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Sixty is the New Forty

Written By: Brigitte on October 7, 2011 4 Comments

As a woman matures, looking attractive, feminine, and seductive is never out of reach, but it can no longer be achieved with the same long hair, bandeau tops, short skirts and glazed lips as in the party days. Clinging for dear life to one’s youth is about as futile as stopping the seasons from changing; Doing so looks forced, counter-productive, and at times desperate. Why? Because in fashion as well as in makeup, the game is to highlight the best assets and avoid attracting attention to what are no longer the “choicest bits”.

That said, remaining current fashion-wise (but age appropriate) will erase a good number of years. It is therefore key to be as healthy as possible (which will reflect in the quality of the skin) and as fit as possible (so the clothes look good on the body). A good, cool haircut will also make miracles. Aging gracefully means adjusting one’s beauty strategy, embracing one’s appearance and facing the world with confidence.

Now, on the practical level: it’s time to give up tricks that don’t work anymore; on the other hand, a mature woman needs to add a little pep and brightness so she doesn’t look plain — especially if her hair has turned grey or white. My first aim is to give back a radiant, reflective glow to the skin. My second is to intensify the gaze. My third is to give the lips a burst of color.

Here is a step by step instruction:

– Apply a nice, rich moisturizer to make your skin soft. If you feel the need, select one that fills in the lines a bit. It mainly means the product has some silicone in it and that “sets” the unevenness of the skin. We use this on photo shoots, but in every day life I’m not sure it’s necessary.

– Choose a richly pigmented but liquid concealer (in a wand) to fix any darkness under or in the corners of the eyes.

– Use a tinted moisturizer in a shade SLIGHTLY more vivid than your skin tone. Rosy if you are fair, tan if you are darker. A tinted moisturizer is so sheer that you will not get the dreaded jaw line-blending-problem.

– Rub a bit of cream blush on your cheeks for a little youth-serum effect. But be cautious, since blush is no longer a big-ticket item and should be used very discreetly.

– Dust on a veil of translucent loose powder with a medium sized brush. Yes, loose as opposed to compact, because it won’t get trapped in the fine lines. I am no fan of mineral makeup which I find have a bothersome combination of unflattering reflective finish with a “chalky” uneven texture. For an aging skin, it doesn’t work at all.

– Do a little number on the brow, since it’s plausible the shape might have faded. Little strokes with a hard short-haired brush dipped in taupe eyebrow powder will do the trick.

– Avoid making a major statement with eye shadow. At this point, eye shadow serves best when it’s pale and neutral. Your focal point should be the lash-line.

– Curl your lashes. It might be tricky when the eyelids are hooding a bit. But get a two–handed grip on the situation, and get it done. It’s a bit of an effort, but you may wind up feeling that this is the most rewarding trick in the world.

– Use an eye shadow as eyeliner to avoid a messy pencil situation. Dip a fine flat brush in dark brow, grey or black (for a bolder statement). Lift the upper lid so you can apply the color right on the lash line. If you don’t see it, make it a little thicker until it’s visible. Blend if it’s too harsh.

– Dust the eyelashes with loose powder, and brush on some black mascara. Pick a brand that has a small brush to avoid a mess and really coat each little hair with color. You might consider waterproof if you tend to tear up a bit. Skip the under-lashes.

– And now for the cherry on the cake: a nice accent of color on the lips. Since the lips tend to get thinner as we age, you can cheat the contour with a lip pencil that will match the color. I always prefer to add the pencil after the lipstick so I know how much “cheating” I need to do. Avoid deep dark shades but favor bright hues like fuchsia, hibiscus pink, warm reds and corals. If you’re very fair and wear your hair blond or white, you might prefer a pink/nude tone.

A few product recommendations for this story:

Wand concealers: Cle de Peau, Estee Lauder, Clinique

Foundation/tinted moisturizer: Clinique

Eyeshadows: NARS

Cream blushes and translucent loose Set Powder from MAC

Lipsticks from NARS, MAC

I’ve always been proud of my work with these wonderful women:

The lovely Vanessa Redgrave. Photo: Norman Jean Roy

Jane Fonda and Eve Ensler, looking great! Photo: Mark Abrahams for German Vogue

Jessica Lange and Hillary Swank. Photo: Kai Z. Feng

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4 Responses to “Sixty is the New Forty”

  1. Bre on: 9 October 2011 at 11:56 am

    My favorite post yet – thanks for the great tip about the eyelashes!! Wonderful work Brigitte, the ladies in your photos look amaaaaazing!

  2. duston spear on: 9 October 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Wonderfull advice- even for a non make up wearer like myself-
    Along these lines finding colors that work for white and gray hair- lipsticks, eyebrow pencil even blush- it’s a little confusing when your hair changes so dramatically and yet you want to work with it.

  3. Brigitte on: 10 October 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you Bre!

  4. Brigitte on: 10 October 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Duston,
    You’re absolutely right. However, once one has achieved giving the complexion a little brightness with a tad of color on the skin, the cheeks and perhaps the lips, the rest of the makeup depends on one’s personal style. Helen Mirren, Paula Deen and Emmylou Harris all have white hair but are different in every other respect. Know what I mean?

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