Fashion How to do flattering party make-up when you’re over...

How to do flattering party make-up when you’re over 50


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“There are two really easy party looks,” Rowe tells me, “that are ageless, relatively quick to finesse and will suit most faces. The first is a red lip with lots of lash and the second is a relaxed, smokey eye.

“Key to both looks is getting the skin right,” continues Rowe. “When people ask me for my top tip if you’re short of time, the one thing I say is to re-do the skin (complexion) even if you haven’t got time to re-apply your eye make-up. Great-looking skin will make an average make-up look like an amazing make-up look.”

How to make your skin look flawless

“You probably haven’t got time for a long massage, but even a quick two-minute de-puffing massage while you cleanse or apply moisturiser (focus on the jawline) can make a difference,” says Rowe (she has some good videos to follow on her website wendyrowe).

“If you have time, follow with a sheet mask. The 111 Skin Cryo De-Puffing Facial Masks work wonders and I always use them on people before a big event or a shoot. They really make the skin look better. They’re also great if you have redness, as they are cooling. You can always apply mascara while you’re waiting for the mask to work,” adds Rowe.

111 Skin Cryo De Puffing Face Mask, £20,Selfridges; Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Matte Beauty Blush Wand, £30,Space NK

Rowe’s other trick is to apply contour and blusher on moisturised skin before applying foundation. “I find doing it this way round gives a prettier, more luminous finish to the skin. It feels weird at first but it makes the skin look more polished,” says Rowe.

“When it comes to blusher, apply it a bit higher than you normally would, so almost on the cheekbone. As you age, the cheeks get pulled down a bit, so this is a good way to give the face a subtle lift.” Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Matte Beauty Blush Wand is good.

“Then blend the contour stick (applied in the apple of the cheek and under the jawline) and blusher into the skin with a large brush before applying your foundation and concealer just to the areas you need. One of Rowe’s favourite foundations is Mac Studio Face and Body Foundation as it’s not too heavy and won’t accentuate any lines or wrinkles like most other foundations.

“Finish with a matt bronzer and a dab of highlighter but don’t be tempted to use anything with shimmer, as it will settle in lines and make you look older,” says Rowe. She loves Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream and Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick which dabbed on to cheekbones gives skin a real glass-like clarity.

Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick, £44,Cult Beauty; Face and Body Foundation £38,Mac Studio; Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow bronzing cream, £46,John Lewis

Three rules for the perfect red lipstick

“Finding your perfect shade of red is a bit of trial and error. Matte red looks a bit more chic than a glossy red and is less high maintenance as you won’t have to keep doing touch-ups,” says Rowe. She created a red lipstick to suit “nearly everyone” for refillable lipstick brand La Bouche Rouge, Makeup by Mario and Armani Beauty also have very good reds.

“Use a lip liner before you apply and remember that the bottom lip is much fuller than the top. The key to a great lip line is to smile to stretch your mouth. Don’t try and do it with your mouth normally as it will go feathery. I don’t think over-lining is a good idea. Work with what you’ve got, don’t try and make yourself something else – it will just look a bit wrong.

“If you’re going to wear a red lip, you need to own it,” says Rowe. “You can’t just put it on and hope no one will notice. You’ve got to be like, I’m wearing it and I feel great about it. Think of the Robert Palmer Addicted to Lovevideo.”

La Bouche Rouge, £36,cultbeauty; Makeup by Mario, £30,sephora; Giorgio Armani Lip Power in 400, £35,Boots

How to do an easy smokey eye

Rowe applies mascara first. “You can get right down to the lash line, and if you’re a bit messy with the application, it doesn’t matter as you’re putting shadow over. And as you get older, use a lighter mascara to keep the eye looking as wide as possible. Volume building mascaras can make the eyes look smaller and that’s the opposite of what we want.” Max Factor 2000 Calorie Waterproof  Mascara is great.

“After a certain age, use a cream textured eyeshadow as it won’t settle in the lines. Victoria Beckham has some good taupe ones. Simply apply it all over the eye socket and eyelid. Easy as that. Then finish with a powder eyeshadow in a deeper chocolate colour just on the outer corners to give the impression of a bigger eye. Chanel Les Beiges eyeshadow palettes are my favourite and have great chocolate browns. You can blend with a small brush to give a polished finish, but remember to blend upwards from the corner of the eyes not to drag the eyes down.

Max Factor 200 Calorie Waterproof Mascara, £9.99,Superdrug; Les Beiges eyeshadow palettes, £53,Chanel

“As you get older, be careful with eyeliner as it can be too hard. You want to keep everything looking soft with no hard lines,” says Rowe, who decided not to use any eyeliner on me at all.

“Most importantly, don’t be tempted to wear any glitter on the eyes  (or anywhere on the face). It  will fall into creases and will add on a few years. A wet look, glossy eyeshadow is a classy alternative. Surratt Lid Lacquers are great and super easy to apply.

“And try to avoid making your eyebrows look too arched like we did in the 1980s. Use an eyebrow pencil to make them look a bit straighter. It will look more youthful.” Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pencil has a very good colour choice.

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz brow pencil in Caramel, £18.40,Look Fantastic; Surratt Lid Lacquer in Hadaka, £35,Space NK

Three tips for party hair

Hairstylist Neil Moodie, who works a lot with Rowe on celebrity shoots as well as in his salon in east London, says if your hair is long enough, a high ponytail with a bit of volume towards the back of the crown is a quick and easy style to accompany a red lip. “Apply hairspray directly on to your hairbrush as you brush the hair into the ponytail. And follow the line of your cheekbones to where you make the ponytail sit at the back of your head. It can create a bit of a lift to the face too.

“Depending on your style, having the hair a bit ‘undone’ can be more youthful than looking too polished. French women are good at this laid-back style, and it can work well with a smokey eye as you don’t want everything looking too perfect.”

If you don’t have time for a blow-dry, spritz a blow-dry spray on to the roots (try Sundaze Sea Salt Spray for a tousled, relaxed look or Save the Do for a more polished finish, both by Hair by Sam McKnight, and blow-dry with a round brush or fingers for a quick volume boost for thinning hair.

Sam McKnight Save the Do Blow Dry Style, £26,Sephora; Sundaze Sea Salt Spray, £26,Sephora


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