IF you do nothing else when it comes to make-up, wear lipstick. Next to your eyes, the most powerful asset you have is your lips. But as you age, your lips thin and lines may develop around your mouth. So what to do?
In this, the final instalment of the series The Best Make-up For Women Over 50, lipstick is also one of the quickest ways to change your look. More importantly, when you’re over 50, a slick of colour on your lips will instantly lift and brighten your complexion. But the older we get the more colour we need so if you usually apply the same barely there shade, it’s time to pump up the colour. And, like clothing, lipstick is seasonless; the key is to find the right shade for your colouring.
A moisturising pink or coral lipstick with mid-strength colouring is universally flattering and will ensure your lips look fresh and lively without being overpowering. But generally speaking, cooler tones (those on the bluer end of the spectrum) work better for fairer skins, and warmer tones (those closer to red and orange) are better for darker skins. So if you have fair skin, consider pinks and light corals; stay away from browns. Medium skin tones can go a bit darker; you’ll look great in roses, mauves and berries. And women with dark skin look great in reds, browns and deep plums.
Lighter shades tend to make lips look bigger and poutier than darker shades. Soft nudes give the illusion of fuller lips because there is no defined border. However, beige tones are unforgiving and can make teeth look yellow. And a too-pale shade can make you look as if you are wearing no lipstick at all. Instead, look for nudes in soft, muted rose tones ideally one or two shades darker than your natural lip colour.
Think a bold or dark lipstick isn’t for you? Think again. As long as you choose the right shade (depending on your skin tone) — and your lips aren’t too thin as a dark colour can make you look severe — you CAN wear stronger or darker colours. My 80-year-old mother just loves a bold red lip. My current favourites include two very dark burgundy almost blackberry colours Rouge Noir by Chanel Rouge Allure and Berry Formidable by Bourjois Rouge Velvet The Lipstick; and a strong bold red by Napoleon Devine Goddess Lipstick called Aphrodite.
Bold, bright lipsticks are especially stunning if you wear glasses as a bold lip can balance the heaviness of some frames. Just remember to tone down your eye make-up and blush if you are going bold on your lips.
Related: How to age gracefully
If you have wrinkled or lined lips, avoid frosted or shimmery lip shades as they will only enhance the lines. Instead, try the same colour in a cream formulation or moisturising sheer texture. And avoid matte lipsticks as they can be drying and exacerbate wrinkles.
A gloss finish or lip oil can also temporarily “plump up” lips. Glosses are great for day but especially in summer when you have a tan. At night, dab a touch in the middle of your lips over your lipstick to make your lips appear fuller and poutier, and create a subtle shine. However, remember that gloss tends to slip and slide and can settle into lines around your lips. And if you have long hair and wear it down, getting your strays and flyways stuck on gloss lips is a pain!
You also don’t have to spend a fortune on a lipstick. You are just as likely to find a good one at the pharmacy or drugstore that will rival a much pricier one at a department store. It all comes down to personal choice based on colour, texture, performance and smell.
Here are some of my favourites:
* YSL Pur Couture
* Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipsticks
* Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick
* Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick
* Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick
* Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick
* Clinique Long Last Lipstick
* Lanolips Tinted Balm
* Bobbi Brown Lip Color
* M.A.C Amplified Lipstick
TOP TIPS FOR LUSCIOUS LIPS
1. Thinner or smaller lips look best with brighter, more vivid colours. Brighter colours may take a bit of getting used to, but they make a smaller mouth more noticeable.
2. Avoid darker to colours on thin lips; they make the mouth look severe and harsh.
3. Fuller lips can wear just about any colour, but softer shades look better because darker or vivid colours can make large lips look too prominent.
4. Make sure your lipstick colour and blush are the same tone. So if you’re wearing a blue-toned blush, wear a blue-toned lipstick.
5. To get long-lasting colour, fill in your lips with a lip liner then apply a similar-coloured lipstick or gloss. Filling in your whole lip with a lip liner acts like a stain, helping the colour last all day. And remember, “more on the mouth goes south”. In other words, the more lipstick you put on, the more likely it is to run.
6. Alternatively, apply lipstick, blot your lips, then reapply and blot again. Your lipstick will have twice the staying power.
7. To avoid getting lipstick on your teeth when you smile, insert your index finger into your mouth after you apply lipstick. Close lips lightly around it, and pull out your finger.
8. To prevent lipstick from bleeding, brush a little foundation around the outside of your lips and set with powder. Then apply colour.
9. As we age, our lips lose natural oils and their plumpness. To keep lips looking smooth, and to prevent feathering and bleeding, exfoliate your lips as part of your weekly routine. Use an old toothbrush and a dollop of lanolin and gently scrub your lips. Or use a hydrating lip balm under your lipstick if your lips seem dry.
10. Alternatively, a lip primer does wonders to ensure smooth application and long-lasting colour. Try M.A.C Prep & Prime Lip, Marc Jacobs (P)Outliner Longwear Lip Pencil or Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm.
If you missed the earlier posts, read the complete series here.
Part 1: The best primers for women over 50
Part 2: The best foundations and concealers for a more mature face
Part 3: To powder or not to powder? That is the question for women over 50
Part 4: The 11 best blushes for a more youthful flush
Part 5: The secret to beautiful brows
Part 6: The 10 best mascaras for lustrous lashes
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All products mentioned are available from department stores, selected pharmacies and drug stores, and specialist make-up stores (such as Mecca Cosmetica and Sephora)
— except where I have made direct links. Other online beauty sites include
StrawberryNet, Beautylish, Adore Beauty, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse, PM Studio, and Cosme-De.com
For tutorials on how to apply your make-up, go here.
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Do you have a product that you can’t live without? Got a favourite make-up for mature skin? A go-to product? Care to share? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …