Hair & Makeup Dos and Don'ts 30+

Experts tell what to score—and what to skip—as we age

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DON'T: Cake it on

Powder foundations, especially mineral-based ones, are wildly popular because they are easily tolerated by sensitive and acne-prone skin; plus, many are made with natural ingredients. But unless your skin is flawless (in which case, why wear foundation?), powder can leave you looking like a wrinkly, powder-dusted doughnut. “Powder foundations in general tend to settle into fine lines, wrinkles and pores, drawing attention to any variation in texture,” explains Sarah Tucker, a makeup artist in New Orleans and Houston. And mineral powders in particular often contain a synthetic ingredient called bismuth oxychloride (a grayish-white powder), which can leave behind an unflattering ashy-gray finish that erases natural radiance.


DO: A dewy finish

If you’re married to your powder, you can get all of its skin-safe benefits, but with a more flattering finish, by misting your face with Mary Kay Makeup Finishing Spray by Skindinävia ($18; or Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray ($29; Both reduce chalkiness and get skin glowing again. If, however, you’re willing to try something new, a sheer-to medium-coverage liquid or cream foundation “adds back luminosity,” says Tucker. Try Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup Compact ($64; or, if your skin is on the dry side, Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Treatment Foundation ($52; 

Urban Decay

DON'T: Scorch your strands

Hot hair tools can soar above 400 °F. And whether you straighten or curl, high heat can cause major damage, zapping moisture and causing breakage.


DO: Practice fire safety


When you do heat-style your hair, style smarter, not hotter. Nunzio Saviano, owner of an eponymous salon in New York City, recommends purchasing a straightener or curling iron with adjustable settings. If you've got fine or color-treated hair, aim to style at 300°F–325°F. Coarse- or thick-hair types can go up to 350°F–375 °F. Saviano's top pick? The Coolway iron ($130;, which calculates the moisture level of your hair and sets the appropriate temperature for straight, smooth hair without damage. 



DON'T: Clump your lashes

The density of our lashes decreases with age, says celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno. And piling on volumizing mascara in the hope of rebuilding what’s been lost can actually accentuate the problem by causing unsightly clumps and scraggly hairs that look more Tammy Faye Bakker than Bambi. “Heavily coated lashes are also more likely to flake, and those flakes will land right in eye wrinkles, drawing all the wrong kinds of attention,” says Denno.


DO: Fan out

Watch any makeup artist, and you’ll see that she begins mascara application by wiggling the wand right at the base of the lash line to deposit color there and create an instant illusion of thickness (it’s the gaps between lashes that really highlight sparseness). Using a lash comb after applying mascara will also help. “A lash comb is the one thing every woman needs,” says Sonia Kashuk, who designed her eponymous brand’s Lashify mascara ($7; with a metal comb on one end specifically to tackle this issue.

DON'T: Overdo dry shampoo


Dry shampoo is a godsend for those who like to get sweaty, skip a wash, or add extra oomph to their 'do. But according to Saviano, spraying the oil-absorber too closely into your hair can also cause it to look dull, powdery, and cakey. And not just in the short term: Allowing dry shampoo to accumulate on your scalp harms new growth. "In order for the scalp to be healthy," explains Saviano, "it needs to breathe." Aim to shampoo the day after spritzing on dry shampoo.  


DO: Follow the rules


If you use dry shampoo correctly, you can minimize damage and shampoo less often. First, apply in the morning and follow with a blow-dryer to absorb excess powder. "A little goes a long way, so apply only in the spots that are oily," says Saviano. "Don't use it all over your head." Second, spray aerosol formulas at least six inches from your scalp. Powder varieties go right into the underside of the roots, not directly on top. And finally, remember to actually suds up with shampoo next day. "An unhealthy scalp will lead to hair loss down the road," Saviano warns. 


DON'T: Remain neutral

One hard truth about aging is that our skin’s natural radiance diminishes. Makeup can help but not if it’s a neutral color, such as brown or taupe, which may magnify the dullness. “Although neutral shades are the equivalent of the little black dress in the makeup world, as we age, our faces should never be all the same tone,” Tucker says. “You need at least one pop of vivid color to break up a monochromatic palette, or you’ll look washed out and tired.”


DO: Brighten up

Think of it as accessorizing an LBD: Adding a touch of punchy color to neutral makeup gives you a look that’s more interesting. “Women who never wear blush or who say ‘I’d never wear pink’ just haven’t found the right shade,” says Tucker. “Many times I have applied a rosy blush to a color-averse woman, then asked her to look in the mirror. She may not realize what I did, but she always loves it.” Try Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Colour in Rosebud ($24; or Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Candy Coral ($8; 

Laura Mercier

DON'T: Fly on autopilot

As we age, our hair changes. The style, products and even the blow-dryer that got you through your twenties may no longer be the right fit. Saviano suggests paying attention to the texture and condition (oily or dry) of your hair: "It's important to be in tune with your hair. Changes will be gradual, but they'll happen." 






DO: Experiment

The thirties and beyond bring opportunities to update your look and add sophistication. "Don't just let your hair air-dry," says Saviano. Also, "no tight ponytails—they pull out strands." What does work? Styles with movement, a few subtle layers (too many can make hair look thin), and don't forget instant Botox: bangs. Fringe disguises forehead creases and creates a flattering frame for your face (à la Heidi Klum).

Next: 11 Beauty Products You Need Now


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First Published Fri, 2014-02-21 16:27

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