Part 2 of 2 of my series: “Not Aging, Just Proceeding to Hotness” focuses on the neck up, i.e. skincare tweaks and make-up.
I am not enthused by the idea of using injectibles because I have not come across longitudinal or long-term studies that conclude that the impact of muscle toxins such as Botox or fillers such as Restylane® are harmless, or at least impact neutral on the body. The lack of comfort breeds in me a fear that in my bid to look great, I might sacrifice comfort and health in the long term.
You might answer that if there was harm the government would stop its use. To which I respond, if Botox, which is a toxin that causes botulism, was found to be completely safe, somehow I think it would be spun into the marketing campaign. I was aghast to learn that Health Canada does not re gulate cosmetics as much as some companies and there are ingredients and practises that are banned in the EU but are available in Canada.
I am also wary of looking like someone who has had procedures done to look younger. Injectibles, like plastic surgery, is a melding of science and art, and just because someone has a license to practise medicine does not mean that they should mold people’s faces. Further, there are some jurisdictions where people without medical training can apply injectibles… no thanks! If there is skin piercing and injectibles involved, I always want a medical professional who is trained to handle allergic reactions or medical emergencies.
The uncertainty that I feel towards these anti-aging approaches drives me to eat better, and to wear sunscreen daily, even when there is a blizzard. The latter habit has literally saved my skin but like many women who are 40+, I am conscious of looking older. I have made key tweaks in my skin care routine and have adopted interesting, impactful approaches that are easy to integrate into any routine.
Regarding make-up, I have discovered products that leave me glowing and conclude that sometimes simple techniques produce the best results.
The one theme that I embrace is that what I do to my face, I do to my neck. The neck’s skin is even thinner than that of the face. The constant leaning over on screens can result in neck rings, which is aging. It is imperative that when you apply your serum and cream, that you take the products and gently massage the neck using gentle upward strokes. The skin on the neck also needs TLC like the cheeks and the forehead.
At night, I have started to use Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, the legendary serum, which is designed to help the skin to renew itself while you sleep. I must say that after five weeks of nightly usage that my skin looks smoother and firmer.
More importantly, it helped me to repair a pimple that I foolishly decided to pop. The end result was a red painful bump with the gunk partially ejected. I had a lovely scar which usually takes a couple of months to clear (the downside of having darker skin!). I was thrilled to notice that after three weeks, the scar went from bump, to flat red dot and after 2 more weeks, it is a fading! Adding a powerhouse serum to your nightly ritual will help to improve the appearance and quality of the skin.
Another twist on the use of serum and cream that I appreciate is Dior’s mix and match approach with its Capture Youth Age-Delay Advanced Creme (“Creme”) which can be enhanced by adding in drops of a serum which addresses your skin care concern.
For example, as we leave Old Man Winter melting in the streets, my complexion is quite bland. With Dior’s approach, when I apply the Creme in the morning, I add a few drops of the Capture Youth Glow Booster. My face and neck gleam with freshness! If my skin is feeling dry and looks parched, I will add in the Age-Delay Plumping Serum to give my face and neck a fuller look.
When I create my mixture, I feel like I am in a French apothecary and it is empowering to know that I can alter the mix depending on my skin and the weather.
The uncomfortable truth about aging is that the face and neck do not age evenly, and some parts start to show the effects of Father Time too soon. For me, the nasal labial folds, kindly referred to as smile lines, are my Achilles’ heel. I have noticed that those lines, although not plainly visible, have started to leave a scant trace. Frankly, that scant trace is a scant too much, and I am thrilled to use Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Instant Wrinkle Filler Tri-Polymer Blend.
The name is a mouthful but its impact is tenfold on fine lines. The white, odourless gel comes in a applicator tube with a refined tip. It fits perfectly against my lines and the slightest squeeze emits the perfect amount. After tracing the tip down the length of the line, I used my left ringer (which has the least pressure) to tap it into the skin. The gel sets to a colourless finish and when I apply make-up on top, the surface looks smooth and I feel confident!
Skincare is a crapshoot and I strongly recommend that you obtain samples before investing in a full size jar or tube. There is nothing worse than being conscious of the signs of aging and battling redness! The key to being successful is consistent usage, i.e. daily or nightly, and give it five or six weeks to see the full effect. These products complement the regime of a healthy lifestyle, other steps in skincare, and sunscreen usage. As I walk towards the ages I want to look like the optimised version of myself which has been achieved through methods and practises that I trust.
MAKE-UP – JUST GLOW, BABY!
I have seen countless women who look great from afar but as you approach them, the false lashes, over-processed hair, overdone lips and hip clothes reveal that these women want to look young. The common denominator with all of these women is that they lack the youthful glow which is a combination of a healthy lifestyle, good health and a positive attitude. It is incredibly hard to recreate the youthful glow with just make-up but overdone make-up will dim the glow you possess.
The guiding adjective when selecting products and applying them is glow, even if you have normal-to-oily skin.
It is important to have a strong base which allows make-up to remain atop the skin and prevent it from sinking into the lines. For formal events, I love Stila One Step Illuminate Skin Tone Illuminating Primer.
The primer is a combination of shimmery peach, pale pink and champagne, and initially my olive skin balked. I feared that I would look like I was suffering from attah syndrome but when I put it on, I was stunned at how my complexion looked elevated. It went from blah to fresh in a few softly blended strokes. I then spot applied Givenchy Photo’Perfexion Fluid Foundation and was amazed at how this lightweight liquid melted into the skin and made my unevenness indiscernible.
The combination created a lasting glow.
On the weekends, I prefer the “Easy Sunday Look”, where I look put together in a casual way without a heavy time investment. If my complexion is somewhat sallow, I will apply the Stila Primer, otherwise I forego this step, and proceed to apply Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow.
It is a lightweight, white cream that literally adjusts to your skin tone, fills-in tiny crevices, and leaves your complexion with a sun-bisou! It is fascinating to watch how this white product turns a healthy shade of light brown that suits my skin, olive undertone and all! After rubbing it in, I am ready for concealer.
Concealer is tricky because many South Asian women have dark circles which can be prominent even if you sleep for 8 hours straight on heated 800 thread count sheets. The trick is to cover this area without drawing attention to the fine lines. I love Nars because it has shade that suit my skin tone, are lightweight and effective. The key is to tap on a corrector, and the Soft Matte Complete Concealer is fantastic. It is soft to the touch, easy to build in light layers and sets almost immediately.
Afterwards, I tap on the Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter, which adds coverage and glow to the darkest part of my face.
This concealer can be used alone as the colour is quite rich but if your circles are intense like mine, the two steps are necessary. I like using my (clean) left ring finger because its heat ensures that the products meld to the skin, and the tapping motion does not stress the delicate skin.
I set my concealer with a light touch of the Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder.
The particles feel like soft silk and they never settle into my lines. The sheerness of the powder means that my skin glows and if there is greasy spot, I tap some on so that I glow all over. No one needs to glisten!
A glowing complexion means that the rest of the make-up can be light and fresh, just like the way we looked at the age of 17 after partying on Crescent until 3 am, eating poutine until 4:30 am, then heading home to sleep for 5 am, only to get up at 10 am to work at the store… I always glowed and never thought that the day would come that I would no longer heal like the Wolverine®.
Now, I rely on curling my lashes, applying an eyelid primer, and then applying a black liner such as Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick.
It looks like a calligraphy pen and glides on like butter. Its pointy tip ensures that the liner can get into the lashes and create the illusion of thickness without the heaviness of false lashes. It defines beautifully and stays all day.
The next step is to use the curling mascara such as the amazing Diorshow Overcurl Iconic Mascara.
The curling mascara preserves the curl achieved with the curler and adds a few millimetres to the wide-eyed look. The bristles on the brush are dense but they coat and separate each lash perfectly. On days when I want my eyes to pop, I also apply mascara to the bottom lashes.
The cheeks are key because they occupy the middle third of the face and the cheeks communicate our hidden emotions. For example, cheeks tend to flush crimson when you are standing next to your office crush who turns around and compliments you on a good presentation. Consequently when selecting a blush, I prefer cream ones which settle to a powder finish. Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Las Salinas is an excellent example of a cream-to-powder blush.
It is a fresh pink lemonade shade that suits all South Asian skin tones. Its freshness and blendability will make this product your Sunday through Saturday best friend. I like to dab the stick on the highest point of my cheeks and then blend it out to the hairline at the temps using my fingertips. As with concealer, I find that the creamier textures adhere better when the warmth of fingers are used to set them. I only need to touch up after five hours of wear.
The final step is the lips, and as with the rest of the face, the “Easy Sunday Look” is about lightness. I love the Dior collection of Lip Glows because, like the Unisex Health Glow, it adjusts to your lip shade, regardless of the amount of pigment. Clearly, if your lips are darker the shade will not be as prominent as on a less-pigmented pair of lips but the Lip Glows always leave a pink, coral or raspberry impression. The Lip Glow’s shiny finish creates the illusion of fuller lips and it hydrates effectively.
As someone who is plotting the next 10 years for her beauty routine, I conclude:
- To maintain a great complexion, a judicially followed skin care routine which includes creams and sera that suit your needs is essential;
- What you do to your face, you do to your neck – they are twins;
- The ring finger on your left hand has the least pressure so use this one when applying make-up around the eyes;
- To create a glowing look, you need a few products that work with this criterion, as glowing cheeks cannot compensate for a dull complexion;
- A light hand, with extensive use of fingers creates a softer look, that is relaxed, youthful and fresh.