Ruth Griffin: Ready or refresh?
How to get out of a make-up rut and revamp your style
Have you been wearing the same hair and make-up look for decades? Are you bored of looking in the mirror and seeing the same styles? If the answer is yes - as it is for so many women out there, particular the over-55s - then it's time for a beauty shake up.
Understandably, many women say that are scared of making a major change to their hair and make-up and so they follow an 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' philosophy. But, just as we no longer wear the loud shades of our teenage years, what suits you at 30 is unlikely to work for you at 50 - in fact, it may even be ageing you more. My advice is to be brave and make a change, but do it in baby steps. Keep your signature look if you like, but just amp it up with products designed for mature skin, small changes to the length and colour of your hair and adapt your skincare products for a better complexion. Ask questions of hair colourists, make-up and skincare experts to see which style would suit you.
TREAT VS CHEAT
Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil
This rose oil has reached cult like status in the beauty world for its skin plumping properties. From department stores nationwide
Pixi Rose Oil Blend
A good alternative with sweet almond, jojoba, rosehip and rose geranium oils. From Marks & Spencer beauty nationwide and iherb.com
Inspiration for gorgeous hair: Susan Sarandon is an Oscar-winning actress, activist, mother and grandmother, who at 70, still shines on the red carpet. Her hair is shoulder-length, with layers and multi-toned colour that keeps her look fresh
Top 5 ways: To change up your look and stay fabulous over 50
1 Brighten Your Smile
• Dental studies have shown that a brighter, whiter smile can shave up to 10 years off our appearance.
• Book regular teeth-cleaning and polishing appointments with your dentist.
• Ask your dentist for advice on safe teeth-bleaching options, either at the dentist's surgery or safe DIY options.
• A good DIY option for sensitive teeth is the brand new Spotlight Whitening paste, €9.50, from pharmacies nationwide.
• Most mature women will have lost tooth enamel. Our bodies cannot replace enamel once it is gone, so it's important to mind it. For a teeth-whitening option that is gentle and safe, try the Regenerate Enamel Science range. Priced from €13, the range is made specifically for mature teeth that already have enamel damage.
• Our skin lightens and becomes more translucent as we age, so a monotone hair colour can look very severe. Add highlights in your hair colour for a fresher look.
• Light layers framing the face are always flattering.
• Consider a fringe, which will act as a DIY dose of Botox by disguising forehead lines. There are even clip-in faux fringes available if you want to try the look out before you commit to a hair cut.
• Grey and white hair is very coarse and dry because there is no pigment in it - so if you're going naturally grey, invest in hair masks and a good quality shampoo and conditioner. Try Pureology Strength Cure Restorative Mask, €22, from Peter Mark salons nationwide.
• Take small steps in altering your hair. The rule of thumb in hair care for women over 55 is don't go too short or too long, too bleached or too dark.
• If you love someone else's hair, ask them where they get it done and what products they use.
• If you're going grey or white and still want a glossy mane, but want rid of the "yellow" tinge, invest in a shampoo that will eliminate it. Try L'Oreal Serie expert Silver Shampoo, €10.45, (or Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo, €41, for a natural alternative).
• If your hair is damaged from too much colouring, ask your hairdresser about using Olaplex to help repair your hair bond - like a "re-set" for your hair's condition!
3 Do your research
• Trawl through magazines, newspapers, or online (Pinterest is a great resource) for looks you would like to try.
• The best way to get a similar result is to choose celebs/models/actresses/women with similar skin tone and hair colour to you - it will be much easier to emulate.
• Bring these images with you to the hair and make-up stylists to ensure you're both on the same (style) page!
• One huge style overhaul can be difficult to adjust to, so a better option is to make a few, small changes gradually.
• Don't be afraid to ask for samples of new products or creams where possible.
4 Experiment with new tech
• A new development in skincare research, which has created a huge stir in the beauty world and has resulted in Nobel-prize winning technology, is stem cell research that has been proven to reverse ageing. It comes with a hefty price tag though - try Dr Levy Switzerland Intense Stem Cell Booster Cream, €350, from skinshop.ie
• IPL, laser and Fraxel therapies can radically change the appearance of mature skin, and are non-invasive and quick treatments although expensive, about €100 per session.
5 Invest in your skin as it changes
Dermatologist Dr Emma Wedgeworth says that once we pass 40 there is a massive increase in skin sensitivity. Dermatologists don't know categorically the reason why, but it could be environmental, ie diet, water quality, chemicals in our products or over-cleansing.
• Dermatologists suggest adapting our skincare needs as we mature, don't keep using the same product for decades if your skin has changed.
• It's never too late to address sun damage. Retinoids and vitamin C can help, and lasers and Fraxel treatments can reduce the effects of sun damage.
• Be gentle with your skin and repair your skin barrier. A big mistake Dr Wedgeworth sees in mature women is being too harsh with skincare (on both face and body). She recommends Mixa Cica Repair Balm with Urea, €7.95, from pharmacies nationwide.
NB Do your research first and always go to a medically trained practitioner for invasive treatments.
TV presenter, writer and mum-of-four, Mary Kennedy is the epitome of ageless beauty. She is an advocate of women feeling comfortable in their skin, embracing life and maintaining an interest in their appearance at every age. Here, she shares some of her beauty secrets…
What are your hero make-up products?
I am lucky to have been taught some tricks of the trade by wonderful make-up artists in RTÉ. I use a bit of Touché Eclat concealer under the eyes, then a liquid foundation to smooth it all together and then I dab on a translucent powder. I love blusher. It defines the cheekbones. For eyes, I do a base coat of white or cream and then a little smoky brown on the outside of the eyelid. Blue eyeliner on top and then a bit of mascara. I use a matte lipstick and a light pink gloss. I don't wear make-up unless I'm working or going out but I love the difference it can make.
What is your daily skincare routine?
I'm pretty meticulous. I cleanse, tone and moisturise religiously every morning and night. I use Nivea cleanser and Clarins moisturiser. I love facials and my children give me salon vouchers for birthdays. I go to my friend Sue in Bellaza in Ranelagh for a bit of collagen stimulation before special occasions. A good example was my daughter Eva's wedding last November. I had a series of IPL sessions before the Big Day and my skin was given a good boost. Not cheap but I push the boat out and treat myself.
How do you care for your hair?
I have not been blessed with good hair. Frizzy is the word I would use to describe my tresses. I am blessed that Gary Kavanagh, retired creative director with Peter Mark, has been my hairdresser since I presented the Eurovision in 1995. He is my saviour when it comes to maintaining a colour that suits my skin tone. I am not an advocate of going grey gracefully. I like to have highlights and a bit of length. I leave all that to Gary.
What tips would you give women looking to refresh their look?
Go along and get a free trial in a department store. The make-up artists are creative and imaginative. Give them free rein. You will see yourself in a different light.
What is the greatest beauty myth?
The greatest beauty myth is that youth is the aspiration. The latter stages of life are definitely interesting and probably more fun than the twenty- and thirtysomething years. Embrace them. Live them to the full.
Who is your style crush?
I have huge admiration for Linda Grey. She played Sue Ellen in Dallas in the 1980s. She is 76 and a beauty, inside and out. What I love most is her attitude. She is a strong, compassionate and independent woman who is happy in her own skin.