Guest Blogger: Elise Marquam-Jahns
Whether we sneaked—giggling– into the girls’ bathroom at school to put it on or raided our mother’s purse for her Revlon lipstick, wearing lipstick for the first time was a rite of passage into the world of womanhood for many of us. Later in life it became the “go to” product when we wanted to amp up our look. And as a result of a recent research study, lipstick may take on even more significance for those of us 45+.
The Importance of Facial Contrast
We’ve all looked in the mirror and noticed those subtle (and not so subtle) signs that we’re gradually moving toward the role of “oldest generation” in our families. The gradual loss of color in our skin, lips and brows signals a loss of contrast between our facial features and our skin. And, according to a recent research study that was detailed in Frontiers In Psychology, a group of French and American researchers have found that facial contrast is a cross-cultural cue to age perception.
The good news is that women with increased facial contrast are perceived as more attractive and—let’s face it, younger. By darkening or adding more color to our features, we can alter how much our facial features stand out and definitely improve our appearance—and most likely, our level of confidence. So it’s just one more good reason to keep those eyebrow pencils sharpened and check out some new blush and lipstick colors—especially lipstick colors.
Lipstick as a Game Changer
As a makeup artist who specializes in working with women 45+, I submit that a change to a brighter lip color that creates more contrast with the skin– and reflects more light–can absolutely be a game changer. A case in point is my recent experience with Jan. In our first phone conversation, Jan told me she just wanted to look more polished. As we approached the end of Jan’s makeover session, she pulled her lipstick from her purse, saying that she was comfortable with the color. But when I saw the color, I asked her if we might just take a minute more to try a new color just for the fun of it. When Jan saw the brighter, peachy pink lipstick color and gloss I’d put on her lips, she stared at the mirror and didn’t say a word. She was stunned, but then a huge smile crossed her face which told the story. The light, bright color absolutely lit up her entire face. She couldn’t believe the difference.
Tips on Finding Just the Right Lipstick
O.K., let’s be absolutely honest. Finding just the right lipstick color is not easy. It fact, it may take several trips to different makeup counters to find “the one.” But trust me, it will be worth it.
So here are 6 Tips on How to Choose a Lipstick that will give a healthy, vital glow, provide more contrast, and light up your face:
- First, choose a color based on your skin undertone. It’s recommended that those with a warm undertone consider peach, coral, orange or orange-red shades and those with a cool undertone think pink, raspberry, plum and blue-red shades. If you’re a neutral undertone (a balance of warm and cool) go for colors that fall in the mid-range between warm and cool. (For some help in determining your skin undertone, check out this article: “7 Tips for Finding Your Skin Undertone Color and Makeup Shades To Look Your Radiant Best.”)
- Try to wear as little other makeup as possible when trying out new color. . I know, I know . . . this is a difficult one, but it does make a difference. You may also want to wear a neutral color, no pattern top
- Go with a friend who will give you honest feedback and head to several department or beauty store counters to try on some colors. Since the same shade of lip color will look different on each of us due to the pigmentation of our lips and the ph of our skin, it is necessary to try lip color on our lips rather than our wrists or hands. Just make sure the person helping you completely sanitizes the lipsticks and don’t try on more than 3-5 lipsticks at a time. Otherwise– as with trying on more than 3-5 perfumes–the colors will all seem to meld together.
- Take a picture of yourself wearing each new color and be sure to note the brand and color. Just as you can be more objective about your writing after you’ve “let it rest” for a while, you can be more objective about how a color looks on you when you look back at the picture later.
- Give yourself a gentle nudge to step out of your comfort zone. Look for brighter shades than you would typically wear. Since we’re all resistant to change—and these colors will look different from what you’re used to seeing– give yourself some time to look back at these options via your photos rather than rejecting them out of hand.
- If you don’t have issues with lipstick “feathering” or migrating into fine lines around your lips, stick to a lipstick formulation that has some luminosity, pearlescent quality or shine. If you do have issues with feathering, consider going with a matte lipstick which is less likely to migrate. But since matte lipsticks are “flat” and don’t reflect light, you’ll want to put a gloss on top of it to add brightness and shine. (We’ll focus on more ways to deal with “feathering” in an upcoming article).
Enjoy the hunt. You won’t regret the time you spend to find the perfect color when that shade lights up your face and you get comments like: “You look so rested” or What have you had done?”. . . or best of all: “You look great. Tell me your secret.”
About The Author:
Elise Marquam-Jahns is an author, speaker, radio host and makeup artist. As a makeup artist, her passion is helping women 45+ get their glow back. In addition to her work as a makeup artist for a major cosmetics line, she founded Boomer and Beyond Beauty which offers makeup consultations, applications, classes and makeup parties. As host of Normandale Community College’s monthly Learning Well Blog Talk Radio Show, she interviews a wide cross section of health and wellness experts.