My A-Z of Mature Beauty Part One

About a month ago I shared with you my ‘get back to sleep in the middle of the night’ trick of going through various lists (cars, vegetables, flowers, dogs etc) by naming them from A to Z.

I’d just come up with a list for ‘The A-Z of Positive Ageing’ which I shared with you and you responded to my ideas very favourably and joined in by adding some of your own. So this week and next I am going to share with you my A to Z of Mature Beauty - all the things that I have learned in the last six years since I launched Look Fabulous Forever which I think are important to know if you want your face to look its very best. There’s lots of mis-information out there, much of it dreamed up in the marketing departments of the big beauty brands, so I’d like to share with you the information which makes most sense to me and those beauty items that really do make my face look better.

A: Anti-Ageing. One day there may well be a miracle cure which stops the ageing process. It will be too late for me, but maybe my grandchildren could benefit. In mice and rats quite severe caloric restriction makes them live roughly twice as long as normal and there are groups of people (mostly in the USA) following severely restricted diets in the hope of doubling their life span. An alternative, which is currently quite fashionable, is to use short fasts of up to 5 days of restricted eating (700 calories) every month. However, the science is quite conflicted. What we do know for a fact is that a balanced and nutritious diet rich in plant foods combined with regular exercise and not smoking has a proven impact on how long people live and, as importantly, how well they live.

B: Beauty Balm. These foundations are formulated to give a light unifying coverage to the skin whilst providing extra hydration. They are more than a tinted moisturiser but lighter in weight than a ‘proper’ foundation. If you fear that a ‘proper’ foundation will make your face look overly made-up, then applying a Beauty Balm is the best way to create an even skin tone as naturally as possible. Our Light Look Beauty Balm is now a best seller for us as it is so easy to apply and wear.

Very many women I meet shy away from foundations because they have been indoctrinated with the idea that ‘less is more’.

I disagree! It’s more a question of the right foundation, formulated in a way that suits older skin and is then applied properly - and preferably mixed with a face primer like our Smooth Like Silk Face Prime.

C: Collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and is found in bones, muscles, skin and joints. As we age collagen production declines which shows in our skin as wrinkles and a loss of elasticity. The best way to ensure an adequate supply is by eating plenty of protein every day. Best sources are meat, chicken, eggs, fish, beans, tofu and lentils. Vitamin C from citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, and leafy green vegetables like kale also helps to support collagen production. What about a collagen supplement? Don’t waste your money! Collagen production is complex and is unlikely to be supported by ingesting manufactured collagen supplements.

D: Dermis. This is the layer of skin underneath the outer visible layer or epidermis. Here is where we find the ‘scaffold’ which supports the skin’s structure with elastin, collagen and the sebaceous glands which produce oil. As we age the production of all of these declines. There is much hype around topical skin care suggesting that it can ‘penetrate deeply’ to repair the functioning of the dermis.

Sorry to disillusion you - but it can’t!

However, when we apply serums and moisturisers to the outer layer or epidermis, they can significantly improve the texture and appearance of the skin and increase hydration to soften wrinkles so that they are less noticeable.

E: Exfoliation. Leading on from the last point, using a gentle exfoliator is the best way to keep that visible outer layer of skin free from dead skin cells. The benefits of this are immediate - after exfoliation the skin feels smoother to the touch and looks brighter, fresher and more radiant. It’s a superficial but nonetheless important effect and really makes a difference to how your makeup looks when you have applied it. I like the Clarins Comfort Scrub, but cheaper alternatives are available from Boots. As long as the exfoliator is described as ‘gentle’, you’ll be fine.

F: Foundation. Modern foundations are a million miles away from those heavy, dry looking masks our mothers wore. I am so proud of our Continuous Cover Foundation because it easily covers all my blotchy bits but you can still see my skin! Applied very lightly with our foundation brush 03 it performs its miracle for me every day of the year, unifying my very uneven skin tone and making it look considerably more youthful. I like to mix mine with a peas-sized amount of Smooth Like Silk Face Prime so that my face looks good from dawn to dusk.

Woman putting on skincare in the mirror

G: Glowing. Glow not shine is what most of us want with our makeup. There’s two ways to get that lovely dewey fresh appearance of shimmery glow and one way to reduce shine. To glow, first use our Hydration Hold Face Serum and Smooth the Day Face Cream which will leave your skin looking fresh and plumped, and then apply your foundation, concealer and Real Radiance Blush. Secondly add Instant Bright Highlighter to give a lovely subtle sheen to the tops of your cheeks and brow bones. Best way to reduce shine is to sweep over a light layer of Perfect Finish Translucent Pressed Powder.

H: Hyaluronic acid. This is everywhere at the moment and for good reason. Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in the body, most importantly as fluid in our eyes and joints. It acts as a kind of sponge to soak up and hold moisture, making it a powerful humectant. My key requirement for our Hydration Hold Face Serum was that it should be rich in hyaluronic acid in order to genuinely boost the effect of applying the Smooth the Day Face Cream. Our Deeply Dreamy Night Cream also contains hyaluronic acid to ensure that skin is deeply hydrated all night long

I: Eyes. Our many eye makeup videos are by far the most popular on YouTube which shows just how interested older women are in improving their eyes with makeup. We have two brilliant products to help you. Firstly, the Smooth Out Eye Prime works for hours to create the perfect surface for eye shadows and also covers any discolouration. It helps your makeup to look more professional and less messy. And secondly our range of pretty shadows are matte in texture so they look flattering on an older eyelid. My best tip for is to get creative with shadows and see what works best to make your eyes look big and beautiful. And if you are stuck for inspiration just watch one of our eye makeup videos.

J: Joie de Vivre. Literally translated this means ‘exuberant enjoyment of life’. Apart from makeup (I know I’m biased but still…) the best face lift I know is to wear a happy, joyful expression. The problem that I have with Botox which is a neuro-toxin, is that it robs the face of expressive movement by paralysing the nerves creating that rather eerie frozen look.

Wrinkles are not called ‘laughter lines’ for nothing!

K: Keratin. Our nails and hair consist of dead protein or keratin. That’s why it doesn’t hurt when we cut them. We naturally shed up to 100 hairs a day from our head in a cycle lasting around three years. Shocks to our system including illness, operations and treatments for disease may cause a sudden increase in hair shedding which can be scary. However, for most people these phases are temporary and as long as your diet is nutritious and you treat your hair gently, then as your health recovers so will your hair. If, however you are noticing significant thinning (your parting is getting wider) then do talk to your doctor or a qualified trichologist to determine the underlying cause. Early intervention is essential.

L: Lash line. Down the century’s women have used kohl and other substances to darken their eyes to make them look more sultry and alluring. About 10 years ago I can remember the excitement I felt when my daughter gave me a little pot of black Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner for my birthday. She was loving it herself as the perfect eye liner and thought that I’d love it too. What a cruel disappointment! On my older, bumpier, creepier eyelids that gel eye liner looked tragic. However, I discovered that if I used a charcoal eyeshadow (as long as it was matte) and applied it with a very fine brush, I could get a really pretty effect that was slightly smokey and wholly flattering. We now recommend this method of achieving a well-defined lash line to all our customers because it’s so effective.

M: Makeup. I can understand why some women don’t bother with makeup. Maybe they see it as vain and self-indulgent to care so much about one’s looks. Maybe they feel that it’s too time-consuming and a terrible ‘faff’. Maybe it doesn’t fit with what they see as their feminist or intellectual credentials. Maybe they don’t like the feel of it on their face.

Tricia applying mascara in the mirror
However, for me, makeup is both a creative and transformational tool which helps me to face the day with confidence and joy. 

Next week I will complete my A - Z of Mature Beauty to give you the benefit of all the knowledge and insights that I have acquired in the past six years. I do hope you found this useful and please leave your comments below. I read all of them and I know how much others enjoy reading them too.