Working in the beauty industry for the past 25+ years, I am probably more in touch with beauty newness and innovation than the average woman. And I’m here to share my wisdom about the best makeup for a midlife makeover. Trust me, it’s not the necessarily the same as the makeup you’ve worn and loved for years – but it’s just as fun.
In my 50s, I’ve had to accept that I can’t keep putting on the same makeup as I’ve done for years. I love makeup, but I’ve had to have a shake up. I need to give myself a midlife makeover. When you’ve worn a signature black eyeliner for the past 30 years, it’s not easy to accept that you can’t do that anymore without it ending up closer to your brows.
My sister turned 60 this year. She has never worn more than a touch of mascara and perhaps a lip balm in her life. And yet suddenly, she was dragging me into Space NK for advice on how she can look ‘less invisible’ and brighten herself up for this new decade. She walked out with a bag full of makeup for midlife, including plenty of glitter and sparkle. Exactly what she needed for a midlife makeover.
So I wanted to share how I’ve adapted my signature make-up for the menopause years in the hope that it might help or encourage others out of their comfort zone and into a new era of glowing and radiant beauty.
Beautifully ageing skin
One of the biggest mistakes I think women of our decade make, is thinking we need thicker coverage from our foundation. Yes, there may be pigmentation to ‘mask’ but this can be done using concealer. A thick, matt foundation will only accentuate any fine lines or wrinkles and the old-fashioned use of powder is a firm ‘no no’.
It’s well worth visiting a make-up counter and asking to be colour matched. Our skin tone changes in menopausal years, and you may have more redness in the skin than you used to, particularly if you are suffering from flushes.
BEST FOR GLOW: Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation, £32
Top of my makeup for midlife list is a light illuminating base. It will give you a glowy, youthful look with the minimum amount of coverage you can bear. You can always touch up any uncomfortable areas with a concealer. Other favourite dewy foundations: Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Fluid Foundation SPF20, £36 and Nars Sheer Glow Foundation, £33.50
Rethink your eye makeup
For as long as I can remember, my signature eye make-up has been black liner on my top lid. In the past two years, despite trying all sorts of ‘waterproof’, ‘non-budge’ and ‘8-hour’ eyeliners, nothing has stayed put. This is for a couple of reasons. I have extremely hooded eyes and my upper lids will now just pick up whatever is on my lash line – even mascara.
Additionally, although our skin becomes dryer everywhere else, our lids tend to get oily throughout the day. Go figure. So I also now without fail, use an eyeshadow base.
BEST FOR SHIMMER: Nars Night Star, £17
Stay away from highly frosted shadows as they can enhance ‘crinkly’ lids. Instead, go for a more matt powder shadow with some sparkle or shimmer. This can really make your eyes pop. Two of my other current favourite eyeshadows are: Bobbi Brown Luxe Eye Shadow Rich Metal, £27 and Chantecaille Le Chrome Luxe Eye Duo, £48.
Concealer for grownups
Before our 40s, concealer was just to cover spots, right? Not any more. As beauty industry innovation continues to offer us some really strong options, it’s worth reconsidering what a good concealer can do to add glow. When it comes to makeup for midlife, concealer has grown up with you.
Having only started using one myself a few years ago, I began with some ‘brightening’ under the eyes, and now also use a different one for any redness or pigmentation. Don’t overload it. Rather, dab very lightly with your finger and pat to blend or use a light brush. You can always build up coverage.
BEST FOR SHADE MATCHING: By Terry Anti-Wrinkle Dark Circle Eye Serum, £52
It’s worth getting advice on exactly the right shades, and also choose a concealer that ‘moves’ – has some elasticity. Without that, you’ll end up creating the same effect as a ‘matt foundation’, which can only enhance imperfections. I also love: HourglassVeil Retouching Fluide, £33 and Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème, £21.
For the love of lipstick
I’ve always been a lip gloss girl but in the last few years I’ve been drawn to the trend for stunning deeply pigmented lip pencils. However, they are mainly matt, and although I did succumb and buy one, a matt colour is really ideal makeup for midlife. It’s sometime not good on lips that are losing plumpness.
I still however, love a bright red lipstick and have tried quite a few to find my perfect formulation and colour.
If you love a bright red but are nervous to wear a red lipstick, try dabbing a light veil of the colour on the lips with your finger or a brush and follow with a lip balm or Vaseline.
BEST FOR LIPSTICK THAT LASTS: Hourglass Lip Stylo Lover, £31
Exactly the right amount of moist, doesn’t ‘bleed’ and really lasts. Having given up smoking in my early 20s, I’m lucky not to have lip lines, but if you do try a nude lip liner around the outside of the lip to prevent bleeding. Other ones to try: Pat McGrath Lust Gloss Twilo, £25 and Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb, £17.
Blusher for the age of hot flushes
The main makeup for midlife shake-up for me in this area is that I’ve moved away from the pinky shades of blusher I used to wear. Now, without fail, I always use a bronzer.
As a sparkle addict, I tend to go for one with a bit of shimmer, and on days where I do need a bit of ‘blush’, a touch of a shimmery, peachy toned blush on the ‘apples’ of the cheeks to finish off.
BEST FOR HEALTHY GLOW: Hourglass Ambient Luminous Bronze Light, £50
We really don’t need to look any more ‘flushed’ than necessary, so a bronzer has the effect of bringing some ‘warmth’ to the face and makes you look healthy.
A little shimmering highlighter on the tops of the cheekbones will give you a fabulous healthy ‘glow’. Other great blushes: Nars Orgasm, £23 and Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Moon Glow, £36.
Last word to brows
Makeup for midlife is one thing, but never underestimate the importance of eyebrows. As we age, strong, shaped brows can really define your face. Many of us are not used to getting regular threading or tinting as it just wasn’t so readily available back in the day. But now is the time to get into good brow habits.
A few grey hairs are now sprouting on my brows, so I get regular tinting and threading. Even with that, a few grey stragglers get through. I always have a brow tint in my bag for when I spot them.
Use a brow conditioning product such as Rapid Lash Brow Serum, £37, to keep them healthy and plentiful. Strong brows can take years off your face.
BEST FOR GREYING BROWS: Shavata Day-Long Brow Tint, £19
I was introduced to this great new product for covering grey brow hairs by Shavata Brows. I also now take the trouble to colour in any gaps and use a gel to keep them in place.
Two other great gifts to brows are: Elf Wow Brow Gel, £4.50 and BBB London Ultra Slim Brow Definer, £12