Faces over forty

Around age 40, most women start to notice changes in their facial skin.

The top-most layer of subcutaneous fat thins and we lose any last vestige of “baby face,” lines start to appear around the eyes and lips, and eyebrows get sparser.

Fashion pundits have long created all sorts of rules for women over 40 — thou shall not wear mini-skirts or have long hair. When it comes to makeup, we are told at this point, we are too old for glitter eyeshadows, bold eyeliner and bright lipsticks.

Local award-winning makeup artist Jenny Mckinney, 45, chooses not to look at her aging this way.

“I made a promise to myself not to get swept up in fighting aging; it’s a losing battle,” she said with a laugh.

However, during times of change, it is smart to do an assessment on one’s beauty routine.

“How do I celebrate how I am now instead of trying to make myself look like I did back then?”

During 20 years as a professional makeup artist, she has learned how someone can either block or enhance their radiance.

“And what blocks radiance most is doing the same routine for five or more years, never adapting as our faces change.”

On the other side of the globe in Australia, professional makeup artist for film and television Julie Mikeska, age 49, agrees.

“What you wore in your 20s probably won’t work in your 40s, so you need to update the techniques that you use,” Mikeska adds.

But what to change and how to start?

With cosmetic companies introducing new products and trends daily, it can seem overwhelming and some women just give up on makeup altogether.

“Don’t feel threatened when you go into a makeup store and there are lots of teenage shop assistants running to help you,” Mikeska says.

“They should be trained in what suits mature skin, or find someone who is around your age and ask them for advice.”

Both Mckinney and Mikeska agree the best base is healthy skin, so self-care, cleansing and moisturizing should be a priority.

“We are attracted to skin that looks alive, that has a certain level of dewiness,” explains Mckinney.

To achieve this, find a concealer and tinted moisturizer that work with your skin. Dense cream foundations, concealers, and heavy powders tend to settle in fine wrinkles and accentuate them, so explore products that are thinner and silky with light-reflective properties.

Mckinney is a fan of NARS tinted moisturizer and Mikeska recommends Bobbi Brown and MAC Longwear Pro concealers.

Ensure you are choosing the right base colour and blend well to avoid the dreaded demarkation line between foundation and your skin.

Note that your skin colour may change between seasons; having a few different colours that you can custom-blend to suit your skin tone is an option.

There are also many products on the market now, including colourless primers, that contain silicones that fill lines and create a blurred light effect to soften the look of skin.

For a basic day look, both makeup artists suggest sticking with neutral warm tones for a flattering monochromatic look.

“Warmer colours are more complementary to our skin, so they are usually best for eyes and blush,” says Mikeska. “Anything like silvers or blues will be very harsh on the eyes and give a dated look.”

As we age, we lose colour in our cheeks. On the other hand, losing baby fat means our cheekbones are more accentuated. So blush can be an ally in creating a radiant look.

Mckinney likes Glossier brand cloud paints and Make Up For Ever cream blush, using a dense natural/sythentic mix brush to buff the product on.

If you are noticing dry lips and feathery wrinkles around the mouth, use an exfoliating lip scrub and balm before applying colour. Mckinney suggests choosing a lip colour just a bit deeper than your natural lips.

The trend of ultra-matte and nude lipsticks tend to be drying and can be aging, so glosses and creamier formulas work well.

As eyebrows tend to thin as we age, both artists recommend using either a brow pencil or a brow powder to fill in and shape the brows. This, along with mascara, helps accentuate the eyes for a simple day look.


So, what about rules and trends?

Mckinney and Mikeska have two words for you: Rock it!

“Makeup is there for fun, so if you like something then wear it with pride and own it,” says the Australia-based artist.

Mckinney concurs. “Makeup is a way to celebrate, to enjoy a mood. We’re not all meant to look the same.”

They say women over 40 can use shimmery eyeshadow; there is a way it can be worn that is elegant and beautiful by mixing it with matte or using on the centre of the lid.

And bright lips?

“A bold lip with just bronzer and mascara can be a great look,” says Mckinney.

“Adding a dramatic eyeliner for a big night out or a bright lip to match a special outfit can always look stunning,” Mikeska adds. “Just don’t do everything at once; just have one prominent feature at a time.”

In all cases, the important thing is to feel confident in your choices versus fearful of mistakes. Some of the great 40 plus icons of our age are famous for their dramatic looks, like Iris Apfel’s signature fuchsia lips and blue eyeshadow.

As the holiday season approaches, Mckinney says this is a good time to experiment with your personal look.

Many makeup brands create value gift sets in a range of colours, so even if you don’t use them all it can still be less expensive than buying regular-sized products.

“It’s a fun way to dip into a new look and bring your own style to whatever the trend is.”


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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