10 timeless makeup and beauty secrets

You can’t actually age backwards, but you can look like it. Take these few make-up tips for keeping your face as ageless as your spirit.

Words and Styling: Tracey Strange Watts

From smudged red shadow at Kenzo to tangerine swoops of liner at Ferragamo, international catwalks are currently heralding a rainbow of different eyeshadow colours. But while Barbie-esque pink smears and apricot gloss (yes, for the lids) might be the height of fashion, they’re hardly timeless.

If you want to keep your look classic but still current, soft sweeps of copper, gold or bronze shadow are the way to go, and are also almost universally flattering.

Try any of the shades in Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Eye Shadow range.

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eye Shadow in Baby Peach, $65.

If you can’t be bothered faffing around with growth serums, extensions or falsies, the solution to a less-than-full lash line has to lie in mascara.

At $63, Clinique’s Lash Power Flutter-to-Full Mascara doesn’t appear to be an everyday buy, but the tube has three click-in positions – natural, something a little more noticeable, and full-on flutter – making it three mascaras in one.

It also coats each lash in polymer tubing rather than the traditional waxes or dyes, meaning it’s more resistant to smudging or flaking (a common downside of lash-building mascaras).

Another way to ensure you get the best from your mascara is to change the way you apply it.

First, coat lightly in the usual way from top to bottom, wait a few seconds for it to dry and then flip the wand and move the tip backwards and forwards across lashes in a windscreen-wiper motion.

Follow up with another – horizontal – coat for maximum effect.

Clinique’s Lash Power Flutter-to-Full Mascara, $63.

Are oils really all they are cracked up to be? And how do they differ from serums?

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First up, plant-based face oils tend to have fewer ingredients than moisturizers or serums, are often all natural and gentle enough for most skin types.

Unlike serums, oils contain no water and are usually rich in antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Serums, on the other hand, can be oil-free or an amalgam of oil and water, and the fact that they often contain more concentrated ingredients generally makes them more expensive than oils, but not exclusively so. The skin easily absorbs both.

Most oils (or serums for that matter) can also be mixed in with your normal moisturiser for added hydration. It really depends on the texture of the oil, the cream you’re using and how much time you have.


Don’t: Rub in eye cream. Smooth or pat instead. Stretching the skin creates wrinkles.

Do: Remove eye make-up gently for the same reason.

Don’t: Be as heavy handed with eye cream as you might your usual moisturizer – a tiny dot will do. Being lavish is not only irritatingly pricey; it’s irritating to the skin full stop.

Do: Wait before you apply make-up. Giving the cream time to absorb maximizes its efficacy, and ensures the longevity of shadow and mascara.

Don’t: Apply eye cream under a serum or oil. Even though eye cream is fine in texture it is more viscous than a serum/oil and should be applied after.

Do: Put eye cream in the fridge if your eyes are puffy. The coolness will reduce swelling.

Don’t: Panic if you run out. As long as your skin or eyes aren’t extremely sensitive, any SPF-free moisturizer – even those containing retinol – can be applied around the eye. So if you are rummaging around in the dark and can’t find that little pot of eye gel, substitute night cream instead.

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Make-up looking a bit stale? Reset that beauty autopilot and avoid these five common – but potentially ageing – pitfalls.

You may think it’s setting your make-up but it’s also setting you backwards, looks-wise. Too much powder, applied all at once, dulls the complexion, makes you look older and can clog up the skin (and no age group is immune to adult acne).

The best way to apply powder is in light layers, with a brush rather than puff, and stop way before your skin looks matt.


Heavy foundation doesn’t hide skin imperfections, but tends to exacerbate them. Like powder, foundation also needs to be applied in light layers so that it can be built up only in those areas where you need additional coverage.

One of the best new foundations is MAC’s Next to Nothing Face Colour, $64, which looks and acts like a conventional foundation but is, in fact, quite different. It has a light, balm-like texture that makes it feel like a soft protective “cushion”.

It’s brilliant if you find traditional bases tend to make your complexion feel claustrophobic.

M.A.C Next to Nothing Face Colour, $64.

I am so guilty of this. So fearful am I of overdoing blusher, I underdo it to the point that it’s barely noticeable. But blusher is designed to be seen, and it actually takes quite a heavy hand for it to look stage-like.

Applied properly, its benefits are many – a youthful flush, added radiance and more prominent cheekbones among them. And because, optically, it draws the attention upwards, it also gives greater emphasis to the eyes. YSL’s Kiss & Blush, $77, is a great product that doubles as blush and lip colour.

YSL Kiss and Blush, $77.

Short of cosmetic fillers, there’s nothing much that can be done to “fill in” lines around the lips. You can minimize bleed by always using pencil, which will create a waxy barrier for your lipstick to stick against. Paler coloured lipstick also helps.

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It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of applying eye cream each night before bed and then running your finger (with a little eye cream still on it) around your lips as a preventative measure against tiny wrinkles.

To combat gravity, it’s a good idea to deliberately apply an upward flick of eyeliner in the corner of the eyes.

This makes the eyes look happy rather than droopy.

To get the look right, gaze straight ahead as you apply eyeliner, rather than looking downward, and draw a line that follows the natural curve of your lower lash line to create the upward flick.


If there were only one timeless make-up look it would be this:

flawless, even-toned skin; thick lashes; a tiny touch of blush; and a cream or matt red lip.

To get the lips right, outline in pencil the same shade as your lipstick – first the outside edges, then the upper part of the lip, and now connect the dots.

Finally fill in the entire lip with pencil to give your lipstick something to stick to.

Found the perfect shade of red but it only comes in a cream?  Smashbox Insta-Matte, $48, is a nifty gel that transforms cream lipstick into a velvety matt finish, and by doing so instantly doubles the size of your lipstick “wardrobe”.


Elizabeth Arden, www.elizabetharden.co.nz
Antipodes, www.antipodesnature.com
Clarins, www.smithandcaugheys.co.nz
Yves Saint Laurent, www.smithandcaugheys.co.nz
M.A.C, www.maccosmetics.co.nz
Nude by Nature, www.farmers.co.nz
Dr. Hauschka, www.farmers.co.nz
Nellie Tier, www.nellietier.co.nz
Clinique, www.clinique.co.nz
Bobbi Brown, www.farmers.co.nz

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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