Opening my make-up bag!

Beauty and the older woman.

Aging is a privilege denied to many.

Recently a lot of ‘aging’ celebrities have been opening their bathroom cabinets and showing us their beauty products. Most of these ladies seem to be in their forties or fifties and can afford products which cost more than then the entire contents of my make-up bag! Okay, maybe a slight extravagation on that last statement but whilst I look with interest at Crème de la Mer’s counter, with its beautiful tropical fish, I see little point in trying their products. Not because I do not believe the claims, but because I can’t justify the expense of buying them. Once, or twice, I have been tempted to ‘treat myself’ but if I then discovered its brilliance I would have to continue buying, or feel guilty that I’m depriving my skin of something so beneficial. On the occasions  I want to treat myself  I feel my money is better spent on a visit to a spa for some special, indulgence treatment.

So why would you want to see my beauty products? Well I’ve just turned sixty last October, I rarely tell people my age, but if I do I can see that they didn’t expect reply to be 60. My mother always cared for her skin, and wore make-up, so I learnt to care for my hands, neck and eye area from an early age.  A few years ago I was tested for aging signs in my face. I was mainly way below my chronological age, exception being my eye area. I have similar problems to my grandmother so despite creams I haven’t overcome genetics, but maybe I have slowed process down as I didn’t register as being older than I was.

I discovered I have sensitive skin when I first started applying make-up and had to wash it off quickly as it stung! I had greasy skin as a teenager along with zits, hormonal skin problems over the years, then developed rosacea in my fifties. A friend recently commented, ‘You’re lucky you have good skin.’ I don’t, but I have tried to look after it.

For years, most of my facial skincare was Clinque products, but when I encountered problems in my fifties I had to find a new routine. I ended up looking at French products.

I don’t have a bathroom cabinet as my morning routine was to vacate the bathroom to allow others to use. Instead I have cluttered bedside surface and full make-up bag.


These are from my bedside (the clutter includes books, jewellery and CDs as well as bottled water).  They are there so I can find them in the dark if necessary as they’re part of my usual night-time routine, after cleaning my teeth. By the way, teeth really give away your age. I recently started using Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening in the hope of stopping the thinning of my enamel, only time will tell if it works.

Hand cream is Nivea Age Defying which I have been using since it came on the market. I also have a tube in my car and downstairs.

Eye cream is a sample of Clinque’s All about Eyes. I have used various eye creams over the years.

Neck cream is Formula biotech firming  neck and jaw cream (from Marks and Spencer). I used to use Body Shop but it’s no longer available. I also need the extra ingredient to firm my jaw line. I think it has made a difference.

I use La Roche-Posey Rosaliac purifying  cleansing gel, available from Boots, to remove make-up. I don’t wash my face and even use this on the rare days I don’t wear make-up. I also use in morning. I just wipe it off with cotton pads.

I then use La Roche-Posey efaclar toner, again Boots. Usually just over my nose and chin area.

Finally, Clinque’s All about lips. I am sure my lips are disappearing! This moisturises them and is supposed to keep them plump.

I don’t use a night-cream as part of my routine. Dry skin is not one of my problems, but I have used Clinque’s Moisture Surge occasionally.

These are the contents of my make-up bag.


Normal routine, after cleaning, is application of eye cream, currently I’m trialling Formula Bio tech Eye Cream (Marks and Spencer) as I was impressed with it’s neck cream). I then apply  La Roche-Posey Rosaliac UV light moisturiser, it is brilliant and also has SPV 15 included. I am still unsure about primer, is it a necessity or a con? At present I’m using a Clinque sample (little white tube, centre bottom), when I remember. I’m not sure if there is a difference. I have been using Clinque’s Beyond Perfecting  since its launch, which coincided with my visit to House of Frazer to buy more foundation. It is light and covers easily. I have two shades; Ivory for winter and Breeze for summer, although it does attune to your skin I was originally sold the darker shade as, at the time, my skin had a slight tan. As we progressed into winter I felt tangoed. I still use Clinque’s Blending face powder (invisible) to set my make-up. I prefer the loose powder. The brush was brought years ago I’ve forgotten its origins.

I have two pencils both Clinque’s quickliner; intense plum for evening and violet for day. I’m with Lesley Joseph who told Trinny and Susannah that as you age you need a little help to make your eyes stand-out. Wearing glasses I am aware I need to make my eyes noticeable. I like to use a base for my eye make-up. Clinque keep discontinuing products I use, at present I’m using their Lid Smoothie in Bit O’ Honey, it claims to nourish and protect my lid as well as smooth out fine lines.  I then cover it with a powder base colour from whichever palette of eye colour I’m using. At present, it’s the All about Shadoe duo Jammin’ for day or Black Roses (no longer available) for night. I like the violet shades and hope that next time I purchase I can find something similar. My three brushes are; a thick one for overall base powder, then slimmer, square-headed for lid and finally fan brush to blend.  I finish my eyes with black mascara, both shown here are samples from Clinque.

I prefer powder blusher and have been using Clinque’s Blushing Blush in Smouldering Plum since I had my wedding make-up consultation thirty years ago! I have tried a few others since but seem to keep coming back to this. The brush is a Clinque one. I used to have an artist brush but when the bristles started coming out I brought this rather than leave the house with a large dark hair on my face.

Lipstick has been a problem over the years. Clinque’s rarely stayed on and trying other brands had me begging assistant for cleanser as my lips started to sting. Recently introduced Clinque’s Pop Lip Colour and Primer has, at last, ended my plight. As name suggests they combine lipstick and primer and are light to wear AND stay on. Just as my lips are disappearing I have at last found a product which give me lips! I currently use Rebel Pop, a lovely dark red, but will be shopping for a more scarlet colour for summer.

In top right hand corner is a sample Moisture Surge CC cream which I use over my normal moisturiser for gym. I need something to even my skin tone, but it’s a waste to go in full make-up. I just add Eye Smoother and mascara. Plus a pale sample Pop lipstick.

Below are tweezers, these are Tweezerman from Boots which are worth paying extra for. Even if tweezing eyebrows is near impossible wearing glasses. Next to these are nail chippers, essential  maintenance. Not shown is my 7xs magnifying mirror which was a fiftieth birthday present from my mum. At the time I hated seeing every line and pore magnified. Since then I have had to resort to, almost, full-time wearing of glasses and in my mid-fifties I lost my mother. For a while my beauty routines seemed pointless. Nowadays, when I pick up the mirror I think of her before hers and smile, after all no one thought she looked her age either.


Skincare is not limited to face of course. I prefer bath to shower. My boys tend to give various bath products to me on birthdays and Christmas. The Molton Brown collection, at back, are a Christmas gift. I loved Waitrose Rose scented product, the Lotus Petal and Jasmine is okay. The brush, at front, is a recent replacement for similar one which was was worn out but difficult to replace. I found this on Gorgeous shop website, bristles are softer than original. Body lotion is Nivea Q10 Body Lotion. I have treated my feet with Body Shop Hemp for feet since it was launched. Although I have hard skin on my soles, I tried removing once and found it painful to walk, I do not have any other problems.

During menopause my underarm skin became very sensitive and I swapped to Clinque’s Roll-on anti-perspirant  deodorant which my mother had used for the same reason. The Forever Aloe Heat lotion was recommended by a friend after I pulled my lower back I honestly wound not have coped in Bruges or the States without it. I have since used on shoulder and knee.

After flying to Spain, and ending up with tree trucks for legs, I looked for something to prevent this type of swelling again. I came across Cowshed’s Udderly Gorgeous leg and Foot Treatment in an article about swelling legs in pregnancy. Symptoms are similar so I thought I’d try it and it worked! It’s a cooling gel and I could feel a slight tingling on application. Reviews spoke of drying effect on skin so I limit use to once a week, except after flying.  I have ankles back and slimmer legs.

Like most people of my generation I hate looking at photos of myself. It is only when I see them ten years later I think, I actually looked okay then. In ten years I hope to remember to revisit this article and see what has changed in my beauty routine and skincare.






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