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Monday 6 May 2024

Why Gentle is Better for Skincare over 60

 Is This Mutton explains why gentle skincare with no actives is better for women over 60

Dear friends. I've done a complete 360 degree turn on my skincare and makeup routine. I've turned my back on "active" ingredients. My skin looks far better as a result.  

I was using a lot of "actives," products with ingredients like retinol, AHAs and peptides. These are said to improve the appearance of mature skin, but what they do is exfoliate. They are fine if you're in your 40s and early 50s. But my belief is, they are too harsh once we're past menopause.

So here's what I'm doing instead.

I've had misgivings before about all the "actives" that we're encouraged to use, particularly in terms of layering products.  A lot of it really is marketing nonsense, because some actives really can't penetrate below the surface of the skin.  And they have a drying effect, which is the worst thing for our skin as we get older.

I noticed that far from improving the appearance, the products seemed to be making it worse. Wrinkles were more noticeable and my skin was looking dry and dull!


I have gone back to gentle products with no actives. I've seen a big improvement in skin surface, smoothness and radiance. There's also a bonus of no pilling, those awful "crumbs" that appear when you've used products containing silicone that fight each other. 

At night time I alternate between The Ordinary's Hyaluronic 2% + B5, and Aveeno Calm and Restore Re-Hydrating Night Cream. Neither of them have high-end prices. For daytime I'm using Clinique Moisture Surge moisturizer and a brilliant new SPF Primer from ARK Skincare. 


I normally resent having to wear SPF. The mineral versions leave white marks and are impossible to blend in, and the others sometimes interfere with my other products and cause pilling. Or they just don't seem to work! 

ARK is a British brand who use wholly organic ingredients, and their products are very good.  Their Skin Proector SPF30  has a lower SPF than I would normally use (30), but that's good because it encourages me to reapply, which I wouldn't normally do unless I was on a beach. 

I'm having their SPF Primer a pleasure to use because it really is like a usual skincare product. It has the pleasant light eucalyptus scent, and doesn't make my skin dry or flaky.  It's full of luscious ingredients like hyaluronic acid. 

I'm not one for doing videos, I personally get fed up with people wanting my attention all the time, but I did do a quick Reel because I rate this product so highly.

For additional plumpness and smoothness, I spray on Lisa Eldridge Skin and Makeup Enhancing Face Mist after I've applied whatever makeup I'm using. It provides more moisture, sets your makeup and has a lovely light fragrance.


I used to scoff at claims that as we get older, we need less makeup. But I'm finding it's true. I usually use concealer and eyebrow pencil and maybe a little blush during the day.  I've found that by lunchtime the products have flaked off or have collected in the lines and wrinkles. This is in spite of using high-end products and trying different combinations.

Foundation seems to be a no no. But I've found a lighter skin tint - Lisa Eldridge Seamless Skin Enhancing Tint- that works far better.  It's now sold in Space NK as well as Liberty and Selfridges, as well as online. You might be using a CC or BB cream for the same effect.

I'm still a big fan of eye makeup when I'm going Out Out.  Look Fabulous Forever, who specialise in makeup for older women, kindly sent me their two new No Shimmer Eye Shades, Khaki and Dark Taupe. 

New no-shimmer eyeshadows from Look Fabulous Forever aimed at mature women

These are great neutrals for everyone. I use the Khaki on my lid and drew a line on the crease with Dark Taupe, taking care to blend it in well. They last well all day without fading or creasing. I find it quite difficult to photograph eyeshadow on the lids, but here's an attempt. 

Do you find your skin is better if you concentrate on moisturising, rather than using active ingredients?
Do let us know in the comments.

Disclosure:  I was gifted with products from Look Fabulous Forever and ARK Skincare, but my opinions are always unbiased and objective. 

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  1. Yes I would also say avoid these active ingredients. I am probably wearing more make up now than before as my skin is not what it used to be and I never used foundation. Bearing in mind that I’m 75 this year I am not surprised! I used Dermalogica for years, no problems. Seborrhoeic dermatitis on my face 2 years ago during the winter months changed the make I used. I have used Feel Fabulous Forever and don’t like it. My cleanser now is Neostrata Facial Cleanser for problem skin plus Neostrata Bionic Face cream with their serum as a base. Neostrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF 50 is a good cover up, I only use it in the summer as my general foundation is Jane Iredale and that is SPF 20 I think. Unfortunately no lipstick now as I seem to be allergic to it only lip balm and that’s any make. No eye make up as I have mine tattooed though can’t have it done again as have dry eye. Phew!

    1. Some good recommendations, thanks! It becomes quite pricey trying to find products which suit us as we get older. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I have to say that, as a lifelong skincare junkie, I have recently been thinking along the same lines as you. I haven't gone so far as to get rid of all my actives but I no longer use retinol on my skin, at least not on its own, only as it is included in another serum. And I'm trying LF F's hydrating serum and face mask with mixed results. I think the best thing I do for my skin is keep out of the sun! And I had a wonderful Mum from whom I inherited good genes. 😊

    1. Keeping out of the sun is key. I find even SPF50s struggle!

  3. Have to disagree re actives. I'm in my 70's and have been using the Ordinary peptide serum plus hyaluronic acid plus 1% retinol plus moisturiser and then rose hip oil, for at least 5 years and my skin is (according to my friends is amazing) I do have laugh lines, and a bit saggy, but no crows feet or wrinkles. I think it all depends on what you are used to and you have to find your own way through the minefield that is skincare today. I like the idea of layering as I'm in control. And the Ordinary is the original and by far the best. Great newsletter by the way

    1. I think it's a personal choice. Maybe my skin is more sensitive and reacts badly to actives. Since I've taken a break from them, it definitely looks plumper and more hydrated. But I've heard from others who say actives are great for their skin. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Thanks for the tip about Lisa Eldridge's Seamless Skin Tint. I got some and I love it! Don't know why I came up Anonymous in my Comment above - your site doesn't always seem to like me! (It's Janice!)


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