“I believe as one gets older, less makeup looks much better,” says beauty entrepreneur, model and all-round style inspiration, Linda Rodin (66). And she’s not alone. Researching my book, I found this to be the consensus of most beauty experts. Which is good news as I’ve never really worn much slap and would rather go barefaced than Barbara Cartland, into my dotage. Finally, in my sixth decade the zeitgeist has caught up with me.
Rodin’s eponymous skincare line was acquired by Estée Lauder last year. Though not available yet, it will soon include a small range of lipsticks. If you do wear makeup, she says, bright colours complement silver hair better than dark ones. “I wear hot orange or hot pink constantly,” she says. “As for other makeup, I hardly ever wear that. Sometimes a silvery blue/green eye shadow and maybe some dark grey mascara, but very rarely.”
Fiftysomething health and beauty writer and yoga fanatic Catherine Turner has a full head of silvery white hair and a new approach to makeup. “I ditched the rose pink blusher I used on autopilot to add colour to my cheeks. Now I wear less altogether – a tiny bit of concealer around my eyes; my current favourite is Cover FX Cream Concealer, which gives very natural coverage – mascara and a sheer pink lip gloss. I like Chanel Levres Scintillantes Glossimer lip glaze, not too sparkly; no 185 Sexy, a bright fuchsia or 186 Happy, a watermelon pink. So easy to use you can put it on while walking up the tube escalator!” For a night out, that smidgen of colour is replaced with bright red lipstick.
Ronke Adeyemi is editor of brownbeautytalk.com, an online magazine aimed at women of colour. Having spent years dyeing her grey hair, she now prefers to keep her afro natural but her makeup remains the same: “I use MAC Tablet lipstick because it’s the closest shade to brown I can find, and Bobbi Brown foundation. Though I have started using concealer now to hide the dark areas at the corner of my eyes, so it’s really handy that Clinique Perfectionist doubles up as a concealer.”
After decades of dyed, very dark hair, beauty writer and consultant Vicci Bentley is gradually making the transition to grey. “I’ve been hitting the bronzer to warm my skin tone up a bit. Keeping it away from the hairline though – Tango’d white hair is not a good look.” And to add definition, she’s discovered that contouring is not just for the Kardashians. “I’m thinking that with losing hair colour, I’ll need to put more shape and shade in my features to stop everything getting blurred. So I’m contouring, rather than colouring: eye sockets, lower lids, under cheekbones and the jawline. Estée Lauder is launching a new contouring kit that I’ve been playing with – Dimension Shape & Sculpt face kit – available in the UK in September.”
For me, as my cheeks are no longer rosy, blusher has become my friend. I prefer easy-to-apply creams for more of a dewy glow; Clinique’s Chubby Sticks (Cheek Colour Balm) are fantastic, as is Laura Mercier’s Crème Cheek Colour. I’ve also found I need to take extra care when blending to avoid the Dot Cotton effect. Now that my eyesight is going I do need to spend a bit more time on my low-maintenance makeup routine. Thinning eyebrows are another issue, and as I don’t trust myself with a pair of tweezers, I head to Blink Brow Bar to have them professionally threaded and occasionally tinted. To gently fill in the gaps, I nervously use an eyebrow pencil – either one from Blink or Benefit’s Instant Brow Pencil. And finally, for longer lashes, the best mascara I’ve found is Benefit’s They’re Real! It’s brilliant. Clearly, when your hair goes grey your makeup bag is likely to change. But with makeup as with fashion, the specific changes are individual.
Alyson Walsh is the author of Style Forever: the grown-up guide to looking fabulous published by Hardie Grant – she blogs as That’s Not My Age www.thatsnotmyage.com @thatsntmyage
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