Melissa Juried Kriebel
COULD your make-up show how old you are?
Adele’s signature smoky eyeshadow and cat-eye liner on the cover of Elle magazine this week was a clear indicator of her 34 years.
Twenty-somethings prefer either dramatic contouring or the clean girl aesthetic, also known as “no make-up make-up”.
Girls on average start using make-up at 12, so the techniques we learned and the products we use stick with us.
Jennifer Aniston, 53, has been wearing the same Estee Lauder Automatic Lip Pencil Duo for almost two decades.
Celebrity make-up artist Nadira V Persaud says: “Unless you have make-up lessons, it’s very rare you change from your tried-and-tested routine.
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“Adele is the perfect example of this. She still uses the same techniques – and they are a dead giveaway she was born in the 1990s.”
From overzealous bronzing to brown eyeshadow, here Nadira reveals the trends that instantly reveal your age.
IN YOUR 20S – DARK BROWS AND FALSIES
WHILE there is a trend for minimal make-up on TikTok, most women in their 20s today go for the professional look.
Nadira says: “Today’s 20-somethings are all about emulating professional techniques at home – think Little Mix’s Jade Thirwall, Molly-Mae Hague or Maura Higgins.
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“They have the tools and they have got every make-up palette on the market.
“They tend to be beauty junkies and want a professional look. This generation are happy to experiment with colour, love contouring and false lashes don’t faze them.
“A woman in her 50s is much less likely to own a contour palette.
“This generation is having more non-surgical treatments too, like dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections.
“Thick, dark eyebrows are popular among this group. In fact, everything is elevated – lips, lashes, cheeks and brows.”
IN YOUR 30S – OTT BRONZER AND FAKE TAN
NADIRA says: “Women in their 30s learned their make-up skills in the Nineties or early Noughties – an era in which lip gloss, kohl eyeliner, blusher and bronzer were in full swing.
“Many women who reached womanhood in this time still embrace this look. Bronzer was also hugely popular then – everyone wanted a healthy glow.
“Brands like Chanel and Body Shop started launching their own bronzing and blush kits and fake tan sales took off.
“But contouring was not around then – this was an era for a dab of colour on the cheeks.
“There was a lot of lip gloss in that decade too. Most of the celebs who were big at the time, such as Britney Spears, All Saints and Girls Aloud’s Cheryl Cole, still wear this kind of make-up.
“If they haven’t tweaked their look, it’s a clear indicator that they’re in their 30s or early 40s.”
IN YOUR 40S – STILL USE POWDER, HAVE BERRY LIPS
NADIRA says: “If you’re in your 40s now, chances are you learned your make-up skills in the late 1980s and early 1990s – an era dominated in pop culture by ladettes, girl groups and, of course, supermodels.
“Eyebrows were thin and there was no real focus on tanning or bronzing. Instead, you went for a paler, flatter foundation.
“Primers were just coming out and there were lots of new formulas available which women were experimenting with.
“Bobbi Brown was new and she did a very nude palette that was a huge success. Lots of women had them, and a powdered complexion was often complemented with a berry lip.
“You knew they had make-up on, but they didn’t look dramatically different to their usual selves.
“You can see the telltale signs of that style of make-up on women in their 40s today, with stars like Denise Van Outen, Drew Barrymore and Melanie Brown still doing the same look 20 years on.
“I can definitely see that in clients in their 40s. They often don’t want to stand out and shy away from dramatic styles.”
IN YOUR 50S – SHIMMER LIPS AND FULL COVERAGE
NADIRA says: “Women in their 50s, like me, grew up in a decade known for self-expression but the majority stuck to conservative make-up that emulated what the people around them did.
“Yes, there were the New Romantics and the pop stars like Madonna who were experimenting.
“But Princess Diana had the most yearned-for look with her dewy complexion and bright eyes.
“Everyone had heather shimmer or coffee shimmer lipstick, plus a silver eyeliner or blue eyeliner. But the choice of make-up in shops was limited and it was hard to find a foundation with good consistency
“But once you found one, you stuck with it.
“This is why women of my generation place such an emphasis on using good foundations.
“Look at JLo – she is 50 and looks amazing – it’s because she grew up in an era where everyone wanted flawless complexions. Naomi Campbell, too.”
IN YOUR 60S – SHEEN SHADOW AND CUPID BOW
NADIRA says: “Women in their 60s came to make-up in the 1970s and 1980s – and are all about the eyeliner.
“They can’t let it go – and why should they?
“Jo Wood and Christine Brinkley are classic examples of women who are clearly very much influenced by that era.
“There was a lot of blue eyeshadow used in thosse times, and I still meet clients who are happy to use it.
“Back then, also, there were lash-to-brow eye-shadows with lots of sheen – much more obvious than eyeshadow today.
“This was an iconic look at the time, but it is possibly not the most flattering look as a woman ages.
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“Those who look best are the ones who tweak their regime through the decades.
“Women in their 60s love wearing a lot of mascara, and having very defined lips to show off a cupid’s bow.”
FIVE COSMETIC MISTAKES THAT ADD YEARS ON
- STICKING TO YOUR OLD TECHNIQUES: “Lots of my clients over 55 say they were told to avoid certain make-up tricks, such as never wear colour,” says Nadira. “Forget that and focus on feeling good.”
- OVERDOING THE KOHL EYELINER: “If you like to use a dark eyeliner on the lower lid, try a softer pencil or apply it in a new style,” says Nadira. “Kohl eyeliner is ageing as a clean defined eye exaggerates eye colour.”
- WEARING TOO MUCH MAKE-UP: “People say to me that they think you have to wear more make-up as you get older,” says Nadira. “But this can age you. Focus on the products and techniques instead. Add in a primer if you don’t use one already, or look for one with a shimmer.”
- DOING YOUR LIPS LAST: “Lots of people want to try a bright lip but are too afraid,” she says. “They forget make-up comes off – that’s the beauty of it. The issue is that people put their lipstick on last and it then looks over the top. I recommend starting with the lipstick and then adding the other elements like blusher to ensure you don’t overdo it.”
- OVERDOING BLUSHER: “Lots of women use blusher to try to get an even complexion but can end up looking blotchy,” Nadira explains. “Opting for peach tones is far more flattering to add warmth to cheeks.”
Find out more about Nadira’s work at nadiramakeup.com.