The Mature Woman: In Style Fashion Looks

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In one of my last posts I was moaning about the dearth of fashion advice and shops that cater to those of us who are aging gently.

Well, since then I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong on both counts! While searching on the Net for age-appropriate jeans, I came across Vibrant Nation (www.vibrantnation.com) , a U.S. website that features fashion advice by like-minded women. And what’s more, the brands they comment on are mentioned too. They have done articles on “What to Wear After 50”, and “Best Jeans for Women Over 50”, amongst many others. And I love the name of the website, too, because it epitomizes how the mature woman wants to be seen. If any of you out there have your favourites websites, please let me know about them. I am sure there are many hidden treasures yet to be discovered. I’ll continue to search them out, too, and keep you posted.

Now, on to my favourite (local) shops! While driving around town the other week, I just about screeched to a halt when I noticed a Zacks store. They at one time had several outlets in my vicinity, but the economic downturn in the 1990″s forced some of them to close. I really thought all the branches had closed. so imagine my delight! Zacks is a local store that was established in 1921 – that’s a lot of years to be in business. Also in the same plaza is a Vivian Lee boutique, a Tweed & Hickory store (www.tweedandhickory.com). In Canada, that’s www.tweedandhickory.ca. In the same plaza, there’s an upscale shoe store named Lashbrook’s.

Onto on my shopping adventure! For my first foray into Zack’s, I purchased this neutral Conrad C blazer and Zack’s label brown patterned blouse. I already had a lovely orange scarf that toned with this outfit perfectly. The added bonus was a 25% discount on my next visit! And did I mention I got 25% off the jacket?

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Obviously I wanted to return and take advantage of that discount. I had my eye on a jacket and top I had spotted on my first visit. I purchased another Conrad C blazer and Tribal multi-coloured top. Again, I had a scarf that matched the outfit very well. And I got 25% off both items!Next I purchased these beautiful SAS black patent leather loafers with silver buckle detail. Easy to dress them up or down. I love classic pieces, but sometimes with a twist, like the chartreuse jacket

Needless to say, I was delighted with my purchases. You don’t need to spend the earth to look chic. The mature, vibrant woman is alive and well!

Age-Appropriate Makeup for the Mature Woman

As we age, our hair colour and skin tone change. The older woman often requires a brand new makeup palette,,,in softer, more flattering shades. Makeup application requires a lighter touch. This applies to both foundation and eye makeup. No harsh black eyeliner anymore! So how do we achieve the fresh, dewy look we all want?

Here are a couple of tips:

ALWAYS use primer as your first step. This is especially important for women with dry skin, like me. The primer will add a dewy look to the skin and allow you to achieve a flawless application of foundation or tinted moisturizer.

Next, use spot concealer to hide age spots or imperfections.

Instead of trying to combat wrinkles with heavier foundation (this will only make wrinkles appear deeper as the foundation sinks into the skin), apply it with a light touch, blending well.

All very well, you say, but what exactly does this mean for me?

Lucky for us, then, that internationally renowned UK makeup artist Lisa Eldridge has made a series of tutorial videos (that have gone viral, by the way), for different types of makeup application. Now we can all have fresh, flawless faces! Here is her tutorial on how to apply makeup on mature skin. Enjoy!

http://www.lisaeldridge.com/video/25644/glowing-youthful-make-up-look-for-mature-skin/

The Latest in Skin Care: Oxygen Facials

As a “mature” woman, I’m always on the lookout for the newest thing in skin care treatments. Yesterday, when I was in my fave beauty spa, I was offered an Oxygen Facial as an upgrade to my regular facial. As it was a special promotion (on for half price), and as I’m always ready to be a guinea pig, I thought, “What the hey” and went for it. Now for those of you who haven’t heard of this treatment, it’s something Madonna highly recommended on her website last year. Since then, a number of celebs (Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, amongst others) have tried it.

What is it exactly? This new technology uses the revitalizing power of pure oxygen to stimulate cells. Aging and free radicals reduce oxygen supply to the skin which then appears dull and shows signs of wrinkles and age spots. This treatment is supposed to accelerate cell regeneration, and to restore the skin’s hydration and plumpness.

The Machine

The Machine

What’s involved? My particular treatment involved nutrient-rich serums being misted onto the skin, followed by pure oxygen infusion to massage and stimulate the cells.

This is not me.

This is not me.

The results? Well, in my case, I was really pleased! The skin around my eyes looked as if I’d had an eyelift; my eyes were more widely open than they’d been for years. The rest of my face looked hydrated, plumped and refreshed, no longer a dull tone.

So, yes, I’m sold, and I might even purchase some anti-aging oxygen skin products.

Makeup Junkie: Skincare

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a makeup junkie. Enabled by my daughter, who edits a cosmetics magazine, I get plenty of freebies, both skin care and makeup. Today I’m going to talk about a few of my favourite Skin Care products.

It’s important for aging skin (tending to be dry)  like mine to be sufficiently hydrated. Maintaining a radiant complexion  and incorporating a good anti-wrinkle cream are also important factors.

Here goes:

My Morning Routine

My first step is to cleanse my face. Estee Lauder’s Soft Clean Tender Crème Cleanser for Dry Skin and companion Toner are so gentle on my skin and really do the job. Tender Creme Cleanser

Next step is Lancôme’s Energie de Vie Daily Cream. It promises “dullness relief” and an “energy recharge”. RenergiedeVieWith its fresh “green” scent, I adore using it in the morning for a refreshed feeling on my skin. I sometimes use an anti-wrinkle product, such as Vichy’s LiftActiv UV Moisturizing Cream. UV and SPF protection is so important , which is why I make sure an SPF factor is in my foundation (my personal favourite is Lancôme’s Renergie Lift Makeup).

There’s nothing so refreshing during a hot summer day as using a Toner right from the fridge on your skin. Ah, cool relief! Even is you have to reapply your makeup, it’s worth it.

My Evening Routine

First, the same cleansing  routine as in the morning. Next for skincare:

My favourite evening anti-wrinkle product right now is Neutrogena’s Ageless Intensives® Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle Night Moisturizer. Neutrogena Retinol It has a combination of Retinol SA and Hyaluronic Acid, two strong anti-wrinkle fighters.
 
Next up is Estee Lauder again: I just love their Renutriv line because my skin is fairly dry. EL Renutriv ReplenishMy daughter gifted me with the Renutriv Replenishing Crème. Love it, love it, love! It feels so luxurious on the skin, and has an Omega 3 Phyto Complex containing lipids to keep the skin hydrated and supple. This line is expensive, but to me, it is worth every penny to nurture my skin.
And, yes, I do use eye cream: my new fave is Lancôme’s Ultimate Rejuvenating Eye Contour Collection, which includes Ultimate Rejuvenating Eye Balm Elixir and Ultimate Eye Patch, again from my lovely daughter.

Well, there you have it. Just a reminder: this is my personal skincare routine. I do not endorse these products for anyone.

Organizing Your Makeup: Go Acrylic

If you’re like me, with an absolute mania about cosmetics, you’ll likely have little palettes of eye shadow, blush, and foundation scattered all over the place. That used to be me, until I read a Post from my fellow blogger, All in the Blush. She suggested organizing one’s makeup in acrylic storage cases. Well, I was sold!

There are all kinds of sizes and prices – some to about the $300.00 range as used by Kim Kardashian in “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Now, I’m no millionaire, so I wanted something that looked nice at an affordable price. I found what I wanted on eBay, and you can too. Here’s the one I bought. It’s a simple 4 drawer case, with two smaller drawers at the top, The second and third drawers run the width of the case.

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Now, on to organizing my makeup. I’m going to go drawer by drawer here, so you have a visual of what I did.

First up – the top two drawers. As you can see they were both used for eyeshadow palettes. I sure do have a lot of eye shadow!

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In the second long drawer, I put…OMG…more eyeshadow. Yikes!

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Finally, in the last drawer, went my blushes, and eye liner and eyebrow pencils.

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But what about lipsticks and foundation, you ask? Well, I had a solution for that as well. I used an acrylic lipstick container that I already had, filled it with my lipsticks, and placed it top of the Makeup Case that I had just filled. There was also room for some stand-up items, such as mascara. Placing it on the left-hand side of the case, I found I still had some room, so on top went my foundation.

Et voila! Here’s the filled case.

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Women’s Makeup Through the Years: Ancient Times

This article is part of a series of Women’s Makeup Through the Years that I’ve put together.

It should be noted that I’m no expert on this subject. My research is coupled with information from the Internet, and some reference books. I have cited sources wherever possible. This is my own personal take on the subject, and by no means comprehensive. Any errors are my own.
Decoration of bodies, for both men and women, has been going on since ancient times. Whether for religious reasons, to indicate tribal loyalty, or simply to make themselves appear more attractive, human beings have always wanted to beautify their appearance.

Ancient Egypt

It was ancient Egypt, however, that laid the foundations of cosmetics application as we know it today. This civilization used makeup, both to enhance their beauty and for health benefits, and scent to mask body odour.  The principal colours used were green and black: green malachite for eye shadow and lead sulphide (kohl) used for eyeliner.  Thick eyeliner was not only decorative or preventing glare from the sun, but it had chemical properties used in eye medications, and kept flies from the Nile’s marsh at bay. Cosmetics were so important that many Egyptians went to their tombs fully made up.  It was very important to have a good appearance in the afterlife. Archaeologists have also found makeup kits in their tombs.

Cleopatra in a papyrus painting

Cleopatra in a papyrus painting

Queen Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti

Ancient Rome

The wealthy women of Rome highly valued pure white skin.  Since this did not come about naturally, they required whitening makeup, such as chalk or white lead. They were able to afford “cosmetae”, female slaves who applied their mistresses’ makeup in private rooms (does this remind anyone of modern day salons with estheticians?).

Cosmetae applying makeup

Cosmetae applying makeup

Cosmetics were very expensive, often coming from Germany and Gaul (France), only affordable by these women. Other commonly used ingredients were carmine for the cheeks and ash and powdered saffron for the eyes.

Working-class women had to make do with “designer brand” knockoffs.
Scent was also very important. Because of stench of some of the ingredients in their makeup, women would almost bathe themselves in perfume.

The advent of Christianity gave the taint of immorality to women’s cosmetics. Makeup was condemned as “ungodly” or “unchaste” for women.  St. Cyprian, referring to application of cosmetics, wrote “everything that comes into existence is the work of God; what is changed is the work of the devil”. Roman women were strongly advised to shun cosmetics.

Ancient Greece

As we have seen in Rome, a white complexion was highly prized, and this trend spread to the Mediterranean world. Greek women had darker skin that required whitening.  A paste made of white lead was applied to the face, neck and shoulders to achieve this appearance, and to lessen the look of wrinkles. Although lead sulphide was known to be highly toxic, women continued to use it.

Ancient Greek makeup application

Ancient Greek makeup application

Cosmetics were often imported from Egypt. Others products were used to enhance lip and cheek colour (flowers or crushed mulberries), and soot was used in eye shadow and eye liner.

Greek women also loved to use perfumes, which were imported from Egypt.

Resources
Books: Cosmetics and collectibles: beauty from  Victorian times to the present day, by Madeleine Marsh, Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2009.
Internet: www.cosmeticsinfo.org, www.fashionencyclopedia.com, www.ehow.com/info (ancient egyptian makeup styles)

The Great Gatsby: Book or Movie? Why not Both?

The cover of the first edition of The Great Ga...

The cover of the first edition of The Great Gatsby (1925) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, today I went to see The Great Gatsby 3D movie. I must admit I was skeptical, as I’d heard mixed reviews, and anything billed “as interpreted by [Baz Luhrman]” makes me suspicious.

Right now I’m reading the book and loving it…the beautiful, lyrical descriptions of nature, and the unexpectedness of certain scenes, e.g. when Tom Buchanan suddenly breaks Mrs. Wilson’s nose. If you haven’t read the book (I’m almost ashamed to admit I hadn’t), you’re in for a real treat.

Now, back to the movie…
Please note that this is my own opinion. I promised myself not to be biased because of the reviews I’d read. My husband and I went to see it this afternoon, and surprise, surprise, he really enjoyed it. As did I, which just goes to show you, I was right when I decided to make up my own mind.

As you’d expect, it was a spectacular extravaganza, particularly the party scenes. What I didn’t expect was that it stayed true to the book. Tobey Maguire, as Nick Carraway, proved to be the perfect bystander narrator.

I really liked Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, the mysterious but ultimately vulnerable man. Tom Buchanan is played particularly well by Joel Edgerton (he has the most burning blue eyes), as an arrogant, mean bully boy. And, Daisy…well, Daisy is very much a shallow, pretty face, although charmingly played by Carey Mulligan.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the film, I won’t spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that Gatsby comes off as the good guy in the end, maybe even great, as the title says. I would certainly recommend this movie to anyone who loves a good love story and the 1920’s era.

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Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio in the yellow roadster

Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio in the yellow roadster

Leonardo Di Caprio as Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy.

Leonardo Di Caprio as Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy.