When you are young and in the prime of your life, we don’t often give much thought to the adjustments we will have to make as we age. I longingly remember my high school days – more specifically, my supple creaseless skin. I could easily walk out of the house without a bit of makeup, not a care in the world about who I might run into. (Sigh) Those were the days! But alas, as I head into my mid 30s, I find that those days seem like a distant memory. These days, if I leave the house with anything less than concealer, brows and at least a dusting of foundation – I know that the laws of the universe will inevitably require that I run into at least 3 people that not only recognize me, but also know that my job is to make people beautiful. I also get the expected question, “Wow Brit, you feeling alright? You look tired. “
What are you gonna do though, we all start aging from the time we leave our mother’s womb – so you can either fight it tooth and nail, or put on your big girl panties and try to age with some grace. Personally, I choose the latter. Afterall, I have had one of the most amazing examples of how a lady should act, how to exude class and kindness, and most relevant for this article – how to age with effortless grace. All of these lessons have come from the most important woman in my life, my mother.
My mom in the 80s
This past weekend, I had the immense pleasure of doing my mother’s makeup for her to go see the diva herself, Ms. Diana Ross in concert (now there’s another classy woman who has aged with grace).
Even though this is what I do for a living, it never ceases to amaze, excite and make me nervous all at the same time when my mother requests my makeup services for a special event. I am always reminded of all the time I spent as a little girl, perched on a seat in the bathroom as I watched with awe and wonder at this beautiful woman put on her face to go somewhere. She was and remains the most beautiful person in the world to me, so it is quite an honor for her to trust me with making her up.
As she would (literally) kill me if I posted her age for the world to see, I will just state that my mother is “a woman of a certain age” – who with one flash of her drivers license, can legally take advantage of every senior special a restaurant or store may have to offer. She doesn’t look her age at all, and good genes notwithstanding, I attribute this largely to the fact that she has taken excellent care of herself and has a beautiful personality that easily shines through.
All makeup artists know that it is easy to slap a bunch of makeup on someone and make them look like a completely different person – which is fine if you are doing character makeup and that is the purpose. But to enhance one’s beauty and looks, you must understand your client’s individual needs to give them the best results possible. Each canvas (or face) is different and with different age groups and skin types, there are adjustments to be made. My mother, while beautiful, does have mature skin and that has to be taken into consideration when working with your older clients.
One very important thing to remember when working on mature clients is to moisturize before you do anything else. Makeup has a tendency to settle into any fine lines or pores it can find, so it is extremely important to hydrate the skin adequately as a base. Next, it is a good idea to stay away from overly dark colors as this can have an effect of sinking in areas of your clients face that they’d rather fill out. I love using shimmery or pearlescent shadows, light reflecting highlighters (I.e. MAC cosmetics mineralize skin finish) along with blush on the cheek bones to bring out the features. Lipstick should also be kept lighter and glossy to make the lips look a litttle more pouty and full, but not clown like. A clean and neat brow that is a relative match to your clients hair shade (whether they are dyeing or letting nature take its course) is very important to frame the face. Last, but not least, don’t forget to add in some controlled dimension to your mature client’s face with well placed and light handed highlight and contour. As we age, our skin loses some of its elasticity and gravity can work against us. By using tasteful highlight and contour, we can remind the face of where its underlying bone structure is, keep that jawline where it should be and bring out those killer cheek bones. The key words to remember are light and tasteful. You can put on a full face of makeup, just don’t use a heavy hand.
For my mother’s concert look, I enhanced her beautiful deep set eyes with shimmer shadows, a little more contour on her outer corners and added some light false lashes. I smoothed out her overalll complexion with a mixture of cream and powder foundation and thinned out her eyebrows a bit with a shade a step darker than her hair color. Finally, with just a bit of trepidation, I handed her a mirror so she could approve the finished product – and she loved it! (Score one for my ego!)
The most beautiful finishing touch to any clients makeup is the satisfaction and self confidence that shines in their eyes and countenance when they are pleased with what
they see in the mirror. That can’t be bought or found in any bottle of product, as it is their own personal brand of beauty. It is the ultimate reward for a job well done (and my only reward as I can’t in good conscience charge my mother lol) and why I absolutely love this job.