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A Celebrity Makeup Artist’s Take on Makeup for Older Women

By Margaret Manning February 22, 2017 Interviews

Finding good advice on how to apply makeup for older women is a challenge. So, since this is a topic that many women in the community have asked me about, I turned to celebrity makeup artist, Ariane Poole for some advice.

Ariane is a big believer in “positive aging,” not “anti-aging.” In this video, we discuss 5 specific ways that you can get more from your skin care and makeup routine. In addition to the video, I’ve also included a full transcript below.

When you’re ready to take the next step, please check out our series of makeup tips videos that Ariane and I recorded together. Now, enjoy the show!

Margaret Manning:

One of our goals as we reinvent ourselves in our 60s is to look beautiful. We want our inner beauty and wisdom to be expressed on the outside.

This is what I want to ask my guest today. Ariane Poole is a celebrity makeup artist. She has worked with leading fashion photographers in the UK for years. Now she wants to reveal a few secrets about aging beautifully.

It’s nice to meet you Ariane! It’s a pleasure to have you here. Your site is great and we have lots of questions for you.

Ariane Poole:

Nice to meet you too!


I’d like to start with something a bit philosophical… a little bit more abstract. Could you tell us what your definition of beauty is, especially as it relates to older women?


Well, I think that women are beautiful at every age. It’s not about age. Beauty comes from the inside-out. Unfortunately, as we get a little older, what we feel on the inside doesn’t reflect what we feel on the outside.

So, I try to marry those two things up. We have this wonderful joie de vive on the inside and we don’t get to display it on the outside. My aim is to s bring out that inner confidence, that inner beauty, that fabulousness of a woman.


Great, well, I hope that this is exactly what we can have a chat about today because, I know, everyone has this insecurity about what they look like. It’s confidence that makes you beam and glow – and that’s what we can get through some techniques with makeup and skin care.


Absolutely. It is my strongest belief – and I’ve been doing makeup for many, many, years – that if you are shown the right techniques and you marry them with the right products, you are going to get fantastic results.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you have been using makeup. You will look fabulous. That’s the essence of makeup for older women.


Great, well, let’s get into it. You have had the most amazing life and career. You’ve done some amazing things. You’ve done makeup for some Hollywood celebrities and I’d love you to tell us a bit about your background and how you got into makeup.


Well, I have loved makeup from the time that was 3-years-old. So, from a very early age. I did a degree in cosmetology in Canada. Then, I got headhunted in the UK to come over and be a makeup artist.

When I arrived here in the UK, I was one of about 10 makeup artists in the entire country. The job, “makeup artist,” as we define it these days, didn’t exist. So, I was one of the pioneers – one of the old ones. I feel like I’m kind of the “granny” of the makeup industry now.

I had the honor of working with some fantastic celebrities – Catherine Zeta-Jones, Penélope Cruz, Jane Seymour – the list goes on and on. I also did makeup demonstrations for Princess Diana and the Queen of Jordan.

What I enjoyed doing the most was doing makeup for “real women,” when I did the makeup TV programs. I also love the talks and seminars that I do.

As a celebrity or a royal, you have access to lots of information. The ladies who visit my events, don’t have access to all this information.

Yes, we have the magazines and we can go to the makeup counter. But, it isn’t always personal. So, my complete joy, and the reason that I do what I do, is doing makeup on “real women” and showing them fantastic techniques.


You’ve just lead perfectly into my next question. We’ve got 30,000 women in our community and when I ask about makeup, the comments are usually like “a bit of lipstick will do me.” People don’t feel like it’s ok to play with makeup and to look beautiful.

So, I guess that’s what my question is this… What are the differences between working on an “ordinary person” and working on a celebrity?


All celebrities have the same insecurities as the rest of us. Believe me. They all have the same issues –dark circles, wrinkles, blemishes. All of those things are exactly the same. That’s what amazed me.

When you speak to someone who has hot and cold running – this thing and the other thing – they still have the same insecurities. Besides, we all look the same without our makeup on.

Most of us learned to makeup in our teens and 20s. When we’re that age, our prime objective is to look older… more grown up… more mature. Perhaps we wanted to get into places that we probably shouldn’t. I know I’m guilty of this!


It’s true. It’s very true.


What happens is, as you get into your 40s, 50s and 60s, you don’t need help looking 5 or 10 years older.

What I find now is that a lot of women are using those same techniques, either with new products or with old products. They’re using the same techniques and then wondering why they aren’t looking do good. Why are they looking a little bit tired? Why are they looking a little bit drawn? These products are supposed to give me that “glow” and everything. Why is this not happening?

Worse yet, if they go to a makeup counter and get new things – and they are still having the same results – they start to blame themselves. They say. “It’s me. I’m too old. I should only be wearing a touch of lip balm or something like that. Maybe I should just go without.” Applying makeup for older women requires a different approach.

At my seminars, so many women tell me that they can’t wear makeup anymore. Well, it’s because they are doing it the old fashioned way. Or, maybe they’ve gone to a makeup counter and the person behind the counter has done their makeup in an old-fashioned way.

So, I try to show them new makeup techniques. This doesn’t necessarily mean chucking out their old makeup bag. I take their makeup bag and say, “Ok, let’s see what’s in there that works… ok, this works, this works… this, ok, this one isn’t doing you any favors… it’s making you look tired. Let’s get rid of that and replace it with something else.” So, it’s a process and it works beautifully.


You know, I’m so excited to talk with you because I have so many questions. Should I do this? Should I use a cream or a powder?

We’ll talk about that later and we’ll definitely go into some detail.

Before we do that, we were talking earlier about how makeup is just one element of bringing out your inner beauty.

We have 5 things that we talk about as being the foundation of beauty after 60. We have good attitude. Taking care of yourself. Being healthy. There are supplements that could potentially help with beautiful skin and enhance your inner-beauty. Then, we have makeup, of course.

Let’s talk about attitude first. I think that’s where it all starts, right?


Attitude is absolutely the beginning point. If your attitude is “I’m old,” “I’m past it,” it’s hard to refresh yourself. So, attitude is important.

Attitude builds as you become more confident.  As women, we absorb knocks more than anything else. You see a picture of yourself and say, “Oh, look at my tummy. It looks a bit big. Oh, my hips are too large.” We start to criticize the outer package without looking at the inner package.

For me, attitude is so important. It is a way of feeling about yourself inside.


So, instead of trying to look younger, we should be trying to feel and look healthier. This means eating good food – and I’m absolutely positive that you have some great tips.


Well, I am a big believer in eating well and I love the idea of supplements. My mother is in her 70s and she brought supplements into my life at an early age. We don’t eat enough of the right kinds of foods. Our food is also processed.

I remember reading recently that one tomato from the 40s equals ten tomatoes now, in terms of nutritional content. So, before you ate one tomato and got all of that goodness. Now you have to eat ten. Who is going to sit down and eat ten tomatoes?


Small ones maybe!


What other things have they doctored up?

So, for me, good nutrition and exercise is important. I do yoga. I love it because it works my mind and my body.

My mother does snow shoeing. She puts me to shame, actually! Maybe I’ll start snow shoeing when I get into my 70s. I don’t know.

So, supplements, to me, are important. No matter how much stuff you put on your face, if your insides aren’t working well, you won’t get the results you want. You can’t cover that up!


Are there any vitamins that you would recommend people consider?


There’s a great book, called “Crazy, Sexy Diet.” It’s a really interesting read. I love it! It’s one of my favorite books. I also love things by Patrick Holford.

Everyone is different. So, for example, I’m taking Vitamin D. I’m taking resveratrol. I’m taking a multi-vitamin B supplement.

It just depends where you are in your life – and what you eat. Some people grow their own organic food. If so, you’re probably getting quite a bit of nutrition there. Some people are vegetarian. Some people eat meat. So, it depends on what your lifestyle is.

I’m also a fan of adaptogens, which help your body to adjust to different conditions. They’re also starting to put these nutrients into skincare, which is interesting.


So, we’ve covered attitude, health and supplements. Now, let’s talk about skin care. After all, what you put on your skin is also important. Some of it sits on the top and some of it really does go into your skin and can help longer term.


All of these factors connect with each other, which is really interesting. There are a lot of great skincare solutions out there. Remember, though, no matter how good the cream is that you buy, if you’re not using supplements and staying healthy, it won’t matter.

If you’re smoking 20 cigarettes a day, drinking like demon and sunbathing with baby oil, that $1,000 cream is not going to help you at all. You may as well just take your money and chuck it in the air.

So, good skin care is important. Removing your makeup is important. Exfoliating is important – especially as we get older. After all, your cells don’t turn over as they should. As a result, women get this “dullness” to their skin. To compensate, they keep putting on lots of cream, thinking that this is going to help. It doesn’t. But, you do need to have a gentle exfoliator.

I sometimes even make my own with brown sugar and olive oil, depending on what my skin wants. It’s about listening to your body, not just in terms of what you eat, but, also in terms of what your skin needs.

Stress plays a big part in how your skin looks. This doesn’t just involve stress from a major catastrophe. It could also be built-up stress. That’s why I’ve started doing yoga and meditation.

You’re a whole person. You’re not just bits and pieces. So, stuff that encompasses the whole for me, works the best.


I love that. There are also so many homemade recipes that you can use.


You can do so much. I have a lady who said, “I don’t want to use water-proof mascara, because, I can’t get it off. I don’t want to use that really harsh makeup remover because it gets film on my eyes.” I said, well, why don’t you use a little bit of olive oil on a cotton pad? Or, maybe even some coconut oil? She said, “really?”

I got a phone call from her later. She said, “Ariane – that works so well!”


Coconut oil is brilliant! You can use it for cooking. You can use it for your skin. It’s about $12 a jar, but, it’s completely worth it.


Absolutely! You can do so many things. Recently, one of my daughters reacted so something that she put on her skin. I said to her – “You’ve got to use coconut oil on your face.” Her skin cleared up from this horrible reaction in just a couple of days.

There are so many good things that you can use. I love mixing brown sugar with olive oil or coconut oil – and using it like a body scrub. If you use salt and you have any kind of cut – oh my gosh! You leap around the bathroom like a lunatic. You’re in so much pain.

Brown sugar melts into the skin. It’s so good for the skin. You come out feeling just fabulous.


Let’s talk about makeup, because this is obviously what you do best. This is your world. There are so many things that you can do with the miracle of makeup. I was fascinated by some of your tips for eyes, for example. Also, about concealer and primer. So, please take us through, from the eyes down, and give us some makeup tips for older women.


First of all, makeup isn’t what it used to be. It’s not heavy. Nowadays, what makeup does is enhance your features. It makes you look at a person and say, “wow, you’ve got really beautiful green eyes!” I can see that coming through because of the way that you’ve done your makeup. If you took off all of your makeup, your eyes might not be quite as visible.

Primers, to me, are a big buzz word. They really do serve a purpose. In the old days, makeup was really thick and heavy. It really stuck to your face. Nowadays we want everything to be much more lightweight and sheer. The tradeoff is that lighter products don’t always last as long on our skin.

Primers can diffuse the fine lines, which I love. They make the lines look less obvious. I’m not saying, “get rid of them,” because you’re not getting rid of anything. It just makes everything look softer.

Then, you can use your foundation. You don’t necessarily have to use a foundation, but, you can. You can use a tinted primer. You can use a tinted moisturizer. You can use a tiny bit of concealer. Basically use whatever is you thing.

When it comes to eye makeup, it’s the same thing. There are some fantastic colors. One thing I tell women as they get older is not to listen to the girls at the counter. They try to push us all into matt, which is good for some, but, not all, eye shapes. They also tell us to put shimmer on, under the arch of the brows. In fact, this is the place where you should be avoiding using the shimmer.


By the way, I have hazel eyes, but, I actually have purple on the top. In the past, I’ve heard that this brings out the green.


There you go! It brings out the green tones in your eyes. How fantastic. They look wonderful, whatever color they are! In your case, the green definitely is coming through.


But, you love blue.


I love navy blue. Navy blue and purple are probably my favorite colors – not because I want people wearing old fashioned eye shadow, but, because both of those colors have a blue undertone. The blue undertone makes the whites of the eyes look brighter. As we get older, our eyes tend to become less white than we want them to be.

I’m not a big fan of putting tons of eye drops into your eyes, so, let’s do it a different way. If you have really red eyes, because you have been straining at the computer of something, by all means, do your drops. But, on a day to day basis let your white show through because of the colors that you use.

A dark navy blue or a purple, like you’ve got on, is fantastic. Either will reflect back into the eyes, making them look whiter. It’s an optical illusion.


So, what about a cream vs a power blush? I know as you get older, there may be a better choice.


Well, I love cream blushers. As we get a little older, they just add that “glow” to the cheeks. As we get older, we do tend to lose that glow. As I mentioned before, exfoliating is a great thing to do – but, you’re not going to be exfoliating 24/7. Also, some people, especially as they get a little older, lose their glow because of the medication that they are taking.

As we get older, our skin becomes a little bit dryer. The good news is that the formulations have improved drastically, so, they don’t disappear. They’re not “here one minute and gone the next.” There are some really great cream blushers on the market.

Some people prefer to use a powder. That’s a personal choice. That said, I think that if they were introduced to a really great cream blush, they would fall in love with it.


I know that you’ve worked with a number of different cosmetics lines and you have your favorites. You also have your own cosmetics line as well. Tell us about that.


As a makeup artist – and I think that we’re all guilty of this – we mix a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Most of the time, we create wonderful looks. Then the ladies that I was making over would ask me, “Well, what did you use?” When I told them, they would say that they weren’t going to mix all of those colors together.

So, I thought to myself, “You know what? In everyday life, I wouldn’t do that either.” So, the range was created out of the need for certain products that aren’t on the market. Mine is slightly different to other brands. I still love many of the other brands – Bobby Brown, Clinique, Estee Lauder and others. I get excited about other brands, in addition to my own.

We don’t test on animals and we never have. This is very important to me. We make them carbon free.

When I do tutorials, either on the website or in person, I use a mixture of products. No-one has only one makeup brand in their bag.


Where can people find your products?


They can go to arianepoole.com. We ship all over the world.

You know, no one needs to wear makeup. If it makes you feel better, the, by all means, wear it. The difference it can make it amazing. I did a makeover for a 90-year-old lady. She got off the chair at the end and said, “I’m going to go get myself a man now!” I hope I can feel that way when I’m 90!


Well, we’ve come full circle, because we talked about the attitude at the beginning. Then we talked about all the ways that you can go about bringing out that inner beauty. At the end of the day, it’s all about playing with your look. Use what you have available and have fun! Just do anything you can to bring out that inner confidence.

Is there any message that you would like to share with the community before we close?


You are beautiful the way you are. If you want to tweak your look a bit, there are things out there that can help you. I hate the term “anti-aging.” For me, it’s all about “positive aging.” We’re all going to age. The only true anti-aging is death – and that’s not a great option!

All we want is to be the best and happiest that we can be.


Ariane, you’ve been an inspiration to me. Thank you so much for your time and thank you for being here.


Thank you so much. I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you. I hope we can do this again some time.


I hope so too. Bye Ariane.


Bye now.

If you are interested in seeing Ariane demonstrating how to apply makeup for older women, please see our makeup tips videos.

I’d love to hear your take on this. Did you enjoy my interview with Ariane? What question would you like to ask her about getting the most from your makeup application? Please join the conversation and “like” and share this article to keep the conversation going.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at margaret@sixtyandme.com

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