“Smoke and Mirrors”

Ever notice how most of the makeup and skin care commercials appear to always use the faces of young and gorgeous models? These sweet young things could smear mud on their faces each night and wake up looking fabulous. When you are young with reasonably good skin, you can go barefaced and no one would think you were anything but beautiful. What would really impress me is if they used an older face in the ads using products appropriate for older skin.

The care and feeding of older skin is a whole different ballgame. While I won’t spend much time on my hair, I will take time with my face. I start my morning routine using a gentle cleanser, then clean it off with warm water on a textured washcloth (which acts as a gentle exfoliating), followed by swiping a cotton ball dipped in witch hazel over my face and neck as a toner. I use a good moisturizer with sunscreen that works with my skin (dry), then followed by a subtle base makeup. Now comes the fun part: concealer and the “magic stick.”

My concealer is one of the things I cannot do without because it does exactly what the name implies: it conceals. Basically, I dot it on all my problem areas: dark spots (there are enough of them to warrant playing Connect the Dots), red spots, under the eyes, etc. Then I blend it in to keep up the appearance of fairly flawless skin. (Seriously ladies; it’s all smoke and mirrors, but it WORKS.)

Then comes the magic stick–this is a just a fancified pencil consisting of a luminous makeup used for highlighting cheekbones and under eyebrows. It usually comes in skin-flattering shades such as light gold, pink or pearly white. You can pay an exorbitant amount of cash for one at the makeup departments in the mall, or pick up one at the Dollar Store (usually in pink) for–you guessed it–a dollar!

The fact that it is luminous spreads a whole lot of optical kindness on your face; anything *luminous reflects the light. And if your skin reflects the light, any flaws are much less likely to stand out. Major bonus: that luminous touch also gives the appearance of youthful skin. (Told you it was magic!)

Once those basics are done, then comes the rest of the makeup; blush, eyeliner, mascara and eyebrows. I have exactly three eyebrow hairs on one side, and four on the other. So I’ve learned to be an absolute Da Vinci with an eyebrow pencil (the trick is to blend with an eyebrow brush after using the pencil). The end of the whole deal is lipstick; these days it’s raspberry-tinted lip moisturizer.

I’ll just bet that all those young and lovely models they use for makeup commercials look positively radiant when they roll out of bed in the morning. That’s youth for you, and we’ve all enjoyed it immensely. But working with older skin is a different story, so it requires a bit of time, magic and confidence.

Actually confidence is the  most important part of looking  good; hair, makeup and body. There is no point in mourning how we used to look; just do as the song says: “accentuate the positive.”

*Another way to illuminate your look is to wear pearls; pearl earrings and necklaces also reflect light and give your skin a softer look.

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