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How to become a competently made-up person in your 40s?

(103 Posts)
grimupnorthLondon Thu 22-Sep-16 16:14:10

Am cautiously peeking my head in here to ask for help from you lovely people who understand make up. I was a bare-faced 20 something and just about mastered moisturiser and concealer in my 30s. As I enter my 40s this is clearly no longer going to work without people running away screaming, so I have been studiously watching make-up tutorials, buying brushes and practising eyeshadow, brows and foundation.

I can now just about do those basics but am terrified that I look like mutton trying to paint itself as lamb - whatever eye shadow I buy turns out to be inappropriately sparkly, even when I think it is matte in the shop, I am terrified about having 'orange lines' so overblend foundation until it basically disappears, and mascara tends to end up half way down my cheeks within half an hour. Blusher and lip liner are too terrifying to even contemplate. I work in the City and am 'the boss' so am wary of people sniggering as I inadvertently turn myself into an Aunt Sally.

The tutorials are good for techniques but there are so many out there and the product recommendations are so baffling that I just want a grown up to tell me how to develop a 10-15 minute routine to make myself look like an understated but put-together 41 year old.

Is there a magic place I can go where a fairy godmother will lead me around, tell me which skincare and make-up products to buy and show me how to apply them? Can any individual stand in a beauty hall/Space NK do that or will they just try to flog me their most expensive stuff? I am prepared to invest a reasonable amount (currently experimenting with MAC, Benefit, Nars, Clarins type ranges but might splash out for a miracle de-aging brand) and, if it's relevant, I have very pale, Irish skin, dark hair and the roundest/most hamster-cheeked face imaginable.

Thank you in advance from an incompetent human being

specialsubject Thu 22-Sep-16 16:16:36

your call and good luck to you, but an un-made-up 40 year old isn't actually frightening or an unlovely sight.

with dark hair and pale skin you are what some call a classical beauty, so don't bury it under the mush!

Tiredandtested Thu 22-Sep-16 16:19:54

Agree with special but if you do want make up advise I find Bobbi Brown is good at me but better.

grimupnorthLondon Thu 22-Sep-16 16:29:24

I was exaggerating of course but am beginning to see lots of skin unevenness and redness, wrinkles and so on that means my features have less impact, eyes need to be better defined and so on. It's not a case of me doubting my right to walk the streets but basically I would really LIKE to look better. Will try a Bobbi Brown counter and see what they have to say - thanks for the tip.

creativevoid Thu 22-Sep-16 16:30:51

I have the same problem OP! 45 and just starting to really wear makeup in the last couple of years, mainly due to roseacea. I have the same colouring as you and feel really weird with a lot of makeup. I will be watching with interest because I'm trying to up skill, but so far I've had good luck with Clinique chubby sticks - they don't really require skill to apply and I can look natural, but better in a few minutes. You can go to the counter and they'll just tell you what to buy. I Still need to work on having more than one "look".

W8woman Thu 22-Sep-16 16:34:24

There is an independent make-up artist called Valentine Alexander that I read about in the FT and then myself a few years ago when I was at a similar personal/career low ebb. She was wonderful.

W8woman Thu 22-Sep-16 16:35:10

and then saw myself

grimupnorthLondon Thu 22-Sep-16 16:36:38

Sounds interesting W8Woman - how does it work? Did she do you a makeover and recommend a regime/products?

W8woman Thu 22-Sep-16 16:55:32

Went to see her at her studio in South Ken with my make-up bag. She did a makeover using some of my favourite products and some of her recommendations. She introduced me to some pro brands I'd never heard of. She made me wear red lipstick for the first time ever and it. changed. my. life.

W8woman Thu 22-Sep-16 16:56:20

She doesn't sell anything except some products not available in the UK.

grimupnorthLondon Thu 22-Sep-16 17:13:13

Sounds brilliant. Did she tell you how to apply it or were you already quite good at that? I feel as though I am definitely at beginner level

shirkingworking Thu 22-Sep-16 17:20:55

That does sounds brilliant... I was going to suggest going to a big Space NK at a quiet time (explain what you want to look like and book a time that isn't lunchtime or after 5 pm). They are mostly pretty good - a manager of one of their shops did my wedding make-up (most people there only work part time in Space NK and are professional make-up artists).

I like Bobbi Brown too but find it quite hit and miss - they often tend to put too much eye shadow on me, even thought they say they will go for a 'natural' look and stick to light Brown - I end up looking ridiculous. I prefer a v light eye shadow, some subtle eyeliner (maybe a bit flicky if going out), a great natural-looking base and peachy blusher/lips! Have brown hair and blue eyes though.

Have fun!

Viewofhedges Thu 22-Sep-16 17:21:56

I am similar age and colouring and would also vote for a visit to the Bobbi Brown people (have had help from their Spitalfields and Covent Garden people who were all very good) . I use their foundation stick, it's good for very pale skin and doesn't look at all orange. They don't try and sell you stuff or look miffed if you don't buy and when they 'do' you they basically make you look like yourself but a better more polished version. Laura Mercier stuff / people also very good.

grimupnorthLondon Thu 22-Sep-16 17:24:54

Brilliant - thanks everyone. Will definitely give Bobbi Brown a try as it gets multiple votes. Do you usually pay for a consultation with them or just buy product?

I actually had my wedding makeup trialled at Space NK years ago and liked it but promptly forgot everything she told me by the end of the honeymoon.

herecomesthsun Thu 22-Sep-16 17:26:59

I am early 50s and have pale skin and naturally dark hair (currently dark bronde).

I don't like too much colour in terms of lipstick and blusher but do like BB and CC creams and natural lipstick. Dark hair has the advantage of tending to bestow defined eyebrows and eyelashes which is handy. I like the bit-of-a-glow creams too.

But I'm happy not wearing make up, so may be a bad person to talk about this.

grimupnorthLondon Thu 22-Sep-16 17:29:58

Thanks herecomesthsun - am definitely interested in better skincare as well as makeup. Can you tell an ignoramus the difference between BB and CC creams, and which might help with the 'glow' effect?

ExpatTrailingSpouse Thu 22-Sep-16 17:30:59

Hi grim, I'm a slightly younger you. I'm awful at makeup - never had friends to help teach me, parents didn't believe in it etc.

If you are willing to pay, Bobbi Brown is probably one of the easiest ways to go. (I'm in the US atm but think it works same everywhere). I think the initial consult is free. And you may be able to get some samples. I've actually been to two groups where they had Bobbi Brown consultants come in. For me, they filled out a sheet with their assessment of my skin tone/type/eye colour, and then picked some stuff and put it on me and wrote the recommendations down. No real pressure to buy. I specifically asked about easy to do, ten minute type stuff, and I forget what they're called but they have a few items which don't even require any tools (brushes, sponges, whatever) that you're supposed to be able to just swipe it on and go. If the price hadn't been so high, I probably would have bought some stuff! (think $40 for a blush)

grimupnorthLondon Thu 22-Sep-16 17:34:24

Thanks Expat - I'm the same. My mother never did/still doesn't wear makeup and disapproves a bit of such 'frivolities'. I was in the swotty group and we (stupidly and horridly) looked down on/were terrified by the pretty girls experimenting with clothes and makeup. Ah, my wasted youth.....

Have looked at the BobbiBrown site and they have a range of "how to" sessions you can sign up for, including one for a 'nude look'. I may give it a try. Thanks everyone - I love that the pretty girls turned out to be so nice and helpful smile

Outedsochanged Thu 22-Sep-16 17:36:48

I went to a Mac shop and had a lesson. It was £50. Then they took £50 off any thing you bought. There was no hard sell. I splashed out on primers and foundation and a couple of other bits, but then knew how to use stuff correctly that I already had. She gave me a chart of what she used and I have since built up a collection of brushes and other stuff from other brands that was similar. Best afternoon ever. I was worried that the brand was too young, but they easily tailored the look for my age, and ended up stunning!

herecomesthsun Thu 22-Sep-16 17:37:55

Definition here

By glow creams, I meant stuff like Clinique Beauty Flash Balm.

I would have to find my make up bag, which is not to hand, to tell you which BB cream I am using at the moment (which is a bit embarrassing that I don't know, really).

abbsismyhero Thu 22-Sep-16 17:39:08

Don't bother with mascara get your lashes dyed instead I've found it much easier since turning 41 I also use mineral magic make up to correct my uneven face

grimupnorthLondon Thu 22-Sep-16 17:43:58

Wow - I am learning so much this afternoon - I will go and play with the BB creams next time I'm shopping. And I like that idea of a £50 credit for a lesson from MAC - I can see that it would be dangerously easy to spend £50 there, especially if I ever got the hang of lipstick.

Any top tips on day/night moisturiser brands and any serums that might miraculously stop the ageing process also? According to the ads they all do so I'm having trouble working out why some cost £500 and some cost £2.99. Is it like wine where I can tell the difference between a £5 bottle and a £50 bottle but above that I will have no clue?

Kennington Thu 22-Sep-16 17:44:34

I would get some tubing mascara as it never moves and a highlighter (used sparingly)!!!
I would also play a bit around with some diluted tinted moisturisers first before committing to anything.
I agree to avoid the glitter: no 7 eye pencils in stay perfect can be applied and aren't garish. They can be smudged or applied a little more precisely.

prettywhiteguitar Thu 22-Sep-16 17:46:44

It's worth remembering if you want glow, that exfoliating before you put make up on stops it from looking dull.

I'm late 30's and dermalogica skin resurfacing cleanser really gets my skin looking plump and fresh, you can buy the testers on eBay for about £12 as when you buy a full bottle they tend to send you testers and people then sell them on.

For makeup I recommend Laura mercier ! Everything is gorgeous and understated.

Kennington Thu 22-Sep-16 17:51:09

Get some acids for your pores and moisturisers the contain: urea, glycerin, retinol high up the ingrediants list.
Nabootique and hollins something et al all know good tips but it sounds like you know what is what already!

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