If like me you are a woman with one eye on the latest fashions, the world of instagram is a pandora’s box of inspiration, awash as it is with ideas for new designers to look out for and outfit combinations from real people. One such lady and one of my all time favourites is Carole @carolem_beauty.
Carole is the Cilla Black of the instagram world and brings a smile to my face every day with her fabulous catchphrase “Morning Insta how are we all?”
Carole’s feed @carolem_beauty is filled with her daily outfit choices, all lovingly photographed each morning and evening by her devoted tween age son. The setting is invariably the same, as is her inclined hands on hips pose which now has its own hashtag and ever growing following #theCarole.
As with everyone you meet on the instagram squares there is always another persona and story waiting to be told so when I bumped into Carole at the launch of Cucumber Clothing earlier this year I couldn’t wait to introduce myself and find out more about the pump devotee with the never-ending wardrobe.
Perhaps not surprisingly considering her permanently polished appearance, following a successful career in event management and a break to be at home with her son, Carole retrained as a make-up consultant.
It is often said that as women we all get stuck in a rut with our make-up and one of the biggest mistakes we can make as a midlife woman is to use the same techniques we employed in our twenties. Here is what Carole has to say about tackling some of the more common midlife makeup challenges.
Makeup has been a passion of mine since my teenage years. Now that I am in my 40's that passion is still very much alive but my relationship with makeup and how I wear it has changed.
There are many positives to ageing but sometimes it is difficult to find these when looking in the mirror. Facial lines and wrinkles are an expression of who we are and come from wisdom and laughter, but they also provide a perfect trap for makeup to sit in. As well as the shift in the overall appearance of our skin, its condition can change too as our hormones alter and it can become more dry or oily. Added to this it is not uncommon for our eyes to become smaller and hooded and our lips to thin.
This all sounds very negative, but it is not intended to be; it is more an acknowledgement of areas of change that we all might need to adapt to and work around, the same as we do with fashion and dressing for what works best for us as we age.
Personally, I think we want makeup we can rely on and feel confident in. We want to look refreshed but not overly made up. But we are not all as confident as we could be.
Talking to various ladies about makeup what struck me most is that so many said they were scared to try new makeup as they weren’t sure what would suit them or how they should apply it, so they still use the same colours and products they have been using for years. This is sad when there is so much choice available, but equally that choice can be overwhelming. As can the fact that beauty and makeup can seem like the realm of only the young. However, whilst beauty counters can seem daunting, makeup is for midlife women to enjoy too. Makeup should be fun, whatever your age.
So how should we adapt our makeup for those midlife years? Here are my guidelines.
A Good Base
Everyone has different areas of concern with their face, but we all want to look healthy, fresh faced and glowing and not caked in makeup so that it looks mask like. For me, I am all about getting a glow as I think it makes you look more youthful and to do that you need to create a good base for your makeup.
The best way to do this is to use an illuminating primer under foundation. This not only gives your skin a smoother finish when you apply your foundation or tinted moisturiser, but it also helps your makeup to stay on longer. The alternative to primer is to simply mix some highlighter into your foundation.
Using a highlighter to achieve luminous skin is a favourite technique of mine but my key advice is to stay away from any products that have shimmer or sparkle in them. Leave these to the young as they will just sit in your lines and highlight them rather than detract from them.
When it comes to the evening though, I think regardless of age you can have a bit more fun. I like to use a dab of something sparkly on my eyelids – not too much though! I also apply highlighter on the top of my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose so that the light bounces off my face and put a dab on my Cupid’s bow as this can help lips look fuller.
The Right Coverage
Using the right foundation is essential. Be careful of using a full coverage foundation as it can just sit in your lines and look caked on sometimes, especially in the summer months. I would advise going for something lighter, either a tinted moisturiser or a BB or CC cream with a tint in it. They help to even out skin tone caused by skin discolouration and sun damage which can happen as your skin ages, whilst giving some coverage too.
The same rules apply to concealer. Be careful how you use it, particularly under the eyes where less is often more. Under eye dark circles are a personal bug bear of mine and I have spent my life trying to find the one concealer that will get rid of them. It turns out there isn’t one! Don’t be tempted to apply a thick layer of concealer to try and cover them up - all that happens is the concealer becomes cakey under your eyes and sits in the lines. Always opt for a reflective or illuminating concealer for this area.
A Healthy Glow
Life is busy and looking healthy and awake is important to me as I often feel exhausted. Bronzer and blusher can help with this. A light dusting of both just brings my face to life. I know people are worried about looking too orange when using a bronzer, but the trick is to find a good shade for you and lightly apply it to the areas of your face where you would naturally catch the sun.
Similarly, blusher applied to the apples of the cheeks just makes everyone look healthy. Again, apply with a light hand to avoid the Aunt Sally look. A peachy or coral colour is universally flattering rather than a pink and seems less scary to apply.
With highlighter, bronzer and blusher, cream products are a good way to go. Powder ones can sit rather heavily on the skin whereas the cream ones have a nice sheen and can be easily rubbed into the skin.
I know lots of women our age who are scared of using powder but I like to use one to keep my base in place. There are so many fabulous translucent ones these days that don’t give the face that powdered look we remember on our grandmothers. I also like to finish everything off with a setting spray especially on humid weather days.
The Eyes Have It
When it comes to eye makeup I tend not to follow the midlife rules. The general advice is to avoid a black liquid or pencil eyeliner as we age as these are apparently too harsh and can make us look older. I, however, like a strong eye look. I like to wear a smoky eye and like the effect that black eyeliner gives so I think it is a personal decision. If black is not for you, brown is softer and equally flattering and a nude one applied in the waterline of your eyes makes your eye whites seem whiter.
Whether using black or brown, a liner or a pencil the key thing to remember is technique. Don’t go further than two thirds of the way along your eye as this will make your eyes look smaller. Also keep it all very soft, blend it all in well and don’t leave any harsh edges.
As we get older hooded eyelids can be an issue. If you have these apply darker eyeshadow over your eyelid crease and go fairly high, up towards your brow bone, then apply a light, or the lightest colour if you are wearing more than one shade, on to the middle of your eyelid.
We midlife ladies can still wear shimmer just not full on glitter. I apply a little bit on the middle of the eyelid - gold shimmer is always good as it’s a lovey warm tone. I also like to apply some to the inner corner of my eyelid to open my eye up as much as I can. It’s a good idea to use a cream eyeshadow as a base for powder eye shadows as this helps the eye makeup last longer. The essential finishing touch is of course mascara – where would we be without it?
The Finishing Touches
Eyebrows and lips provide important finishing touches to your look.
Eyebrows give your face definition and shape, just don’t go too dark as that can give your face a fierce look or too thin as that can be very aging too. I like to apply pencil first then a gel brow product with a little mascara type brush to make them look thicker and more natural. I think as we get older the focus is more on enhancing our natural features.
Our lips often thin as we get older and fine lines start to appear around our mouth. I think a lip gloss is a good option here as these make your lips look naturally plumper and don’t give such a harsh defined edge to your lips. Go for a lighter colour as dark colours will make your lips seem thinner than they are. Yellowing teeth can also be an issue for some and if this is case it is best to avoid red and opt instead for an orange tinted shade that suits you.
A woman’s make-up is only as good as her tools and I would say there are some essentials that can’t be avoided including a good set of brushes and a magnifying mirror. Aside from that the main thing is to keep it simple. We all want makeup that is low maintenance and quick and easy to apply. Build up a capsule makeup bag and have some extra products to add for evening or event makeup.
Most of all don’t be afraid. Carry on enjoying makeup and don’t be afraid to try new products or colours. The great thing about makeup is that if you don’t like it you can just rub it off and start again.