They say with age comes confidence. And few people are more confident in their skin these days than the fashionable fifty-something. Indeed, thanks to changing cultural attitudes around beauty, a new wave of influencers is finding fame on Instagram. These women have brains, beauty and bucketloads of life experience. Not to mention great skin. Here, they share some of their beauty secrets, and advice on how to age gracefully.
When I was growing up, beauty seemed to be everything I was not. However, by the time I was a teenager, things started to change. Today, I feel beautiful when I am rested and feeling full of vitality, like after a summer swim in the sea.
In recent years, social media has opened up a whole new world of beauty appreciation. I try not to feel too pressured by it, and feel it’s important to take breaks from it. But I would be lying if I said I did not like seeing those little red hearts of appreciation every now and then.
Ageing is a fact of life, so if we can do it with positivity, it is a good thing. I have never used Botox or filler. I will stick with my lines, I have earned them. However, I am not going to judge other people if that’s what they want to do.
I would describe my look as being fairly natural: a strong lip colour and a little warmth for the cheeks. My favourite lipstick brands are Chanel, Lisa Eldridge, and Mac. I always remove my make-up before I go to bed and use a hot flannel after cleaning. A new discovery is the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Moisturiser, as it feels very nourishing. I also drink lots of water which I have done all my life.
As I am now a practising Buddhist, I meditate every morning and evening. I do qigong for exercise, and I walk a lot in the fresh air as I live between the seaside and London. Also, it’s proven that doing or saying something to uplift someone else every day brings on our own endorphins, which we know is good for health and wellbeing.
I am certainly not conventionally “beautiful”, but my attitude seems to make others think I am. My social media career has been about challenging conventional norms about who is considered beautiful. But I actually think ageism has increased since I began my project in 2014. COVID brought about a resurgence of anti-age sentiment, made us retreat from public life, and made it seem like all people over 65 are all the same. The media needs to seriously change its representations of older life.
My approach to make-up is very minimal and I rarely deviate unless I’m going to a special event. Most days I wear a tinted moisturiser with some cream blush for a hint of colour, some brow gel, a little eyeliner and mascara. I love Gucci Beauty for eyeliner and lipliner, and the Fluide De Beauté Fini Naturel primer and foundation. I look for products that provide light coverage and give me a healthy glow.
I rarely paid much attention to my skin when I was younger. My biggest regret is not using sunscreen until later in life and not always dealing with stress or diet in healthy ways. These days, I do daily yoga, walk several miles, eat a plant-based diet, don’t smoke or drink alcohol, try to learn something new every day. I write, and spend time with family, friends and younger people—they inspire me.
Growing up, it never occurred to me that I should feel beautiful. The first time someone said I was beautiful was when I moved to the United States at the age of 48. It was most unusual in South Africa and Canada to say to someone’s face that they are beautiful. Character was more important than your outside look. What makes me feel beautiful today is walking the red carpet in a magnificent designer gown, with professional hair and make-up. Red carpet invites only started at the age of 68. Don’t give up!
I like to wear natural make-up when I’m meeting friends, but I am very experimental when it comes to fashion and the red carpet. I follow beauty trends, because at 73, I need to remain relevant, stylish and unexpected. My favourite make-up products are concealer to hide my sunspots, foundation to smooth my uneven skin tone, eyebrow pencil to give my face some kind of shape, mascara to enhance my short eyelashes, and a bold lipstick that’s outlined a little larger than my lips, as my lips are very thin. My preferred brand is Dior.
I am very careful about my skincare. I use good products to wash my face, eye cream, moisturiser and lip balm. I also use a face mask when I have 20 minutes to relax. For a mask, I use 111skin regularly. I am using a lot of Dior skincare products for cleansing, moisturising, make-up remover, face scrub, and eye cream.
I take care of myself very carefully, as I need to be in good health and have plenty of energy. As a dietitian, I follow a flexitarian diet, which means vegetarianism at home and meat, fish or chicken when eating out. When I take care of myself physically, it helps mentally as well. When I eat badly, I feel sad. Don’t be sad. In my nutrition practice, my patients would tell me they are seeing more wrinkles. I would tell them that would happen as they are losing fat in their faces. It is still better than heart disease, diabetes or hypertension. Health is everything!
I believe that as I have grown older, I’ve gotten to know myself better and I have become more confident in who I am. I believe this self-confidence radiates as beauty.