Aging

Make-up tricks that make you look years younger

There’s no rule that says we have to wear make-up, but as we get older it can help us look younger. Here's how to blend away the years.

By Megan Bedford

Foundation

  • Applying make-up to dry, dehydrated skin is the quickest way to accentuate creases and lines you might prefer not to spotlight. Apply a light moisturiser a few minutes before you start your make-up to ensure it's well absorbed.

  • Far from being another unnecessary step, a good primer can smooth and brighten the surface of the skin, creating an even canvas whether you apply make-up on top or not. The options are varied but look for one that says "blurring", "perfecting" or "illuminating".

  • The best approach with foundation is to go lightly, allowing some of your natural skin tone to remain visible. But instead of choosing a very sheer formulation in a bid to stay "natural"and subsequently adding extra concealer, try taking a less-is-more approach with a full-coverage fluid foundation. Apply sparingly with a dense bristle foundation brush, focusing only on areas that need it to hide redness, dark circles, pigmentation, veins, broken capillaries and uneven skin tone, rather than your whole face.

  • Choose a fluffy blending brush intended for blending eyeshadow into the crease of the eyelid and use it for liquid concealer instead. It'll mean you can sweep on the lightest touch of cover and use the brush to blend seamlessly in a circular motion to achieve an "airbrushed" finish, particularly on very creased areas around the eyes – and the product won't settle into lines later in the day.

  • Ditch the heavy face powder. As we age, skin dries out, so the need to combat oil becomes less, and retaining a natural glow more important. Instead, use a radiant foundation and set with a colourless translucent powder, avoiding the eye area. Modern formulas are high tech and allow a featherlight veil, without adding more colour or a dry, chalky finish.

  • A soft flush of blush will liven up any complexion. Smile and apply to the cheeks, blending upwards towards the corner of eyes to give the face some elegant structure rather than a girlish pop on the apples. The most universally flattering colour is a mid-rose tone, but fair skin tones suit soft pink and peach, medium suits deeper rose, coral and bronze, and dark skin tones look great with fuchsia, coral and rich berry shades.

  • Illuminators and highlighters can put the spotlight on wrinkles, but when applied on taut areas, like a touch on the cheeks, they can supply youthful radiance. For a healthy glow, choose a peachy champagne tone rather than anything too silver or gold, and apply on the high planes rather than the apples of cheeks. Powder is easiest to apply, but a liquid one put on under or over foundation can give a lovely radiance.

  • Judge the right foundation colour by your lower cheek – your neck may have been shaded from the sun, while your hand will have seen a lot of it.

Eyes

  • Lining your eyes underneath can accentuate dark circles and make your eyes appear smaller. Instead, use a soft pencil in brown, grey or navy rather than black, and line top lids close to the lash line, smudging softly afterwards with a dense eyeshadow brush. Always pair liner with mascara or it can make your eyes look smaller.

  • To widen and brighten even more, line the inner rim or "waterline" of the lower lid with a waterproof white or nude liner, which makes the whites of your eyes look healthy and clear.

  • Velvet or satin-finish eyeshadows will be kinder to crepey eyelids than very shimmery metallics; however, if you want a touch of shine, use your ring finger to press a dab of pearl or champagne-coloured shadow on the skin nearest the inner corner of the eyes.

  • An eyelash curler is a cheap tool that makes a world of difference, particularly on heavy or hooded eyelids. Clamp close to the base of lashes and hold for 10-15 seconds before applying mascara. Warming the curler with hot water or a hairdryer beforehand gives a longer lasting curl.

  • Colour transfer from mascara can accentuate dark circles under eyes. Try using a waterproof formula only on lower lashes and a regular one for the top.

  • Eyebrows thin out and lighten with the years, so filling in any gaps and making them slightly stronger in shape helps frame your face. Sketch soft feathery upward strokes with a fine pencil or powder, keeping the bottom side smooth and even in shape.

Lips

  • Plump lips by applying a touch of cream or powder luminiser on your Cupid's bow just above your top lip.

  • Everyday lip colours in shades of mauve and pink with a touch of moisture are the most youthful, as they enhance what you've naturally got without drawing attention to their thinning shape and size.

  • Unlike the rest of your face, lips do not produce oil, so they can dry out and appear puckered. A dab of tinted balm can assist with a fresh, youthful appearance even if you aren't wearing any other cosmetics.

  • Bright reds and vivid pinks are modern and desirable, but choose a semi-matte or velvet finish rather than any slippery shine as it can quickly migrate to the feathery lines around your mouth.

  • Lining lips with a neutral or rose-coloured pencil to strengthen the borders also prevents colour from moving and creates a longer-wearing base.

  • A very bold lip choice is best balanced with a fairly light-handed approach elsewhere. Think of famed French women who wear red lips with very little other make-up and look fresh and spirited, regardless of their vintage.

  • Make thin small lips look plumper with a dab of clear gloss in the very centre of the lower lip over matte or cream lipstick.

Hair

  • A single shade of hair dye can quickly cover grey, but often the result is flat and lifeless. Youthful hair naturally has a range of tones, so asking a professional hairdresser for a few highlights can be supremely flattering, and is less obvious as it grows, meaning you won't worry so much about a harsh regrowth line and you can visit the salon less often. To get the look at home, seek out box dye that offers a radiant, multi-dimensional finish.

  • Another trick to add luminosity and depth, particularly on coarse silver or grey hair, is to use a shine mist or a hairspray that has a reflective finish to return some shine to your locks. Avoid the root area, and mist the rest of your hair as a final step when styling.

  • Consider a change. If you've worn the same hairstyle for close to a decade or more, it's worth re-evaluating if there could be an updated option. If you've always worn hair parted in the centre, you might find you achieve more volume by parting it slightly to one side. Likewise, a blunt fringe could be softened at the corners by tapering downwards towards your ears, or grown a little longer and swept to one side.

  • Try out a root concealer powder or spray, which is handy for covering grey regrowth when growing out a dye job.

  • Protect your ends. Dry, frizzy and split ends are immediately obvious and make your hair look unkempt. Put a little hair oil or serum in your fingers and slide though mid-lengths and ends to temporarily smooth and disguise them.

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