40+ makeup and beauty: the bare essentials

I’m 43 and realised today that I am probably classified as middle aged. It’s a bit unflattering isn’t it? Evokes visuals of comb-overs, podgy guts, brown cardigans, double chins and those mouths that get spittle caught in the corners. Please let that not happen to me. Not the spittle lips.

You know I bloody love being over 40 for so many reasons. I don’t need to talk about why, it always sounds slightly desperate when us forty plus ladies go on and on about HOW FANTASTIC being forty is. It truly IS fantastic but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. You’ll find out once you get here!

The problem with 40 is that although we are awesome in many many ways, we also end up having to negotiate a few minor challenges in the head region (see below). I’m talking beards, wrinkles, age spots, craters, boogery things, cats bum lips, saggy skin, bad breath, grey curly eyebrows, resting-bitch-face. You with me ladies? You know it.

40 plus face

Here’s my caveat: I don’t mean to say that anyone should obsess over this stuff. I don’t. And many women I know in their forties are so bloody comfortable in their skin they couldn’t give two shits about wrinkles, makeup or their grey hair. That’s so cool. I LOVE that, but I also LOVE playing dress-up and putting on makeup and fiddling with my hair. I’m a mum and a professional and ‘middle-aged’ feminist with strong opinions about equality, and I really like lipstick and I make an effort to look my best. Well, most of the time!

So if you like this stuff too, then you may be pleased to know I’m starting a new series of posts dedicated specifically to looking and feeling bloody great in your forties, or in the lead up to your fortie,s or forty-ish, or well into your fifties. Whatever. Everyone’s invited! Sure we are not spring chickens but we’re not off to the glue factory just yet.

Here’s my first few tips. They are a few of the bare essentials that might just help keep you looking on the right side of the middle.

The Bearded Lady and the Inch Long Hair

Here’s what I think. I think Conchita Wurst is probably the most fabulous woman to walk on the stage in years.


But personally I would not be happy sporting a beard, even a beautifully man-scaped one like this. If you are, then all the power to you.

I once had this mate of mine (a guy) try and brush a hair off my cheek. It was attached. AWKS. In order to alleviate any risk of this happening again I do a cursory check most days around the sides of the face and chin to make sure there’s nothing black and hairy lurking. I check the moleymoleymoley on my top lip to ensure it isn’t sprouting, I don’t want children pointing at me because I look like a wicked old witch. Just do it regularly and you won’t suddenly have to deal with that random inch long hair that’s appeared apparently overnight that your mate tries to brush off. That’s a bad scene I tells ya.

I may soon need to start waxing the top lip. I dunno, maybe it will go grey before I have to worry.

Which leads me to my next point…

Don’t be an Eyebrow Asshole

To me there’s nothing that screams middle age more than thick long curly grey eyebrows. And I should know, I have shiteloads of them.

My eyebrow lady, the totally excellent and hilarious Kim from Riise Brows in Brisbane gave me a right royal bollocking the other day because:

a. I hadn’t been to see her for ages and my brow situation could rival Santa; and

b. She’d spotted me in a video tutorial BRUSHING UPWARDS and USING AN EYEBROW PENCIL. Those two things are very bad according to Kim. She is so bloody awesome she even gifted me a new brow gel and an eyebrow powder so I’d stop being an asshole to my brows.

In order to make the most of one’s brows you should

  • grow them a bit so they are thicker (we’ve written loads of posts on eyebrows cause we are into them, this is my favourite from Carolyn Thicker Brows: your hairy gateways to a youthful face)
  • keep them tidy and not grey by having them professionally shaped and coloured, check out our post on why we love Professional Brow Jobs,
  • brush into place using eyebrow gel, follow the direction of the hairs with the comb,
  • colour them in lightly with an application of the correct colour powder using an angled brush.

One day I will get Kim to show us how and I’ll video her. In the meantime here’s some pics that in hindsight maybe aren’t so useful.



A Good Foundation

I’ll talk about this a lot more in my 40 Plus Makeup + Beauty series in the future, but foundation is important if you are concerned with how your skin looks.

When I was younger I didn’t wear much foundation, but these days I wear it pretty much every day. I find it colour corrects my skin and takes out any redness. It generally just gives my face a nice even skintone.

As we age our skintone is more uneven, we tend to have patches of red or pigmentation and other unidentifiable splotches and dullness. A good foundation does really help to even it out. It doesn’t need to be heavy foundation, I use a lot of BB and CC creams which are very light and are probably just glorified tinted moisturisers. A light covering is all you need.


Two of my favourite foundations at the moment are the Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation and the Revlon Age Defying CC Cream. I personally like quite a dewy look as I think it is more youthful. If you have oily skin and feel you need powder I quite like the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Compact Powder which you can also wear alone as a foundation.

If you have dark circles or patches or blemishes you are concerned about, start with a light covering of foundation then after you’ve applied your foundation, you simply dab the areas with concealer. My all time favourite tool for covering blemishes is the Touche Eclat by YSL, on sale at StrawberryNet right now EEEK!

To be continued……

If you have anything you’d like me to write about or specific questions about looking
great in your forties then PLEASE send me an email at gillian@champagnecartel.com
I’d so love to hear from you!




Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.

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