Skin Care and Makeup for Mature Skin (part 1)

I found that my last article on “The Art of Aging Gracefully” was so popular, that I decided to follow it up with an extended discussion on how to take care of mature skin. This will be a two part discussion, with this part focusing on skin care.
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Now, when I talk about mature skin, I am generally speaking of women who are 40+, however this article may also be helpful for those of us who are slightly younger that have less than ideal skin for our age. In addition, it is never too early to establish good skin care habits.

There are two main aspects for a woman to consider when thinking about long term care of her skin and oveall looks – the actual skin care regimen, and makeup choices (application and product types). The problem I run into most with some of my mature clients is that they expect me to work miracles with makeup alone and knock a decade or more off their looks. This is a very difficult situation for a makeup artist, as the most unrealistic requests tend to come from the most demanding clients (which is why just hearing the words mother of the bride will sometimes send me into a desperate search for a Xanax! )

What most women (young and old alike) don’t realize is that, just like any other type of painting, it is crucial to start out with the most flawless canvas possible before you lay down the first brush stroke. This is where good skin care habits come into play. Women who take excellent care of their skin will provide a smooth canvas for makeup application, ensuring a beautiful & even more youthful appearance as the finished product.
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Your face is the only one you have to work with, and unless you plan on shelling out thousands on the Russian roulette game that is plastic surgery, it is wise to start investing your time and energy into taking care of it.

Establishing a solid skin care program as early as possible is the best way to go, letting it get more comprehensive as you age to target specific areas of concern. However, just as it is never too early to start, I also believe it is never too late to decide that you are worth the investment in your skin. The most basic program consists of a good quality mild cleanser, moisturizer and weekly mask. There are thousands of companies that offer packages for skin care, but I simply do not have the time nor point of reference to go into even 1% of them. I can, however give you my opinion on one company that I was introduced to early on & have first hand knowledge of how it can save skin of all ages and types. That is Silk Skin.
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Silk Skin is the product that my mother has always used and it is what I used briefly until I switched over to the oil cleansing method. My mother swears that this line is what has “held her face together” all these years and is such a faithful client that she should have stock options. I find that their products are actually of very good quality. If you find, however, that their prices are a little out of your budget, you can also find excellent kits and packages from companies like Mary Kay and Avon. I feel that it matters less about the brand, and more about having a routine and sticking to it religiously.

No matter what brand you go with, there are certain prudent actions you will want to take to improve and protect your skin. These include, but are not limited to:

*Cleansing daily
*Moisturizing after cleansing
*Exfoliation and/or mask weekly
*Protecting your skin from the sun (I.e. sunscreen and limiting exposure)
*Drinking plenty of water to flush toxins
*Balanced diet that provides essential nutrients
*Reducing and eliminating stress! (This is a big one as stress will not only age you prematurely but it can also shorten your life span)

As I wrap up this segment on skin care, please keep in mind that, while I do have a good deal of practical knowledge about skin care from years of working on peoples’ faces – I am not an esthetician, I am a makeup artist. This information is simply meant to point you in the right direction. In part two I will discuss the types of makeup best for mature skin. You will see in these two articles, that your skin care practices in addition to choosing the correct type of makeup work together in a cohesive fashion. You can’t have one without the other and expect great results – it’s a bit like the proverbial lime in the coconut (not really, but you get my point) 😉

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The Art of Aging Gracefully

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.

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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).
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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.
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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
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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.