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Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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Wednesday 18 October 2023

Best Face Forward

 & Wow On Wednesday 

Three women together. Photo by Jenna Smith for The Centre for Ageing Better

Dear friends. Older women's faces, made-up, natural and un-retouched, have been in the news this last couple of weeks. 

It started with opera singer Rose Knox-Peebles, 81, who is playing Erda, the earth goddess, in Das Rheingold at the Royal Opera House. A critic from the Financial Times said her make-up was "frightful." Rose then wrote a letter to The Times explaining she wasn't wearing any. 

Opera singer Rose Knox-Peebles, 81

Then Pamela Anderson, 56, showed a face free of make-up at Paris Fashion Week and was praised by Jamie Lee-Curtis for her "courage and rebellion," and by Scarlett Johansson, who said:  "It’s powerful for women to see other women rejecting standard beauty norms.”

Pamela Anderson at Paris Fashion Week without make-up

If that wasn't enough, Isabella Rossellini is shown on the cover of Vogue Italia without any re-touching. Her lines are visible, and she looks magnificent:  so striking, so wise. I hardly ever buy women's magazines aimed at older women these days because I am so exasperated at the amount of re-touching they do.  Don't they realise that they insult the buyers of their magazines by insisting on "improving" the faces of the older women on the covers?  

Isabella Rossellini in an un-retouched photo on the cover of Vogue Italia

We've also had the amazing Carol Vorderman being very matter-of-fact about using Botox on the Postcards from Midlife podcast. 

It's good that we're finally being accepted for how we want to be seen:  with or without make-up, without the help of retouching, and being able to use "tweakments" without being people judgy, if that's what floats our boat. 

It's Pamela's stand I'm most excited by, because it's so rare to see a woman famous for her beauty baring a naked face over 50, and particularly at a fashion show where she must have known it would cause a sensation.

One-quarter of you don't wear make-up - one of the findings of the 2022 Is This Mutton survey. I am not so brave.  Without make-up, the dark circles under my eyes are very visible. But usually I wear just concealer, unless I'm going "out out." 

Here you can see with no make-up, next to a picture where I have used 5 products. The difference is astonishing. I took the pictures in the same lighting and same room. 

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon demonstrates the power of just 5 items of make-up with a before and after

The products I used were:  Clarins Everlasting Youth Fluid foundation in Honey  (I haven't used this for a while but bought a new bottle, and so pleased I did);  Huda #FauxFilter concealer in Meringue, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Beauty Blush in Peach Pop, Eye of Horus Goddess eye pencil in purple, and the new True Rose Lustrous Colour Lipstick from Look Fabulous Forever.  The last one was gifted, the rest I bought myself.

I've changed my skincare products, not because of a change in the season, but because I tend to get bored or find products are no longer performing well.  I'm using Clarins Double Serum, which I find very comforting and moisturising. Too many serums make your face feel parched.  I follow the serum with Clarins Multi-Intensive Day Cream for very dry skin. At night I use No 7 Pure Retinol night cream every two nights.


You might think my products are a bit spendy. Well, I'm saving money by no longer using a separate eye cream or neck cream. I find the day cream is just as good for both these areas. And I save money by using a budget body lotion (Aveeno) and shower gel (Dove). Plus I don't need a primer with the foundation, it's that good. The other thing I like about it is it doesn't pill with my SPF. 


Paco Rabanne, the French fashion house, has created a range of make-up. I was intrigued by the Colorshot, a cream-to-paint pearly liquid eyeshadow.  It reminded me of something similar that Avon did back in the 70s, when I used to wear a pale blue. I chose shade Glow Up which looked like a pale cream, but on the hand it looks a bit silvery. Fortunately on the lids it gives me the neutral look I was after:  camouflaging the dark colour of my lids without looking too much like eyeshadow. It lasts very well. 

Look Fabulous Forever also have another new shade of lipstick, Pink Heather. This and True Rose, worn above, are both suitable for warm and cool toned skins  (their website helpfully tells you which colours are cool, and which are warm).  I don't use filters or retouching in photos, I just lighten them a bit. 

I share quite a few selfies on Instagram, not because I'm particularly vain but because I think we need to see faces of ordinary women in their 50s and 60s. I don't have anything against botox and fillers, but they are so widely used by models and actresses that young people think their faces are the norm.  I stopped watching the Super Models TV documentary (Apple) because I found it depressing how they all looked quite unnatural.  Not younger, just strange. 

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon wearing Pink Heather lipstick by Look Fabulous Forever

The Bias Cut x The Centre for Ageing Better 

The picture at the top of the post is royalty free from The Centre for Ageing Better, who have hundreds of images of older people in many situations.  This is an attempt to stop people using those stock shots like elderly hands clutching a walking stick . The Bias Cut, an online retailer which uses older women as models, made an appeal for women to nominate themselves to do a shoot of fashion orientated shots, and I'm thrilled to be using one for the first time. 

Over to You

Where do you stand on the faces of older women?  Do you feel more yourself with make-up on?  Do you applaud Pamela Anderson, and Vogue Italia for smashing a stereotype?  Scroll down to leave a comment. 

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Find the sites where I link here

It's time for Wow On Wednesday, the weekly link-up that brings you posts from around the world on fashion, beauty, lifestyle and travel. 

Readers can find new blogs to follow, and bloggers can find new readers! 

If you want to add a post (or three), scroll down to find the simple joining instructions. 

Readers, you make a blogger's day when you leave a comment, so please try to visit one or two if you have time. 

Last Week's Favourites

Sue from Women Living Well After 50 with her post "Fine, thinning, brittle or frizzy hair? Achieve salon looking hair at home."

I am also using the same hair dryer and will be reporting back on how I find it on November 8. 

Fashion over 50 from newcomer to the link-up Road Gypsies Val and Holland. Here's Val in hiking outfit. 

Val and Holland are newlywed Road Gypsies living as full-time Rvr's, intent on seeing every one of the mainland 48 States. I look forward to reading about their adventures. 

A bit of this and that from Penny at Frugal Fashion Shopper 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. I tend to wear minimal make-up when I get around to putting it on, but I love the idea of a liquid eye shadow. I think that would be much easier to put on! Thanks for this no make-up inspiration and all the amazing women making this statement!

    1. That's why I love liquid eye shadow. It's easy to make it a pale wash, or apply a bit more for a more saturated look. Thanks for the visit

  2. Oh I applaud Pamela Anderson! She looked so fantastic! I wear eye makeup every day. Never foundation. But sometimes it's just mascara and lipstick, depends on my mood. It is about what feels good to you!

  3. Yes I applaud Pamela, she looks great and must have made an impression on all who saw her. I feel at home with makeup on, and tend to wear it most times I go out. Thanks for hosting the linkup party x Jacqui


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