Shaking up your make-up routine can help to hold back the years and to give you a confidence boost, reports Margaret Jennings.

“WE are now less defined by our age, but as we get on in years women can be quite confused about what or what not to do, with their make-up application. Many end up using the same old routine — which doesn’t help,” says Dublin-based make-up artist Annie Gribbin.

Aged 57 and working in the industry for 25 years, Annie holds masterclasses for older women — many in their 50s and 60s: “It’s never too late to put some effort in. Make-up can be so much linked to confidence, a magic tool that we have at our fingertips,” she says. “The oldest woman I have had in my masterclass was 87 and she was thrilled with the result.”

We’ve asked Annie and UK-based Tricia Cusdon, who set up her own make-up company for older women over four years ago, when in her mid-60s, to give us their personal tips on putting our best face forward.


It’s one one of the first things to change as we age as the tone becomes dull and lifeless and we lose volume, says Annie. To prep your skin, choose a nourishing and hydrating primer to even out texture, giving a smooth canvas to work with.

Tricia says primer also helps fill in fine lines and ensures your makeup stays put for longer, especially if your skin is very dry. Put it under your eye make-up too, for longer staying power, she suggests.


Less is more — avoid “masking” your face with foundation which is very ageing. “Use fine layers to avoid a caked-on appearance,” says Annie. “I still believe the best way to work with foundation is with a dampened sponge — stipple it on. Brushes are fine but more difficult to work with.”

Tricia is a brush fan: “Use a foundation brush and apply a foundation lightly and evenly all over the face. This will unify the often very uneven skin tone of an older face. Then use a creamy concealer to add further coverage to any under-eye circles, age spots or blemishes.”


Older faces often lack definition in the eye area and eyebrows are very important to add balance to the whole face, says Tricia. Use eye shadows to help to shape the eye — light colours on the eyelid and darker colours above the lid into the eye socket. If your eyes are hooded, use shadows to create the illusion of an eye socket.

Annie says ageing eyes become more hollow in shape and the skin becomes crepey, eyelids drop and fine lines appear. “They are one of the first areas to develop lines as there is a lack of muscle tone underneath,” she says. “I would recommend working only with matt neutral tones, and good tools are invaluable for this area. Three brushes are all you need, one large fluffy blender, a medium contouring and a smaller defining brush.”

“Lining the eyes is crucial as so much definition can be lost with the thinning of lashes. A gel liner or brush-on cake liner — brown, not black which is too harsh — are both long wearing and easy to apply with a good eyeliner brush,” says Annie. But Tricia suggests using a very dark shadow to create a lash line, using a small wedge brush.


Obviously one of the main areas that lose volume and structure, a real thinning out of the lips occurs as we age. “You need a good lipliner with staying power,” says Annie. “A pencil gives shape, holds the lipstick in place and prevents melting and bleeding. Choose a long-wear variety and stay away from very moisturising products as they will sink into those spider lines.”

Ageing with attitude: Best face forward with clever use of cosmetics

While she advises us to “stick to neutral pinks and peach tones that will go with everything”, Tricia has her own view: “Don’t be afraid to use a vibrant colour when you are older. Lipstick really lifts the whole face.”

Tricia says decide whether you are cool or warm-toned and then you will never choose the wrong colour of lipstick again. Cool tones need a lip colour with a blue undertone (cherry reds, berry colours and true pinks). Warm tones need a lip colour with a yellow undertone (browny pinks, orangey reds and nudes).

Whatever advice you choose, don’t be afraid to experiment — within those guidelines and keep up-to-date with improving cosmetic products. “Good make-up practice becomes more important as we age,” says Annie, “because it can strip away the years without us going under the knife.” n Annie Gribbin introduced Make Up For Ever to the Irish market and as the first distributor in the world. She has worked internationally with A-list celebrities and personalities. She hosts a one-day Age Beautiful Confidently (ABC) masterclass

for older women at Make Up For Ever, 38 Clarendon Street, Dublin 2. You can check it out at n Tricia Cusden created her own range of make-up products for the older woman when she set up her online company Look Fabulous Forever, in her mid 60s. You can check it out at


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