I sometimes think that, at very nearly 74, I must be very vain to still care about how I look. And yet that would imply that I take time and trouble over my appearance for the sake of other people, whilst in fact I take that care every day whether I am going out or not.
I have an undeviating daily routine which involves washing, skin care, makeup, perfume and something that gives me pleasure to wear. All of which takes about thirty minutes, and when I’m done I feel like the best version of me and I’m released to get on with the rest of my day. Honestly, without that daily ritual of self care, I’d find it very hard to function. But, what happens when there is a special occasion and I want to look especially fabulous? How can I adjust my quotidian regime to ramp up the glamour?
Do I just slap on a bit more of everything, including jewellery and perfume or do I approach the whole process of glamourising myself slightly differently?
When I turned 60 at Christmas 2007, I decided to pull out all the stops. As a woman I’d reached state pension age and Anna had just told me that she was pregnant with my first grandchild, so it felt like a really significant milestone birthday which needed to be celebrated in style. So I had a dress made, something I’d never done before, and I also went on a weekend course to learn better how to apply my makeup. The course was offered by Jodie Kidd, a model with her own makeup range, although, of course, she was nowhere to be seen. What a disappointment this was! No understanding of my older face, makeup formulated for much younger skin and, on the evening of my party my makeup looked more ‘pantomime dame’ than ‘grande dame’ - especially my blusher which was a particularly unfortunate rectangle of orange blazoned across both cheeks.
My 'pantomime dame' makeup on my 60th Birthday
Fortunately we live and learn and I have learnt so much since then, partly from working with so many amazing makeup artists and partly from training as a makeup artist myself. And the essence of what I have learnt is very simple. You need the right makeup, formulated to work with your older face, eyes and lips and you need to give yourself permission to take lots of time and trouble so that your makeup looks polished and professional.
Here Are My Top Tips for A Special Evening Occasion:
1. Take your bath or shower and wash your hair early so that your face isn’t flushed and damp. Allow at least two hours before you attempt to apply your makeup, having blow dried your hair. Maybe do your manicure while you are ‘resting’ your skin
2. About 30 minutes before you start your makeup, apply serum and moisturiser to allow them to fully absorb
3. Begin your makeup with our silky face primer as your very best way to keep your face looking perfect for hours, no matter how hot you become or how much alcohol you may consume (!)
4. Add in an extra small pump of face primer to your foundation to help it look extra smooth and top with a light dusting of translucent powder after you have applied concealer. This will reduce shine and ‘set’ your facial makeup
5. Use brushes in the same way that a makeup artist uses them. The right brush for the job in hand makes all the difference. Brushes allow you to buff and blend the product onto and into the skin so that it looks smooth and natural rather than ‘slapped on’
6. When you have perfected your base, go to town on your eyes. Eye primer is the essential first step as it will stop shadows creasing and migrating. Don’t be afraid to add extra, darker shadows to create a smokey look but do practice this beforehand. I am currently loving our new palette of Soft, Pewter and Charcoal Grey because it looks elegant and sophisticated. For my Christmas evening look I am using extra Charcoal very well blended at the outer edge of my eyelids to create a bit of drama (see Sally and I demonstrate this effect in the video below)
7. Curl your eyelashes and apply a minimum of two coats of mascara. Leave time in between each application to get the best effect
8. Next finish off your face by adding light, shade and colour. If you feel that your winter face looks wan, then bronzer is your friend, especially in evening light. Keep it very very subtle by using a big brush and a light hand.
9. Instant Bright Highlighter is my most magical product for a soft glowy dewiness. It’s so easy to get right. Just apply using the integrated brush in an arc on top of the cheek and brow bones and press and smooth into the skin. All evening it will catch the light as you talk and bring your face to life
10. Now blusher. Not orange; not in an angular block of dense colour and not scary looking! Create a sideways teardrop with the round part on your cheeks and the narrower tail up towards your hairline level with your eye. Pat it in first and then blend with circular motions using your blusher brush. The effect should be ‘glowing with health’ rather than ‘hot and flustered’ or worse still ‘having a hot flush!’
11. Our fabulous new Longer Lasting Lipsticks are a great boon because they will still look good at the end of the evening, especially if you apply one coat, blot and top with another coat. Prepare lips with gentle exfoliation and always add lip primer to the edges to prevent feathering. This is especially important if you wear a red lipstick
12. If you usually wear a pale lipstick, a stronger lip colour will make you feel instantly more daring! As long as the colour suits your cool or warm tones then it will look knockout. I urge you not to play it safe. I wear our wonderful Monroe Red for special occasions and it makes my heart sing!
Last year was a time of great disappointment when many Christmas celebrations were cancelled. I have a couple of nice social events to look forward to this year including a celebration for my Christmas birthday which is in a smart restaurant with my family. With Omicron on the rise this now has a question mark over it, but I hope that we’ll still be able to meet within the guidelines and enjoy ourselves. And, as usual, I will push out the boat, pull out all the stops, up the ante and wear my lovely bright red lipstick in defiance of the belief that a woman as old as me should quietly fade from view.
Hi Tricia, I have so much enjoyed your blogs and have loved your makeup demonstrations and Sally too. All so clear to follow for someone like me, who has never had the confidence to wear much makeup. I have bought a lot of your makeup this year and just love it all. My husband is buying me more for Christmas and next year I am hoping to buy your face creams. If they are anywhere as lovely as your primers I know I am going to love them too. Thank you so much for your inspiration and company, you really are so kind sharing your knowledge and experiences. Have a lovely Christmas and look forward to reading more from you next year. X