Struggling with an overflowing make-up bag? Professional make-up artist, Chrys Chapman, is here to show us what we need for every decade
For me, skincare and make-up should be all about how they make you feel. I don’t think there are any products that are completely off limits depending on your age, but there are a few tips and tricks to showcase your strengths and avoid highlighting the things you’d rather not. If there’s a colour you love or a look you want to achieve, don’t worry about the rules – instead, let’s get clear on some basics. This is my key make-up advice to serve you in your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond, but let’s be clear, these are intended as a general guide and don’t have to be followed to the letter!
This is a brilliant time in skincare and makeup terms – you can take risks, but you’re seasoned enough to buck the trends you may have felt forced to embrace in your 20s. The core skincare values of hydration, sun protection and an effective cleanser are key. My favourite product to keep skin balanced is Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm (£47, cultbeauty.co.uk).
Illuminating powders can be tricky at any age, as there’s a thin line between creating a soft, natural glow and turning oneself into a human glitter ball. Try the Nars Exposed Cheek Palette (£46, harveynichols.com), a set of six illuminating powders offering multidimensional finish for definition, highlight and customisable colour. Keep your skin hydrated to prevent highlighting unwanted texture issues.
I’m an advocate of using different bases for separate occasions. For daily use, you can’t beat Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser (£35, spacenk.com) thanks to its light texture, choice of colour and pigment pay off, but for occasions when only full-coverage will do, my latest discovery is Huda Beauty Faux Filter (£32, cultbeauty.co.uk).
By the time we reach our 40s, our body’s production of elastin and collagen starts to slow down and cellular turnover isn’t as efficient as it once was. That may sound like scary science, but the bottom line is our skin becomes susceptible to dryness and fine lines, as well as looking a bit dull. One of my favourite products to address all of these concerns is Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm (£45, bobbibrown.co.uk), as it packs a rich, textured hydrating punch and soft pearlescent glow that illuminates the skin. Pair it up with the Extra Treatment Lotion (£48.50) to add a slow-release hydration that will keep you glowing all day.
When it comes to foundation, keep the formula light with IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream (£31, boots.com). This brightening colour correcting cream offers more coverage than most similar products, but still feels incredibly wearable. If you haven’t already, this is a great age to try using cream colour products, such as bronzer, blusher and highlighter. They can give a soft focus finish without the risk of cakieness that powder can bring.
This is an age when many of us can start to become self-conscious about dark circles under our eyes. Keep the area light and bright by avoiding dark or thick liner under the eye. Creating a sculpted, strong brow will deflect attention from any darkness, while accentuating and lifting your bone structure. Anastasia of Beverly Hills Brow Whiz (£23, cultbeauty.co.uk) is easy to use and fantastic for adding volume, especially if your brows are a bit sparse.
The concerns I hear most often from women in their 50s are centred around their skin’s texture and a loss of density. Lots of experts will tell you that shimmer and glitter are simply off limits for a mature woman, but here’s a secret – the key is placement. Take shimmer too high up the lid and you are almost guaranteed to place it on an area where the texture of the skin is not what you want to highlight. When it comes to eyes, you want to draw the light to the centre of the lid. An ageless, almost fool-proof method for most eye shapes is to use a neutral eye primer, such as Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r (£18, boots.com) all over the lid, add soft definition with a light-coloured matte eyeshadow or even a matte bronzing powder to the crease and finish by patting a glittery or shimmery shade, like a cream shadow stick from By Terry in Misty Rock (£29, spacenk.com), from the inner corner to the centre of the mobile lid.
It’s easy to abandon bold lip colours rather than risk lipstick bleeding into fine lines. Instead of limiting your colour choices, rethink texture. Glossy finishes are more likely to move around and pearlised finishes can really date your look, but embrace the colour you love. If you struggle to find a lipstick that stays put, layer up your products. MAC Prep and Prime Lip (£15, maccosmetics.co.uk) is a mainstay in many artists’ professional kits and can make a huge difference to the longevity of your lipstick, regardless of the colour and finish. Using a lip liner after you’ve applied the lipstick to sharpen up the edges and contain your lip colour is a make-up artist’s top hack.
When it comes to skin, the essential rules of hydration, sun protection and effective cleansing still hold, but it’s a good time to add certain more powerful ingredients to your skincare routine. Consider applying a serum before your moisturiser, with ingredients such as vitamin C for brightness, hyaluronic acid for extra hydration and plumpness, or retinol at night time to improve cellular turnover. They all come in a variety of price points.
Skin in our 60s becomes increasingly fragile, giving way to pigmentation, especially sun damage. Adding retinol to improve the efficiency of cellular turnover can reduce pigmentation, as well as giving skin a youthful lustre. Ironically, retinol will leave skin more susceptible to the sun’s damaging rays, so follow up any moisturising night treatments with sun protection, such as Kate Somerville’s Soft Focus SPF 50 Setting Spray (£32, katesomerville.co.uk), which sits on top of your make-up beautifully and is simple to reapply throughout the day.
I recommend using a base product that can give you flawless full-coverage where you want it, but will also blend to a more sheer finish where used sparingly, that is also hydrating. This will make the finish more natural. My favourite pairing is Hydrating Primer (£30.50, spaecenk.com) and Silk Creme Moisture Photo Edition Foundation (£36, spacenk.com), both by Laura Mercier.
It’s important to use darker tones to reinforce bone structure. Focus on a defined brow, full lash line and a soft, but present cheek. One trick to creating a full lash line, which will make your eyes look bigger, is to tight line the lash line. Using a flat line brush, push your product, such as Morphe Gel Liner (£9, cultbeauty.co.uk), into the root of the lashes right across the lash line and repeat from above for a more dramatic look. The technique sounds tricky, but I find it easier and more reliable than using pencils or pens and it’s an ageless trick that’s universally flattering.