Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Single Thing that Ages You

So people ask me a lot, when I'm doing headshots or image-consulting, what is the thing that ages a person the most?  And the answer might surprise you....

It's hair!  Seriously.  Yes, dear readers, those innocent little follicles of protein can turn into fatal follies.  Often the culprit is hair that has not changed style as times have changed.  Every woman in her 70's wears her hair in the rinsed, blue-tinged, short-cropped curls of the 50's, and baby boomers like to wear their hair 70's-style center-parted with bangs.  There are women stuck in the 80s and 90s, and men stuck with 'stashes and mullets and dingy beards.  Hair that is excessively styled and stiff, First Lady / newscaster style is very aging, but so are blunt, short cuts and bobs.   

OLD: Fashion model Agyness Deyn is only 29, but looks positively matronly in stiff blueish-blonde waves.  Is it a deliberate dip into middle-age by this frocliksome young thing, famous for her Armani campaign?

YOUNG: And back to her 20s in a slightly warmer blonde and a fierce punk cut!
OLD: The shades of blonde are a little off for her skin; the conversative, heavily styled bob gives her a middle-aged vibe

YOUNG: Radiant in soft, tousled, carefree curls and a warm, buttery gold that makes her skin creamy

Both men and women, as they age, should usually avoid harsh, cool tones of white-blond and blue-black, and instead should seek out hair colors that have a lot of warmth and subtle variation, tones of buttery gold in the lighter shades and warm eggplant and chocolate in the darker shades.  I recommend consulting with an excellent hair colorist and a good image-consultant or stylist (such as moi, I will add immodestly!).

OLD:  Christina is very cute in all her looks, and part of me really likes this, but blue-black bobs with choppy bangs can be a little aging and are generally best avoided if you're not Edith Head

YOUNG: Tones of cinammon and honey flatter her skin; bouncy waves take the years off and bring back her sex appeal

OLD: I dare you to find a picture of the lovely Jennifer where she actually looks bad, but the cool, dull brunette is a little harsh, and the stiff curls look conservative and maybe a little too grown-up for her

YOUNG: Back to caliente and young in warm, shiny caramel and a light cut with lots of movement
Dull, flat or frizzy hair ages; males and females can take 10 years off with a superior hair masque or leave-in conditioner that leaves hair full and shiny.  After samping more conditioners than Madonna has sampled back-up dancers, I most highly recommend this good stuff: 
Neuma is my favorite line of ultra-moisturizing, pampering hair goodness, with no animal testing/products or scary stuff, committed to sustainility and smelling great!  Leave in the moisturizing conditioner; it will tame your frizz and give you silky, shiny, bouncy hair.  Just watch out for the envy!  I buy it from Shades salon on Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills.  You can read about this great brand at: 

Also be sure you are getting enough oils in your diet; nuts, avocadoes, seeds, flaxseed, and olive oil.  I particularly recommend this olive oil, it reminds me of the peppery, divine oil I had at a villa in the countryside of Tuscany, and it will be the best medicine you have ever tasted!  Italians like to take a tablespoon or two in the morning as preventive care.  Good olive oil should be cloudy, a rich, viscuous green, and have lots of pepper, spice, and mineral in the taste.  It should have a real kick, like whisky, and burn your throat a little.  Be sure to store it in a dark cupboard so it doesn't oxidize.

Paesano Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Unfiltered, Hand-Picked, Estate Grown in Siciliy

Monday, June 4, 2012

At First Blush

Personally, I consider blush/bronzer to be a secret weapon.  I was reading an interview with Angelina Jolie's makeup artist, and he claimed that if he were to pick just one cosmetic, it would be bronzer or blush, which highlight and contour the face and give it a sensual, feminine, I-just-ate-chocolate (or Brad Pitt for breakfast!) glow.

That being said, there are lots of atrocious contour powerders and creams out there.  I don't like anything with chunky sparkles or extreme shades that make you resemble a ripe, slap-happy tangerine ready for its bottle-tan red carpet moment! 

The only-if-you-are-a-pornstar bronzer and bottle-tan look.  Christina honey, you're prettier than this!
Personally, as a pale person veering dangerously close to albino territory, I have to be very careful with blush and bronzer if I don't want to look like a psychotic doll.  I find that layering works best: I usually wear no fewer than 3 different products, worn over each other to give a soft, lit-from-within glow.  I like to combine bronzer and blush because they balance each other, giving you a sensuous rosiness without looking either too orange or too pink.  As if you were painting, it's better to apply more wispy-thin layers than one gloppy layer. 

Perfectly executed, sexy/wholesome rosy cheeks on the catwalk at Michael Kors, Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week.  I also want this nummy sweater so I have a reason to travel to Europe this autumn (to wear the sweater, obviously!).
And now, drumdroll, my own personal way to gain perfect, Gainsborough-worthy, sexy-rosy cheeks:

Thomas Gainsborough's 18th century portrait of his beautiful nephew, Gainsborough Dupont.  Put this guy on the CW!
After I've applied a light coat of moisturizer and foundation, I always start with this cheek stain, rubbing in wide circles with my fingers and using only a small amount.   If you have a round face, you will want to create more angularity with your cheekbones by using your contour in a triangle-shape.  If you have a long face or a thin face, you want to give more roundness to your cheeks by using a wide circular motion over your whole cheeks.  :

Tarte Cheek Stain in Flush, $30.00,
I let the cheek stain settle in for a minute or two.  Next I use this blush, lightly, over my whole cheeks and a little below, making round, circular sweeping motions.  I use a mid-sized, big fluffy brush blush, Chanel brush #7:
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends, PURE, $11.49.

I conclude with a melon-y, warm coral.  I use this as my bronzer, applying it with my fluffy blush-brush, going over the top of my cheeks, my forehead, my jawline, and my clavicles, the places where I would get sun if I were not a vampire.  To open up my eyes, I also sweep it just along my eyebrows to the sides of my temples:

Benefit Georgia, unfortunately discontinued!  Horde your stash or steal one from your friends!  Of the other Benefit shades I recommend Hoola, which is a little more toasty brown, and CORALista, which is a little pinker.  $28, or that sweet little Benefit Store on 3rd Street that always looks empty and is right near a cupcake place.  Num.  

And now, your cheeks look cute as a chipmunk!