Less is More when it comes to makeup

Makeup Tips for Middle Aged Women

Being over 50, I’ve come up with some makeup tips for middle aged women.  The most important epiphany was  that less is more when it comes to makeup and good skin care is the secret to looking better and younger.

Last year I went on a makeup kick with all kinds of products – eye shadows, concealers, correctors, powders, etc.  What I noticed? I looked OLDER – a LOT older.  I even started wearing contact lenses again and much to my chagrin, discovered that my glasses were hiding a lot of my not so nice eye area.  I have discoloration under my eyes, some lines, and a hollow look. UGH!

So being over 50, I started to do some research and experimentation and discovered less makeup made me look younger.  Take a look at older celebrities – Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Lisa Edelstein and you’ll see they aren’t sporting the same makeup as J Lo or Beyoncé.  In fact, Lisa Edelstein doesn’t appear to be wearing makeup at all!

Good skin care is essential and there is so much out there that promises virtual miracles. I’ve tried ultra expensive to the drug store brands only to find none of it really works.  All they do is moisturize, which is important, especially with an SPF.

The exception to this rule has been Renergie Eye Cream from Lancôme.  renergie eyeI really have noticed after about a month of twice daily use that my lids are way less hooded and the lines under my eyes are smoother.  I’ll get to my other skin care picks later.

I still use concealer (MAC) but I gave up the powder and sometimes even add a dab of moisturizer over the concealer. Sometimes I’ll use a brightening pen (MAC) under eyes and blend with a BeautyBlender. The powder (everyone said was mandatory) was actually accentuating the lines under my eyes. I’ve tossed the powder all together. The same with foundation.  Primer really didn’t help and powder on top of the foundation made the makeup settle into my laugh lines, making them even more noticeable. I stopped using contour.  I definitely cut down the eye shadow and sometimes don’t wear it at all.  I think it draws more attention to hooded eye lids, which are far better since using the Renergie.

Mascara is every day – waterproof always because my eyes tear. When it comes to mascara I think the only difference is the brush.  There is no need to spend $30 on mascara which is going to get clumpy and tossed after a couple of months. I like Rimmel Scandal Eyes which is about $8 at CVS.  I now tend to skip eyeliner as it accentuates hooded lids unless you are really good at a small wing at the end.  An artist I am not.  By the way, Never line your under eyes, especially with black liner; it just makes your eyes look smaller.   I also think black eyeliner is too severe and prefer a dark brown. Clinique makes an inexpensive pen with a felt tip that I like a lot. I’m not sure if it comes in brown.  They only had black when I bought it; but it’s very easy to apply a nice thin line right at the base of your lashes.

As for lipstick, I stick to sheer or nude colors because bold colors when you’re over 50 seem to accentuate  lip lines.  As much as I love the bold colors and was particularly in love with a new matte purple, my husband looked at me in horror and said “no one has purple lips!”  That made me think of dead people with purple lips and now that lipstick is in the drawer of “never to be used again” makeup.

I do swear by Bobbi Brown finishing mist after my foundation as it eliminates any cakey look. It is filled with ingredients that are good for your skin, it dries quickly, and feels and smells great.finishing mist


For my foundation: I’m still hooked on Too Face Born this Way. born this waySometimes I’ll use a stippling brush for foundation, sometimes a BeuatyBlender.  The coverage is better with the brush.  I have dark spots that get covered with my foundation; but as soon as I put blush on, those dark spots spring back to life.  I’ve tried everything to cover them and nothing has worked.  Prescription creams didn’t fade them, so now I just dab blush on ever so lightly with an angled blush brush. Milani baked blush stays on all day and it’s about $8 at the drugstore.

Now over 50 skin care:

I’ve been using Lancôme Geneifique for 6 weeks without noticing a difference. Then I use Josie Maran’s Argon Oil Milk as my serum. During the day I’m using Lancôme Renergie moisturizer with SPF. At night I use josie maran eyeJosie’s Maran’s Face Butter over the milk and lock it all down with straight argon oil.josie maran face butter

I haven’t noticed much in the diminishment of my wrinkles but definitely have noticed firmness, especially around my jaw line.  I have noticed my neck lines are significantly improved.  Now if I could get those results in other areas of my face like above my lip and in between my eyebrows. By the way, how do I still have wrinkles there when I have Botox?

As I’ve been cutting down the amount of makeup I use, I definitely look younger so when you’re over 50, less is more when it comes to makeup.


Mac Makeup and Too Faced top the list for 2015

Mac tops my list for makeup this year along with Too Faced; but, here are all my picks for the year. mac logo

I’ve recently become a makeup junkie and have been busily trying everything I can get my hands on (thank you Mac and Sephora) and here are my top picks for the year when it comes to looking your best, especially as we get older.

Skin care is the number one priority.  I’ve used everything from drugstore brands to the most expensive products on the market.  As much as I hate to put more money into Heather and Terry Dubrow’s pockets, I found their Volumagen (found only on Evine Live) to be the best bang for the buck.  After two months of use, I am finally starting to see the fine lines around my lips disappear and the creases under my eyes begin to diminish.  At $98 (on six easy pays) for a two month supply of eye cream, serum, and moisturizer it’s a great deal and does seem to help. However, that being said, I do find their eye cream is not hydrating enough and the solution is rose hydrating eye cream by Fresh.eye cream If I use that after the Volumagen, my eyes stay hydrated all day long.  The package says 30 hours of hydration.  It’s $40 for a small jar; but, it’s worth it.  (Fresh’s soy cleanser is a joy; but, it’s pricey. I got a tube free when I bought my Clarisonic.)

A Clarisonic is a MUST have for removing all the makeup you think you took off.  Take off your makeup with a makeup remover wipe and then use the Clarisonic. You’ll be shocked at how much was still on your face.  If you search hard enough you can find great deals on Clarisonic.  There are a million different bush heads and it’s confusing. I’ve tried several.  The deluxe cashmere brush is heavenly; but, the radiance brush works great too; although, I didn’t find any reduction in dark spots, even when I used the matching cleanser.

Once you’ve applied your creams, lotions, and potions, it’s time to prime! Yes, I’ve tried them all and I keep going back to Too Faced Poorless Primer.  It has healthy ingredients for your skin and keeps your makeup looking perfect all day.

beauty blenderThe Beauty Blender (I’ve written an entire blog post on it) is the perfect way to apply liquid foundation.   If you think you don’t need foundation, you DO.  Trust me on this.  born this wayMy preference is Too Faced Born this Way Foundation, applied with the Beautyblender.  I follow that with Mac Pro Longwear Concealer (although the mineralized one is great too and more moisturizing) and blend it all in with the Beautyblender.  To brighten the under eye area, bridge of the nose, forehead and chin, Mac’s Prep and Prime Highlighter Pen is awesome.  The Radiant Rose is a great color and I put it under my eyes, out to my temples, down the bridge of my nose, middle of my forehead, center of my chin, and a wee bit at the center of my Cupid’s bow. I blend it all in with the Beauthyblender too.  After foundation and highlighter, I set everything with Nars pressed setting powder, although just about any setting powder will do the trick. The Nars was highly recommended and pricey and probably doesn’t work any better than anything else.

Contouring – just about any dark color will work, like Too Faced Chocolate Solei.  I will be buying this soon.  Smashbox makes a compact of a contour, bronzer, and highlighter but I find that the bronzer really doesn’t add much and the lighter color seems to do nothing.  It’s nice because it’s relatively inexpensive and comes with a great brush; but, honestly, I don’t think all three colors are necessary.  I definitely contour my nose, under my jaw line, and just under my cheekbones.  I put a little of the bronzer right above the contour, and blush above that.  Another nice thing about the Smashbox kit is that it has a mirror and a little card that shows exactly where to put what.

When it comes to blush, I can never get it to stay on. Urban Decay’s blushes do stay on; however, save yourself the money and go to the local drugstore for Milani Baked Blush.  These do stay on just as well and are only around $8.

Once you’ve applied contour, foundation, and blush, blend, blend using a large fluffy brush.  If you want a little extra glow, Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone is perfect. It’s about $36, but will last you the rest of your life.  Take a small fluffy brush and give a little sweep right on the bone under your eye.  You can also put a little but above the end of your eyebrow.

Onto the eyes.  Don’t forget the primer!  Elf primer for $3 works as well as anything more expensive that I’ve tried. I recently purchased the Mac Burgundy x 9 palette and couldn’t be more excited about it. There’s only one color out of the nine I don’t use on a daily basis.  The Mac girl (thanks Nicole) showed me how to mix and match the colors, often using two at a time to create a daytime or evening look.  I’m anxiously looking forward to their skat von dpring palettes and the Amber x 9 is a great set of neutral browns.

I’ve used every eyeliner imaginable and forget pencils, gels, and everything else. Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner has a really thin tip, allowing you to get right down to the base of your lashes for an inconspicuous look or build it up as much as you want. Go wild, wing it out if you dare!  I got a mini black one as a sample, then bought the brown.  The brown, however, is just about black and there isn’t a whole lot of difference.

When it comes to mascara, save your money.  They are basically all the same except for the brush.  That being said, Estee Lauder makes a cool vibrating one that keeps lashes totally separated, if you’re willing to pay $35.  I’ve tried every mascara and keep coming back to Rimmel Scandal Eyes.  It’s inexpensive so I don’t mind that I only get a couple of months out of it before it gets clumpy.  It’s the one in the solid lime green tube (not the new metallic looking one).  I wear the waterproof (orange tube) because my eyes tend to tear a lot; but, I’ve worn both.  I’ve tried other Rimmel mascaras; but, the Scandal Eyes has a big fat brush and it’s the one I always go back to.

Now the lips! I have tried everything out there because lipstick dries out my lips, no matter what …. until now.  First exfoliate your lips.  You can use a damp washcloth or an inexpensive lip exfoliator like Elf ($3), then apply a small amount of lip balm.  I’m a sucker for those cute little Eos ones.  Let it sit for a while. Mac’s Prep and Prime for Lips is awesome.  Apply it while smiling so you get in all the creases of your lips and smack your lips together (don’t rub them together) and let it sit and get a bit sticky.  Lip lining is a life saver when it comes to prolonging your lipstick.  Line your lips and fill them in!  You must fill them in or you wind up looking ridiculous if the lipstick wears off.  Mac’s Pro Longwear lip liners are creamy and invest the $10 in their sharpener, because it’s worth it.  It doesn’t destroy your pencils, just gives them a nice point again.  Now pop those lips together a couple more times.  As for lipstick, Bobbi Brown’s Blue Raspberry is my favorite “nude,” although it doesn’t have much staying power. Mac’s PatentPolish lipsticks are awesome, especially in Ruby and Sultana (a dark wine color.)  patentpolishThey wear pretty well; but, you do have to reapply after eating or drinking. This is where the lip liner is a life saver.  The Ruby combined with the lip liner in Dark Out is just gorgeous and will definitely be my next purchase.  By the way, if you’re looking for a new fragrance, Mac’s Turquatic is heavenly.  It’s also on my wish list.

If you don’t want to spend $20+ for a lipstick, Revlon has a couple good alternatives. Their liquid lipstick comes in a good assortment of colors, is not too drying, and stays on almost all day without transferring.  Their new gel matte lipsticks are also good but is a bit drying as the day wears on.  I also find, as I’m getting older, matte makes my lips look older too.  I like a bit of shine, but I find lip glosses to sticky. There’s nothing like having your hair stuck to your lips every time the wind blows.

I finish everything with several sprays of Bobbi Brown Face Mist which keeps my makeup fresh and makes my foundation smoother.  I hate when you can see the foundation on someone’s face and this mist eliminates that!

So there you go.  My top picks for 2015.  I’m sure I’ll be trying new things in the coming year; but for now, I’m pretty happy with this routine.

Let me know your faves!


Beauty Blender – Best Thing EVER

The Beautyblender is the best thing that’s ever happened to makeup and actually it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in eons.  This little pink egg-shaped slice of heaven literally makes me want to get out of bed in the morning and I am NOT a morning person. That’s how much I love it and can’t wait to use it.beauty blender

For those makeup novices, the Beautyblender is a pink, egg-shaped sponge that you use to apply makeup. Big deal, you say? Oh it is a HUGE deal!  First of all it’s freaking adorable.  You run it under water and watch it get bigger, squeeze out the water, give it a good squeeze with a washcloth and get ready for makeup magic!  It’s $20 for one which seems insane; but, once you’ve used it you will never use a brush or those triangle thingies ever again!

I never used liquid foundation until the Beautyblender came along and now I will never look back. My foundation of choice is Too Faced Born this Way.  I don’t know if it’s the foundation that’s amazing or the Beautyblender because when I first tried this foundation it was put on me with the little pink wonder.

You put one pump (that’s MORE than enough) on the back of your hand. Then you dab the fat end of the Beauty Blender in the foundation and start dabbing and rolling it across your face. The foundation glides on seamlessly, evenly, effortlessly.  Often an entire pump is too much even when I go back to use a little more on my age spots.

Oh but we are not done!  Since it’s shaped like an egg, the Beauty Blender’s next task is concealer and corrector. I use MAC concealer and again, one pump is too much.  I put a little on the back of my hand and switch to the pointy end of the Beauty Blender which gets into every little area under my eye and into the corners. I have bad discoloration under my eyes so I also use a MAC corrector on top of the concealer. I slather it on (it comes in a twist up pen that’s a cream) willy nilly then back to the Beauty Blender which makes it all come together effortlessly!  I even use some of this magical corrector/highlighter on some other areas of my face and the Beautyblender makes it all work.

They claim you can use the Beautyblender for powders but; I haven’t been able to make that work for me yet.  I am going to experiment because I’ve seen videos of an entire face done with no brushes at all.

I have just read that the Beautyblender can be used for serums, creams, and primers which is making me ache for a white one for this purpose.  Oh, I forgot to mention they also make lime green mini ones for the eyes!  You’re supposed to be able to put eye shadow on with it but I’m not quite sure how it will work.  At this point I’m seriously thinking about adding the white one and the minis to my collection…..ok, they’re sitting in an online shopping cart waiting for me to hit “submit order.”

cleanserThe only “problem” I have is cleaning it. I tried soaking it a bowl of baby shampoo and various other methods; but, the Beautyblender Solid Cleanser works the best.  It’s also great for cleaning makeup brushes.  It’s a bit prices and doesn’t last that long; but it works.  It still takes a bit of effort to get all the makeup out of it.  I usually keep a spare tin of the solid cleanser around, especially if I find it on sale.

When the Beautyblender dries it returns to its smaller size.  You can store it to dry on top of the case in which it comes; however, I cannot be without my Beautyblender.  For $18 you can get a great travel case that is mesh with a magnetic closure and a clip on it. The best part is that it holds two of the little beauties. I always keep it in the travel case to dry after washing it.

I never thought I could be so in love with a sponge. It’s supposed to last three months and many people have said they’ve had theirs for up to a year.  I think I used mine daily for about four months.  I actually kissed it before I put it in the trash.  Now that’s a sick addiction to a sponge!


Makeup: necessity and new obsession

Makeup is a necessity at my age and it’s my new obsession. My husband calls makeup a luxury.  At my age it’s a necessity and I’ve gotten to the point where I won’t leave my house without foundation and concealer – at the least.

I’ve been on a hunt for the perfect makeup. I watched You Tube videos till my eyes were blurry. I literally stayed up all night watching videos on eye makeup for hooded lids.  This was after I discovered – in horror – that I HAD hooded lids!

I walked into Sephora and it was a sex shop for makeup addicts. I’m pretty sure I had a makeup orgasm. There was so much to choose from; I was in complete overwhelm.  So many brands! So many choices!  Sephora will give you samples of absolutely anything, and boy did I get samples! I am completely obsessed with all this makeup. Don’t even get me started on the brushes!

My new list includes, primer, foundation, contour, bronzer, blush, eye makeup primer, eye shadow, and brushes.

After experimenting with so many different brands these are my conclusions.

To start you MUST wear a primer. There are lots of great primers. I found this out thanks to all the Sephora samples. Too Faced makes a great one; but, Smashbox’s original is amazing. Without a doubt, Too Faced Born this way foundation is the BEST ever and I’ve used them all. Put this on with a Beauty Blender (worth the $20) and you’ll look amazing, like you have no makeup on; but, it covers everything you need covered.  It’s also  fun to use and is a really happy shade of pink.

Smashbox’s contour kit gives you a highlighter, contour powder, bronzer, and a brush. Perfect!  I admit their highlighter doesn’t seem to do much; but, I still use it. The contour and bronzer are great. The bronzer doesn’t leave you looking like George Hamilton.

When it comes to blush, I could never get it to stay on for more than an hour be it powder, cream or stain.  Milani baked blush stays on forever! The best part is you can get it dirt cheap at CVS. Urban Decay’s blush is great too but about three times the price of Milani. How do I know Urban Decay blush is great? A sample from Sephora, of course.

Setting powder is a must and Nars is the best by far. It gives you a flawless finish.  It’s $26; but, it’s worth it.

Concealer and corrector? I never thought I needed this but once my under eyes were pointed out to me I was, once again, horrified. MAC got rid of the dark circles and discoloration under my eyes with a combination of concealer followed by a color corrector. (I had tried everything from Bobbi Brown to Sephora’s brands and back again.)  It’s creamy and blends seamlessly using my little pink sponge. Sadly, Sephora doesn’t sell MAC.  You have to get it at a department store or buy it from MAC online. Attention to the under eye area is an absolute necessity for those of us that aren’t 20 anymore, trust me on this.

Eye shadow will crease unless you wear an eye shadow primer or buy eye shadow with built in primer. ELF’s eye shadow primer is only $3, works really well, and is available at CVS. The problem is it’s made in China and I was told by a forensic chemist that the Chinese factories are filthy and to never put anything on your face that’s made in China.  Urban Decay’s original eye shadow primer is also top notch and is not made in China; but, it’s also a lot more costly. Thank you Sephora for that sample.

After my all night session of You Tube videos on makeup for hooded lids, I found out shimmer is a no-no.  Upon looking at the hundreds of eye shadows I own, I discovered most were shimmer.  UGH. I found a great makeup palette in neutral shades by MUA on sale for $10 at CVS.  The only problem is it’s made in China; but, for now I’m sticking with it.

There are a million brushes and most You Tube videos showed every application required dozens of brushes.  I have it narrowed down to a few.  A kabuki brush by ELF ($6) for powder, three Pop Art brushes for eye shadow (about $2 each at CVS), a Chanel crease brush that I’ve had for years that’s perfect for blending, and the Smashbox brush that came with the contour kit.  (How I wish I could find the flat Chanel eye shadow brush I bought years ago.) Smashbox also has the best flat eyeliner brush that’s perfect for gel eye liner.  The problem is that the gels dry out really quickly.  I’ve tried liquid liners but haven’t found one as good as the gel.  I hate pencils.  Not only do you not get a thin enough line, you can’t keep the tip sharp. By the way, there’s a little trick to putting on eye liner if you have hooded lids.  Don’t follow the shape of your top lash line. Don’t go all the way to the outer corner or it makes your lids look more droopy. And on the bottom, don’t line the whole thing – just go from the outer corner about a third in.  With your shadow, make sure you go way above your natural crease with the darkest shade and blend the whole thing like crazy.  I’ve tried to “wing out” my liner; but, unless you’re a true artist, you just wind up looking crazy.

So my daily routine is: moisturizer patted on my face and eye cream under my eyes. You have to let it soak in for a bit before you go any further. Then foundation, concealer, and corrector all blended with that little incredible egg – shaped Beauty Blender sponge. (Ok, I got mine for $10.99 on Ebay.)  Don’t waste the money on their liquid cleanser, but the solid is very convenient and effective.  Invest in the mesh travel pouch; because, it dries it without creasing the sponge and it’s great for taking the Beauty Blender with you.

My next step is contouring. bronzer, and blush.

Then I highlight with Becca Moonstone powder. It’s ridiculously expensive; but, you use such a small amount for highlighting that it will last you the rest of your life.  Make sure to blend the contour, bronzer, and blush.  The moonstone goes just in a couple of spots.

After this, I pat on some Nars translucent powder with my kabuki brush then spritz my face with Bobbi Brown setting mist.  I’m not sure this part does anything but it feels good and I’m too lazy to mail it back.

Then it’s on to my eyes. Neutral color shadows are best and for hooded eyes make sure to go above your natural crease with the darkest shade.  Sometimes I’ll use a little shimmer in the middle of my lid or in the corners.  I still need a pencil brush for the corners.  That’s the next purchase.  Then eyeliner – a gel applied with the Smashbox flat eyeliner brush and finish with Rimmel waterproof mascara. I’ve tried every mascara on the market and keep going back to Rimmel.

As for my lips I’ve tried every lipstick known to man and still can’t find one that doesn’t dry out my lips. I have been using a Bobbi Brown one that matches the color of my lips so it looks very natural. I love the way other people can use bright lipsticks; but when I do, I feel like “here comes Erica’s lips!” So I stick to the neutrals.  If anyone knows of a lipstick that REALLY doesn’t dry out your lips please let me know!

I now have to get up an extra 15 minutes for this routine; but, it makes me look and feel so much better having a nearly flawless complexion that lasts all day!  And I’m so obsessed with my Beauty Blender I honestly can’t wait to use it.  It’s great for foundation, concealer, and corrector. I’ve seen videos where they’ve used it for powders too; but, I just couldn’t get it to work.  I switch to brushes for powders.

I spritz my brushes daily with ELF daily spray and then wash them once a week or so with shampoo and let them air dry.

At the end of the day when it’s time to take it off I’ll use any eye makeup remover and then a makeup remover cloth.  Invest in a Clarisonic!  It’s amazing to get rid of the remaining makeup, leaves your skin feeling great, and makes your serums and creams go on so much better.

Oh, another thing, Lierac Cleansing Water is awesome.  It’s expensive ($24 a bottle) but use some of this on a cleansing pad in the morning and you’ll be amazed at the stuff that’s accumulated during the night!  I also use it after a makeup remover cloth if I’m too lazy to get out the Clarisonic.

My husband still thinks make up is a luxury.  So one night I took it off, went downstairs and asked him if he still thought it was a luxury.  His answer, “no, you need it.”  That’s what you get after 25 years with the same man.

As for skin care – I’m still experimenting.  I just got a new brand tonight that promises miracles. I don’t have the money for surgery at the moment, so let’s see if this stuff really does the plumping and line removing it promises!

I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully my makeup obsession will not turn into a skin care obsession.

Is there a 12 step program for this stuff?