What should women over 40 be doing differently than women under 40 when it comes to their makeup and skin care regimes? Women's magazines run list after list of beauty tricks for the "mature" woman. Women over 40 worry that they should be doing something different and think they need new products and techniques, but that is just not the truth.
Makeup application and skin care totally depend on the woman -- what kind of makeup look she wants to achieve and what kind of skin problems she's having. These factors are not related to age.
For example, here are a few typical makeup tricks suggested for older women: Don't line lips with a darker color than the lipstick; do not place blush near the under-eye area if that area is wrinkled; too much concealer can accentuate the problem you were trying to cover; check your makeup in the mirror occasionally for smudges and creases; use gloss sparingly because it can bleed into lines around the mouth (I've had this problem since I turned 30); don't over-thin your brows; smooth out caked makeup with a mist of water or a bit of moisturizer on a sponge and reblend. All of these techniques are also good for a 20-, 30-, or 40-year-old.
My philosophy is that everyone's makeup should be natural-looking for daytime and more dramatic for evening soirees. Is there anything different when it comes to blending techniques or colors? Nothing at all.
All of the techniques I recommend for applying makeup hold true for all ages: Use good brushes; apply the darkest color to the crease and then brush up on the back of the brow bone and not down; use highlighter only next to the eyebrow hair and nowhere else, in the tiniest line possible; use minimum powder and never use a powder puff (it layers too much makeup on), only a brush; never use pink- or peach-colored foundation; don't wear shiny blue or pink eye shadow; and, most of all, don't start loading up on overly emollient expensive wrinkle creams, because they don't work.
I know this sounds shocking. After all, the cosmetics companies have oodles of products and suggestions for women over 40. That hype helps sells products, but it doesn't mean there is a difference. Everyone's skin and personal preferences are different.
Paula Begoun, author of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," has tested 10,000 products. She publishes the Cosmetics Counter Update, a newsletter that comes out every other month. For a free introductory copy, or write: The Beginning Press, 5418 South Brandon, Seattle, Wash. 98118.