Make-up advice – the dos and don'ts of looking good

Liz Coggins

When it comes to make-up, preparation and application are everything

The right make-up and techniques make the difference between a tired look that's stuck in a time warp and an up-to-date freshness that helps disguise the signs of ageing.

Tone me up – tone me down

Colour correctors can help brighten up a tired, sallow or grey skin or tone down a ruddy or red-flushed skin.

Green-toned correctors help tone down naturally red skin and areas of redness caused by thread veins. Use a light touch though or you may end up looking as if you have landed from an alien planet. A top tip is to mix in a little moisturiser to give an even tone.

Pale pink and lilac primers work wonders on a sallow skin. A touch of white or ivory dotted under eyes and across cheekbones, under chin and across eyelids perks up a dull or tired skin.

Radiance balms and skin illuminators were once the makeup artists' best kept secret. They make skin look fresh and glowing and minimise flaws and the big plus is that they make makeup last longer. Well worth the investment for those special occasions.

Find out more about moisturiser here

Back to basics with the correct foundation

Change your foundation with the times - there's new technology across the board to help create a more youthful complexion.Choose a foundation with a light-reflecting pigment and one that has a good coverage. Avoid tinted moisturisers and very light textured bases.

Get cheeky with bronzing powder

Ditch the 1980s-style blusher and avoid the Aunt Sally look by using a bronzing powder in a tone to suit your colouring as a blusher. Swirl your brush round the cake and gently dust the apples of your cheeks.

Powder perfect with a palette 

Loose powder sets makeup really well but if you don’t apply it correctly it can rest in wrinkles and creases. So opt for a palette of compact powders. Swirl your brush round the colours and apply to forehead, nose, cheek area and chin. The different tones will give the skin a luminescence rather than a flour bag effect.

The eyes have it

Dark circles around the eye area can easily be masked by choosing a concealer one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone so that the light is reflected away from the imperfection.

Concealer should sit directly on the skin so always apply before your foundation or powder.

Dab the concealer over the shadowed area under the eye and pat gently with the finger tips to blend into the skin.

A shapely brow is best 

Over-plucked and over-pencilled brows are a dead giveaway of ageing. Brows should be shaped and groomed to frame the face so it's worth investing in a professional eyebrow shape to set you on the right lines.

Use a pencil or shadow in a shade that matches your natural hair colour and use the pencil to fill in the sparse areas using light upward strokes and then a powder shadow to add colour and definition.

Read Honor Blackman's secrets here 

Eyes right for a younger look 

As we get older our eyelids change, so to get a younger, softer look it's important to apply the right colours.

To create a natural look for any eye shape apply a base colour that blends into your own skin colour such as white, cream or sand. Apply a medium toned shadow close to the lashes, over the lid and three quarters of the way up the eye.

If your lids seem to disappear when your eyes are open, a wide band of shadow in a deep neutral shade lends definition. Curve the lid shape by starting with a darker toned shadow mid lid feathering it out lightly towards the brow.

If you want to avoid creased lids don’t use cream eye shadows and stick to matte finishes not pearl.

If you feel nervous about using a liner try using a coloured mascara instead. Dark Navy on the lashes brings out the whites of the eyes and is great for making tired eyes look sparkling.

Get lippy with a gentle line 

If you need to change the shape of your lipline to balance the top and the bottom don’t draw on a false mouth and hope for the best. Give yourself a gentle line that is the actual shape of your mouth and fill it in with your lipstick. Then using a pencil pick up a bit of lipstick from your lips and gently nudge out the line. This gives a natural look and if your lip pencil matches your lipstick no one will ever know.

About the pout

A creamy textured lipstick in a subtle shade is best for plumping up lips that are barely there. Play with colour using a darker shade on the outer edge of the lips and a paler shade in the centre, then dab a touch of gloss in the centre of the bottom lip to create an illusion of fullness.

Out with the old – in with the new

Do experiment with new shades. Taupes, browns and beiges are very flattering as are smoky greys, peaches and lilacs. But don’t be tempted to use the blue or green eye shadow you used 20 years ago. Blue and green today is softer toned and has a different texture and can look great on older skin - but do take some professional advice on its application if you want to avoid looking like a 1970s drag queen.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.