Would you give up makeup?

— by Alyson Walsh

What is it with this zero makeup trend? – writes Vicci Bentley. Fair enough, January’s the month when we all go detox ditsy, but purging ourselves of colour seems extreme. And it’s not just models and celebrities on Instagram (#nomakeup), Sheila Hancock, 83 has made a stand against piling it on for HD cameras and refuses to wear a stitch for her latest film, Edie about a veteran mountain climber. (She does however, look pretty damned groomed alongside Dawn French in Sky’s excellent Delicious). Apparently Helen Mirren too, goes bare-faced when she’s not on the red carpet, or in a l’Oreal ad. Er, as you do….

But sorry, I won’t be going ‘face bare, don’t care’ any time soon. I’ve never regarded makeup as a mask, more an extension of personality and mood. Makeup may become more restorative, less creative as we get older, but god, it’s still good, creative fun. And isn’t that the point?

I totally get the backlash to the trashy Kardashian-style sculpting, strobing and mega-glossing plastered all over the ‘net. As older women, we owe it to ourselves not to go there, lest we come across all pantomime dameish. (Although come to think of it, ‘look behind you’ is never a bad mantra where the back of your hair’s concerned, but I digress). The more makeup you pile onto lined, uneven skin, the more it will pool awkwardly in creases. The trick here is to use a primer, steer clear of heavy cream textures, use brushes and blend like hell – especially if you don’t want your lipstick to puddle in your pucker lines.

Can I just say here that my mother, who lived to be 100 loved a slick of lippie to the end? Because it made her feel brighter, she sat and stood that bit straighter. She was of that generation who believed that wearing lipstick was every bit as decent as putting on your hat and coat. She’d been through WW2 when makeup was not merely a morale-booster, but a patriotic act of putting on a brave face.

We’re so very fortunate that we’re as old as we are, now. Age is becoming so much less of a taboo, so keeping up appearances doesn’t have to mean striving to look younger or even sexier. It’s our choice – we can slap up to please ourselves – or not – without seeking approval. Nor do we need clinical studies (and there have been many) to tell us that a lick of paint makes us feel better.

Call me delusional, but I swear I focus better with mascara than bleary eyes.



Keep Reading

An exhibition about northern style

What is it with this zero makeup trend? – writes Vicci Bentley.