A great routine has the power to enhance your complexion, boost your confidence and possibly even rewind the clock a little. But, there are some caveats that come with ageing.
“Instead of trying to hide flaws as we might when we’re younger, think about enhancing what you have,” says Trinny Woodall, founder of Trinny London.
In practical terms, that might mean focusing on different parts of your face, switching formulas and getting your hands dirty again.
“The issue is that as we mature, foundation can sit on skin and emphasise lines if we don’t adapt,” Trinny says.
Here are the beauty expert’s best skincare and makeup tips that will help anyone with mature skin achieve natural-looking coverage and make skin glow:
Rule 1: Prime the skin
Good hydration plays a big role in plumping skin and ensuring make-up glides on, but in recent years, improvements in blurring technology have been a game-changer for getting better results from make-up on mature skin too.
One of Trinny’s bestselling formulas is called Miracle Blur, a silicone-dense balm that is part primer, part retouching tool, which melts into fine lines and pores on your face and lip line, smoothing skin without leaving any residue. It can be worn alone or under make-up, and Trinny herself admits to piling it on.
Rule 2: Fake tan the right way
We often conflate a healthy complexion with a sun-kissed glow. And since we all know the dangers of sunbathing, self-tan is part of many a beauty regimen.
“The issue is that it makes skin look flat, when what we need to do as we mature is bring shape back to the face,” says Trinny.
A better plan: cream bronzer. “This warms up skin in a far more flattering way,” says Trinny.
Her advice to die-hard self-tanners: watch your tone. “Find the shade that your skin actually used to go when you had a real tan,” she says. For colour control, a formula like Tan Luxe’s self-tanner serum allows you to slowly build colour until you hit the right shade.
Try now: Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick in Truffle, $82 and Tan-Luxe Super Glow Self-Tan Serum, $61.
Rule 3: Skip your favourite parts of your skin
Here’s a handy trick when you’re figuring out where you need coverage: “Look in the mirror and think, where do I love my skin the most?” says Trinny.
“Generally women will love their forehead, as we tend to age in the lower half around our face. So then, put the very least amount on your forehead.”
Another spot to take it easy: the apples of your cheeks. “Most women look wonderful in this area,” says Trinny, who says that base is there to help even skin tone only where you need it rather than cover everything.
Rule 4: Choose makeup with skincare benefits
Something interesting happened around the time I turned 40: well-intentioned friends and loving family members kept asking me if I was tired (cue the pitiful expression) … when I felt absolutely fine. Spritely even. And the thought occurred to me that I just always looked a bit shattered now, and it had nothing to do with how much sleep I had the night before.
According to Trinny, my current routine of applying eye cream followed by concealer is a bad idea. Instead, choose a concealer with skincare benefits, “which will mean you no longer risk make-up disappearing or being applied too heavily,” she says.
When Trinny formulated her concealer, she combined pigments with some of her favourite skincare ingredients (vitamin C and peptides) to ensure the underlying skin was being nourished while the pigment delivered coverage.
Consider where you place concealer too, says make-up artist and founder of By Terry, Terry de Gunzburg, if you want to wake up ageing eyes. “I swipe concealer under my eyes, and then use my ring finger to lightly dab the concealer in around towards the inner corners,” she says. Brightening the inner area, which tends to shadow, will instantly brighten your eyes too.
Rule 5: Buildable formulas > Full-coverage
This may sound counterintuitive, but thick formulas that provide too much coverage are to be avoided. “You can’t actually hide wrinkles so don’t even try,” says Trinny. “You only end up drawing more attention to them.”
A more flattering option: buildable formulas. These products, often described as “hydrating”, “light cover”, or “serum” foundations, are designed to be smoothed on in light layers, which means you can build them up to cover spots that are mottled or red, but then keep them light everywhere else so your skin shines through.
“The result is more natural-looking,” says Trinny.
Rule 6: Blush those cheeks!
“As we get older, cream blush becomes our best friend,” says Trinny. “It brings vitality back to your face.”
The catch: only if you find a shade that mimics the colour you blush, say, after a brisk walk.
“That is the shade of a genuine healthy glow for your complexion,” says Trinny. For a natural glow, dab the colour at the top of the apple of your cheek, directly below your pupil, and blend outwards.
Try now: Stila Putty Blush Bronzer Duo, $23.80.
Rule 7: Your fingers are your makeup brushes
For many women, brush blending is a breakthrough, but Trinny suggests reverting to fingertips.
“With a brush it’s easy to deposit too much make-up,” she says. “For the kind of targeted coverage required for mature skin, your fingertips get the best results.”
This is especially true for formulas that blend most naturally once warmed up, like concealer and cream blush. Use your ring finger and tap or press colour into skin.
Rule 8: Choose the right setting powder
To powder or not to powder is the question.
Mature skin often gains texture, which is why powder over 40 is something many make-up artists suggest avoiding. The only time they recommend it is when you’re being photographed, as a loose translucent powder will cut glare.
Powder also gives make-up staying power, so give your T-zone a very light dusting when there’s no time for touch-ups.
Try now: Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, $40.
Rule 9: Know where to highlight your skin
Shimmer can be a double-edged sword: while the right formula in flattering spots will make your skin glow beautifully, too much can emphasise flaws. Opt for a creamy formula that’s not too frosty.
According to Trinny, the trick is then placement: “Add a little just below your brow- line and then on your lids, as well as the top of cheekbones too,” she says. “This gives that all-important dimension to your face.” And ultimately, brings a gorgeous glow to your skin.
Try now: Trinny London The Right Light Highlighter, $46