Make-up has been in my life forever. Starting off pinching my mam’s Rimmel lipsticks as a little girl and rubbing it on my cheeks as “rouge”, I’ve loved the feeling of changing and rearranging yourself. It has an amazing power to transform not only how you look, but how you feel.
However, over the last year or so, I’ve been in a neutral funk. Everything in my make-up bag was a shade of brown, beige or bleurgh. This, from a woman who used to wear yellow eyeshadow, with blue mascara and a touch of black kohl to calm it down.
Now there’s nothing wrong with neutrals. They look wonderful and understated and they’re sooooo easy. No need to worry about mixing or clashing or standing out.
And that’s where my problem came in. A few years ago, a make-up artist at a beauty event told me women over 45 “definitely” shouldn’t wear bright sparkly eyeshadow (said, I should add, as she glowered at my bright sparkly eyeshadow). It was so ageing, she said.
Mentally, I told her to bugger off. Subconsciously, the words “so ageing” echoed over and over every time I picked up a new palette. The slightest bit of sparkle and I’d put it straight back.
Eventually, it became where I’d look in the mirror and think anything on my eyes bar a little eyeliner was ageing. Even the neutrals have been lying unloved in the bottom of my make-up bag for a couple of months.
But then I saw the Etmore Argan Eyes Palette Call Me Soon from Etmore Beauty and it was so pretty. They’re a new brand that’s just launched in the UK and are 100% cruelty free and enriched with argan oil. Now argan oil has a whole load of benefits for your hair and skin and whether that carries through into make-up, I’m not sure. But I can say these were very creamy and easy to blend shadows. They are also incredibly pigmented, so a little goes a long way, and they don’t feel at all heavy. (Am I the only person who thinks eyeshadows can feel heavy? Sometimes I’m just aware of the grease in the shadow on my lids all day and I can feel it.)
Having not embraced colour for a loooooooong while, I went the whole hog with the gold (top second left), pink and terracotta (bottom middle two). And I loved it. Yes, they’re glimmery and sparkle, but at no point did they appear too much.
They also lasted for the entire eight hours I was out. The colour had faded a tad, but you could still point out which shades I’d used.
I also picked up the Mineral Complexion powder, which has all those little colours in that colour-correct your skin. I was dubious, but I needed a powder so why not?
I’d decided to give my Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation another go. Again, this gets rave reviews but I always find it a bit flat and this was truly the case that it was last time and if I caught myself in a mirror and it looked terrible again, it was definitely in the bin (I like to give things second, third and even 18th chances).
Popping into the loo at the local Wetherspoons that afternoon, I checked in the mirror and thought: “Hmm, that foundation doesn’t look too bad at all.”
It was only a little later that I realised that it had to be the powder I’d put on because honestly, I was not impressed with the Healthy Mix at all and had actually been making appointments at the make-up counters to get a foundation overhaul.
So the powder is definitely a keeper.
Most importantly, however, is how I felt. Going out, I was aware that I had the brightest colours on my eyes that I’ve worn for many, many years.
And it felt wonderful. I felt like Dorothy, stepping out from the black and white of Kansas into the Technicolor world of Oz.
It make me realise that make-up is fun and empowering and there are no rules – and certainly not because you’re over 45.
It’s time to show our true colours.
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