Beauty After 50 Making You Blue?
Plenty of beauty insiders will tell you to just view age as a random number—one that should not dictate the creativity with which you express your inner self. I know. I work in the beauty industry. A business so fixated on millennials and their potential future buying power, it’s all but forgotten that our demographic exists. If it ever cared. Which it didn’t.
Case in point: a few days ago I was working on a project at a major beauty company. The creative team proudly showed me some photos from a recent shoot featuring five “diverse” models—four young ones with various shades of brown skin, and one older one with white hair. The brown-skinned models looked beautiful, their makeup dramatic, but not startling. The gray haired one—well, the makeup artist got creative on her, painting her lids with neon-bright, matte aqua eyeshadow, and boldly extending it up above her eye crease.
“Well that’s scary,” I said to the conference room in general, putting my foot straight into my nude-lipped mouth.
“Really? Which one do you think is scary,” the adorably beach-chic millennial art director asked, genuinely curious.
The one who looks like she’s about to change her will with a crayon and leave all her money to a cat charity, I wanted to say. Instead I just pointed to her image on the screen.
The art director dropped her jaw about a quarter of an inch. Maybe she and the makeup artist and the photographer believed their turquoise tour de force would inspire women of a certain age to treat themselves as canvases upon which to create art, like the editorial photo of the fabulous Maye Musk, above. And like, you know, bring out their inner badass.
Sorry. At this point in life, I’m just trying to get through the day, and not freak people out with my crazy-ass makeup. If you are too, I humbly offer my Seven Top Insider Tips for Reality-based 50+ Beauty, like on one of my favorite Instagrammers below.
- No sleeping in your makeup. I know life is exhausting, but stay up five minutes longer and cleanse, double cleanse, and stop exposing your skin to impurities any more than you have to. Yes, cleanser and makeup remover really are two different things, and yes, you do need both.
- Get your cream on. If you’re a GG50, your moisturizer should be thick, and you need a serum to go with it. Spring for good ones and use the right amounts. More isn’t necessarily better. I love Shiseido Future Solution LX, but then I get it for free because I write for them, so that makes me biased. Go to TheOrdinary.com and fix yourself a big skincare smorgasbord. Practically everything is under $10, so layer away. Just make sure you put some Hyaluronic Acid in your cart too, and you’ll be good.
Note to entrepreneurs: there is a vastly underserved market of women 70+ for whom no decent skincare products exist. Just saying. If you want to create a line, I want to write the brand story. Call me.
- Put some damn primer under your makeup. Eye primer keeps your shadow from slipping around, sticking in creases, fading away, or pulling any of its other cute little pranks. Lash primer keeps mascara from falling off in janky clumps onto your cheeks. Skin primer fills in those divots that back in the day were just innocent pores. I don’t think anything beats good old Smashbox Photo Finish for spackling power, although if I wear it every day I break out. So sometimes I use Becca Backlight Priming Filter instead. It doesn’t erase as much of my past, but it feels great, and it gives my foundation a little inner luminescence.
- Stay fluid. Enough with the face powders. You’re in the fluid foundation and blush stage of life. Embrace it. I wear Shiseido SynchroSkin Liquid Foundation, which never gets stuck in any wrinkles and somehow spreads perfectly evenly without a ton of brushwork. But when they send me Cle de Peau Beauté, I like that even better.
- Go trendless. Trust me, don’t try to line your inner lid with a white pencil. Ignore anything with glitter in it. And seriously, stay away from that matte aqua eyeshadow. Get a pretty palette of nudes and play around with those. Medium tone (tan is good) on your lids, darker tone (brown—trust me) in the outer corner, highlight on the middle of your lid and browbone, and blend, blend, blend. You know the drill. And yes, fill in your overplucked eyebrows already. A pencil and some Benefit Gimme Brow will do, unless you have a terribly unsteady hand, in which case go get your brows microbladed, or done by a pro.
- Just say no to navy blue lipstick. Unless you’re attending your own art opening, find yourself a nice neutral and make it your go-to. Weirdly, lipsticks look different on everyone and it’s not just because of our coloring. Our personal chemistry interacts with the ingredients in lipstick, making one shade look cooler, darker, warmer or lighter on you than it looks on me. The perfect pinky-brown matte-but-not-dry lipstick is my personal holy grail. I have drawers full of pretty close ones, and my current frontrunner is a $3.74 lip liner I got at CVS and use on my whole lip. Not ideal, but I’m fussy like that. I’m about to spring for Tom Ford, but I can’t decide between Satin Chic and Bad Lieutenant. Could be a $55 mistake either way.
- Sunscreen on top, of course. It’s not too late. I like Supergoop! SPF50 Defense Refresh Setting Mist. Two birds, one cruelty-free stone.
Look, I love makeup as much as anyone. I’m not trying to take the fun out of it. If you want to give some millennial art director a thrill, aqua yourself up. But if your mirror is saying “maybe we should leave that look in the photo album,” like mine is, I just thought I’d share.