Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/10/2010 (3775 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Regardless of how stellar our reputation, sooner or later we all lose face.
The aging process slows down skin-cell production and renewal so that our skin literally gets thinner -- not to mention drier, duller and less elastic.
Time and gravity take their toll on your complexion. And unless you're a freakishly stoic, stone-faced individual, that means laugh lines, frown lines, crow's feet, furrows, and all the other wrinkles, crinkles and creases that result from decades of self-expression.
On women, whose faces tend to be more animated than men's, and whose skin is typically more delicate, these "character lines" may appear more pronounced and permanent.
Those of us who possess what the cosmetics industry calls "mature skin" face a paradox:
When we were young, and didn't really need the camouflage of makeup, we piled it on in order to look older and more sophisticated. Now we want whatever makeup we wear to look subtle and natural while also minimizing signs of maturity -- or least to create an illusion of youth.
But as we all know, the war paint and weaponry wielded by the young and restless can be deadly in the hands of someone trying to combat the ravages of time. (Remember Tammy Faye Bakker?) The mature face needs its own strategic battle plan.
To that end, we called on local professional makeup artists Anthony Polvorosa and Simone Cohen-Smith for some advice on what women of a certain age should and shouldn't do to put their best made-up face forward.
Both were adamant about properly preparing the canvas before applying a single dab of paint.
"When we're younger, it's all about the colours and the contouring, but now skin care takes precedence," says Polvorosa, owner of Provici Cosmetics, located in Winnipeg's Exchange District.
Despite the endless succession of anti-aging products on the market, all claiming superiority over their predecessors, there is no miracle ingredient for skin. According to American beauty expert, consumer advocate and author Paula Begoun, (Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me), there isn't even a "best" ingredient, just lots of great ones.
Begoun, also known as the Cosmetics Cop, says the best skin-care products any company can offer include the following: sunscreen (SPF of 15 or greater), exfoliants, antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients and skin-identical substances. (Learn about these "anti-aging superstars" at www.cosmeticscop.com/anti-aging-superstars.)
Cohen-Smith, a licensed esthetician who has been "making up over-40 faces for 33 years" out of Simone's Skincare Studio, an elegant old house on Dorchester Avenue, says that makeup generally ages a person because it highlights the texture of the skin. Older women need "an exceptional sense of design and clever application tricks," she says, to work with texture changes and to avoid adding years to their faces.
"Without properly preparing your skin for the makeup, you're going to show more age."
That means skin should be squeaky clean (use a non-drying cleanser instead of soap), treated with some of the above mentioned anti-aging serums, moisturized, protected (sunscreen is a mature face's best friend) and primed for the paint job.
Once considered superfluous, makeup primer is now an essential step in many women's cosmetics routine. Primers smooth and even out the skin by filling in lines and wrinkles, and give the makeup something to grab onto so it goes on more easily and lasts longer.
Always form a protective barrier between pores and product, our experts advise, especially if you plan to wear foundation.
The term is actually a misnomer, Cohen-Smith says. "It really isn't a foundation or base, it's a topcoat. If you put a coat of paint on your wall without smoothing out the wall first, you won't get as nice a finish."
As for the paint itself, it doesn't have to be dull or devoid of colour, just strategically placed. As Polvorosa reminds us, when you're trying to save face, never look as if you're laying it on too thick.
Do: Opt for cream-based products aimed at mature skin and apply with a foundation brush to even out skin tone. Powder-based or matte finish foundations love to settle in crinkles and creases.
Check your work in lots of different lights. Your car's rear-view mirror on a sunny day is perfect. (Just make sure you're not driving at the time.)
Don't: Use shimmery or powdery foundations as they can emphasize crow's feet and crepe-like skin around the eyes. Never use powder on its own, although it's OK for blotting shine on forehead, nose and chin.
Do: Go for cream-based blush to help hydrate the skin, and stick to the higher "apple" part of your cheeks. Generally, plum and pink shades work best for Caucasian skin tones, while skin with olive or yellow undertones does better with peachy hues.
Don't: Try to sculpt cheekbones or put blush circles on your face. You're not 20 anymore, and the '80s are over. Avoid browns, which tend to make mature skin look dirty.
Do: Opt for matte eyeshadows and dab on colour lightly, up to the eyelid crease only. If you want to use shimmery shades, apply just below or at the brow bone only. Use a light shade on the innermost lid and dark on the outer to accentuate your peepers. Blend, blend, blend.
Don't: Use a super thick, solid line when applying eyeliner. (See '80s reference above) or glob on the mascara. All you're trying to do is brighten or enlarge the eyes, so stick with mainly black or brown eyeliner. Cheap pencils will transfer onto the lid, so opt for waterproof or water-resistant.
A pencil-thin moustache is quaint; penciled-in eyebrows, not so much. If you use an eyebrow pencil, make sure the effect is soft and doesn't look drawn on. Eyebrows should be "elongated commas," says Cohen-Smith, and they shouldn't make you look startled or angry. Eyebrow waxing can age the eyes, she warns, as it pulls and tugs on delicate skin that is already losing its elasticity.
Do: Pile on the moisture, choosing products that have hydrating properties and, ideally, also promote collagen growth. Opt for creamy lipsticks and watch for matte and long-lasting lipsticks, which can be very drying.
Don't: Expect the scarlet lipstick that looked sexy on your 20-something kisser to do the same thing to your 40-plus pout. Use muted or softer versions of your favourite bright colours. Dark shades can be aging, especially if they feather and bleed into the vertical lines around your lips. Opt for more subdued, earthier tones, and if you use a lip pencil, choose a shade that's close to that of your lipstick. Line your lips after you apply your lipstick. And never, ever use a lip pencil to fake what nature either didn't give you or has taken away over time.
Best face forward
Provici Cosmetics will be holding a Looking Fabulous at 40 and Beyond hands-on makeup seminar at their studio (233 McDermot Ave.) Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $31.50 per person, which includes your choice of blush and lipstick. Call 957-1544 or email email@example.com to register.