19 May 2013 --- Linda Rodin --- Image by © Kristiina Wilson/Corbis Outline
Linda Rodin. Image by © Kristiina Wilson/Corbis Outline

‘I believe as one gets older, less makeup looks much better,’ beauty entrepreneur and model Linda Rodin told me recently. This was also the consensus I found when writing my book – which came as good news to a lifelong cosmetics coward with a low-maintenance beauty regime. I’m pleased that in my sixth decade, the zeitgeist has caught up with me, at last.

For the beauty chapter in my book Style Forever, I spoke to several experts, including: international makeup artist Ruby Hammer, esteemed journalists Tish Jett and Vicci Bentley and 49-year-old model Mak Gilchrist. When I collated their advice on the best beauty products, I had it in the back of my mind that I was going to add my own personal favourites, too. But with such a tight deadline, we simply ran out of time. And so, this is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while: here are a few of the bits and bobs found in my no-makeup makeup bag…

Benefit They're Real Mascara 2231443

About a year ago, I upgraded to Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara, and this is the best I’ve found (available HERE). Lashes look longer and thicker, and are separated by the specially designed spiky brush (be careful or that corneal abrasion could also be real!)

Benefit Instant Brow pencil

Now the eyebrows are thinning, I fill in the gaps with a brow pencil from Blink or Benefit (Instant Brow Pencil, available HERE).


I’ve always been a child of the 60s and for special occasions (parties, gigs, book launches), I still like to add a little retro flick.  Charlotte Tilbury’s Rock and Kohl is great for a smudgy smoky eye, available HERE. Though I’m thinking of progressing to the quick Feline Flick Eyeliner Pen for a swifter swoosh, available HERE.

For cheeks, Laura Mercier’s Creme Cheek Colour (available HERE) or Clinique’s Chubby Stick Cheek Colour in Amp’d Up Apple (available HERE) stop me looking cadaverous. These days I take a little extra care with blending to avoid the Dot Cotton-effect:


And, I also like Clinique’s Chubby Stick moisturising lip balm for a quick and easy whoosh of colour (available HERE).

When the book was finished, after a long lunch with friends, I waltzed into Space NK and came out with a celebratory Chantecaille lipstick (available HERE). At £30 it was the the most expensive item of makeup I’d ever bought but I was high on relief (and red wine), and made of natural beeswax with a lovely moist finish, it’s definitely the best lipstick I’ve ever used.


Chantecaiile lipstick
Chantecaiile lipstick


Read more about Linda Rodin and other beauty expert’s makeup essentials in my ‘How your makeup bag changes with age’ feature for the Guardian HERE.

What’s in your makeup bag?


27 thoughts on “How your makeup bag changes with age

  1. Interesting article, really good to see someone countering the ubiquitous women’s magazine advice to wear insipid lipstick once you hit 50! However those of us who have blotchy skin/Rosales/discolouration find it harder to go to a minimalist make up routine, any advice?

  2. I’d add some kind of eyelid primer to that list, just to counteract the blotchiness and sort of grey look my eye lids have. I use one from Autograph which does the job. But definitely agree, less is more

  3. Great article, thanks. My make up bag now has nothing that’s not from “Look Fabulous Forever”. The Brow Shape and Brush is unbelievable, it gives little feathery strokes that are just like real eyebrows.
    Love, love your book!

  4. Re Maureen’s comment: I have mild rosacea and use Laura Mercer Creme Smooth foundation. The coverage is so good you don’t need to apply it thickly, so you avoid the over-made-up look. It also doesn’t need powder on top. Then use Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer if any patches need more coverage.

  5. Maureen, I have just developed mild rosacea – and have found tremendous relief by using the Clinique Anti-Redness Solutions range, cleanser and cream only for me, but there is make-up and primer as well. I also the extra mild liquid soap and extra mild toner by Clinique and it has made a tremendous difference. I’ve also started to use the Bare Minerals range of make-up and it can be as minimalist or heavier as you prefer – again the difference has been immense – I have learnt that the more you buff the better. They also have a tinted moisturiser, liquid foundation and a compact foundation which is slightly less messy than the original loose powder formulation.

  6. I never wear foundation now, just a tinted moisturiser or BB cream ( sometimes Garnier, sometimes Superdrug’s own brand) with a good illuminating primer underneath. I’ve actually been stopped in Boots and told my skin looks great and been asked what I use. I’ve avoided too much eye makeup since I hit 65+ as the lids are drooping a bit, but I followed a youtube tutorial to disguise the droop and it works! Urban Decay eyelid primer goes underneath, and a dark taupe shadow in the crease. I used a cheapo from Superdrug and with the primer it lasted all day. I’ve got a slight problem with a tear duct in one eye which waters occasionally so I avoid coloured mascara; Rimmel’s colourless adds a little thickness. I love a bright, clear lipstick too – again, Rimmel does the business, though I long for a wonderful Max Factor lippie I used in the 1960’s – Capistrano Pink – luscious!

    I know I sound an awful cheapskate but honestly, I’ve spent a fortune on high-end stuff, both make up and skin care, in the past and find I get just as good results with cheapo stuff with a bit of experimentation and help from Youtube tutorials.

  7. We all need help with our complexion. Illuminating primers new age foundation/tinted moisturiser/ bb cream and poss illuminating powder. Alyson you need to head to Bobbi Brown for a lesson. They’re great on older faces. Also Chanel and Space nk. Get them to do your face. Then report back please. Also try Lisa Eldridge online tutorials – fab! X

  8. My make up bag needs a tune up.
    At 52 I now use less and less its very true.
    Therefore I want quick multi tasking products, that dont stick in the cracks (what cracks?)
    Now theres a blog post for you!?
    bestest daisy j

  9. I’ve been wearing Chantecaille lipstick almost exclusively the last few months. It moisturizes and stays on like nobody’s business. Wish I could pull off the bright lips à la Linda, but am still working on that.

  10. At 52 , I’ve gone minimal, also. I used to use BB Cream and an illuminating liquid, but have found one product that does the trick: STILA One Step correcting & brightening serum. It’s fantastic. Makes my skin even & glowy with out looking like I’m wearing foundation. Next comes slightly sparkly cream blush from Elf on my cheeks and upper eyelids to add a bit of color. I finish my eyes with a Taupe eye liner from the drugstore and Black Dior Show Mascara. I finish up with Aveda Sheer Clover lipstick which is a pretty version of my natural lip color. When I’m going out in the evening, I add a little smudgy black eyeliner and a bright coraly red lipstick. I can do it all in 5 minutes. Love it. And I love your blog!!!

  11. I’d like to try the Chantecaille lipstick but I’m confused about which ‘type’ to use. If I like the ‘no makeup’ look do I try the sheer nude colors? Please advise! Thanks

  12. I’m an eyeshadow and lipstick junkie, although the older I get the less I use. I rarely wear foundation anymore, but if I do, it’s Estee Lauder Double Wear. It imparts a very smooth, even finish if applied with a brush, and damn if it doesn’t stay put—no gathering in lines and other crevices, no caking or flaking. Otherwise, it’s just a sweep of powder and some light bronzer here and there (Clinique—again, no caking or flaking) and a lip as bright as I think I can get away with, either Chanel Dragon or Clinique’s Red-y To Wear, both a pinky red that (I think) goes well with my skin tone. But I blot them way down to a stain because I’m a red lip chicken. I’m not sure anything bright on or near my face really suits me but but everything else on my body is so neutral, I desperately want some kind of color. For evening, I reverse it: smokey eye, nude pink/brown lip (I have two or three by M.A.C., which IMHO are some of the best lipsticks around).

  13. I mix ‘cheapo’ and the other end! Like Rimmel scandal eyes mascara…..great for my tiny eyelashes. Smash box photo finish colour correcting (green) for my reddish bits, No 7 BB cream just here & there where it’s needed. Clinique all about eyes to touch up imperfections anywhere, sometimes Collection’s version (cheap) , Boots 17 brow kit…..all applied within a few minutes & giving a very natural look. Lipstick is one of my collection of as the lady said ‘kick ass’ reds, higher end, Bobbi Brown my fav…..Burnt Red.

  14. Anna – not cheapskate at all. Best to take the same approach as with fashion & mix things up. Though I haven’t tried Lidl cosmetics yet…

    Vix – no, you look fab! Keep on doing what you’re doing

    Sally – I actually ended up with a stronger colour than I would normally use and it is lovely. Just had a look online & they don’t have the same colour this year, but shades like Lotus, Rosehip and Narcissia all look like good no-makeup, makeup options.

  15. I got a Clinique chubby stick just last week! I wanted to get some “glow” and whereas in my youth I would have put it “everywhere the sun hit” like the make up artists say, but now I avoid the forehead and middle of my nose and just put it on my temples and cheekbones. Its like the nars copacabana but €17 cheaper. I wish I could do the strong lip but it ages me SO much – and highlights my rosacea – but am so glad to get tips on that so many thanks to the other commenters!

  16. I also use They’re Real! mascara for a few years and its great. Now theres is such a fuss around eye brows that I’m tempted to try the benefit Instant Brow. Nevertheless I’m a 5 minute makeup sort of girl and I’m afraid that one more thing will not fit the time table.

  17. Red lipstick, smudgy glittery black eyeliner and lashings of black mascara. I love wearing glitter with my silver/grey hair. When I wear makeup I feel fabulous and flamboyant, when I don’t, sometimes people think I’m older than I am.

  18. What, no foundation?

    I adore real red lipstick and found some great ones this year by L’Oreal but had to give them up quickly as they bleed over the edges of the lip unless I spend longer doing the lips than the rest of the makeup put together. Back to a more natural long wear lip colour by Sephora.

  19. great tips, but I think I’ve just found the best item ever…Celestial Skin liquid lightening by Kevyn Aucoin. It’s a beautiful illuminator which you can mix either with your moisturiser or base, and also works as a highlighter giving a youthful dewy glow with no harsh shimmer. Available from Space NK, it’s not cheap but will be the best product you ever bought!

  20. Loved this post and reading everyone’s tips! I have found that Cushion Compact makeup like Amore Pacific’s are very light for summer, look very natural, but still give coverage. I too love Clinique Chubby sticks and the Benefit mascara (though can be tough to remove) lasts wonderfully. Armani makes a terrific illuminator that is lovely and I just wrote about MAC Hug Me which looks great on so many – a universally flattering color. I so agree that less looks better!

  21. Hi love post! Any suggestions for brightening dull Asian/dark skin for summer season, ladies? I’m struggling and now have greasy t-zone outburst!

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