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Makeup Tips for Boomers: Enhance, Don't Camouflage

Resist the temptation to try to look younger when applying cosmetics, says model and entrepreneur Cindy Joseph

By Jill Krasny | April 24, 2013
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Jill Krasny is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y., whose work has appeared in MTV, Reader's Digest and Newsweek, among other publications.

While walking down the street in Manhattan’s East Village one day in 1999, celebrity makeup artist Cindy Joseph was approached by a casting agent to model for a Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign that was being photographed by Steven Meisel. Joseph was 49 and had silver hair, having made a decision to quit coloring it.
 
The Ford Modeling agency, realizing there was a huge market of active, healthy boomers who wanted to see themselves represented in ads, quickly signed her. And so began a new career on the other side of the camera for Joseph — some 20 years after the age that most models retire. She soon found her “silver crown” increasingly in demand, and became the poster girl for gorgeous aging.
 
Joseph has done ads for such makeup companies as Olay, Aveda and Elizabeth Arden; modeled for the likes of Bloomingdale’s, Ann Taylor and Liz Claiborne; and has appeared in the pages of numerous magazines, including O, More, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Marie Claire and Real Simple.

(MORE: The Beauty Paradox Facing Older Women)
 
At 62, Joseph has a new identity: entrepreneur. She has launched Boom! by Cindy Joseph, a line of pro-aging beauty products. Most women, she notes, enjoy the process of putting on makeup, but when they turn 50 they feel torn between enhancing their looks or camouflaging them. More often than not, she says, they fall in the latter category, going overboard on powder and blush.
 
“What they end up doing is making themselves look older, and you’re not fooling anybody,” she says. “But it’s hard to be objective with yourself.”
 
Her all-natural and paraben-free cosmetics line includes three do-it-all sticks for accenting lids, lips and cheeks and an all-over body moisturizer handmade by beekeepers in Hawaii.  
 
I talked with Joseph about what boomers are doing wrong with their makeup, when to use powder and why coral is definitely off limits.

(MORE: Real Shades of Gray)
 
Problem Cover-up leaves your skin looking lifeless and dull.
 
The Fix “If you put on any foundation or powder, you're just adding more texture to your skin,” Joseph says. “It just sits on top and exaggerates whatever texture you already have. It's better to make your skin look alive and vibrant rather than trying to cover freckles and uneven skin tone.”  
 
Problem You want to add shape and drama to eyes, but eye shadow just isn't cutting it.
 
The Fix “Get away from any shadows darker than your skin tone,” Joseph says. Instead opt for a cream highlighter — nothing frosted (having high-wattage shine or sparkle) since that will only make your skin look “crinkly,” she warns — and choose something that adds radiance or glimmer. “You can use that across your eyelids, your clavicle bone and so on.”
 
Problem Like mom, matching lipstick to outfits is your mantra.
 
The Fix For a fresher look, match lips to your complexion instead. “Choose a cream-based makeup product (i.e., a lip cream, cream blush, eye cream or highlighter) that is the color your skin naturally gets when your circulation is revved up, like when you're blushing out of embarrassment, joy or working out,” she says. Then, using your index finger, sweep that cream color (no powder!) on your lips, around your eyes, on your cheeks, and down the sides of your neck and across your chest.
 
Problem Penciled-in eyebrows look comically fake.
 
The Fix Try a stick (i.e., an eyebrow pencil or a brow kit that contains cream-based liner and powder) that matches the color of your hair right now, Joseph says. “That’s the only time you can wear powder,” she adds. Chanel Blond Clair ($29; Chanel.com) is great for almost all fair-skinned older women, while a neutral brown to black pencil should do the trick for those with a warm to dark or chocolate complexion. Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil ($23; Sephora.com ) in taupe is another long-wearing option. This advice might also help make the case for natural-looking eyebrows: "Women have a bad habit of choosing the wrong color, which only exacerbates the problem," says Joseph. "Some go orangey brown, so they're rusty."
 
Problem All things coral.
 
The Fix: “Coral is, like, the biggest no-no for women,” Joseph says. “It ages you instantly and isn't found anywhere on the human body.” Your best bet? A classic red lip. “Just don’t wear a lot of other makeup when you do it,” she says. “Just a bit of mascara and a slight pop of color in your cheeks. It's that really clean face with just a pop of color on your lips.”
 
Problem You still aren’t moisturizing.
 
The Fix When you wash your face you're stripping it of its natural, protective oils. “It's the largest organ on your body and what you put on it goes into your body and into your organs," says Joseph. "A really good moisturizer will nurture, heal and protect your skin as well as make it look dewy and alive.”

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