“Age cannot wither her” – we’d all like this famous line from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra to be applied to us, literally and metaphorically. But facial ageing isn’t something that comes with blatant signposts. It creeps up on you, insidiously, slowly but surely, and one day you wake up and realise your face is creased and wrinkled and not what it used to be. So what can be done to polish your appearance as you go through your forties, fifties, sixties and seventies?
Whether you opt for surgery and/or injectables or not, much can be achieved with the right hair and make-up. The latter in particular can plump up skin, blur the look of wrinkles and create a general glowing mien. Executed well, it can lift years off your face; it’s just a question of finding products that suit and flatter you.
Increasingly, a new generation of make-up products is targeted at older women. Lauder, Lancôme, Clinique and various others now offer high-tech, multitasking, youth-promoting foundations and there are even dedicated ranges for the over-35s. Grace Fodor, herself 47, is founder of the new anti-ageing make-up brand Studio 10. She has spent the past 10 years in the beauty industry developing products and brands. “In part, it’s very personal to me and, in part, what I felt was missing in the market. It’s my passion.”
Studio 10 is aimed at women past their mid‑thirties and offers cleverly tailored products to deal with issues that can affect older women, such as enlarged pores, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, redness, sagging and thinning lips, as well as creating a positive feeling about the way you look. “What we’ve tried to develop is a range of skin-correcting essentials, problem-solvers and professional fixes that can instantly disguise the signs of ageing.” All the products are enriched with “Suberlift”, a clinically proven botanical instant tensor that firms the skin; Nyamplung oil, an antioxidant; and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and bolster tissue. I tried the Age Reverse Perfect Canvas SPF30 (£34) – two blocks of crème foundation in a compact – and it blended and covered well while feeling light and moisture-sated.
Fodor underlines that women’s make-up needs change drastically between the ages of 20 and 40, which is why education is central to this brand – they offer two-hour at-home make-up masterclasses (£200, for up to 10 people), as well as online videos. “Once we pass a certain age the dynamics of our skin change. We require different products and even some new application techniques. Using the same make-up in the same way as we did in our twenties can even make us appear older. We almost need to go back to basics and take a fresh approach.”
Eve Lom, too, has launched a range of base products (from £30) – including primers, concealers, foundations, powders and bronzers – that have anti-ageing properties. “The Eve Lom Radiance Perfecting Complexion range isn’t merely make-up,” explains Amandine Isnard, the company’s product-development director, “it is advanced anti‑ageing skincare with added colour benefits.” The key ingredient is BerryFlux Vita, a complex derived from raspberry stem‑cell technology and a potent antioxidant. As a result, it provides sustained hydration to the skin’s deeper levels while also increasing its suppleness and elasticity.
But there’s the conundrum that older women are often advised to use less foundation – so how are you supposed to get the best from these products by only using small amounts? Isnard claims the doses of active ingredients are at such a level that their benefits will be felt even if the products are applied very sparingly.
Nor, she says, do you have to use the whole range over the entire face to get optimum effects. Although the Radiance Lift Foundation SPF15 (£50) blends easily, covers imperfections and lends a lovely luminescence to skin, concealer (£30 for the Brilliant Cover Concealer or the Light Illusion Concealer) alone might be more appropriate for the eye area. “The key is to use products that are specifically designed to work on targeted areas,” explains Isnard. “For example, if your concern is dark circles, dehydration and wrinkles in this delicate area, the concealer is the perfect product that will actively reduce these signs of ageing, while also covering and correcting.”
Anti-ageing foundation technology can also be found in By Terry’s Terrybly Densiliss Foundation (£75), which has a wonderful gel-serum texture and feels extremely comfortable on the skin. Deploying the Mimetic factor from the seeds of the hibiscus flower, which stimulates cellular renewal and increases collagen production, it claims to diminish deep wrinkles by half their size in around six weeks. Estée Lauder’s Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lifting Crème Make-up SPF15 (£63) contains all the high‑level anti-ageing ingredients you’d expect from a Re-Nutriv product, including potent lipids like Brazilian Murumuru butter and a blend of powerful peptides to facilitate collagen production. The texture is sumptuous, creamy and rich, yet thins on application to lightly veil the skin and nourish it at the same time.
Lancôme’s anti-ageing Teint Visionnaire (£36) is an extremely light and viscous liquid that covers confidently and leaves skin feeling refreshed and moisturised. It contains the company’s patented LR2412 molecule (the one in its Visionnaire serum), promising to trigger micro transformations in the skin’s tissues, including smoothing wrinkles, evening pigmentation and tightening pores.
Over at Space NK, Nicky Kinnaird likes Hourglass Cosmetics’ Illusion Tinted Moisturizer (£45): “It includes a lifting and tightening complex, which, together with 3 per cent hyaluronic acid, helps minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It acts as a humectant, increasing hydration levels and imparting a youthful, healthy, dewy radiance.”
It’s not just the product that you use that can promote a youthful appearance – it’s how you use it. Alex Babsky, UK make-up ambassador for Lancôme, stresses that it is important to keep the skin moist and glowing to stay looking younger. “Don’t over-powder,” he urges. “As we age, our skin doesn’t reflect light as evenly, which can give a ‘duller’ less radiant effect as time goes on. Don’t exacerbate this by trying to achieve a ‘flat’, completely matte complexion.”
Eyes can be a locus for wrinkles. “Don’t apply foundation to lids as this will cause eyeshadow to cake, exaggerating any crepiness. Instead, press face powder on your lids to help create a smooth surface,” advises Bobbi Brown. She also recommends staying away from shimmery eyeshadow and opting for crème textures in light‑to-medium tones of nude, brown, grey and lavender.
Skin that’s undergone surgery or been treated with injectables needs special treatment, too, because it can look washed-out and dull. “Opt for less heavy coverage,” suggests By Terry’s Terry De Gunzberg. “Avoid yellow undertones in your make-up and a cakey, powdery finish. Instead, enhance the complexion with peachy rose tones and a glowy finish full of luminosity.”
But, although make-up can nourish the skin with high-tech ingredients while helping to disguise the effects of ageing, all the experts agree that it’s not wise to make it your sole source of anti-ageing benefits. “Studio 10 will not replace or compete with a good skincare regime,” says Fodor.
When it comes to ageing generally, there’s a consensus among beauty-industry figures that lifestyle choices play the biggest role. Paying attention to issues like sun exposure and smoking is far more vital than what you put on your face. “Never forget the importance of getting a good night’s rest, drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet, exercising, using a sunscreen daily, limiting caffeine intake and not smoking,” urges Brown. Babsky reinforces the message. “It’s rather unexciting, but the best type of anti-ageing skincare is preventative; keeping your skin adequately protected from UVA and UVB rays will improve its appearance in the future much more than slathering on a wonder cream at a later date.”
But once all these boxes have been ticked, there’s no doubt anti-ageing skincare products can augment the benefits – and that includes make-up. With cutting-edge technology now part of many formulations, it’s so much more than plastering over the cracks.