(Read Part 1 HERE)
I recently watched Saving Mr. Banks, which really wasn’t that great of a movie, but MY GOD Emma Thompson’s makeup was so good. So good as to almost be distracting. Thompson, at 55, is a good 10 years younger than P.L. Travers was during the time in which the film is set. The makeup made her look older, yes, but still chic, attractive, and age-appropriate. In real life, Thompson herself prefers a very bronzed look, something that did not escape the notice of then-husband Kenneth Branagh, who based the whole beauty styling of Thompson’s Beatrice in his film adaptation on one throw-away line in Much Ado about Nothing: “I am sunburned.” ORLY?
So much bronzer. Seriously, see this movie if you haven’t. Aside from stunt casting Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington, it’s perfection.
Anyway, making Thompson, a blonde who’s into tans, look older was just a matter of swapping color patterns. They gave her a severe hairstyle, darker even than Traver’s real hair, and lightened her skin tone considerably. They toned her contouring waaay down and gave her barely-there blush. Why? Because as we age, contrast in the facial features goes down. Which is why playing up contrast (contouring & highlighting, brighter lipstick, brighter blush, eyeliner) makes us look younger. Something that also happens as we age is that the skin tone gets significantly more ruddy. Ruddiness is unattractive at any age, so the Saving Mr. Banks makeup artists spared Thompson’s Travers by not neglecting to bring light to the skin in the form of concealer, highlighter, and what appears to be gorgeous pearlescent finishing powder. It’s an interesting trick that some of what’s done in this film, makeup-wise, to make Thompson look older, is what you can do at home to look younger.
6. Stroke of light: The YSL Touche Eclat pen and how to use it.
Rule #1: This product is not a concealer. It is a highlighter. You use it in some of the same places you would use a concealer, but it’s not one of those. I know! If you were a dog, you’d have your head cocked at an adorable and impressive angle because: confuse. Allow me to explain. This is a really cool product. It is a flesh-toned, non-sparkly illuminator (or highlighter, whatever, same diff) and, most people don’t know this, has skincare benefits. It is highly moisturizing and contains green tea extract, which is great for undereye depuffing and temporary wrinkle tightening.
How does it make you look younger instantly? It’s all in how you use it: this product is to be applied in areas of darkness or sallowness and in wrinkles or depressions. Think of the justifiable popularity of fillers for making people look younger. Think of how supple, dewy, glowing skin looks younger. Think of how soft, diffused lighting brings out features and is flattering. YSL bottled all of that in this product. There are many similar products out there, and I have tried them all. Touche Eclat is hands-down the best.
Where to use: undereye, inner eye corner, edges of the nostrils, crow’s feet area, along the tops of the cheekbones, in nasolabial folds, in marionette lines, in between brows, around lips, along the Cupid’s Bow. Dispense a small amount and blend with fingers. Easy.
7. Do the dewy foundation
I’m about to drop some knowledge on you guys that is not pretty. Working in retail is tough, and it can sometimes bring out the worst in people. And by “people,” I mean me. There have been times when I’ve stood around for 15 minutes with my fellow reps marvelling at how someone (approaching or in) middle age could possibly think that caking their face in powder foundation is the best look for them. It’s not nice, but it happens.
Powder foundation, no matter what kind you use, settles in lines and pores, robs moisture from your skin, and makes you look old. Thems the facts. Ask ANY makeup artist out there, and they will all tell you that even setting powder is dicey after 40. Argue with me all you want about how you love your Bare Minerals, and doesn’t it look great on you; in the store, I will be nodding in agreement with you and saying, “yeah, uh-huh, uh-huh,” because I’m not a monster. Inside my head, though, I’m mentally imagining how much better you’d look in some grown-up, big-girl foundation. I really do want what’s best for you, ladies. (Which is not to say that I haven’t met older ladies that look great in a powder foundation. I have, but it’s rare. I cannot impress upon you enough how exceptional that is.)
The best liquid foundations that I have personally tried and tested on probably 200+ ladies with aging skin are as follows: Make Up For Ever Liquid Lift Foundation (for medium, buildable coverage), Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation (for sheer, lightweight, buildable coverage), YSL Touche Eclat Foundation (light-to-medium coverage, my personal go-to foundation), Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation (if, for some reason, you require full coverage), Perricone No Foundation Foundation (if you desire BB cream, or a makeup with light coverage and serious skincare benefits, as vitamin C ester is the SECOND INGREDIENT. I mean, holy hell).
A note about coverage: If you want to look younger, do the least amount of coverage you can get away with. If you have discoloration, scars, or skin issues, you should be focusing more energy on addressing those with your skincare. There’s more payoff that way. Trust. Also, look how full coverage foundation makes even baby-faced Katy Perry look kind of older and rough:
Girl needs to skip to step 10: PEELS.
Now comes the sticky subject of setting powder. I really prefer no powder if you can spare it, because I am first and foremost a skincare nut. But if you need your makeup to stay put, a powder is probably better than a setting spray, because those are pretty much watered-down hairspray for your face. Not so good. But, finishing powders don’t have to look dry and cakey. Go for a luminous powder like Mac Mineralize (or try the homemade mineralize I MacGuyvere’d up in my last post), Bare Minerals Illuminating Mineral Veil (see? I don’t hate the ENTIRE brand!), or Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder (of the series, Diffused Light is my favorite, as its yellow tone can help cancel out red).
8. Contouring is not just for Kardashians
…Or should I have said “kontouring?” LOL. First of all, a pronunciation lesson: It is “CON-tour”, not “con-TOUR” or “kin’-TOUR”, OK? I know, some longhaired basic you watch on YouTube calls it “kn’TOUReeng,” but that’s wrong. And, while we’re at it, let me please just state the disclaimer that I have to use on clients on a daily basis, which strangely blows their minds: Anyone can have a YouTube channel. There is no bar to entry on becoming a makeup video ho (the same can be said for having a Tumblr, but just know that I’ve been doing this shit and getting paid for it off-and-on for 13 years). There are YouTube girls out there who tell people not to use moisturizer before putting on foundation, OK? That’s the level of Crazy we’re dealing with. If you honestly think the makeup tables backstage at fashion week, chaperoned by the elite makeup artists of the world, are not crowded with 50% skincare products… Pssssht, you need to sit the fuck down.
Anyway, contouring can make you look younger, but not so fast. If you’re not careful, contouring can be a bit severe, and can make you look older. How else do you think makeup artists make 14-year-old Ukrainian girls look like fully-fledged adults who’ve experienced the onset of menses?
See? The trick to contouring when you want to look younger is to use a light hand, and maybe do a powder contour rather than a cream. I know, I know, I’m making your head explode with this wishy-washiness on powder products. Just know that with contouring, the powder is not going everydamnwhere.
Not the difference in how much contour is being used here. There’s more highlight than contour (which is why the YSL pen is listed above), and the main focus should be the jowls area. I really regret having to say “jowls,” but there it is. You’ll also want to contour the nose, as a bigger honker is a sign of age. I remember how freaked out I was when I learned the fact that your nose and ears never stop growing. THEY NEVER STOP. That is my nightmare, basically. Because I hate my nose. BUT, fun fact, the definitive way to spot a celebrity nose job is if their nose does not get bigger with age. Rhinoplasty significantly hampers the expansion process. I’m looking at you, Michelle Pfeiffer! Anyway, contouring tip: apply contour with a small brush for precision (there’s nothing worse than getting it in the wrong place), and blend with a larger, fluffier brush. Like so:
9. Get a fuller lip
I’m going to do my best to refrain from using beauty-industry Thesaurus words like “pout” to describe your lips, because UGH. Anyway, what I’m about to share is nothing new. You can use lipliner to sculpt your lips into appearing fuller. So well-worn is this information that I could illustrate this whole point with pics:
Use liner around the edges and corners, leaving the center of the lips blank.
Highlight the center with light, shimmery things.You can even use concealer!
OK, now for the patented LLB spin on old hat. You know what I’m going to say, right? Don’t use dull, greyish, or brown lipliner. DUH. Light, bright, clear, sheer colors look young. Matte, dull, earthy, and brownish colors drag the face down. Women of color look amazing in plums, terra cottas, chocolates, reds, and jewel tones. Palefaces should not fear pink, plum, coral, or even red. I mean, fuck, there are not rules as long as you’re choosing fun colors. ATTENTION OVER-40 WHITE LADIES: “russet” and “rust” are not fun colors and they do not look good on you. I know you went to Merle Norman and “had your colors done” in 1980, but that was bad information then, and it’s bad information now. ALSO: You do not know what the color “mauve” is. This is what you show me when you ask for “mauve lipstick”:
A brownish-reddish with metallic tones, yeah? This is COPPER or RUST, and it’s dated and unflattering on you. At least once a week at work, a woman comes in clutching the sad, ancient, worn-down remains of some godawful metallic earth toned lipstick asking me to match it. Often, I can’t. Often, they’ll explain that they’ve been to 100 makeup counters and no one has this color. It never dawns on the poor dears, and I’m too nice to point it out, that the reason these colors have been discontinued is that they are horrifically dog-ugly, unflattering, and no one wants them. The universe is telling you that it’s time to make a change. It is also telling you, in the form of my blog, that copper is not mauve, so stop correcting me.
THIS is mauve. Mauve is a PINK, people, not an earth tone. It’s a pinky-purple-taupe, and it’s an awesome color for lipstick. You should wear it.
Also consider lip plumping products. I understand why people are afraid of these. Basically, if it doesn’t irritate or sting your lips, the product should be OK for long-term use. I really like the Buxom lip glosses. They actually do work, and they stay on really well. If gloss isn’t your thing (understandable), my secret weapon is Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion. It’s a hyaluronic and marine collagen plumping face serum, and hella pricey, but it’s pretty cost-effective and totally ass-crazy-amazing if you only use it on your lips. Try it! It’s the non-surgical alternative to comically-pouty Lana Del Rey mouf.
10. Do a chemical peel
Do yourself a favor and google image search “before and after peel.” It’s amazing, because it’s like Faces of Meth, but in reverse! Peels de-age you with the speed of meth!
Awwww, but I tricked ya! This is a makeup post, and I’m talking to you about skincare! The old bait-and-switch! But for real, doing a peel makes you look younger, makes your skin tighter and smoother, pores less noticeable, IMMEDIATELY. I look freaking 20 years old the whole next day after a peel. I actually had a waitress refuse to serve me a glass of wine last week when my BF and I went out for a bite and I didn’t bring my purse. I’ve been drinking legally longer than Facebook has existed, people. Skincare magic is REAL.
I love the Ole Henriksen Power Peel for that take-no-prisoners, get-everything-off type of peel. But it is STRONG. Proceed with caution. For a wimpier but no less good peel, try Exfolikate Gentle or PTR Laser-free Retexturizing scrub. You can eventually work up to a big boy peel. More on this later.
11. Tightline your lower lid (AKA waterline).
In the last post, I told you to tightline your upper lashline. I think I may have neglected to mention that you should do that with a really dark color like black, espresso, navy blue, or charcoal. Can you tightline your lower lid with these colors? Yes, but it can make the eyes appear smaller or squinty. So why am I telling you to do this? Because of gravity. Sagging breasts, cheeks, jawlines and upper knee skin is something we’re all aware happens with age. However, an oft-overlooked area of sagging is the lower eyelid. Not only does the eyelid sag, but the pink parts of the eye darken and become redder as we age. I promise I’m not trying to give you guys complexes about body parts you’ve never even thought of, just laying bare the facts of what makeup artists do, day in and day out, to make people look younger because that is what they ask us to do.
Now, a lot of people will tell you to line the lower lid with white eyeliner to fake a youthful, wide-eyed look. BUT, I don’t always think that’s true. To contrast, allow me to note that in Saving Mr. Banks, Emma Thompson’s lower lid WAS lined in white. NOT, as we usually think for a youthful doe-eye, but to make the eyelid look wider and looser which was actually in service of making her look older.
Anyway, I hate this. To me, it always looks fake. I mean, yeah, all makeup looks fake, but we’re talking cosplay fake. It is in itself a “look,” as opposed to a flattering daily makeup trick. There are lots of brands now making matte peachy flesh-toned eyeliners (Stila liner in Topaz is one example) for tightlining, and I think they’re better than white for counteracting the deep red tones that appear on the inner lid in mature skin.
But still, I think you could do one better by lining in a darker color. Mature ladies, being themselves storied and dignified, don’t always need a wide-eyed look. A darker (but not too dark) liner creates a tighter, more pulled-in lower lid look befitting a grown-ass lady who has her shit together.
Think shimmering taupe, khaki, silvery grey, bronze or rose gold for the inner rim. These will bring light to the eyes while still defining and creating a bit of shadowy mystery.
That’s all for this epic 2-part post about mature beauty (did you happen to catch the Shakespeare tie-in in both posts?). You can use these tips even if you’re still a spring chicken or whatever, because good makeup is sexy at any age. Who doesn’t want to look this hot:
Her makeup game is on point. Girl looks GOOD.