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Should an older woman wear make-up?

PUBLISHED: 11:35 08 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:54 08 May 2018

Ann Widdecombe made up and ready to hit the dancefloor in Strictly Come Dancing. Picture: BBC/John Wright

Ann Widdecombe made up and ready to hit the dancefloor in Strictly Come Dancing. Picture: BBC/John Wright

Archant

Should an older woman wear make-up? This is a question I often ask myself. The problem is without make-up I look like an old hag, but with it I worry I might be in danger of passing for a clown. To avoid this scenario I have opted to go for a neutral look.

The then chancellor Denis Healey, whose famous eyebrows have been inherited by Marianne Gibbs. Photo: PA WireThe then chancellor Denis Healey, whose famous eyebrows have been inherited by Marianne Gibbs. Photo: PA Wire

I inherited my eyebrows from my father who could have passed for Denis Healey’s twin, so every six weeks I have my eyebrows plucked and my eyelashes dyed at the beauty salon in Brundall. This makes me look respectable enough for a daytime look but my lashes disappear in the evenings.

Most mascara is designed to add ‘volume’ or is ‘lash lengthening’; neither is really suitable for sparse older lashes.

Volume can’t really be added to sparse lashes and lengthening mascara flakes off and makes my eyes water. Most eye shadows come in powder form even the neutral ones and these rub off from older skin.

A foundation that looks fabulous on the dancers of Strictly becomes an artificial mask in the real world and in any case would look silly on most older women.

Is there a solution to this dilemma? Fortunately there is – step forward the beauty consultant manning one of the traditional make-up houses in the department stores.

These tend to be the more expensive brands but the products are excellent. I thought these ladies were a little bit daunting to begin with but having plucked up the courage to make an appointment for a ‘make-over’ I found them to be quite kind and well used to coping with the problems I’ve just outlined.

The secret to looking (reasonably) good when one is older is to forget the glitter and purple eye shadows only the young can get away with and concentrate on looking groomed, rather than made-up.

Annoying though this may be it has to be accepted. I’m resigned to settling for groomed, even though I don’t necessarily like it.

Hair brings on another dilemma. Should I colour it - or not? Now that was a question I took all of 10 seconds to decide. I chose to give my hair a little help and have quite forgotten what colour it used to be.

Only my hairdresser knows the real state of it and I never ask her what that is. I don’t intend to ever stop, indeed I know two glamorous ninety year olds whose hair colour comes out of a bottle.

We often have conversations about when it’s time to stop, but we all agree we will carry on regardless. None of us care what other people think.

Clothes are the number one item that separates those who look old before their time and those who don’t. In my view, when it comes to clothes anything goes. Yet there is a danger in that older people are drawn to clothes that offer warmth and comfort over fashion and style.

This is aided and abetted by the producers of catalogues who somehow get to find out when one has passed a milestone birthday and send their publications out on a weekly basis even when you haven’t asked for them.

All these clothes have neutral colours, (mostly 50 shades of beige), easy fit designs that skim waists and hips, and are of course all machine washable.

Throw these catalogues in the recycling bin as soon as they arrive.

Get down to the high street department stores and ask one of the personal shoppers to help you choose stylish, nay, even outrageous colourful clothes and if you fear feeling the cold buy a silk vest.


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