Menopause signals time to change your makeup

Using a lip liner can make lips, which thin with age, appear fuller. Photo / Getty
Using a lip liner can make lips, which thin with age, appear fuller. Photo / Getty

Menopausal women are bombarded with information about everything from HRT and "natural" alternatives to advice about diet, exercise and skincare to help minimise the symptoms.

But what's rarely discussed is how makeup regimes also need to change during "the change".

• Scroll down for 10 top tips

"For most women the menopause is a gradual process that happens over several years," explains Tricia Cusden, who founded Look Fabulous Forever, specifically to cater to the problems of older skin.

"So the realisation that you need to rethink your makeup is likely to dawn on you gradually, when trusted favourites no longer work as effectively as they did."

But, with such a huge range of formulations, shades and tools at hand, your makeup can be your greatest ally when it comes to ensuring you look your best - even if you don't always feel it - throughout your menopause and beyond.

Here, with the help of some experts in the field, is your ultimate guide to "menopause makeup".

No shine, please

There's no point plastering on makeup without tending to the skin first. And just as hormones during puberty make your skin feel dry while simultaneously being oily and spotty, it's the same during the menopause. As a result, you may need a moisturiser that will hydrate skin while controlling oil.

"When I'm working with women whose skin needs this sort of double-action product, I often use Murad's Oil-Control Mattifier," says make-up artist Oonagh Connor. "It hydrates skin, but also keeps shine at bay."

It's primer time

This is the age when primers really come into their own, says Tricia. "Post-menopausal skin behaves differently because it has less elastin and collagen - the proteins that keep skin firm and springy - and certain structures in the skin become less efficient at absorbing water," she adds.

"I liken post-menopausal skin to blotting paper because the surface is bumpier, it's drier and more absorbent, and you can't draw clean, crisp lines on it any more."

Primers, applied post-moisturiser and pre-makeup - which help smooth the surface of the skin, make fine lines and pores less noticeable, and give makeup a good base to adhere to - are invaluable, whether you're at the hot flush stage, or a few years down the line. Laura Mercier has a great range, including an oil-free version.

Good foundation

"Just as hair loses pigment with age and goes grey, so your skin also starts to lose melanin, and appear lighter," says Tricia.

So, even if you've used the same foundation for years, now is the time to reassess the colour and make sure you have the perfect match.

Anybody suffering from hot flushes and prone to redness, should look for yellow, rather than pink, based foundations, as these will help to bring colour down.

Lancome's Teint Visionnaire foundation is popular with older women because it gives good, lasting coverage without a cakey finish, and the corrector can be used in areas that require more coverage.

For her menopausal clients, makeup artist Lisa Eldridge suggests Estee Lauder's Double Wear All Day Glow BB cream, which she says is both long-lasting, and leaves a dewy finish.

"And if you happen to have a hot flush, this really will stay on."

Just steer clear of spray-on or airbrush foundations. Hormonal changes can lead to hair growth on the face and these types of foundation cling to fine hairs, highlighting them.

Get the glow

Once you have found the foundation that is the right colour and formulation for you, don't smear it on with your fingers, use a brush.

"If you're suffering from hot flushes, using a brush keeps the temperature of your skin down, doesn't transfer oil from your fingers and allows for a thin layer of product to be worked into your face," says Oonagh.

Ensuring your foundation does not look mask-like is even more important at this age.

"As skin gets paler, our faces lose something called 'the luminance of contrast', which means all our features - eyes, eyebrows, cheeks and lips lose definition and become less noticeable, which can be very ageing," says Tricia.

Celebrity makeup artist Mary Greenwell suggests you can combat this by applying foundation only to the centre of the face and then gently blending it out.

"This creates a luminous glow on the key areas that the light naturally hits," she says.

Hide shadows

"This is the time you need to find a really good concealer," says Mary Greenwell. "You may have used one in the past. But post-menopause, when skin is thinner, dark shadows underneath the eyes become more apparent, and you may also be suffering from age spots, so you need to find a product that works for you."

And, says Tricia, as with your foundation, a brush is essential when applying concealer, whether it's a stick or cream formulation: "Apply with a short stiff brush and stipple into the skin. Add a second layer if necessary."

Reach for PEACH

Menopausal women prone to redness should steer clear of pink blushers. "They just make skin look more flushed," says Oonagh. But that's not to say you should skip colour in your cheeks entirely - you need that contrast to avoid looking washed out.

"Seek out bronzers and peach-toned blushers," she advises. "Apply them high up on the cheeks and blend them well. The aim is to give your face balance, rather than looking made up."

Banish purple

While levels of the skin-plumping protein, collagen, start to diminish from around your mid-20s, the menopause is what really accelerates this process and skin can lose as much as 30 per cent of its collagen in five years.

This is particularly apparent around the eyes, where skin is thinner and eyelids start to get droopier, meaning it's hard to get crisp edges to eyeliners.

Mary Greenwell suggests switching your defined line, for something softer, maybe using a powder shadow with a stiff brush to create a smudgy line instead.

Be warned, though, that purple is a shade best avoided by menopausal women. "It's ageing and can make you look bruised and tired," says Oonah.

"Years ago, I was taught that if you use a little peach-toned shadow on the hood of the eye, it gives an illusion of lightness and brightness that lifts the eye."

Define your jaw

If You are worried that lack of elasticity is making you look a little jowly, using a matte brown bronzer along your jawline can help give your face the definition that lack of pigment, and lack of firmness, have eroded.

"Don't go overboard with too much colour," warns Oonagh. "You can always build it up if you need to, but it's harder to tone down. And make sure you blend it really well - you don't want an obvious stripe of darker colour."

No heavy brows

With age, your brows may not only get sparser, but can, as elasticity in the skin diminishes, tend to droop. So avoid using anything too dark or heavy as that can leave you looking like a clown.

Tricia developed her Brow Shape to help thicken and elongate brows in a natural way.

Rather than using a pencil or powder, it's a paint, with a very fine brush, that allows you to create the effect of individual hairs, where needed.

To lift the brow, Oonagh recommends using a highlighter cream or pencil directly under the brow - try Benefit's High Brow pencil.

Line your lips

That lack of elasticity in skin can cause problems around the lips, especially for fans of darker toned lipsticks. "Lipstick, which you need more than ever to define the lips, can feather and bleed into the lines around the mouth," says Tricia.

She recommends using a lip primer, while an alternative is a lip liner, which as well as stopping lipstick from creeping, can also make lips, which thin with age, appear fuller.

- Daily Mail

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