Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Mary replies

Here are Mary's responses to your questions. Check back in a month and we'll do another.

1. How the hell do I apply eye make up now that I need [strong] reading glasses? I've tried all sorts of things, from glasses with one lens that flips from side to side, to a magnifying mirror, but they are all bloody impossible. You either have to keep one eye shut (try it), or the glasses get in the way, or only a tiny portion of you is in focus, and distorted at that. I’m reduced to just wearing lipstick. Which is OK, but just sometimes I'd like to go all out!

Mary: The only way you can see anything is to get a really good magnifying mirror that is well-lit. It should be of the highest quality , and if you can afford it, get one with different light settings. [Note: I bought a light up magnifying mirror made by Revlon with three different light settings, it made a huge difference. LG]

2. I've reached an age when my paling complexion looks grayish, but I am allergic to almost all fluid foundations. That has left me using mineral foundation and it's not good enough. I used to use AgnesB tinted moisturizer, which I could tolerate and then it just disappeared so that I couldn't even order it from the
US. My skin is very well cared for inside and out, it just is not colored enough and I look tired. What are some ideas for counteracting it?

Mary: Try compact foundations which are a very different formula to liquid. They sit on your skin more than liquid. Chanel does a very good one. If you want to look young and healthy you'll need bronzer and brusher, or even self-tanner. Mineral powders are not good enough but they're a very quick, out-the-door process.

3. There are conflicting reports about make-up suitable for an 'ageing' skin. What exactly should a woman of 56 put on her face and what should she leave off to stop her looking like a fright?

Mary: No-on should think of having ageing skin until after 60. It's application rather than what is applied, it's not about what, it's about how. If you feel you're looking a fright you probably are but what does fright mean to you? What point are you in your make-up regime? There is a time at any age when you can do too much, too much blush will make anyone look like Baby Jane. Don't use completely matte eyeshadows because they kill a lot of the natural glow of the lid and keep most of the colour on top, always think up, rather than down, smoky lids will make you look tired. Don't put your blush too far down.

4.Does there a come a point in a woman's life when she should stop wearing black mascara? I'm in my early forties with fair skin and highlighted hair, is it time to switch to dark brown mascara?

Mary: No. There are no age rules. If you don't like black mascara, don't use it. Or try brown and see if it looks better.

5. I am 47 and always troubled by how foundation (I use Stila or Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer)always highlights my dry flaky spots and recovering blemishes. Scrubs still leave those "edges" behind.

Mary: It sounds like you haven't found the right skin-care regime for your skin. It might mean a visit to a skin doctor.

6. Due to a very mild case of Rosacea in the past, the pores on my nose are quite large and I have slight ruddiness of the nose and chin area which I feel the need to cover with foundation. I have tried Dermablend, etc. but end up with a nose that looks like an orange peel with the foundation settling into the large pores. La Roche Posay liquid foundation applied with a wet sponge goes on fine and I cover with powder to set but the coverage is a bit thin. I have tried so many foundations in the past, there must be a trick to it that I am missing?

Mary: Compact foundation is much easier when you have big pores and using powder creates the illusion of closed pores. Also try a pore minimiser. Estee Lauder does a good one.

7. My question is this: Are bronzers really worth it? Even with pale, large-pored skin?

Mary: The size of your pures has nothing to do with bronzers. Yes, wear it if you like to look slightly more tanned and healthy. If you like looking pale, don't. You can rub it in like a self-tanner. It's simply to give you a little more freshness. It shouldn't show. It should show even less than your blush. Blush, bronzers and foundation should never show, they're there to create an illusion.

8. Is there an under-eye concealer you'd recommend that doesn't look cake-y once dry? I'm getting that crepey skin around my eyes and don't want to emphasize it.

Mary: Very tricky. What I use on everyone’s skin, including my own, is either Dior Skin Flash or Issima Precious Light by Guerlain. These are the alternatives to Touche Eclat, they lift the area under the eye. The way to apply is to put much too much on your eye, then you need to let it sit for 30 seconds and pat it in, not rub it in because that will be rubbing it off. Never put foundation under the eyes.

9. What is the best way to deal with downy white hair on the face? You know, the noticeable kind.

Mary: I think it can look rather sweet, like a peach, and we should get over it. But if you really don’t like it, see a dermatologist.

10. Can you recommend a hypo-allergenic sunscreen for the face? I use Clinique, but would like to find something to alternate with it. (Even the Clinique starts irritating and I have to leave off sunscreen for a few days. I do wear a big hat!)

Le Roche Posay or Sisley.

11. What's the best way to keep my lipstick from bleeding?

Mary: Don't use lipgloss. Use a lipstick with a thicker consistency. Old fashioned lip-liners do help, use a lip-liner then fill in the dewiness with lipstick, keeping the outside line quite dry. Some brands are better than others, such as Chanel or Dior. Spending money on lipstick becomes more and more important as we get older. You really can't get away with cheap lipstick.

12. What foundation would you recommend for dark south Asian skin?

Mary: Nars, who made colours for Naomi Campbell, and Bobbi Brown. Both have modern textures.

13. Are all the chemicals we put on our skin everyday doing us more harm than good - aren't we eating a pound of lipstick a year or something? Joking aside, are the so called natural or organic cosmetics such as Dr Haushka and Lavera any better?

Mary: I doubt it. Organic make-up isn't half as good as the main lines.

14. Hello from Australia. I am now in my late 40s and having grown up in the subtropics hatless with endless sun I now have sun damage. On my neck it is evident as broken capillaries, large patches on each side. I currently leave it be. Is there a foundation or product I can use to help disguise the area without looking obvious.

Mary: Blend the foundation down your neck

15. A question for Mary: what does she think of mineral foundations and what kind of coverage do they give?

Mary: They are quick and easy to use once you've learned how to use them. The colours are true, but you will never have the same coverage liquid or compact foundations.

16. I keep seeing recommendations to exfoliate daily, but I'm not sure what sort of products to use. What do you recommend for a fifty+ fair skinned, freckly redhead with super sensitive skin?

Mary: Over 50, only twice a week. You need to remove the layer of old skin for a natural glow. Use a gentle scrub and don't rub.

17. I always had small eyes, and now that I have reached a certain age, my eyelids have totally disappeared. Should I just abandon eye shadow?

Mary: It depends if your eyes are very dark, you might have some intensity in your eye colour but if but if your eyes are pale blue you need something to give your eyes some colour.

18. One more - does Mary agree with Charla Krupp that we women over 40 should stick with sheer, pink lip stick or gloss?

Mary: 40 isn't old, for godsake. I hate sheer lipsticks, absolutely not. I can't think of anything more ageing. There is a time, between 45 and 55 when your body is going through a lot of emotional and physical changes and you can't wear red lipstick because it reminds you of what's happening to your body, but at 64 you stop caring and you can go back to red lipstick. As for pink, I like more sultry colours. Pink lipstick is very unsexy.


Ms Baroque said...

Not sure I understand this "can't wear red lipstick" thing between 45 and 55... is there something we need to know?

Linda Grant said...

She's saying it can look ageing. It certainly does on me.

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue said...

Oops. I'll try again. It's good to hear comments from an artist who doesn't think we're all washed up at age 39. I don't agree with everything she says here (I don't think sheer lipstick is aging, for example), but she's interesting to read.

Deja Pseu said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Linda and Mary!!!

Anonymous said...

How nice to get my question answered! Thanks, Mary and Linda. Look forward to next month's session.

Would be lovely, wouldn't it, to have our fashion problems resolved by a similar expert, too. I have a few issues with support underwear I could do with some advice about!


Robo said...

Re question 12 about foundations for South Asian skin -- Nars is definitely a winner. I'm on the lighter end of South Asian skin, but the "Santa Fe" shade works beautifully. It completely disappeared into my skin and gives good coverage, and that is usually a tall order for South Asian women looking for good foundation.

Good answers to all questions =]

Anonymous said...

I love Mary's point of view on aging, and has made me think a little about my own attitude, 50 is not so bad.

Anonymous said...

thank you linda and mary. mary's comment about 40 not being old made me feel so much better!
and i love her advice- the chanel powder to cream foundation is amazing- it makes such a difference.

Anonymous said...

This was lovely. Thank both of you. I don't wear much makeup (you know, that French "scrubbed-face" look with lipstick and some eye makeup) but I too wonder about how to look not so GREY in wintertime as I get older - I'm not light-skinned enough to look ghostly, but pale-olive can look positively greenish.

Agree about the pink lipstick, but I have been wondering what to wear - I used to love the Parisienne red lipstick, an eyething and nothing more look, but like Linda, now I find it looks too harsh. (I think I'm about the same skintone as Linda, and I'm a couple of years younger, which is insignificant at our age).

Overall, this was lovely and life-affirming.

lagatta à Montréal said...

Snif - once again I'm anonymous! I'm not any kind of mous - I'm a cat from Montreal!

Susan said...

Looks like I'll be hitting Sephora and the department store make-up counters this weekend.

Thanks to both of you, Linda and Mary.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Linda and Mary! While I agree with Mary that the majority of organic skincare lines aren't so great, I personally LOVE Dr.Hauschka products. They work really well for me - and they are coming out with a "Regenerating" skincare series soon (it's already available in Germany). And I love their new makeup collection! I recommend it for people who want to try out organic makeup.

Anonymous said...

In response to annonymous's problem of grey olive skin in winter, I have used for many years Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (Eclat de Beaute) every morning over moisturiser. It is a lovely peachy colour in the tube and a very light application gives a dewy glow as if you've just come in from a blowy walk along the seashore. It suits my Anglo Italian complexion perfectly and avoids any need for foundation or powder, thus allowing the scrubbed French look you mention. I'm sure you will not be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

I've seen reading glasses with hinged lenses, i.e., you can tilt one lens down while you're applying makeup on that side, then reverse. Can't remember who makes them, though!