Before you consider a facelift, buy these makeup musts first, say beauty writers Josephine Fairley & Sarah Stacey.
We have four words to say when friends and readers tell us they're considering "having work done", or even Botox. "Have a makeup makeover".
Makeup really can work miracles. Showcased here are the 10 makeup essentials we know can melt away the years - blurring lines, delivering radiance and making skin look dewily fresher, smoother and younger.
We feel strongly that cosmetic surgery (and even cosmeto-dermatology) should be a last resort. Trust us: by ensuring your makeup kit features these 10 categories of cosmetics, you really can drop a decade with the wave of a magic (concealer) wand.
* Extracted from The Anti-ageing Beauty Bible: The only steps you need to look and feel gorgeous for ever, by Josephine Fairley & Sarah Stacey. Published by Kyle Cathie and distributed in New Zealand in hardback by New Holland, $55.
Cosmetic companies frequently quote the findings of product tests on small groups of women, but what do you get if you have 2000 women slathering their skins with a vast range of products?
The collated findings comprise a new book called The Anti-ageing Beauty Bible. Authors Josephine Fairley and Sarah Stacey claim theirs is the biggest survey yet done into anti-ageing products - with all testers aged over 35. The book mixes tester comments and product recommendations, pricey and budget, with the authors' commonsense guidelines on looking - and feeling - good, from diet and lifestyle advice to tricks of the beauty trade via experts such as Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier. Both authors are established writers on beauty, health and well-being in Britain.
As well as writing for magazines and newspapers, they have their own website and have sold more than 600,000 copies of their previous books. One of those, the Green Beauty Bible, rain-checked New Zealand products from Trilogy, Antipodes and Living Nature in its picks of the world's best naturally derived cosmetics. (Trilogy gets a mention in this latest book, with its rose hand cream rated).
I'd arranged to talk with Fairley (more on her views on ageing in Viva later ), but our interview was delayed for one of the best excuses I've come across - and presumably a failsafe way to bring a youthful flush into her 50-something cheeks - she missed my call because she was having dinner with Colin Firth.
Today we print an extract from The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible, naming its Top 10 best types of products to invest in for cosmetics that help counter the effects of ageing. Where recommendations are made we've featured only those readily available for retail purchase in New Zealand.
- Janetta Mackay, Viva Beauty Editor
1. A makeup primer
With silicones (to smooth the skin) and light-reflective pigments (to "blur" the appearance of fine lines), a makeup primer also helps solve the problem of makeup that disappears into thin air, which can be a particular problem for drier, mature complexions.
* Recommendations include: Guerlain Meterorites Perles Light Diffusing Perfecting Prime, Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch, Elizabeth Arden Good Morning Skin Serum.
2. A "line-smoother"
Real magic, these. Again, they feature silicones and sometimes even nylon particles, and can be applied as required to deep grooves and finer lines. (Personally, we favour the type with a teensy nozzle, for targeted application.) They simply "sit" on the skin's surface, and can be patted into the skin to create a truly velvety surface. Lines? Now you see them. And now, with these, you don't.
* Top picks not available in New Zealand, well-rated mention for L'Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer.
3. An anti-ageing foundation
Many now have age-defying properties. These work in several ways: through the addition of skin-caring ingredients to ensure skin looks "plumper", or harnessing the power of "optical pigments".
* Picks include: Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Makeup, Clarins Super Restorative Foundation SPF15, Lancome Teint Renergie Lift R.A.R.E SPF20.
4. A light-reflective concealer
We probably get more anxious queries addressed to www. beautybible.com about dark circles than any other beauty woe. As well as effective lifestyle tips, we bring you the low-down on the wand-style concealers which go a long way to disguising the darkest circles, and can lessen the appearance of deep grooves and lines.
* Picks include: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer SPF10.
5. Cream blusher
Lots of reasons to love this. First, the texture "melts" into skin, so doesn't look dusty (which is always a risk, as we age). That makes it fairly goof-proof, too. But another reason cream blush should nudge the powder option out of your kit once you hit 35-plus is that it adds another layer of moisturising protection against the elements.
* Picks include: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheek.
6. Lip pencil
Does double duty at this phase in life: it not only defines lips (the contours of which can become blurrier with the years), but it helps prevent lipstick from "travelling" into feathered lines.
* Picks include: M.A.C Lip Pencil in Spice, Inika Mineral Lip Liner, Revlon Colorstay Lipliner.
7. Lip gloss
Recent research showed that plumpness of lips is a way that we (subconsciously) gauge an individual's age. Lip gloss is the fast-track to a juicier pout: a smoosh on the lower lip makes them look instantly fuller.
* Picks include: Lancome Juicy Tubes, Chanel Aqualumiere Gloss High Shine Sheer Concentrate.
8. A bone-coloured cream eyeshadow
You can shade your eyes with a rainbow of colours, but our prescription is always to use a neutral eyeshadow as a base, first. Why? Because it evens out the skintone of the eyelids, which tends to darken and redden as we age, while at the same time creating a velvety smooth, even base for shadow - whether that's another cream version or powder.
* Picks include: Clinique Quick Eyes Cream Shadow, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow.
9. Brow colour
Because "not fade away" should be your beauty mantra, at this time in your life - and because defined, groomed brows help give your face much-needed structure.
* Picks include: M.A.C Eye Brows, in Lingering. For a powder pick Dior Sourcils Poudre Powder Eyebrow Pencil with Brush.
10. Waterproof mascara
A boon, as we age, because waterproof mascara stays put through hot flushes and survives watery eyes. It's a fact: eyes get touchier and well up more as the years roll by. It's hard to find a good version - one which neither gives you panda eyes by tea time, nor requires industrial strength remover - so our testers tried them all on your behalf.
* Picks include: Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara, Guerlain Le 2 de Guerlain Waterproof Mascara, L'Oreal Telescopic Water-proof Mascara.