Top Tips for Beautiful Makeup
David Hockney is in the news this week because one of his iconic early Californian swimming pool paintings ‘The Splash’ has just been sold at Sotheby’s for the eye-watering sum of £23m
Hockney at 82 is possibly one of the most inventive and experimental artists alive today. I remember going to an exhibition of Hockney’s work at (I think) the Royal Academy a while back and being blown away by the scope of his creativity and imagination, which advancing age has in no way diminished.
He has produced works in a multitude of different media including painting, drawing, printmaking, watercolours and photography. He’s also fascinated by the creative potential of modern technology and has experimented with computer and iPad drawing programmes. The range of his subject matter includes still life, landscapes, portraits of friends and family, his dogs and stage designs for the theatre and opera. Throughout his long life, Hockney has kept that rare capacity of total openness to new ideas, new materials and new directions in order to express his creativity and artistic imagination. It’s an approach from which we can learn so much, especially when it comes to painting our own faces!
My Tip Top Tips for Makeup Experimentation and Creativity
Unlike Hockney, we are obviously not going to experiment with a wide range of media or materials. We are going to stick with primers, powders and paints in a range of different formulations and our tools will be various types of brushes and (maybe) our fingers with the odd useful gadget (mirrors, tweezers, eyelash curlers) for good measure. Our subject matter is our face, which over the course of our lives will change considerably, but our objective will stay the same, to create a pleasing effect that makes us feel good when we look in the mirror.
Run your hands over your face. The softer and smoother it feels the better your makeup will look. I have just realised that mine needs exfoliating, so I’ll use a facial scrub this evening. This will get rid of some of those unhelpful dead skin cells and bring fresh skin to the surface. It will also help my Deeply Dreamy Night Cream to absorb better. Tomorrow, after I have cleansed and moisturised with serum and day cream, my makeup will look a lot more even and less patchy.
My Top Tips
Your makeup will look its best applied to the smoothest canvas you can create. This can be achieved by scrupulous cleansing, thorough daily and nightly moisturising and regular exfoliation. The odd deep moisture mask won’t do any harm either. However, skincare is only half the story of your canvas. Please bear in mind that your lifestyle also plays a vital role. Exposure to the sun and smoking are the most damaging, as is daily alcohol consumption. The best ‘rescuers’ are an antioxidant rich diet (oily fish and leafy greens) and lots of good restorative sleep.
I have seen photos of Hockney’s studio and he has many hundreds of brushes in jars of every conceivable size and shape. You don’t need that many, but you do need some big fat ones for the larger surfaces like your face and neck all the way down to some really tiny ones for fine detail at the eyes and mouth. We have 8 wonderful makeup brushes in our range and each has been chosen because it is the perfect size and shape for a particular movement and effect. However, I have more than one of certain brushes (like Powder Brush 1 and Eye Shadow Brush 7) because I use them for different products and colours.
My Top Tips
The very best way to get a really professional finished effect is to use the right brush in the right way at the right time. Practice makes perfect and remember to blend, blend and blend so that you get no hard sharp lines where one makeup product starts and ends. The exception to that rule is lipstick where a fine brush (5) will create a nice sharply defined edge.
3. Primers, Paint & Powders
This was my main motivation for creating the LFF range. Pre-menopausal skin behaves very differently from post-menopausal skin. As our oestrogen levels drop, our skin starts to change. It is drier, more absorbent and our skin tone becomes paler and more uneven (i.e. we may get blue patches under our eyes, age spots and/or redness). This is the normal process of ageing, however the right products formulated to take account of these changes can make all the difference. Primers are a wonderful example of modern products which help your paint to stay put. Our face, eye and lip primers stop makeup disappearing and help it to look smooth, crisp and neat. LFF foundations pull off that difficult trick of being light but unifying your skin tone perfectly. Our blusher, highlighter, face powder, eye shadows and even our mascara are all designed and formulated to enhance older features.
My Top Tips
The paleness that comes from the loss of melanin is more ageing than the appearance of wrinkles. It’s called the loss of the ‘luminance of contrast’ - which means that your features lose definition and take on a ‘faded’ appearance. Makeup paints and powders restore that lost colour and definition and primers ensure that your makeup looks good for hours.
I still think that colour is the scariest aspect of makeup for most older women. The ‘nude’ face has been around a long time and is still ubiquitous but it’s a very hard look to achieve successfully. The trouble is that if you become used to a ‘no makeup, makeup look’, then as soon as you add some colour at the cheeks, eyes and lips it can feel very overdone. The answer is to start slowly and to experiment. Maybe try a touch of peachy-pink blusher. Our Real Radiance Blush in Peach Cream suits most people and instantly lights up the face. All our matte No Shimmer Eye Shades are beautifully subtle and so it’s almost impossible to over-do their effect. I have recently started to apply my darker lash line first (using Midnight Blue shadow and a No 8 small wedge brush), then I apply a lighter shadow (Cream, Soft Grey or Lilac Mist) to my eyelids which helps the lash line to look a bit softer. I finish by shaping into the socket line with Taupe or Bluebell. A couple of coats of mascara completes the look.
My Top Tips
Stop thinking less is more. Hockney moved to California and started to paint pictures saturated with vibrant colour. I know that it’s winter at the moment and we are living with a grey, cold light but your face doesn’t have to look colourless to match! My favourite moment in a makeover is when I apply the lipstick. It’s just as if that Californian sun has emerged out of the gloom!
Think in terms of both adding luminosity to your face and also the quality of the light in which you apply your makeup and in which it’s seen. Adding light is about highlighting and shaping. Our Instant Bright Highlighter is a wonderful product which can add a touch of luminosity to make your cheek and brow bones look a better shape. You can also put a strip down the nose to slim it, or a thin line around the mouth to make your lip colour ‘pop’. I also find that I can only apply my makeup nowadays in really good strong daylight. My eyesight is ok (I am short sighted) but the quality of the light is now an issue. I position my two-way magnifying mirror on a stand in front of the biggest window in my house, preferably in full daylight. I also check that my makeup looks good when I am outside in daylight which can be particularly unforgiving - especially when it is sunny.
My Top Tips
These are the areas I check: that my foundation at hair and jawline is thoroughly blended, I also use Q Tips to remove any build up of foundation on my top lip. I remember to brush away any ‘speckles’ of eye shadow powder which may have fallen down onto my cheeks, and ensure that my mascara hasn’t left black ‘dots’ around my eyes. Finally, I check that I have no lippie on my teeth!
I suggest that you keep experimenting and trying new techniques - then appraise the effect. This will ensure that you don’t keep doing the ‘same old, same old’ with your makeup. It’s so easy to get stuck in a makeup rut. Fashions change with makeup as they do with clothes. Take eyebrows which (thanks to the Kardashians) are having a Groucho Marx moment. The fashion for heavy, dominant brows looks wrong on a more delicate older face IMHO, but giving definition to brows using our Bring Back Brow Shape can really enhance and complete your look in an attractive way. Applying this may mean learning a new technique but it will be worth the effort, I promise!
My Top Tips
Be open to new ideas, new products and new ways of applying them. It doesn’t have to be ‘all change’ just an adaptation over time to what looks good on the face that is currently reflected in your mirror. Our videos can show you how and will give you the confidence to switch it up from time to time. And remember practice makes perfect.
I am fascinated by the way that faces change over a lifetime. I look at photographs of me taken in my early 40s, 50s and 60s and can see the various ways that my features have changed during those decades. For instance, my eyes are rounder in shape and there are now deep blue ‘hollows’ either side of the top of my nose. The skin on my face is less taut and my jawline has become less well defined. When I get up in the morning my face looks really pale and, especially in February, rather wan. I am not interested in bemoaning the fact that my face is ageing, but I am interested to find ways to use the makeup, tools and techniques at my disposal to compensate for those changes in order to create a face that, after just a few minutes in front of my mirror, looks brighter, better and altogether more vibrant!
I am 76, live in Texas USA, and so happy I found your site. I have placed my first order and can’t wait for it to arrive. I watched so many videos before I latched on to LFF, and love what your sensible approach to older-skin makeup does for one’s older self. Many thanks, Linda
I purchased face primer and foundation but am obviously not applying correctly. It ends up shedding like using an eraser. I’ve tried exfoliating, extra moisturiser, cleaning makeup brushes but nothing helps. Any ideas ?
Hi Mandy - very sorry to hear this. It's most likely to be caused by the moisturiser you are using. To test that this is true - try applying the foundation and primer to an area of skin without moisturiser (like the back of yout hand). I think you will see that it will work just fine - so it's up to you whether you want to try it with a different moisturiser or you want to return the LFF products to us and we will refund you in full. Triciax
Inspirational as usual. You make me think differently about my face which I hate to see ageing. I will keep trying. Thanks Mary
Thanks again, Tricia! - always interesting blog! - especially useful your note on 'start slowly' if one's a bit of a newbie to taking makeup seriously. Question/ challenge! : you mention the searching effect of daylight on a made-up older face! - it would be great if you could do a feature on what sort of different makeup one might have for a coffee date with friends in town, compared with a day's walking in blustery rainy weather! - including for the latter, a 'before' and 'after' - how it looks when one leaves the house, but still looks ok when one is relaxing in a teashop after a day's rainy and windy walk in the Pennines! At the moment I only dare to wear the essential Bring Back Brow, but would love to have other ideas. Thanks again. Gina
Hi Gina, on my walking days it’s a good SPF 50 sun screen and a bit of lippy which is renewed before pub lunch or tea shop. The glow from the walk is good enough. It’s my hair I worry about after removing the woolly hat!