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Using Makeup to Lift Our Spirits (Gray Hair Tutorial)

Martha cried as she sat in the makeup chair in my home studio, wiping away the tears that came so easily. Her husband doesn’t have long left, and she is his main caretaker. The challenge and grief were evident, as well as her desire to do something positive for herself to lift her spirits.

This is what I love about makeup, the incredible transformative effect it can provide, even emotionally. I saw the difference in Martha from the emotions of when she sat down, to the joy she expressed at the end of the session. It is so simple, but so powerful.

Martha and I both live in Cuenca, Ecuador. She and her husband owned a farm and loved being a part of Ecuadorian rural life. Now, they live closer to town due to her husband’s failing health. She saw my write-up in the Gringo Post for models over 40 and felt this was a unique opportunity to carve out time to refuel her own proverbial tank.

The strength we women receive from feeling the support of others and seeing our own innate beauty is unquestionably powerful and compelling.

With that in mind, what are the main strategies I used to bring out the very best in Martha’s look? Besides showing her love throughout her visit, I focused on a couple of important areas: her eyes, and her hair. In this article and video, I will spell out what I did, why I did it, and how you can implement it into your makeup and skin care routine.

The Skinny on Foundation and Mature Skin

Many of you know that the older you get, the less makeup you should wear. Having said that, how much is too much, and how do you choose where to put what? With Martha, that type of application is in full effect.

For example, her foundation is about a medium coverage, and I spread it using my fingers for greater translucence. Plus, I only used it around her eye area in order to balance out her skin tone. Many of you try to use it everywhere, but in most cases, you don’t need to. To further even out her skin, I used bronzer, which we will get to in a minute.

As an aside on foundation, the best type to shop is a light to medium coverage, hydrating foundation. Most matte foundations are too dry for mature skin, unless of course you have normal to oily skin and can handle it.

The one I used in the video is technically a matte foundation, but I thinned it out to a consistency I liked, and also added some vitamin C serum to help with hydration. If you don’t use C serum, I highly recommend getting one with 20% or more vitamin C like Image MD Restoring Youth Serum, or if you want greater results, try up to 80% like Transdermal C Serum. Plus, be sure to use THDA (tetra hexydecylacsorbate), not L-ascorbic acid for greater efficacy.

How to Use Bronzer on Uneven Skin

Because Martha is in the sun a great deal, her neck is about three shades lighter than her face, so I used bronzer to even out her skin tone under her jaw, as well as under her cheekbones. The results gave her face greater dimension and helped her face and neck match better.

If I didn’t do this while still applying foundation all over, she would’ve looked out of balance and overly made up. Use bronzer only where you need it, in light amounts, and be sure not to add too much under your cheekbones. It can make your face look overly thin.

Minimalistic Makeup with Pop

The way you create pop on your face is to pick a body part. For Martha, I picked her eyes and used shades that would bring them out. In this instance, I used a blue/gray eyeliner on the top eyeline, and then blended it for a softer look.

Because she has beautiful silver hair, which in essence is a blue undertone, using a soft blue liner works well to highlight both aspects. I then added a pale blue eyeshadow to the outside of her eye area to give her eyes a lovely lift.

On her lips, I used a neutral lipliner with a lip-gloss so it would stay put, and no blush as she has wonderful coloring from all the time in the sun. Therefore, when you look at her, you see her eyes and hair, and there isn’t anything competing for attention.

With gray or silver hair, either do a strong lip or a strong eye, but not both unless that’s your fancy and personality. Always do what works best for you!

The Essence of Beauty

We all are beautiful, and it’s finding and bringing out that innate gift we all possess that raises our emotions. Martha is facing some difficult times, and for her to remember she is an amazing, beautiful woman transcends those problems, including the storyline that older women aren’t beautiful.

In my opinion, mature women are some of the most powerful and loving people on the planet, and worthy of looking in the mirror and seeing that no matter how difficult life can become.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you think there is power in makeup, as in lifting your emotions? Have you tried getting a face makeover when you feel down and life just doesn’t go as planned? What tips do you have when it comes to using makeup to feel beautiful?

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Toni Stritzke

I have been using vitamin C serum for a year now (La Roche Posay) and my skin drinks it up.
I can’t use anything like mascara and eyeshadow since my cataract operation as it irritates my eyes.
But I do use an eyebrow mascara to give some power to that area as everything is grey these days.
I use a purple shampoo which is nice and soft and I wear my hair at shoulder length as it’s easier to look after.
Burt’s Bees lip balm is my go to. I use it as a lip gloss under my lipstick.
I think make up and dress ups helps my confidence for sure.

Suzanne Blons

These are all great suggestions for an easy makeup!


I never wore much makeup as I like a natural look. My hair is now a silver gray. For a no makeup look, I like a tinted moisturizer to just even out tone. A little powder concealer on spots not covered. A bit of blush across the fattest part of cheeks and across nose which looks like you got a little sun. Some taupe on eyebrows to fill in and grey or blue lower only eyeliner. On lips, either Burt’s Bee or Beekman tinted lip balm. Takes 5 minutes only.

Suzanne Blons

That’s a great makeup routine. It’s simple but highlights your features. Thanks for sharing!


I enjoy makeup, but wear less than I did when I worked in a formal downtown office. A couple of years ago, i was cleaning out my lipsticks (I love lipstick, its my treat-myself go-to) and I thought- where did all these browns come from? Could I possibly have looked good in brown lipstick?
Your upbeat, kind, supportive attitude and make up lesson was probably worth 10 therapy sessions for Martha.

Suzanne Blons

WOw, thanks for your comment! I think the process was mutually beneficial for sure. The brown lipstick thing is an issue. It really doesn’t work on older women, yet when that trend was in we all dashed to it! Now, it’s all about color which I adore. I’m glad the video was helpful for you:)


I had a makeup therapy session in a group of ladies years ago when I was being treated for breast cancer, most of us had no hair at the time. It was lovely learning new looks and techniques, the ladies who taught voluntarily were from the makeup counters in a department store.

It really was a massive confidence boost and we were given gift bags of lovely cosmetics and perfumes to take home with us. An afternoon of pure enjoyment where we were able to forget we were ill.

Suzanne Blons

That’s wonderful! makeup has such a powerful affect on women, to me that’s what it’s about, not about reaching an unrealistic beauty standard. Thanks for sharing


I always feel better when I take the time to put on (even a little) makeup. I was just having this conversation with an acquaintance the other day. It was essentially about “mature”’ women telling themselves they are now “old“ & must dress a certain way and abandon looking pretty. Looking ‘put together’ and stylish is important to me because it makes ME feel better… And it presents to the world a confident woman…. which in turn, bolsters my self-esteem! You don’t have to embrace every fashion trend that shows up or go crazy with hair colors and makeup that are no longer working for you and make you look “desperate“ to hold onto your youth. You can pick and choose an element of those new trends, that work for YOU, thereby looking current, but not silly. I say, embrace your age, exercise, eat, healthy, and enhance what you’ve always had… And still have.

Suzanne Blons

I totally agree with you. I think the idea that we have to meet some crazy standard of beauty is toxic. I believe each woman is beautiful and sometimes we need a little help to see it, but it there in all it’s glory.

Cathy Brabant

Collegen will help in many ways. Skin, hair, nails and joints I’m one who is not into gray hair. Do what you want, but women I know look older after going gray.

Suzanne Blons

All good thoughts!

The Author

Suzanne Blons, The Beauty Shaman, has been in the beauty industry for nearly 40 years. A former Revlon Charlie Girl, she is now a professional makeup artist and has worked with such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Arianna Huffington. Today, Suzanne shares her beauty secrets on her YouTube channel, The Beauty Shaman. Check out her store, blog, coaching, and beauty courses.

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