Makeup for older skin: reader questions answered

Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Stokes answers readers’ questions on beauty care for older skin. This week, the perils of powder, age spots on hands, oily skin and pore reduction.

MG62 asks:
“Do you use powder to ‘set’ make-up on older skin? I find it draws attention to the trenches around my eyes and makes me look even older”

Lisa says: You do need to use powder to set your base, but only a touch. When I’m working on mature skin I always use a light textured compact powder- Laura Mercier’s Translucent Pressed Setting Powder or MAC’s Blot Powder are both great. If you apply with a large powder brush and just lightly sweep across your face it should be enough to set your base without emphasising fine lines. Always use powder sparingly especially around your eyes. Avoid loose powder applied with a powder puff, it tends to sit in fine lines and can create a ‘chalky’ effect on mature skin.

19smp59 asks:
“Even though I am 52 I still have oily skin on my T Zone, I do use powder- Clinique Stay Matte- but wonder if there is an alternative? I use Clinique’s Superbalanced Foundation but am thinking of changing this. Any suggestions?”

Lisa says: I find Clinique’s Superbalanced Foundation is actually one of the best for combination skin. Have you tried using an oil free primer or mattifying lotion under your base? Smashbox Photo Finish Light or Boots No 7 Shine Free Make Up Base, are both great oil free primers. Again, I would recommend a light blot powder for your T Zone. Heavy powders can build up and clog on oily skin. I also find blotting paper works really well. I use it to remove any excess grease before applying primer and foundation, and then again, if needed, after powder. Bobbi Brown have some great mini blot papers that you can carry around in your bag. You can use them throughout the day to remove excess oil without the build up of powder.

19smp59 asks:
“Is there anything at all that actually works on making age spots on hands less obvious?”

Lisa says: I also have an age spot on my hand! It popped up a couple of years ago, along with two friends on my face. I was quite distraught. Creams containing Retinol (vitamin a) can help. They work by slowing the production of melanin (age spots are basically extra production of melanin) and promoting cell regeneration. Skinceutical’s Retinol creams are getting rave reviews at the moment, although I haven’t tried them yet. I’ve been using Clinique’s Dark Spot Corrector for a couple of weeks now and they definitely seem to be fading. Neutrogena also have a great anti-ageing hand cream that contains active soy, which is also thought to reduce age spots.

Some people use lemon juice to lighten age spots. I wouldn’t recommend this as it’s highly acidic and can cause skin problems. It also makes the skin very sensitive to sunlight. Always use a complete sun block on age spots, even if the cream you’re using has an SPF, exposure to the sun makes them intensify so they need complete protection.

GenGen70 asks:
“I found your article really useful as was just about to make a purchase for a good moistureriser. I’m over 40 and have found recently that my skin is getting really dry. Reading about the difference between Hyaluronic and Retinol was definitely useful. For your next review of products if you find something that reduces pore enlargement that would be great to know, as my skin’s aged I find large pores almost appear like scares now, which is hard to combat!”

Lisa says: If you suffered with oily skin when you were younger you’re likely to have open pores. They’re basically caused by build up of excess sebum (natural oil) in the follicles of our skin. As we age the sebum disperses and we’re left with open follicles, i.e open pores. Sun damage and, unfortunately, ageing can increase the appearance- as the surrounding skin weakens, the pores appear larger. There are lots of good quick fix solutions around for open pores that I use. Most pore minimiser’s work by filling the pores to create a smoother texture to the skin. Nar’s have just launched Pro Prime, which is a great oil free, pore refining primer, it works really well under make up. Another good instant fix is Clinique’s Instant Perfector.

For long term treatment and to actually reduce pore size you could try Estee Lauder’s Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher, Clinique’s Pore Refining Correction Serum or The Body Shop’s Seaweed Pore Perfector. I haven’t tried these products myself as I don’t suffer from open pores, but I’ve had positive feedback from my clients on all of them.