Beauty habits are hard to break (is that why they call it a beauty routine?). And we sometimes get so rooted in our routines we neglect to change with the times, but more importantly, with ourselves. As I enter what I guess would be considered The Fall Season of my life, I have taken the time to reconsider everything that was working for me in the previous Spring and Summer periods. And let me tell you, I like where I am.
My old makeup application techniques and beloved powder products just weren’t cutting it anymore. The highlighters that used to give me an ethereal glow were suddenly just highlighting skin texture I’d never seen before. It still looked good from far away, but I’m not really going for the Monet of beauty—I want to look just as good close up as I do a yard away.
The same went for my beloved eyeshadow palettes. The crepey texture of my eyelids just weren’t conducive to a smoothly blended look, no matter how hard I tried. I’m a former makeup artist, I’m no stranger to a smooth blending technique, and I don’t mean to brag (maybe a little) but I have a collection of brushes that are about the best money can buy. The problem wasn’t my skill, or my medium—it was my skin.
My beloved powder highlighters still looked good from far away, but I’m not going for the Monet of beauty—I want to look just as good close up as I do a yard away.
Despite the best of care and luck, your skin is going to age. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. But you know what? Crumbled cookies are still delicious—you just have to know how to use them. I had to completely change a lot of what worked for me before to accommodate the ever-evolving me. So here are some beauty changes you may want to consider for your aging skin.
When I tell you creams are an aging girl’s best friend, believe me—I practice what I preach. I moved recently, and when I did I took the opportunity to whittle down my makeup collection to only the things that worked for me now. Not the things that sparked joy, because that would have been everything, just the things that worked period.
I ended up parting ways with an embarrassing amount of product (three large shopping totes full!). What made the cut were all of my cream products. You just cannot beat the smooth glowy finish of a cream blush, the smooth blend of a cream shadow, or the consistent application of a non-skipping, non-dragging cream eyeliner. It cleared up a lot of room on my vanity, and made me feel consistently better about myself each time I was in front of the mirror. No more struggling and fighting with product—the remaining soldiers all fell into line beautifully.
Rethink Your Technique
I’ve also said goodbye to some beauty applications that formerly served me well but just don’t work for aging skin anymore no matter how hard I try. Eyeliner all the way across the lid? Maybe five years ago. Now it’s the outer and inner corners only. The middle stays free of liner, and instead a thick coating of mascara connects the two. My lid is far too hooded to pull off a full line anymore.
Also taking leave is the bottom liner. Bottom liner has completely disappeared for me—it just drags down the entire eye. I look much fresher without it. I sometimes may substitute a little eyeshadow on the bottom corner to connect with a wing but it never ever runs the length, or even half of the length of my eye. Instead, opt for the fresher, more awake look without it.
Speaking of fresh, after the hard reset I had after coming down with COVID-19, I had a difficult time easing back into wearing makeup at all. It seemed frivolous and silly. But as I felt better, I really began to miss it and how much better it made me feel. But going from wearing no makeup at all for three months to wearing a full face just felt icky and honestly just looked weird to me.
I instead started doing something I’d never done before and started doing fresh-faced, more stereotypical French-girl type looks. I had always retained that Southern tradition of wearing a full-faced heavy makeup look, but as I aged it just makes me look older. When I was younger it would make me look edgy or more mature, but when you’re actually mature you just start to stray into Baby Jane territory.
By using a lighter hand, less products, and covering less ground, I honestly look younger than I did a year ago. I had this confirmed by a friend’s old boyfriend who I hadn’t seen since December. He had come by (masked!) to install a pendant light for us in our new house. He later told my friend, “I almost didn’t recognize Coco, she looked like 10 years younger than I remembered her looking.” I laughed, got pissed, and then laughed again lol.
But it’s true! Always a fan of heavy smoky looks and dark lips, it looked sultry when I was in my 20s and 30s, but as of last year it was a bit much in the harsh light of day. When he saw me last I had on only a cute little wing (hooded wing technique care of Katie Jane Hughes), cream blush, mascara, and groomed brows. I still rock a smoky eye, but now I do it with finger application for a light wash and use less heavy colors. It’s just as sexy, but it lets my own eyes sparkle through.
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In the past, I’ve been critical of physical exfoliation. Young skin just doesn’t really need it, and it’s easy to overdo it and strip your moisture barrier. Chemical exfoliation can do wonders for young skin and old skin alike, but as you age your cell turnover rate gets sluggish, and you may need to kick things up a notch to get glowing.
I’ve now taken to a once weekly physical scrub using the same refining crystals used in microdermabrasion treatments. I simply add a scoop to my regular cleanser and give eye gentle massage. There’s nothing like the feeling afterwards, especially if you add a sheet mask to the mix. Giving that little helping hand once a week has made a world of difference in terms of how effective my other products are and how my skin feels.
Care Doesn’t Stop at Your Face
In addition to my skincare, there’s also the incredibly important body care aspect that I recommend you incorporate. You can have a face that looks 25, but if your neck and hands say 50, you’re 50.
Add actives such as an AHA body lotion to your shoulders and décolleté area. Extend your face treatments down to bust, and always apply sunscreen to every inch of exposed skin. Skin cancer can pop up anywhere so give it some thought before you leave the house (or park yourself in front of a window treated for UV filtration at home). These are things we probably slacked on when everything was young and perfect so let’s not skimp on it now.
Don’t get locked into the idea that aging means you don’t deserve to treat yourself to the very best; in fact, I’d say we’ve earned it. If there’s a $70 lipstick and you can afford it? Ma’am, treat yourself.
We have a lifetime of experience and hard work on our resume, so now’s the time to give yourself the very best. How many times have you talked yourself out of something because you think that money would be better spent on someone else? A $200 cream isn’t throwing money at a problem you can’t cure—it’s giving the Queen the royal treatment she deserves. We’ve spent our lives giving to others, now’s the time to give to ourselves. When you treat yourself to the care and love that you’ve given to others all those years, it shows. It shows up as a new sparkle in your eye, a new glow on your skin, a spring in your step.
All of this is a very long way to say love yourself, treat yourself, and cherish every day on this earth, and never stop learning and doing what works best for you.
Have you had to make any beauty changes for your aging skin? Share with us in the comments!