsession with little pots of loveliness and how many of my hard-earned dollars I spend on it; there are some things that my husband quite frankly never needs to know! I believe it’s for all ages and I for one will be bloody wearing it until the day I die. I have however definitely had to adapt how I’ve approached my makeup as I’ve gotten older and my focus has shifted from colour to my complexion because it’s all about your skin as a more ‘mature’ woman isn’t it?! When I was in my 20s I remember spending soooooo long on my eyes after a 2 second smear of tinted moisturiser – as my skin was pretty perfect and needed no help – whereas now it’s completely the other way around; I do have a good old play with my eyes but the majority of my time is spent on my skin because that’s where you can make the most difference and ensure that you’re more natural, glowing beauty than desiccated mutton dressed as lamb. In my opinion, it really is all about that base!
And I have to say that I’m pretty happy with the way that my skin and make up looks these days – and how I’ve adapted my makeup focus and techniques over the last 10 years – so thought it might be useful to share the love and show you my top ten tips for getting a flawless base when you’re no longer in your 20s.
- So, first things first; skincare. Skincare prep is essential as no matter how expensive your foundation is, or how good your tools are, it’s not going to look its best if the skin underneath is dehydrated, oily, uneven or textured. You really have to take care of your skin and prep it correctly as that’s the only way to a flawless base and if I had to stop at one tip, it would be that. And by prepping correctly, I mean of course cleansing and moisturising as per your routine and skin type but a little more than that. For me the most impactful step of my skincare routine is exfoliating; I use a chemical exfoliator (Clarins) twice a week – as I’m not a fan of the physical, scrubbier versions – and that ensures a smooth even complexion and a great base for what’s to come.
- Next up is primer and this is definitely a polarising product and step; I know it’s not for everybody. I go up and down with them, using them daily some weeks and then giving them a complete miss for long stretches. Some (particularly with oilier skin) swear by them to ensure longevity of their foundation; others love the more silicone based options to smooth out enlarged pores; and then there’s others – like my good self – that love a bit of extra hydration and glow and incorporate illuminating primers into their routine when they’re feeling a little lacklustre and wanting a little oomph. There’s essentially something for everybody in the primer category and it’s worth investigating what combination suits you best. I’m actually in the process of writing a blog solely dedicated to this topic so watch this space.
- Now we’re hitting the good stuff and foundation territory. I love foundation, have way more bottles and tubes of the stuff than I need and can use but can’t stop buying them as they really are my guilty pleasure. As let’s be honest, some days you want a sheer, ‘no makeup make up’ look and others a glam full coverage and I like to have all bases covered. Do you see what I did there?! Anyhoo, I digress, as always. The first point is making sure that you get your shade right. Sounds obvious right but I see so many of those tell-tale tidemarks out and about – you know that awful line that demarcates where a woman has abruptly ended her foundation at her chin and it’s a radically different colour to her neck and décolletage. Easily done but so easily avoided as it’s not a good look! And I think where most people go wrong here is that they buy their perceived perfect match and then proceed to wear it all year around when the reality is – particularly when you live in a warmer climate like we do – your skin will get darker and lighter as the seasons change. One failsafe tip is to buy your fave foundation in two shades and mix them as up and down as you need to.
- And an additional point on the foundation selection stakes; do it in natural light. I know that we don’t all have the luxury of a Mecca (if you’re in Australia or NZ) or Sephora on our doorsteps and online shopping is sometimes the only way forward, but if you can go into a store and swatch the foundation; on your face not on your arm or hand. Ask the assistant to swatch it on your cheek and then blend it down to your neck and if it’s the right shade it will just diffuse into the skin. If it doesn’t then keep looking. Also, and I don’t mean to teach you to suck eggs here, but If you use false tan on your body and not your face and are selecting a foundation shade, match your foundation colour to your body, not your face.
- So, you’ve got your perfect shade. Now you’ve got to choose the right formulation and this is largely due to your skin type and preference. I’ve got combination skin but have found that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become drier – and I think that this is common as most formulations aimed at older skins are hydrating – so it’s important to choose accordingly and the great news here is that there have been so many advances in technology that there are so many options now. You have sensitive, dehydrated, oily skin, well then, you’ll probably want a long wearing formulation combined with a mattifying primer in your t-zone; you’ve got dry skin but don’t like wearing too heavy a coverage, then you could opt for a moisturising CC cream. There are so many formulations and you can get everything from the sheerest of tints to proper full coverage and at all price points, so you’ll definitely be able to find something to tickle your fancy; choices are endless.
- And I can’t talk about foundation without talking about making sure that you use the right tools can I, as they really will take you from gah to great?! And they don’t need to cost the earth, there are some great budget friendly options out there. I am a big fan of using my fingers with some of my bases but would have to say that I will use a beautyblender or brush 9 times out of 10 and it makes a huge difference.
- And my next tip, and probably one of the most important, is to use foundation sparingly; just where you need it. You have flawless skin on your forehead and cheeks but pigmentation on your cheeks and acne scarring on your chin; well focus your efforts on the problem areas, buffing the product in where you need it and diffuse it out over the rest of your skin. You don’t need a uniform layer; leave the skin that doesn’t need covering and if you’ve got the right shade it will blend seamlessly. And always use less foundation and more concealer rather than the other way around for natural looking skin. It’s far more effective to go as sheer as you can on the base then pin point conceal with concealer rather than layer on cakey, full coverage foundation all over.
- And don’t over powder; particularly if you’re on the mature side as that can be very aging. I’m not a big fan of using a big powder brush and powdering all over and personally prefer to use a smaller brush (so that I have control) and powder with a very light hand; just in the areas that I might need it, which for me is typically the nose and central portion of the face.
- And this goes hand in hand with my next point, which is to refresh your mindset if you’re not already there. Make up, for me, is about being the best version of ourselves, so think enhance not mask when it comes to applying your base. Less really is more, and a more modern, youthful approach to makeup.
- And finally, my last bit of advice is just have fun with it as make up is just that; pretty, glorious, empowering fun, that can help us be at our most confident best. Because the rules are there are no rules..just because we’re not 20 anymore doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy make up and let’s be honest we need the transformative power of it more than ever now?!