While the last of the Baby Boomers turn 56 this year, the 50-plussers are feeling more youthful and focussed on health like never before. We are at the age where we are not obsessed with image, but, on the other hand, we want to look the very best we can.
However, the trick is not to try to reclaim youth. Rather, you need to focus on reclaiming yourself. Fabulous and age-appropriate hair and make-up is a good place to start, because, as we all know, if we feel good, we’re happier.
What works for us in our 20’s and 30’s isn’t going to suit us later in our lives because hormonal changes and age lead to thinning hair, wispier eyebrows, grey hair and paler skin. So choosing the right colours becomes very important and is the difference between an ageing trannie, quirky clown or chic elegance.
The good news about ageing is our close-up eyesight is shite so we can’t really see the wrinkles, and our soft-focus selves are rather better than reality. However, that does mean you need to invest in a magnifying mirror to put your make-up on properly – yikes, nothing worse than squiffy eyeliner, smeared lipstick or uneven eyebrows.
Here are my tips, for what they are worth.
· Drink loads of water and get enough sleep to keep away the dark rings, dull lifeless skin and those nasty, nasty bags under your eyes.
· Balance your weight between plump and too thin. You have to choose between bum and face because if you get too slim, your face suffers because you need a little fat to plump out the wrinkles.
· Wear garments to carefully cover the crepey cleavage and tuckshop arms.
· Fake tan over real tan because nothing ages skin more than sun but golden skin looks more youthful than pasty white skin anytime, in my opinion.
· Stand up properly; slouching makes your tummy look fat. Pretend there is a rope pulling up the top of your head. It’ll make you look 5kg leaner in one single motion.
· Make-up helps us look fresher, brighter and better preserved. By all means, embrace your wrinkles as it means you’ve lived a good life, but make what you have work for you. It’s all about looking as natural as possible using subtle tones, clever concealing and getting the shades right. Don’t go too bright or clubby as it’s very ageing. But you also don’t want to look like a frumpy, be-whiskered crone.
· Foundation uber alles. With our uneven skin tone and dry patches, foundation becomes a must as we get older. But it’s so important to get the right shade to match our skin tone. Don’t go too pink or too dark; stick to one shade darker than your usual colour.
· Be very careful with the powder foundations which get into the wrinkled grooves and cake on dried-out old skin. I love tinted moisturisers. They are light and make your skin soft and golden while smoothing out the uneven colour. If there is no sunscreen factor in them, but there often is, spray a light sunscreen on first.
· Eye-shadows can be tricky and my suggestion is to head off to the upmarket stores, head to the make-up counters and hunt down an older saleswoman. Look at what she does. Ask her to give you a make-over, play around with your eye-shadow and hopefully you’ll get some good advice and sensible product.
· Plump up your eyelashes. Wiggle the brush right down to the roots. I’m starting to love the lush lashes which promise to condition and extend, and am learning the benefits of layering. But mascara is one product that needs to be replaced frequently because it gets glumpy.
· Eyebrows need to be well defined and well shaped. You’ll have noticed your eyebrows need more grooming with age: a few hairs sprout out in crazy directions yet there are also a few bare patches. So you may have to pencil in a bit, using light brown, and blending with brushes or cotton buds.
· And, for goodness sake, pluck out the long, stray hairs on chin, on moles, and round the mouth. Wax your moustache and cut out any long nose hairs. Just saying!
If all else fails, Botox can help you look fresher and, if done carefully and with great moderation, merely makes you look less crumpled. But overuse is so obviously probably madly unhealthy, and very expensive to maintain. Loads of people don’t like the idea of having toxins pumped into their faces, nor do some approve of the politics of fighting wrinkles with such aggression. Personally, I prefer to spend money on good times, parties and travel, as opposed to Botox – but perhaps you can afford both. Lucky you.
And if you are very extreme, there is always Cosmetic Surgery. But that is a whole new story.