“What the Pros say…” is a series where I ask professionals in the beauty industry about things that I want to know about taking care of myself and sharing the answers with you, in hopes that it might answer some of your unasked questions, too.
In this installment of “What the Pros say…” we talk to one of my favorite talented folks, the multiple Emmy award winning makeup artist, Kevin James (KJ) Bennett. I’m serious, I liked him before I even knew him – from the first kiss on the steps at my first Makeup Show, he has cracked me up. Here we are at this years’ Makeup Show in NYC. Oh, and he’s pretty darn talented, too.
Here’s what he has to say about makeup on lovelies 40+:
1) First – Is there an expiration date for when to give up the glitter?
KJ: Wow, you’re cutting right to the chase. As many already know, I tend to be painfully honest, so here goes. If you’re holding on to glitter makeup for anything other then sentimental reasons after high school graduation, you better be a circus performer or a stripper. Glitter makeup is highly theatrical and great to break out for costume parties and halloween. That’s about it. Oh, and glitter nail polish is not appropriate after 40 if you want to be taken seriously.
2) Do you prep skin differently when doing makeup for older lovelies?
KJ: Of course. Most of us “mature” folks need a little extra TLC in the prep phase to make the actual makeup look it’s best.
I start with a micro-exfoliating pad to remove any dry flaky skin. An accumulation of dry dead skin cells on the skin’s surface prevents it from reflecting light, making it appear dull and tired. I use the Philosophy Microdelivery Mini Peel Pads or the Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads.
Then I mist lightly with a mineral water spray (La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water) to drench the skin in moisture and seal the deal with a nice healthy layer of moisturizer (Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè).
I move on to the eye makeup. When i’m finished and ready to do foundation, I blot off any moisturizer that hasn’t absorbed and apply a makeup primer (CoverFX Skin Prep) to seal in the great skincare and create a perfect texture to apply foundation. I know this sounds like a lot of steps, but trust me, the finished makeup is totally red carpet quality and looks great until you remove it.
3) Can blushes make us look too aging? Should we stick to one type of application – cream or powder or should we layer? Or even look for a multi-tasking type blush?
KJ: I pretty much use only cream color these days. I work in an HD environment most of the time and those cameras can see over 6x closer than the human eye. The last thing I want is dry chalky looking cheeks. I’ve had great success with combo lip/cheek products and use Becca Beach Tint or Stila Convertible Color often.
4) If we have noticeable crowsfeet, should we draw attention to another part of the face, ie lips? Or just learn to really work with/enhance how they make our face work?
KJ: Diverting attention to another part of the face is a great idea in theory, but don’t you want someone to look you in the eyes while they talk to you? Well, they’re gonna notice the crows feet no matter what. The best defense is making sure that your eye makeup is always pristinely applied with all shadows blended well, liners drawn evenly and mascara applied correctly (no clumps or spider lashes). The one optical illusion that does work is highlight and contour. Light colors move forward and dark colors recede. So, keep the lid very light and contour that annoying, saggy brow bone with a soft medium brown or taupe color. The result will be a fresher, much more “open” eye.
5) Are there certain colors of lippies or eyeshadows that are more aging than others? Or should we stick with the neutral palettes?
KJ: A bright or saturated color will draw attention to the area where it’s applied. These colors can make a youngster look hard (older)…not a great idea for our age group. There’s no reason not to wear color, just dampen it down a little. As long as a little bit of “skin-tone” is mixed into the color, it will look more organic and not stand out from the skin, For eyeshadow, instead of purple, choose a soft plum, instead of forest green, choose a khaki…you get the idea. I love lips in rose, peach or coral that have a “fleshy” base tone. They look fresh without being overt.
6) What is the best type eyeliner for eyes? Or is it still a preference thing? And should we not be lining the entire eye/underneath?
KJ: Oh boy, the age old “do i line underneath” question. Lining underneath will draw attention to that part of the eye…do you want to draw attention to that part of your eye…at our age? Well, there’s your answer. I do think that mascara alone is a better choice for the lower lid. Leave all the lining and eyeshadow work on the upper eye where it will visually “lift” the eye.
I’m not a big fan of “hard” lining a mature eye unless it’s for a special look. Waterproof or water-resistant eyeliners will keep things from slipping and causing raccoon eyes (not attractive at any age). I LOVE drawing on the inside lower lid with a flesh colored pencil (Three Custom Color Clarifier Pencil). It removes the redness and makes the eye look more open. Forget the old skool pale blue or white liner for this…it’s to obvious.
Big thanks to KJ for answering my questions!
So, did you pick up a few new tricks or ideas this time? I know that I can tell you that the Three Custom Clarifier pencil is the business! I won one a long time ago, let it sit for too long because I didn’t know what to do with it really & then kicked myself as soon as I tried it for waiting so dang long! Lemme know what you’re doing now!
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