Ageing Gracefully

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The most attractive women are those who seem comfortable in their own skin and often this self-assurance comes with age. As Dame Helen Mirren says in a current advertisement for L’Oreal “It’s taken over sixty years to look this good”.

Nonetheless, for most of us looking good at forty and beyond does involve a little effort.  Fortunately a great haircut and subtle make-up can do wonders for most women.

Hairstyle

Make sure your hairstyle still flatters you. Take a look at your face shape – it may well have changed over recent years. As we age gravity takes its toll and the fullness we once had in our cheeks has a tendency to descend to our jaw line, giving a jowelly appearance.

Super-short haircuts can look chic but be sure to take a good look at your profile before you go for the chop. That pixi crop may look great from the front but will be very unforgiving of a less-than-taut jawline in profile.

Mid length and long hair can disguise a slack jawline. If you do wear your hair long, try to get some volume into it (perhaps with some layering) and make sure it’s in great condition.  Long hair works best on round, oval or square faces but is less flattering on long faces, particularly if worn with a centre parting. A soft side-parted fringe is universally flattering and much cheaper than Botox for hiding those pesky lines on the forehead!

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Grey hair can look very stylish if the cut is good (think Dame Judi Dench and Jamie Lee Curtis) but it can risk looking unkempt if worn long and just left to do its own thing.  If you decide to go with the greys, bear in mind that you may need to make some adjustments to your wardrobe as warm colours such as  mustards, corals and orangey reds will likely not look so good on you as cooler tones such as blues, pinks and purples.

If you decide to colour your hair, it’s generally best to keep it natural-looking. Don’t go any lighter than your hair was when you were aged about age seven but also avoid a very dark block colour (even if this suited you in your youth) as this will look unnatural and ageing against a mature face.

Make-up

If you’ve never worn it, now could be the time to start. If you’ve always worn it, now is probably the time to re-assess whether what you’re using and how you’re applying it still flatters you.  Everyone is unique, but in general I would advise:

  • Keep make-up light and natural looking.
  • Wear primer – This gives a great base for make-up and avoids the need for powder which can be aging on mature skins.
  • Avoid make-up with shimmer or sparkle as it can highlight fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Line and fill in your lips with a natural coloured pencil before applying lipstick as this helps prevent it bleeding into any fine lines.
  • Avoid deep matte lipsticks unless you have very full lips. A lighter, brighter colour with a bit of a sheen will be more flattering on most women.
  • Wear blusher – This gives an impression of instant health and really does lift the face when worn high on the cheeks.
  • Beware contouring – It may be all the rage amongst the young but mature women should go easy on it as it tends to emphasize the natural loss of fullness to the face that comes with age. Confine yourself to a little contouring       around the jawline and be sure to check out the effect in natural light before you venture out in public.

By following these simple tips you should look youthful and current without any hint of “mutton dressed as lamb”!