Many of us have plans for when we’re in our 60s. Mine involve sipping numerous glasses of vermouth on a sunny beach in Spain with Chris Hemsworth – I mean, Mr 50Sense. (Of course I did…)
Sixty-three-year-old Joy Roberts, however, is using her time much more fruitfully – helping other women look their best.
Last year, after more than 25 years working for an art pottery company in Stoke on Trent, she set up Sophisticato Jewellery, selling elegant, sophisticated quality pieces to finish off an outfit.
“In my job, I travelled extensively throughout North America and helped with new product development, which included a range of jewellery using hand-painted ceramic pendants,” she tells me. “I’ve always worked closely with the high-end retail trade and had an avid interest in style. So when family circumstances meant I could no longer continue in this role, I decided to set up my own jewellery business.”
Like me, Joy considers jewellery an important part of your wardrobe. With my sombre colour scheme, it’s brilliant to add a statement necklace or a pair of oversized earrings to jazz things up.
“It’s transformational,” Joy says. “Jewellery can set off an outfit – it can immediately give something a new lease of life, enhance your image and make you feel more confident.
“Sophisticato caters for a more mature woman interested in style.”
I know what you’re now thinking: ker-ching! But Joy’s pieces will leave plenty in the piggy bank.
“It needs to be affordable,” she says. “Because I worked for so long with a British manufacturer myself, I chose to support British designers and this enables me to be sure of the quality.”
It was through Sophisticato that Joy was able to spread her creative wings even further – becoming a consultant and makeover artist for Look Fabulous Forever (LFF).
I first heard of LFF last year, when a PR sample came into the office. It’s an award-winning make-up range formulated especially for midlife and onwards women. I picked up a No Shimmer Eye Shade Trio in warm and it is now a valued part of my make-up bag – it was one of the few to survive a Marie Kondo cull this year.
The trio is a flattering cream and two shades of brown, making it a go-to for a natural look or a smokey eye for those days when I’m after Elegant Employee and not Dazzling Diva. It is a doddle to apply and stays on all day, with no creasing or retouching. I love it.
It turns out I’m in good company, too. LFF ambassadors include TV presenter Janet Ellis, Lady Justice Anne Rafferty and The Archers star Annette Badland. Kick-ass women, all of them.
LFF founder Tricia Cusden obviously also has no plans for vermouth nor Chris Hemsworth. She started the company at the age of 65! Who says older women can’t keep breaking boundaries?
With my lifelong love of make-up, I asked Joy to explain more about LFF, share her beauty tips and tell us why nothing is off-limits…
How did you get involved with Look Fabulous Forever?
I have a particular interest in women who, as they reach their midlife, often lose confidence, feel unsure of their personal style, become confused due to a lot of “anti-ageing” propaganda in the media as to what they “should” or “shouldn’t” be wearing – don’t get me started!
This takes me into the world of stylists and I was very fortunate to be invited by a London stylist to attend a summer fashion event last year at which Tricia was speaking.
I had found LFF online in 2016 and was already a customer, so I was really interested to hear all about how she started the business.
She was motivated by the problems she’d encountered finding make-up that took into account the changes menopause and ageing generally makes to our skin – its texture, moisture content, the crêpey eyelids etc. She had the wherewithal and decided to do something about it and in the space of five years, built a global business online. I admired that tremendously.
When I met her, she was just rolling out a programme of recruiting consultants, known as Friends, to be able to offer women advice in their own homes or at a Friend’s home near where they live. This gives women the opportunity to try before they buy and obtain expert advice at the same time from women they could relate to, rather than the 20somethings behind the beauty counters in stores. This really resonated with me and I could see how some of the women I met through my jewellery business could benefit from this, so a few months later I did the advanced training.
Why do older women need different make-up? Can’t we use what younger women wear?
There are many very good make-up brands out there, but LFF has been developed from scratch with a Suffolk-based pharmaceutical company and tailored specifically to work with the changes that start to occur at around 50 – and not in a way that tries to fight or deny these changes.
Older skin tends to become more and more like blotting paper so finding a foundation, for instance, that will a) go on well in the first place and give a fabulous finish but b) stay on through the day becomes harder and harder with traditional brands, which tend to think that adding an SPF is all you need!
Everything from LFF’s eye make-up to to blushers has been created to perform the function of making us older women look better – the fact the founder was in her 60s herself and loved wearing make-up ensured that this was the outcome.
LFF has a pro-age philosophy. On the website, you will not see young models but images and videos of real-life older women from 50-90.
Why do women need to change their make-up as they get older?
It’s all about what makes us look good.
Most of us would not look good in the clothes we wore when we were in our 20s. This is why I’m so interested in style. When you’re young, it’s all about the latest fashion and we were all pretty much dictated to by high street fashion.
As you get older, it becomes more about developing a style that suits your body shape, your lifestyle, your personality – indeed, a “style personality”.
This may keep evolving as you get older, but we no longer have to dress in a certain way just because we are old.
The same is true of make-up. Your face is changing and evolving and therefore the make-up you wear perhaps needs to change and evolve, too, so you can keep on looking fabulous.
Some women may have had an aversion to wearing make-up when they were younger and that’s fine – for me, make up was always a must (partly a confidence thing). But as you age, your natural pigmentation changes so it’s worth revisiting this and considering starting to wear foundation or at least a beauty balm such as a tinted moisturiser or a CC cream to even out the tone and give a healthier glow.
What is the biggest make-up mistake we make as we get older?
Ignoring the eyebrows. Brows often fade and thin with age, but they define the face and bring out our eyes. LFF has a fantastic product for this – the Bring Back Brow Shape!
What beauty tricks can you share?
Whether or not you use make-up, a good skincare regime is a must. Regularly use a gentle exfoliator to remove dead skin cells as you will never achieve a good finish with any make-up otherwise. Even if you choose not to wear any make-up at all. exfoliation will stop your skin looking dull and tired.
I personally also use a daily serum, as well as moisturiser during the day and at night.
Older women are often told to tone down their make-up: lose the red lip; forget the eyeshadow… What do you think?
In my view, nothing “should” be toned down simply because of age.
Eyeshadows are great for giving the illusion of larger eyes, giving them an uplift, and a subtle use of colour can showcase what are often the best feature of our faces – and arguably the most important. It’s just about how you use it.
And there’s nothing wrong with red lips, neither! I wouldn’t recommend bright eyeshadows and bright red lipstick – you don’t want to look like a clown – but bright lipsticks can instantly light up the face.
There’s a shade of red for everyone but as I’m a bit of a pink girl, for a night out I often get out the Fuchsia.
These days, too, it’s not unusual to find the over-50s getting married and this is something I really enjoy – giving the bride a makeover for her big day. Just because she is over 50 doesn’t mean the make-up plays a lesser role than if she were a lot younger.
What are your favourite Look Fabulous Forever products?
I would say the face products – primer, foundation, concealer and blusher. They work in harmony with your skin to give coverage that does not feel heavy, evens out the skin tones and gives a healthy, natural looking finish that lasts throughout the day.
The rest is the icing on the cake!
Fancy a consultation with an LFF Friend? Find out how on the Look Fantastic Forever website. If you’d like to have a make-up workshop with Joy, or want to contact her about jewellery, you can email her here or visit her website at Sophisticato.
Photos: Nikki van der Molen. Look Fabulous Forever.
What make-up do you find works best on midlife and older skins? I’d love to know your must-haves. Leave me a comment below.
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