I knew I needed help the day my face fell.
Perhaps I should explain. Most of the time, you are the reason I write. I choose topics that I hope you will find helpful, informative and entertaining. That’s why I do what I do, and I am passionate about it. But this week is a little different. It’s the week of my birthday, a birthday that comes with a number so strangely foreign to me that I can’t seem to put it down in writing. It’s a number that belongs to a different person. An old one. One that is getting a little soft around the middle. If I were a man, I would be losing my hair.
For the first time in my life, I am feeling my age a little. And looking it too. I am not sure if I feel it because I look it, or the other way around, because those two are so intertwined, but I knew that it was time for an intervention. The face falling may have been a gradual process, but it didn’t feel that way. One day, I looked in the mirror, and saw a slightly tired but familiar looking face. The next day, I hardly knew myself. I saw more dullness, less springiness, the beginning of something they call a “jowl.”
I have always been product obsessed and a big believer in maintenance, but before, I operated from the assumption that time was on my side. It was cute to apply eye cream at 16. And even at 26. Now, it’s mandatory. And it’s not enough. I need more than the regular maintenance of a good skincare routine, although skincare is more critical than ever. It is time to seek professional help, and I’m inviting you along. Over the next few weeks, I will take you with me as I attempt to turn back the clock. I will speak to dermatologists and makeup artists, fitness experts and nutritionists. I will be undergoing skin treatments and posting before and after pictures. And I will share all the details: what works, what doesn’t, and how much time and money is involved. I will be eating a little healthier. And I might even squeeze in a workout. (Don’t worry. I won’t get carried away. I’l be sure to stop at one or two.)
And I want to start by tackling that dullness. Some well-intentioned person suggested exercise, but who has 15 minutes? I’ve got 5. Maybe. So I called William Squire, celebrity makeup artist, speaker, and the founder of Billy’s Blues makeup. Fortunately, William has this 5 minute face thing all wrapped up.
William believes in speed and simplicity. “Ten minutes is all you need,” William says, but with a little practice on a weekend afternoon, most women can do it in 5. “Go through your cosmetics drawer. You don’t need to have 58 lipsticks and 200 eyeshadows. Just have one bag with your products all in one place. 8 products is all you need. It’s overwhelming, especially in the morning. Bathroom light is different than any other place in the world, so be sure to check it in natural light.”
Here, his technique for a gorgeous, glowing five minute face.
Step 1: A Great Face Starts with a Great Base
William: “A great foundation is something I love, but a lot of women feel they need to wear it over their whole face and you don’t. I prefer to use a brush to dab on foundation, just like you’re painting, and you don’t need to cover the whole face. Apply small amounts in little downward strokes just where you need it, usually around your nose and eyes. I usually cover only about 30 percent of the face.”
Me: I already do this! My foundation brush is from Paula Dorf and it’s amazing. I use it to paint a little foundation on the sides of my face. around my nose and under my eyes.
Step 2: Lips
William: “I do the lips next. The lips and the blush and you’re 80% done. That’s the gravy. Use a lipstick brush instead of applying lipstick directly. You will get a more even line and it pushes lipstick into the lips so it wears better. I love a lipliner, and if f you can do a quick lip liner, that’s great, but if not get a brush with your lipstick and it will last longer and have that lined effect.”
Me: I don’t do this. Yet. I haven’t used a lip brush or even a lipliner in a while, but now I’m inspired to try. I can apply liquid liner in a moving vehicle, but lipliner is a challenge for me, so I will stick with the brush. If you struggle with lipliner too, you could also try a foolproof colorless version to create that lined look and keep lipstick in place.
Step 3: Blush
William: “A cream can be a bit more natural. Just put a dab on your finger of cream or liquid blush and dab it on where you want color. It’s the only time I let my fingers touch the face.”
Me: I have discovered cream, liquid, and gel blushes and love them, although I sometimes rely on powders for their portability. Of the three, I find that gel blush is the hardest to wear. It tends to show imperfections. Creams and liquids, on the other hand, are amazing. My favorite liquid blush is Armani Maestro Fusion Blush. It’s really expensive, at $52, but it is so highly pigmented that you only need the tiniest dab. I will probably have mine for the rest of my life.
Step 4: Eyes and Eyebrows
William: “If your eyebrows are well shaped, you don’t need to do a lot except apply a great brow gel. I use a taupe pencil on about 80 percent of my clients. It’s much more forgiving. You can fill in a little with a pencil using small strokes. 15 seconds on each brow. Most women don’t need eyeshadow. If you do like shadow, just use a light beige or champagne, and take that light soft color and brush it down over whole eye area. Apply a darker shade in outside corner and in crease if you want. Two colors is all you need. On aging skin, everything needs to go up, including that shadow in the corner right where the crease is. Try a cream shadow in a taupey or champagne color to add a little depth to the eye. Most women need mascara and can skip eyeliner. Blue makes white looks whiter. That’s why I developed my navy blue mascara, Billy’s Blues. It’s not going to look like electric blue. Navy makes eyes white and bright and awake in the morning. It works on any eye, hair or skin color. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I use it on models and actresses to brighten their eyes.”
Me: Navy mascara!!! I love anything that will make my eyes look brighter and more awake. And I love that William gave me permission to skip what I always skip anyway, which is eyeshadow. I rarely wear it. I do love eyeliner when I have the time, and again, he suggests navy instead of black or brown to brighten.
Step 5: Gloss
William: “Add a little gloss to make it look complete. Just on the bottom lip center. It will look like you spent an hour instead of just five minutes.”
Me: I usually wear gloss or lipstick, not both, but I can’t wait to try Billy’s Brilliance.
That’s it! This technique is fast and simple but still very polished. And it’s even car-friendly for making up on the go. 🙂 One thing that’s notably absent from the 5-minute face? Powder. Read on for the reason why.
I could chat about makeup with William for hours, especially when the topic turned to aging.
“Too much makeup is so aging,” I said.
So is too little, William pointed out. “When you’re 20, you don’t need makeup. You do need it at 40, but it needs to be applied properly. The biggest difference between old and young skin is dullness. Not wrinkles or sun spots or sagging skin. It’s missing that effervescent glow. The older we get, the drier we get. We lose that radiance, what I call effervescence.:
The solution? “You have to be selective with your foundation. Today you can get foundation that is so light and moisturizing, not heavy. They still have pancake makeup for women who want that heavy look, but most foundations now are so light and just give an evenness and a little bit of a glow. With foundation it is important to match your skin tone or go a half shade lighter. It takes about 8 to 10 minutes for it to turn the color of your skin and all foundation darkens a half shade. When in doubt, go lighter. Nothing makes you look older than a too-dark foundation with a lighter neck.”
And what about the powder? Williams says to skip it. “Foundation used to be oily, and you had to wear powder. Powder isn’t necessary anymore. Makeup is so advanced. As we age, we should stay away from anything matte. Lipstick. Foundation. No matte and no frost.” (I have already stopped using powder, but I do use a clean powder brush to set my foundation and get rid of any stickiness. Occasionally, I will use a highlighting powder in the evening for a little extra glow.)
Other anti-aging makeup tips? “Look for light reflecting products. Skip the undereye pencil because the eye tends to look towards the darkness, so it draws your attention to the undereye area and makes it look droopy. Stop using heavy liner when you start looking at your face and start seeing that you need to draw attention away from that area. The older a client gets, the higher everything goes. I keep blush high and lifted so nothing droops. I add that little lift to the eyeliner. Everything goes up on the face, not down. And use that cream blush and gloss. Add some color and sheen and you can look great at any age.”
Another thing to add to the “skip” list, after powder and undereye liner, is a dark lip color. “I will not put dark or deep lipstick on an older woman,” he says. “It ages you. To make an actress look old for a role you put on a dark lipstick. When you are younger, you can do a soft neutral tone or a dark lip, but as you get older, you need lip color. Not a bright orange or a bright pink, but color. A true red can be beautiful. I love a red lipstick on a woman. But no burgundy or maroon reds. You can use pinks but not electric pinks and corals but not bright orange. You do need some color as you get older. A beautiful rose color brightens and adds beauty, and it’s not too dark or too peach.” While dark lipcolor can be harsh and unflattering, nude lipcolor is also tricky. A little color is so flattering. William points out that even Jennifer Aniston, who wore a nude lip for years, has added a little more color to her lips.
Whether you’re 25 or 45, I hope these tips from a seasoned pro will remind you to reevaluate the makeup that you wear and how you wear it every couple of years. There are no hard and fast rules, but there are guidelines that can help you master makeup to look and feel your best. Even if your face hasn’t fallen. I hope these tips will inspire you to change up your makeup routine. Is a lip brush or a cream blush in your near future?