by Simone I. Cohen-Scott

Recently I was interviewed for a Free Press article about the use of make-up for mature women.   Not only did my name appear as Simone Cohen-Smith instead of Cohen-Scott, but I don’t agree with much of the advice.  So here I am to set the record straight.

The most important item--what you should NEVER GO WITHOUT is ----eyeliner.  For your mother it was lipstick, but times have changed.  As we age, more eyelid shows (not to say ‘droops’.); filling in close to the lashes gives a brighter look.  (The Hungarian beauty Zsa Zsa Gabor lamented in her autobiography that she was not allowed any make-up at all while she was in jail, and so resorted to an ordinary pencil before she would agree to see any visitors.)  Finding the right shade is a challenge: you need to prowl through cosmetic departments everywhere until you find TAUPE or CHARCOAL.  Once you’ve opened up your eyes like an impressionist painter, you need to smudge it.  Take into account when you decide where and how to draw and extend the outline, the action of your eyes over the day will smudge it further.  Look at your profile and three-quarter view with another mirror to be sure the final result is still pretty.

Lipstick and mascara run a close second in importance.  You need to find mascara that suits the way your eyes move, which doesn’t end up under your eyes or on the bone over your eye.  Colour?  Black, black-brown, brown, navy blue (if you can find it).  Only neutral colours on mature faces, please.  Your own eye colour will not compete well with any blues and greens you put nearby, and our purpose is to enhance, not detract.  (Special eye make-up removers are mostly unnecessary, did you know that?)

The article was correct about creamy lipsticks.  By the way, a moist lipstick is better than any other remedy for chapped lips. Apply whenever necessary; long-lasting lipsticks are extremely drying. Here’s a trick; when you’re alone at home, slather Vaseline on your lips and on the little pursing lines.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the improvement.

Foundation, or Base, is really not a foundation or base at all; it must never go on a bare face.  You first need a protection cream and then a sunscreen (if it’s daytime).  There are some protection creams now that give an especially nice surface for putting on everything else.  Test the shade of so-called-foundation on both top and underside of your wrist before you buy.  Apply putting a dab on cheeks, chin, forehead, and then blend downwards with very clean fingers.  There’s no need to go lower than the jaw line if the shade is right for you.  When covering up discolourations or flaws, or a faulty complexion, apply to the area several times in thin layers.

Blush and eyeshadow are for the times you want to dress your face up and take it out somewhere special.  Most of the blushes and shadows out there are powders and they are not the ones you want if your skin is mature.  Powder, as you know, absorbs moisture, and you don’t want to lose even a spec of moisture on your cheekbones or eyelids.  Back in the days when there was more common sense, this was understood.  Nowadays, we need to prowl the stores again, until we find something resembling what used to be called ‘rouge’, in a little pot, and an eyeshadow stick or crayon.  Applying these is a little tricky.  Remember that you’re using them to bring out your most interesting features, not to match your outfit.  Don’t try to match your eyecolour either: hints of purple bring out hazel and green eyes, aborigine enhances blues and browns; bronze is also good.   These shades, used cleverly, can blend nicely with natural skin tones.

The article said not to sculpt your cheekbones.  I say yes, DO sculpt your cheekbones!  Use a tone similar to the eyeshadow but darker, under the bone, and a pale rose or peach or mauve (your skin tone) on the part that’s highest when you do a scrunchy smile.  Fingers are good as applicators and for blending, and are more sanitary than those teeny sponges.  Now blot it off with a cotton pad, so that there are no edges.

About half an hour after you’ve applied all this, if you’re shiny, just touch with facepowder--mostly the nose, forehead, and chin.  Put on spectacular earrings, and you’re done.

November 4th, 2010