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GloForward Feature: Clean Beauty

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Enhance Your Look with Clean Beauty

by Lisa J. Gotto

December 11, 2020

What is your current relationship with makeup? Do you love it? Do you feel compelled to buy the next great thing out there? Or perhaps, you just wish you could get by without wearing any makeup at all? 


With the skin changes women experience at midlife, makeup questions may have more than one answer. One thing we do know about beauty after 50, is that women have more options than ever when it comes to makeup and application techniques. This is certainly not our mothers’ “pancake face” generation. That stuff was pretty much the answer to everything then.


Indeed, we now live in a time of numerous role models and influencers that are just a click and a video away when we need to answer a question about how to best cover under-eye circles or where exactly to apply blush in our cheek area.


Some of our favorite online beauty go-tos are Nikol Johnson’s Fresh Beauty Studio and Lisa Fennesy’s, This Organic Girl. While each of these influencers has her unique approach to beauty over 40 and beyond, the overriding theme for both is the aspect of embracing a fresh, clean look.

Begin with Healthy Skin

While that sounds like it should be simple, we are all well aware that achieving that look most often requires a certain level of trial and error with both products and techniques. And experts agree that the success of any beauty routine starts with having the healthiest skin possible to provide the best possible base. Reference our last beauty feature for a “primer” on healthy skin at midlife.


One of the experts we recently spoke to, Carmen Toro, esthetician and Founder & CEO of Beauty Alibi, an online beauty resource for women, says that the mature women she treats most often ask for ways to bring out their natural beauty. At 53, Toro understands that most women prefer to use makeup only to accentuate, not to look like they’re wearing a mask. 


Toro’s go-to beauty tool of choice is her ultrasonic face brush. “I tell all my clients, there is nothing better than having an ultrasonic brush because it will help remove 10 times more impurities (than standard face-washing alone) from your skin. It tones your skin; you feel like your skin is breathing, that it’s clean and [it helps] your skin absorb products much better.”

Before applying makeup, Toro says she uses a few products to prepare the skin. The first is a Vitamin C-based serum.


“Serums should be applied first because they are absorbed by the skin quickly.”


She follows up with an under-eye cream and then applies a good day cream appropriate for the client’s skin type. She then applies a sunblock with at least SPF 30, if it isn’t already formulated in the day skin cream or lotion.


If you wear foundation, primer is a must whether you are applying a mineral makeup or a liquid, as they provide for the smoothest application and the most flaw-free finish. There are many types of primers on the market. If you have skin imperfections you would like to minimize, choose a primer with a “blurring” effect, and if you’re looking for a more dewy complexion, choose one that offers illuminating ingredients in its formulation.


One of the hottest topics in beauty forums and on social media right now is pores. Enlarged pores are a common complaint among menopausal women. The right primer for your skin type can help minimize the look of pores, hence the more flawless finish.

Something to Build On

Choosing the right foundation for your skin type is key, says Toro, who adds that for most women, this is the tricky part.


Toro suggests performing your own “jaw line” test to determine which shade blends in best with your natural tone. Using three samples within the tonal range of your skin is the best approach. Apply a vertical line of each from just below your jaw line and up to your cheek. In a naturally-lit environment, blend each one with a foundation brush or blender applicator into the skin and assess which blends the easiest.


Sometimes getting an exact match means blending two shades together, but for the cleanest, most natural look it’s worth the effort. (Some product lines are offering take-home test kits, or sample sizes you can order online to assist consumers in making these decisions in our current environment.)


Once you have primed and mastered foundation, you are well on your way to your clean look.


So, what does “clean” mean? It means more than just the look of your makeup application. The other reference speaks to the larger “Clean Beauty” movement within the makeup industry that provides natural and organic products that adhere to a specific ingredient and manufacturing guidelines. 

Clean beauty manufacturers ensure their products are free of ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, and mineral oil, among others. These manufacturers also pledge that their products are produced ethically, are cruelty-free; not tested on animals.


Fortunately, clean personal care and enhancement products are becoming more readily available in various formulations, as consumers are becoming more educated about the benefits they provide. These include, but are not limited to, less adverse or allergic skin reactions, reduced exposure to harmful ingredients or chemicals, and reduced use of fragrance that is headache-causing for some women.

Finishing Tips

Once you have your products in-hand, you’ll be able to start addressing some of the issues like the shifting contours, smaller eyes, and paler lips that are part of midlife’s changing beauty landscape. Fortunately there are some great work-arounds that you can use to enhance your look at any age.

EYES: Having trouble making eyeliner you’ve used all your life work? It may be time to ditch the liner wand or pencil and try a cream-based liner that you apply with a brush, working in slowly from the outer corner and then blending in along the lash line for a longer-lasting and more subtle, yet defining look. Applying an eye primer will also help keep your lining treatment from fading during the day.


If your eyes are appearing smaller to you, try using a bit of illuminator applied with a brush to the inner corner of your lid (where our skin tends to darken as we age) and blend.


Under the eye, most of us benefit with a light application of concealer for those midlife under-eye dark circles. Apply also to any darkened areas around the nose or any areas on the skin that appear reddish in color to even out skin tone.


When it comes to lashes, look for a natural, fortifying mascara formula, because as we age our lash line tends to get more sparse; natural formulas are non-irritating to sensitive eyes. Less eyes rubbed means less lash loss.

CHEEKS: Choose a blush color in the muted, rosy range and apply to the apple of your cheek, sweeping and blending in with the brush in an upward motion. 


LIPS: Feathering lines develop around the lips as we age. Our lips can begin to lose their natural pigment, too. Apply lip liner using either a pencil or brush applying for the outer portion of the lip inward. Color-wise, the nude to mauve range is the cleanest look for day. Fill in with a moisturizing lipstick or a light gloss of a complementary color. (The lip liner should be undetectable once your lip color is applied. Lip gloss should not be of a heavy or sticky consistency.)


CONTOURS: The hottest beauty approach to hit social media several years ago was the practice of non-surgical facial contouring which combines product and specific brush techniques to enhance the bone structure of your face. Most of the practices start at the beginning of the makeup routine. Carmen, however, finds that contouring is most effective once all the other cosmetics have been applied. This process involves using a contouring powder to define the structure of the face around the forehead or temples of the face, in the cheekbone area, and just under the cheekbone, and along the jawline.


Voila! You have achieved “clean makeup status” and you’re ready to go out and face the world—ahem—Zoom!

What's In Her Bag?

When we get back to being “on-the-go” in 2021—and we will—it still helps to travel light. Toro says her makeup bag is always at-the-ready with these “simple six” basics for any-time touch-ups.


·      BB Cream (Tinted moisturizer)

·      Concealer

·      Mascara

·      Pressed or loose powder

·      Blush

·      Lipstick


What you will pack in your bag may vary depending on what your personal relationship with makeup is. Toro, who is a firm believer in the “less is more” approach to application, says she takes an “accessory” attitude with makeup.

“You can love your makeup like an accessory—it enhances your beauty; it does not define who you are.”

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