Privilege Blog

7 Hints For Putting Your Best Face Forward When You’re Over 50


Planning for a dress-up event ? Your child’s wedding? A fund-raiser? The holidays? Are you over 50, perchance?

In the face of a big event, young women may attempt a “cleanse” of one sort or another, Spanx in volume, or sequins and green metallic eyeshadow. We in our sixth decade, not so much.

As I may have mentioned, (and mentioned, and mentioned) I got married in August. As a Sturdy Gal, my usual makeup routine lasts 15 minutes, most of that spent on sunscreen, concealer and a sponged-on layer of foundation. My usual skin care routine is simple, all Apriori Beauty all the time.

But I knew I could dial it up for a special occasions. Hence, the extra steps below.

Put Your Best Skin Forward

When asked for high performance, my skin requires both coddling and a stern talking to. Coddling is easy – keep on moisturizing. But the stern talking to, for an event, requires both exfoliation and Retinol. I use Apriori’s Micro Scrub regularly.

For the wedding, I did a 30-day course of Retinol. Too lazy for it every day, worth it for an event.

Face Up To Eyebrows

Makeup people always talk about about face-framing, I never listened. I had let the plucking trend pass me by, content to beetlebrow along in painless, blissful ignorance.. But once those same eyebrows began to gray, and disappear, I paid attention. I could never manage standard eyebrow pencils, too unforgiving. Too much feverish rubbing of errant lines. But a powder pencil? With a brush on the other end to work that powder through the brow and even out mistakes?

Yes I could. And did. I found a Givenchy pencil at Sephora, but the Lancôme version above should perform the same way.

Plump Those Lips

All good makeup strategies require choosing either bright mouth or bold eyes. Significant Husband doesn’t care for red lipstick, so I obligingly chose a neutral. Have you noticed how lip color fades over time? In the land of Your Lips But Better I went from Giorgio Arman’s Pink 500 to M.A.C.’s Creme In Your Coffee – seemingly overnight.

However, to make sure neutral didn’t mean invisible, I researched plumpers. After all, one does want to have lips, at any age.

Too-Faced’s was very highly rated, so I gave it a shot. Yes it tingles, but I didn’t mind a little tingle on my wedding day. The plumped lips appeared to lend a hand to vertical lip lines as well. Score!

And Plump That Body Too

Huh? What’s that she said? Yes. Gain weight.

I had originally thought I should aim for fashionably gaunt. After all, we see skinny red carpet images everywhere. I buckled down, ate a lot of chicken and lettuce, lost a couple of pounds.  It looked horrible. Sad. On a day when I felt lush and happy? Fie on that. Given that both my dresses allowed for a little midriff and low hip flesh, I fed my face and showed up plumper. Worked a charm for the photos.

Invest In Your Favorite Bits

Red carpet events ask for a tad of sex appeal. One may arrive at it via one’s aesthetic, witness Artsy Cousins and t the Appeal Of The Hidden. But we might want to flash a little something. For some people, it’s legs, for others, the decolletage. We’ve all got a part of our bodies that we love – in my case it’s upper arms. Which is to say I love my midriff for having given me children, but it’s not what I want to flash when I’m fancy.

So, for the month before my wedding I spent 3 minutes a night doing little pushups against the wall. Too much effort for daily life, just right for a big event.

Whiten Your Teeth

I’m a big toothbrusher and flosser, but I’m also a tea and red wine drinker. Mostly I don’t bother with tooth brilliance, but for the wedding I whitened. No time for appointments, dentist, etc. so over the counter it was.

And I absolutely saw the difference, even though I missed a few nights. What? Do you remember your teeth after a hard day at work? I thought not.

No Need To De-Wrinkle

The photo at the top of this post makes it abundantly clear that I’m on the back nine of 50. More bluntly, you can see all my wrinkles and crepe. I’m not going to say anyone who wants to Botox and fill should not. To each her own. But I am going to say that you can dress up without intervention, even at 50+. And that, by the way, with the right tools and a playful approach, it’s really fun.

Part of what I so enjoyed was doing the research, experimenting, thoughtfully choosing how to approach the day. So different from the younger years of overwhelm, the buying of stuff I didn’t need.

Silly me, I used to think those women who said 50 was great were fibbing. Not at all sad to be proven wrong.


*Links in this post may result in commissions. Any proceeds will be donated to Dress For Success. If you want to buy anything I describe, click the photos!

*Photo credit to Emilia-Jane Photography



60 Responses

  1. You look absolutely lovely. My mother once told me that the wrinkles you develop on the back half of life reflect how you’ve lived the front half. You face beams joy, experience, and absolute joie de vivre. I agree 50 and beyond is great.

  2. You look wonderful. Great tips and so important to work with time as you see fit. I love the sparkle of your eyes! Thank you.

  3. *gasp* You’re back! Must get coffee and settle in.

    I love beauty products as multiple bathroom vanities and desks will attest to, both upstairs and down. I have a slight problem with lip glosses. Can a girl ever have too many? I now have this urge to press my nose to Nordstrom’s doors at 8:30 to see what I’ve missed at the MAC counter. I really don’t have time to do this today but as I said I do have this little problem. ;)

    You look absolutely stunning, missy. Must be the look of love and happiness. Both suit you very well. Congratulations again! xoxo

  4. You may be on the back nine of 50, but you are absolutely beautiful.

    I’ve been wondering about the lip plumpers; I’ve always had thin lips, but they seem to becoming even more thin as I age – I fear they may disappear entirely one day.

    I envy you your lovely upper arms. If I had to showcase anything, it would be my calves, ankles and feet. All still in nice shape, thank goodness.

    1. Thank you. The lip plumper worked. And so then for you, the next time you’re dressing up, I think a great pedicure and a pair of fabulous jeweled sandals, no?

  5. You look marvelous! I have just started paying closer attention to my eyebrows. It’s really about the only bit of makeup that’s worth it. Also for everyday, non-tingly Tarte LipSurgence tints seem to have some magic goin’ on that smooths out lip lines. You might like them, they’re very low-maintenance but effective.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    Best wishes for happiness in your marriage! I loved your wedding photos and you were a most beautiful bride.

    Thank you so much for today’s post. I turn 54 on Friday and found inspiration in your words. It think you are naturally gorgeous and will continue to be so.


  7. Beautiful photo Lisa,you have amazing mid-blue eyes.
    Great to see such a stunning photo without all the photo shopping.
    I also am a fan of eye brow powder.Truely,truely love your natural approach to face make up.Your HB is a lucky man.

  8. Those are all great tips. I turned 53 and all of a sudden I am having a problem with stained teeth! At first I thought it was some illness then was told it was the coffee, tea and wine staining them. This has all happened over the last year from me using a sensitive toothpaste…advised by my dental office…so back to using Elgydium toothpaste I go. It keeps teeth white and breath fresh!

  9. I’ll be in the club next year. You’re on the “back nine of fifty”? Oh, I like that and the scoreboard shows you to be well into the red numbers. I couldn’t agree more re the wrinkle/maintenance comments as I know many like yourself who look great au naturel but if it makes them feel better for themselves then by all means but just don’t try to look (or dress) 27.

  10. WONDERFUL! Thank you for being natural, beautiful, you in this world that contains far too much plastic. No one with a wonderful wedding to plan and full life has time for nonsense!

  11. You look lovely. Thanks for sharing your hints. I used Le Crayon with great success. Lips look still good despite advanced age. :-) I have my teeth cleaned every three months, that along with Arm & Hammer Whitening paste seems to do the trick.

  12. You look beautiful and radiant. I do use Retinol on a regular basis, and find it takes such a tiny amount of time for a huge payoff. I’m a huge believer in exfoliation to keep one face glowing – especially now that we all avoid the sun like the plague.

    As for red lipstick, if I wear it and my husband sees a photo of me, he always thinks I look great – in person, he cringes. I guess it doesn’t seem very kissable?

    1. My issue with Retinol is that it seems to sink through my skin, up to my lips, and into my mouth. And it makes my tongue numb.

      I am perhaps REALLY weird about this:). Do you not experience the same problem?

    2. No, not at all. I use one from my dermatologist. It’s a cream in a tube, and I put a pea sized dollop in my hand and rub it on – done. I would hate that effect that yours had on you! I get it from the teeth whitening strips though – all numb!

  13. You look so radiant and beautiful! Im delighted you are loving your skin. Thank you for the mentions – all commissions will go to Dress for Success for sure. So glad you found an eyebrow powder. I’ve tried eyeshadow, eyebrow wax, and currently eyebrow pencil, yet still not completely satisfied with coverage and appearance. I will definitely be getting the Givenchy Pencil. Thank you for sharing your find.
    The white strips do work well, agreed. I’m visiting the periodontist this week for receding gum treatment before braces, believe it or not. My teeth are starting to shift, so Invisalign here I come. We have a good many years ahead, why not look fabulous, right?

    1. Candace – That is very generous of you indeed. BTW, I had a question in Ask LPC (which is still broken) about just which Apriori products I use. So here’s the link to my original post.

      The requester asked about sensitive skin – perhaps you might reply here and give her the information? I don’t have her email, or I would have replied that way. Thank you!

    2. Thank you for asking!
      Lisa loves my sugar beet crystal scrub to move the old skin cells away, allowing for greater absorption of her anti-aging regimen – natural oil cleanser, then pore opening activator helping the nutrient serum soak in, next eye and lip age eraser, finally 25 SPF day moisturizer, and moisture intense night cream, while she sleeps. She also drinks a cell energizing beauty drink, making healthy skin from the inside out.
      We have a very effective lactic, glycolic, salicylic acid peel with an age spot treatment ingredient, and a micro current+far infrared light+ ultrasound+micromassage beauty gadget for home facelift.
      Sensitive skin? Prodermalin soothing cleanser and moisturizer with medicinal mushrooms will calm and soothe effectively and make your dry skin happy!
      Your skin is your “canvas”, your face your identity. When you look beautiful, you feel fabulous!

  14. I loved your wedding dress and your bouquet even more (Saipua fan – yes, I am).

    And this shot of you is gorgeous – perfect fit with the dress, the bouquet, and the location – glam yet relaxed and so, so happy!

  15. Lisa, You are an inspiration. I love the way you think. Thank you, for being you. And, thanks for the great tips and suggestions. Peace and Love, Stephanie

  16. My 21 year old daughter wandered by and saw the photo of you as I was reading your post yesterday. She said ‘Oh, she’s so pretty.’
    I couldn’t agree more.

  17. Love your thoughtful approach about what to do to get ready for the big day. I will keep those ideas in mind when my son gets married next year – not that anyone will be looking at me, other than my husband.
    As for eyebrows, I like Bobbi Brown’s eyebrow shaper. It’s a gel, kind of like mascara but more subtle, that both fills in the color and tames those unruly hairs that would otherwise stick out.
    One more thing, on your comment about how you “used to think those women who said 50 was great were fibbing. Not at all sad to be proven wrong.” After 60 is even better – a wonderful, relaxed time of life when you can focus on mentoring and appreciating all you have been given instead of feeling like you have to prove yourself.

  18. You look wonderful here — the illumination from within has as much to do, I suspect, as all the products, but that might be because I’m as lazy as you claim to be about regular application . . . . I do know that the photos taken of me at the celebratory lunch after my dissertation defense shocked me by the ten years erased through the happiness and tension-release of getting that done. Best photos of me in a decade, I’m sure, and I was post 50, if only by a year.
    That was almost a decade ago, and the wrinkles have multiplied and become more deeply etched . . . so maybe I’ll study your tips more carefully . . . ;-)

  19. Thank you for sharing! One of the bloggers I read (was it you?) said that when we reach this stage of life and think of fancy events – we tend to choose “too tight, too shiny, too bare”. Google mother of the bride and look at all the candid photos. Why do we let ourselves be sold that stuff? I keep those three words in mind. It has given me great freedom in choosing something I really like and feel great in. And, according to the photos, I look better than I did in my 30’s at such events.

    I’ve recently found that I love blingy, silly, sequin, beaded sandals and flats. I have very pretty feet but I’ve always covered them up in sensible shoes. Now, I’m wearing my jewelry on my feet. I’ve never liked much jewelry anyway (around my face,neck). Why not have fun with it on body parts that I like to show? 54 is so much more fun than 34 or 44 because I finally know who I am! Thank you for being a role model for us!

    1. If it wasn’t me who said it I wish it was:). Great line. Especially the “shiny” part. Whoever thought that shiny teal lace over shiny taffeta was a good luck was wrong.

  20. You look awesome in that photo. Captivating eyes.

    I think these points are helpful for us 20-somethings as well!

  21. You do look lovely! Thanks for all the make-up tips, too.
    By the way, the ivory color of your wedding and rehearsal dresses is definitely a gorgeous shade on you!

  22. That sage philosopher Courteney Cox once said that she had to choose between her bottom (she used a less delicate term) and her face. I completely agree with that gaunt is not flattering. When sick with a cold the other week I lost a couple of pounds and did not like what I saw in the mirror above my neck. What a treat to eat to *gain* weight. And I adore my Bobbi Brown powder eyebrow tint . . .

  23. You do look beautiful- and truly I do not see the difference before your post-regime self. But suiting up for the big day is part of the joy!

    When I don’t want to eat or kiss off lipcolour, I use CoverGirl Outlast. There are pricier, fancier longlast lippies, but Outlast stays ON.

  24. You look absolutely beautiful Lisa, and congratulations to you on your wedding. I think you got the makeup just right – natural, but a glow.
    As for botox… I’ve recently had quite a bit of time to contemplate it – one of my friends, a Doctor, has recently started offering it at her clinic. She is very keen to give me a freebie. I’m… not so keen. I fear it is a slippery slope. Plus, I’m 38 and don’t have a particularly wrinkly forehead. It has made me think about it a lot more though. As you say, to each their own… but I think you look pretty spectacular with your natural face, which has character, life and expression. xx

  25. You look happy and radiant.
    I’m 56 and now have very reactive skin. I can no longer use many of the popular anti aging lines of products. I now concoct my own facial creme containing vitamins A & C, compounded with natural, non comedogenic ingredients.

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