For many people the term ‘mature beauty’ is an oxymoron unless it refers to a nice ripe cheese or maybe a wine which has been laid down for a number of years to bring it to the peak of perfection.
I very much like the Eleanor Roosevelt quote
‘Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art’
because this aphorism acknowledges that whilst beauty is possible as we mature, there is some degree of effort and artifice involved. Which is where my list of the A-Z of mature beauty comes in.
Last week I gave you the benefit of all the reading and research I have done into cosmetics, skincare and the impact of ageing on our faces since launching Look Fabulous Forever six years ago. This took us from A: Anti-ageing to M: Makeup. Today I will complete the list from N: No Makeup, Makeup Look to Z: Zest for Life.
N: No Makeup, Makeup Look. Another apparent oxymoron! I have just watched a No Makeup, Makeup video on YouTube and the makeup artist used 14 different products, 8 of which were on the face alone. So much for looking as though you are bare of face… However, there is a serious point, which is that I know that many of you don’t want to look heavily made-up. You want your face to look brighter and better but not in an obvious way. My advice would be to keep it simple with maybe 3 face products - Light Look Beauty Balm, Instant Bright Highlightand Real Radiance Blush, then define your brows with Bring Back Brow Shape and your lashes with Lithe Lash Mascara. Finish with a neutral soft coloured lipstick like our new Sunset Glow if you are warm-toned and Dusky Rose if you are cool-toned.
O: Oxidative Stress and Antioxidants. Oxidative stress is where the free radicals in the body are not balanced by antioxidants and this can cause a wide range of diseases like diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer, all of which become more prevalent as we age. Best way to combat the damage caused by oxidative stress is to consume foods which are rich in antioxidants. All the colourful fruits and vegetables I have recommended to increase collagen production under C: Collagen are also great sources of antioxidants along with nuts, green tea, and turmeric.
Regular exercise has also been associated with higher natural antioxidant levels giving our bodies increased protection from those damaging free radicals.
P: Primers For Your Prime. In my time I have done a fair amount of painting and decorating. I’m even a dab hand at hanging wallpaper, and I have learnt that thorough preparation is the key to success if you want a professional finish. And that analogy holds good for painting our faces. I know that if you think of applying makeup as a terrible chore, you are going to want to cut corners and who am I to say otherwise? However, applying Smooth Like Silk Face Prime takes no extra time if you mix it with your foundation and Smooth Out Eye Prime takes seconds to dot onto your eyelids as does the Never Feather Lip Prime around your lips - so there is really no excuse! And by prepping in that way your face, eye and lip makeup will look tons better and stay put for hours.
Q: Q Tips: I find cotton buds invaluable when I am tidying up my face and eye makeup to ensure that it doesn’t look messy. However, they are harmful to the environment because their plastic stems aren’t biodegradable and they end up in the oceans, so my suggestion is to buy a pack of sponge tipped applicators and wash and reuse them. Not perfect but better than using 3 or 4 cotton buds every day.
R: Rosacea: After the menopause I started to experience outbreaks of painful and lumpy spots across my forehead, on my chin and around my nose accompanied by red patches. I was prescribed metronidazole gel but this had little effect. After years of frustration and periods of quite severe outbreaks I started to notice that flare-ups often coincided with periods of excess - particularly, say, after Christmas when I had eaten a lot of rich, sweet food and chocolate. So, around 18 months ago I decided to go cold turkey and cut out as much sugar, chocolate and bread as I could manage. At the same time, I increased my intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and I largely substituted fish and goat’s cheese for meat and cow’s cheese in my diet.
The improvement in my skin has been remarkable and the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ has never been so true for me.
S: Skincare. One of the reasons that I love wearing makeup every day is that for around 55 years it has imposed a daily skincare regime on me. If you apply makeup daily, you need to cleanse it off very thoroughly every evening. If you want your makeup to look good, you need to apply some moisturiser to hydrate your skin. So, day in and day out I have cared for and nourished the skin on my face. The result is evident in the fact that my skin is in pretty good nick for a (very nearly) 72-year-old.
T: Taking the Time and Trouble. To look your best. Back to the Roosevelt quote; yes, it takes me more time and more effort than it once did to look as good as I possibly can, but it’s worth every second! Making that extra effort helps me to look and feel more confident and others respond more positively to me as a result.
U: Ultra-Volume. I have very straight and quite unmanageable hair which can look very flat if I don’t take action to counteract this. I am always envious of people who have a bit of natural ‘bounce’ in their hair which means that they can ‘fluff’ it up as they blow dry it and then it will fall beautifully around their face. Mine needs a lot of help, so I resort to hair products which help to add volume and height. My favourites at the moment are Tecni-Art thermo-modelling spray by L’Oréal which I add to the roots and then blow dry my hair with round brushes. When I finish, I squirt with Kerastase Laque Couture which means I can pretty much ignore my hair until bedtime.
V: Vitamins. Given the role that vitamins and minerals play in keeping our bodies in tip top condition, you would be forgiven for thinking that a multivitamin pill is essential to health, but this is not supported by research. Best way to ensure an adequate supply is to eat a wide range of foods, ensure that you have enough sunlight for Vitamin D and to use topical creams that supply the vitamins which nourish the skin.
X: Exercise. This could also be X: Excuses! I have been an exercise refusenik my whole life. That was until I hit 69 and the creaky knees and hips and poor balance started to undermine my mobility. I couldn’t face the embarrassment of exercising in a gym or in a class, so I engaged the help of a brilliant personal trainer who has transformed my life. A big claim but I am sticking to it. After three years of her patient encouragement I am starting (!) to enjoy my body as it gets stronger and fitter. And about a year ago I also bought a small foldable exercise bike and now aim to do five 30 minutes sessions a week for aerobic benefit. It’s been a game-changer and for any of you reading this and thinking ‘I must do something’ I’d say ‘yes, please. Just decide to do something - your body will thank you in the years to come.
Y: Youthful. As you all know I very much dislike the term ‘anti-ageing’ because it pressurises us all to ‘fight’ what is in fact a natural process within every living organism. However, I am not averse to the term ‘youthful’ because it implies that, as we age, we can retain helpful characteristics from our past selves. I read recently that we have three different ages: our actual age, our biological age and the age we think of ourselves as being. I don’t know about you, but in my mind, I feel much the same as when I was in my mid-forties. This is not a delusion, it’s the attitude that I have to whatever I do and I truly believe it helps me to be more open and therefore more youthful in my approach.
Z: Zest for Life. Last weekend I went away to Stratford-upon-Avon with a group of extraordinarily nice women for a ‘retreat’. Nothing religious about it - just lots of great food, deep and meaningful conversations by a roaring fire, and above all, lots of laughter and fun. Zest for life is often written on our faces - and it’s a truly beautiful quality.
I do hope you enjoyed my A-Z of Mature Beauty and found it helpful. It was interesting for me to compile it as similar themes kept recurring: eat well. exercise often, wear the right makeup applied in the most flattering way and, above all, enjoy rather than bemoan your ageing face and body! And do, please join in the conversation below with any comments you would like to add.