Hey, guess what? Your wrinkles don't matter—but the way you wear your makeup with them DOES

Julianne Moore Gotham Awards 2010

So if you’re staring down the barrel of [insert scary-age birthday here], and noticing  your first/third/17th line or wrinkle, you might want to make some adjustments.

Because you see, it’s not so much the fact that you HAVE wrinkles (or think you do). Wrinkles are cool, man! I mean, have you seen Madonna’s face lately? There was an excellent article a few years ago, which I recommend everybody reads, called “The New New Face.” Short version: Cosmetic procedures are making everybody look the same, and it’s stupid. (Which is one reason I keep advocating caution, caution, caution.)

So really, the problem is not at all that your face has or is starting to age. It happens. What is NOT cool is thinking that you can wear makeup exactly the same way as you did when you were younger.

Which is what Sigourney Weaver is clearing attempting. (Although I’m pretty sure that not even a 20-year-old could pull off this much purple eyeshadow.)

Sigourney Weaver purple eyeshadow Hey, guess what? Your wrinkles don't matter—but the way you wear your makeup with them DOES

My goodness, the contrast between Sigourney and Julianne… wowza.

So on that note, let’s talk about anti-aging makeup. There are a few things that should change—definitely in Sigourney’s routine and maybe yours too—and they are these:

1. Prep your skin properly before you put on makeup

Diane Lane Cannes 2010 Hey, guess what? Your wrinkles don't matter—but the way you wear your makeup with them DOES

See how radiant and glowy Miss Diane Lane’s skin looks here? (LOVE her, BTW.) It is dewy and juicy and plump and hydrated and yes, there are creases around the eyes, but who cares, right?

The thing is that as we age, skin tends to do all of these fun things: get drier, become duller, lose firmness and, of course, develop wrinkles. Obviously a good skincare regimen is paramount, but a couple of little things will help before you put on makeup.

Before a special event, I highly, highly recommend a cloth mask, which you apply for maybe 10 minutes or so and which is like a great big drink of water for your skin. It will make a difference—trust. Vancouver company MyFaceWorks makes a whole array of them—how fabulous!

Myfaceworks Anti wrinkle mask Hey, guess what? Your wrinkles don't matter—but the way you wear your makeup with them DOESFor everyday, I would definitely do a hydrating serum if you can’t do the mask… and then (like I always recommend), layer on a radiance- and moisture-boosting primer. The one I talked up yesterday by CoverGirl and Olay would be a great choice to not only make skin look great but keep your makeup in place too. Because it’s not just oily-skinned peeps who need primer…

2. Apply a cream not a powder foundation

I know, we just talked about this the other day, so I’ll keep it short. Not only is the dewier skin look more on trend right now as far as foundations go, it is also the far better choice for mature skin no matter what is on the runways.

The reason is because powders—particularly mineral powders—tend to settle in the creases of your skin, accentuating the very wrinkles (or crepey texture) that you are trying to hide. And you can often actually SEE the product, which is never good. Ergo, you should wear a sheer cream or liquid foundation. Look for something with the word “skin” to describe the product… it’s a good bet that it will be a really natural-looking finish.

3. No shimmer or pale colours around the eyes. (And let Sigourney’s lash line-to-brow application technique be a cautionary tale.)

Courtney Cox 2010 Hey, guess what? Your wrinkles don't matter—but the way you wear your makeup with them DOES

Courtney Cox (is she still using the -Arquette?) looks amazing here, doesn’t she? Loving the bun (although I won’t talk about that today) and the eye makeup is a triumph.

Basically she has abided by one of the most important rules for anti-aging makeup: sticking to flat, non-shimmery and not-too-pale colours around the eyes. Because the problem is, when you have colours and textures that cause too much light to reflect off that area, it only draws attention to skin that is not so smooth anymore.

Yves Saint Laurent Ombre Solo Eye Shadow 02 Granite Grey 300x300 Hey, guess what? Your wrinkles don't matter—but the way you wear your makeup with them DOES

Greys, taupes, browns, coppers—they are all good. Ivories, beiges and whites are not.

Other things that are important:

  • Only applying shadow up to the crease—not the brow
  • Focusing on making lashes look long and luscious (because EVERYBODY looks good with long lashes, yes?)
  • Making sure your brows are well-groomed, because it’s true what they say about brows framing your face
  • Despite what Carmindy says, NOT applying highlighter to that area underneath the brow… because we’re talking about DE-emphasizing the crinkly areas…

4. Warm up your lips and cheeks (and avoid purples or burgundies).

Marisa Tomei CNN Heroes gala 2010 Hey, guess what? Your wrinkles don't matter—but the way you wear your makeup with them DOES

I have been dying to post this photo of Marisa Tomei, who unlike Mila Jovovich, REALLY knows how to pull off an orange dress with an orange lip. Nice work Marisa!

And speaking of lips, really—anything goes as long as you’re wearing a warm-ish colour and not something with a burgundy (like Sigourney) or purple hue. Those are just plain unflattering on most people anyway.

I know that the standard advice used to be against lipstick for mature skin because of bleeding issues, but that’s not so much the case anymore with the new formulas that help the product stay put. Higher-end brands like Chanel or Tom Ford are more likely to have this technology, of course.

chanel rouge coco lipstick Hey, guess what? Your wrinkles don't matter—but the way you wear your makeup with them DOES

Lip liner can definitely help too… just make sure you’re applying the right colour (not too dark please!).

If you prefer gloss, I’ve actually heard that it is worse than lipstick with the bleeding thing. So one thing you might do instead is to just dab your gloss in the very centre of your lips only. That touch of lightness will make them look a bit plumper and fuller. Plus, it’s more modern than having the sticky, glassy texture all-over.

As for blush—go for a powder version and apply it to the apples of your cheeks. And, even though Carmindy says contouring is no longer cool, you CAN sweep a bit of your blush, or even bronzer, just under the jaw to define it a bit.


Are you still blissfully wrinkle-free… or might you actually use these tips?
Do you agree that Sigourney looks frightful? (Well… how could you not, right?)
Which 40+ celeb is your fave?


Wednesday, December 1/2010 at 4:24 pm

Courtney’s makeup is hot, really! I even saved the photo for the inspiration.
I personally love Monica Bellucci, she is gorgeous!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, December 1/2010 at 5:49 pm

Oh yeah Monica B., forgot about her! She is ridiculously gorge.
I love Courtney’s makeup too… the whole look in fact.


Beauty Reductionista
Wednesday, December 1/2010 at 8:46 pm

Weirdly, I think Courtney Cox is one of those people who look better up close rather than far away. She has great hair, skin and beautiful eyes – her makeup job on this picture is just superb.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, December 3/2010 at 6:21 pm

Yes – maybe because she has such delicate features, you have to be close up to really appreciate her look.


Wednesday, December 1/2010 at 5:13 pm

Great post Michelle, and I really enjoyed the New York article too. Verrrry interesting peek into that world. I must disagree with your “no purple” rule….I’m Asian and purples (not outrightly purple, but in the berry family, anyway) are usually very flattering on our yellow toned skin. I often use berry coloured blushes and lip stains. Corals on the other hand (or anything in the orangey family) just doesn’t seem to agree with Asian colouring. Everyone – please school me on this! You bring up a great point in needing to change our makeup approach to suit our (aack!) aging faces. I do not use foundation as I’m simply not skilled/informed enough to buy and apply it (I know; I’m pathetic). Has anyone heard of BB creams? They are HUGE in Asia. I’m not 100% sold on ALL of its seemingly miraculous claims – but Asia is a ginormous beauty market and is looked at as trendsetters (as I’m sure Michelle knows) in the beauty industry. Info here: http://www.squidoo.com/b-b-cream. I’m still trying to understand it better…..but Michelle, would this be an interesting topic to explore? I’m certain your expertise and experience would cast a very interesting eye on it…..thanks again for the always great information!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, December 1/2010 at 5:59 pm

Oh I just mean no purple-tinged colours for the lips. Eyes are fine though! I love me some purple eyeshadow! (just not the way Sigourney Weaver applies it…)
I think berries are fine – they have more warmth than purple/burgundy shades.
That’s interesting about coral. It’s funny because my skin is more on the pink side and I didn’t think I could pull it off but I love it. So perhaps your skin has to be the opposite to look good. (i.e. yellow skin + lipstick with yellow undertones = too much yellow maybe?) That said, Giorgio Armani’s makeup artist insists there are no more rules anymore when it comes to colours: http://beautyeditor.ca/2010/10/08/video-this-dude-knows-what-foundation-you-should-be-using-and-whether-you-really-can-wear-orange/

BB Cream has come up in the comments a few times now but I have to confess I haven’t come across it in real life yet so it’s hard to give an opinion. It IS on my list for a post sometime soon if I can get my hands on some to try…. until then you might want to check out the comments about it here: http://beautyeditor.ca/2010/10/08/video-this-dude-knows-what-foundation-you-should-be-using-and-whether-you-really-can-wear-orange/
To me it sounds like it might be a bit heavy and I’m not an advocate of a thick layer of foundation all over your face…99% of people really don’t need it. Really your foundation should be more sheer/dewy/radiant and then you can go in with a concealer on top for the areas where you need more coverage. And for SPF there are lots of primers with it built-in that you can wear underneath, eg. Shu Uemura’s Under Base.


makeup morsels
Wednesday, December 1/2010 at 11:36 pm

I love Courtney Cox’s hair and makeup in that picture! I also love Jennifer Aniston. I know you (at least I think it was you) said her look was slightly boring in that it’s always the same, but she wears it well. Plus she always looks so effortless and fresh! I’m definitely not at the point where I need to use anti-aging makeup right now, so I can happily continue to wear my purple and burgundy lip products xD


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, December 3/2010 at 6:23 pm

I suppose I should be kinder to the boring people now shouldn’t I? :-) Courtney and Jen always play it safe but at least they always look good… they don’t walk around with any purple or orange eyeshadow disasters!


Thursday, December 2/2010 at 3:01 am

Catherine zeta jones luv her! shes gorgeous and dresses very elegant and even her hair and makeup are never over the top.


Thursday, December 2/2010 at 12:21 pm

I love your style of writing your so witty and entertaining well and of course informative! I agree sigourney (spell check?) looks terrible! Like an 80′s prom makeup look. Diane looks stunning! I’m only 19 but my mom always tells me there’s nothing wrong with wrinkles and lines but you can still have pretty moisturized dewy skin and age appropriate makeup. This post is a good example of that. I think Katie couric is really beautiful these are great examples of aging beautifully that I hope to do :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, December 3/2010 at 6:24 pm

Oh Alyssa you’re so sweet! Thank you. Great advice from your mom by the way.


Thursday, December 2/2010 at 7:59 pm

Oh Sigourney. Oh dear. She’s one of those women we refer to as ‘handsome’ and they always need a really light hand with the makeup — especially colours. But maybe she’ll see this and get a new hair and makeup plan. Presumably her PR team has a Google alert on her name, right? I bet next red carpet she’ll be totally lightened up. And it will be due to you.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, December 3/2010 at 6:26 pm

Cool your comment did come through! (Or did you have to leave again? I hope not.)

I sure do hope Sigourney has a Google alert! I’m sure Team Taylor Swift does… and I’ve been taking credit for her straightened-out hair… so TWO celebs would indeed be a triumph!

(sarcasm for anyone reading this – I am sure none of these peeps read my little old blog)


Friday, December 3/2010 at 7:14 pm

Jokes aside, I am serious that Sigourney’s people have a Google alert to find blog mentions. TSwizz (that’s her new street name, right?) rules the world right now, so probably not.

I think Taylor Swift’s ‘people’ all sat down and decided to take her out of that narrow country/teen demo and into a wider market – so goodbye ringlet and cat-eye liner and hello super skinniness and straight hair (and mercifully a bit less liner.)

And who knows how far your influence reaches? Hey, Jessica Alba follows you on Twitter, after all :)


Saturday, December 4/2010 at 2:20 am

Yes good riddance to the weird ringlets and overdone eye makeup. Taylor is beautiful but the look is strange not very polished. Nevertheless, she’s still ahead of miley who will eventually transform into the next Britany spears!


Sunday, December 5/2010 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for the great advice. Can’t wait to try the covergirl/OLAY primer. I just turned 40 and my skin looks so dry- I’d love for it to look even AND dewy! Perhaps I will try the Hourglass primer as well. Re eyeshadow application: do you advocate no shadow (even a base color) above the crease?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, December 7/2010 at 6:58 pm

What skincare are you using now Katie? I got a tip from a makeup artist the other day that if your skin is very dry, you should be misting with a facial mist in between applications of moisturizer and then primer. Apparently it helps lock in hydration and plumps everything up and helps with the dewiness thing. Just a thought! La Roche Posay makes a good one.

I think the Hourglass primer might be better for oilier skin types… honestly the Olay/CG one is the only primer I’ve seen that combines with a serum… and if your skin is dry I think it would really help.

Re: eyeshadow – I think a neutral base colour is fine to go above the crease (but not all the way to the brow). I think most people look good emphasizing the lash line and lashes, and then doing shadow just up to the crease like Julianne Moore and Courtney Cox have done below. But it also depends on your eye shape… both ladies have a crease to their lids, which is easy to work with. People with hooded lids (think Asian eyes) have a harder time with eyeshadow as they have to “create” a crease by shading… that can be tricky to do and sometimes looks too obvious (see: Blake Lively). To be honest with hooded lids I prefer just focusing on the lash line.

Hope that all makes sense? :-)


Tuesday, December 14/2010 at 7:15 pm

Thanks so much for the tip! I’ve just started using the trish mcevoy serum and DDF wrinkle resist serum which sort of works like a primer (?). I will try using a facial mist in-between. Looked up the La Rich Posay; I can order it but I wonder if it is any different than Evian (which they carry at Sephora)? I think I will still try the cover girl/olay (haven’t found it yet) though I’m always nervous to try primer as they often cause my sensitive skin to break out. BTW someone suggested that the reason I am so dry is due to my having a new baby/nursing. Thank you again. Really enjoy your blog…


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, December 23/2010 at 12:50 pm

Nope, the Evian mist should be basically the same thing. Same with Vichy. I think they’re just different variations on mineral water.

I hear you re: primers breaking you out, I worry about that too. I think the Olay one should be ok but here is one more you might want to look into – it has no silicones and is all-natural: http://well.ca/products/exuberance-helichrysum_30328.html

I’ll update this post if I think of any others!


Sunday, March 20/2011 at 10:16 am

Hello, So in a nutshell, what is the best makeups to use or not use. I am going to be 60 april 1, and that is no april fool! I want to look natural and not dead… I have great skin with just a few lines here and there. Pores seem to need attention too. thanks for the advice . jpjudge


Sunday, August 19/2012 at 4:10 pm

So we pick an unflattering picture of Sigourney Weaver to prove that she and some of us need help with anti-aging make up? The article is great and what not but let’s at least try to make the comparisons fair. Sigourney and the other women are gorgeous and talented and to tell you the truth I don’t think she looked that bad. She has to be one the best looking 60 year olds out there in my books.


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