“And Here’s To You, Mrs. Robinson”

Insider blows the whistle on youth-obsessed industry

If you’re at least 50 years old and own any how-to beauty books, throw them out immediately, all of them, and we mean immediately. While you’re at the trash can, toss in every single powder blush on your vanity. And, next time you’re tempted to follow the advice of any magazine or website beauty editor, don’t! That includes the big-name magazines, including Allure, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar.

These tips may sound extreme, but considering their source, we’d be wise to follow them. They come from honest-to-goodness beauty expert, FOF Andrea Q. Robinson, whose decades of high-level experience in the industry give her the authority to dispense sound advice.

Read this and enter to win a copy of the only beauty book you’ll ever need!

You might think of Andrea as a whistle-blower. After years at companies such as Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Estee Lauder, Tom Ford Beauty and L’Oreal, as well as stints as beauty editor of Vogue, Seventeen and Made- moiselle, she’s telling all in a marvelous new book called Toss the Gloss, Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+. And there is a lot to tell. As Andrea says in the introduction:

“I’ve tried it all. I’ve seen it all. I know too much.”

Consider these juicy tidbits:

  • “You can’t rely on women’s magazines for unbiased advice. Beauty advertising basically supports the magazine business, which is why you’ll see countless editorial mentions of a large beauty company’s products and very few mentioning the small, independent brands; those niche brands don’t advertise—they can’t afford to—and therefore aren’t helping to fund the magazine’s bottom line.”

  • “…when it comes to ‘must-have’ beauty products, the favorites are often written by editors with fingers crossed behind their backs.

    L’Oreal Paris (sold in drugstores) and Lancome (owned by L’Oreal and sold in department stores) will introduce skincare products with exactly the same hot new ingredient, but with different product names and packaging. That way, Lancome can charge steeper prices, even though its product is virtually the same as the one from L’Oreal sold in the drugstores.

  • Want to look really old? Use powder blush. Your skin is likely not as smooth as it once was, and perhaps has a few lines and rough patches as well. Powder blush will sit in those lines, and your cheeks will end up looking splotchy and uneven. Never use powder blush again. Go into your makeup closet right this minute and toss that powder blush. Replace it with creams, sticks, and tints—that’s all you need. They are mistake-proof, and starting with a little controllable dab, you can easily build to a visible natural color.”

Besides giving us a no-holds-barred, behind-the-scenes look at the industry, Andrea’s book offers pages of invaluable advice and tips on how to choose and apply everything from eye shadow, liner and mascara to blush, bronzer lipstick and concealer.

“The surprisingly simple truth I want to share with you is this: The right makeup, used the right way, is the most powerful weapon in your beauty arsenal,” Andrea says in her book.

“Women over 50 don’t want to experiment like we did in our youth, and we’d happily try purple eyeshadow and green mascara,” Andrea believes. We’re confused by the overwhelming amount of products on the market and don’t know which makeup and treatments will help us “restore that lost youthfulness.” Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of product that meets Andrea’s strict criteria for cosmetics that flatter the color and texture of our “menopausal skin,” she says.

The answer why is simple: Most men running the major beauty corporations where we’ve spent a great deal of money over the years think we’ve “lost it at fifty and aged out of their makeup market,” Andrea asserts. “The only products they’re spending big bucks to market are wrinkle creams. Even if there’s money to be made, the people running these corporations are afraid to address our specific needs with anything other than anti-aging creams because they are worried that they will alienate their younger consumer base, even though we—the 50+ ‘real women’—are the largest demographic, with more money to spend. They need to wake up and realize that we’re worth their investment.”

Andrea isn’t waiting for brands like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder to come through, however, and is working on her own cosmetics line specifically targeted for women 50+, which she expects to introduce some time next year. “It will be for women who aren’t ‘beauty addicts’ but want products that will meet their changing beauty needs and still make their faces look glamorous.

“Forget about makeup reclaiming youth.
Good makeup reclaims you.”

“It’s the Chanel in your sample sale, the Splenda in your latte, the fully charged battery in your iPad. It’s the sizzle that leads to feeling good and confident; it’s instant gratification and major fun, and I’m going to help you get it,” Andrea says.

She’s calling her line “Mrs. Robinson.” A natural.

Tell us what you think about powder blush

in the comments below and be entered to win

a copy of Toss The Gloss

  • CME

    I have a question. Can a 50+ woman wear NARS blush in the color orgasm? This blush has been written up as being the best on the market. Also, are Lancome’s Blush subtle in the compact considered powder or not? Thanks for the help!

  • Brendapatnode

    I dont have a clue about makeup,

  • Kim S

    It makes sense and advice I will take! Thanks!

  • Rebecca Ingle

    I believe in trying some new things, so I’ll try the cream blush. I do enjoy my shades of powder blush, and they look nice. My concern is that the cream blush will be concentrated in the pores.

  • Tracy A Greenlee

    Will be 52 (whaat??!?!)next month and still use powder blush. Will consider the creme blush when my oily skin turns drier. Hubster & I are moving to Hawaii so the humidity might wreck havoc with that thought! I am dreading replacing frosts with matte for my eye shadows! I very much look forward to the book!

  • patricia regul

    I also do not like powder blush. I think it is comparable to having a flashing neon arrow screaming look at the pretty crevasses on my face. I think this sums up my opinion of powder blush. Thank you

  • Beverly Suess

    I switched to cream blush and eye shadows in the last year and cannot believe how much better they look on my skin and how much longer they last on my skin.

  • Ronda Pfeif

    I’m still looking for the perfect blush.

  • Angela

    Wish I could wear it; I can’t find one that looks good on my. If it is done correctly, I love it but not on me!

  • Ellen Rozsa

    My ex-husband worked for one of the largest multi-national cosmetic companies for nearly 15 years, and as a finance executive he used to shake his head in wonderment at the high prices women are willing to pay for high-end makeup. He said that sometime the packaging alone for department store cosmetics is 10 to 15 times the cost of the ingredients. He echoed the point the Andrea makes about the same ingredients being used in the drugstore version of the same cosmetic company’s department store brand.

  • I always use powder blush and I am 57 yrs old. I guess I never thought to use the sticks or gels before. I would like to know the difference it makes, and would love to read your book. I hope I win a copy!!

  • MoMo

    Gosh think I may try a crème blush… does make sense.

  • Candace

    The consumer deception never ceases to amaze me.

  • I use lipstick on my lips and cheeks that way they coordinate. This seems to help when changing looks and making sure your blush compliments your lipstick.

  • Rhonda Honeycutt Johnson

    I can’t find a powder blush that suits my skin tone. Lancome had one years ago, but it’s been discontinued and I haven’t found a good substitute. Maybe it is time to switch!

  • teresa koedyker

    I like some and hate some!

  • Shelly

    I used to use powder blush but now I used a cream stick blush and just love it! It stays on me much longer than the powder blushes ever did.

  • Yvonne

    I have combination skin and fortunately do not have a lot of wrinkles. I still use powder blush mostly, especially during the week. On the weekends I have a more natural look and use cream blush.

  • Lori Chadwick

    A few years ago I noticed powdered blush was looking chalky on my face and switched to cream blush . . . much more natural looking.

  • Vera Brasher

    I also disagree with the blanket statement that we need to trash our powder blushes. I’m 64 and don’t have a lot of wrinkles on my face. I’ve saved those for my thighs. The creams tend to gather in the pores after a few hours but I don’t seem to have that problem with a soft dusting of blush. As with other facial color products, a little goes a long way.

  • Rekha Nigam

    At 54 and with dry skin, I couldn’t agree with Andrea more. I prefer to use a stain as it gives a natural flush to the skin.I am so looking forward to this book as I have always suspected the ‘paid recommendations’ in women’s magazines. I am craving for some real advice on the various issues that aging is throwing my way. I would just love getting this book!

  • Linda Schmidt

    I use cream and powder blush. Depends on how my skin is reacting for the day. Sometimes creams just don’t go on correctly and seem greasy.

  • marsha crain

    I completely agree with not using powder blush. I have not used it for years –I am 63. I found a cream blush works great- just have to be careful in how much you use.

  • Powder blush vs cream blush, they each have pros & cons. We can’t turn back the clock and it’s never too late to begin a good skin regimen. Moisturize your skin AM & PM, for a more glowing & youthful appearance & use makeup SPARINGLY. The older you get, softer colors look better & will enhance your best feature’s. You’re not still wearing a tye dye shirt & bell bottom pants are you? So why not update your makeup too?

  • Jan

    WOW! Surely we all know what a scam the beauty industry has been over the years. Kind of sad that some of your great posts get soo little discussion but whether or not to use powder blush gets all this?
    That said. The rule is there are no rules. Not in makeup. Everyone is different in the look they are trying to achieve and in their skin type. Cream products highlight pores even with primer. At least on me. The application process also seems to stir up the rosacea I would have just tried to cover with foundation. I am 63, I use powder blush. Hoping no one calls the makeup police 😉

    • Hi Jan,

      Your comment interested me very much because I often wonder the same thing about what makes women comment on this site and others. It delighted me to read that you think we write some great posts, but I agree many of them don’t ignite the conversation you’d think they would. It doesn’t stop me, however, from writing about more intense subjects that are often on my mind and that I want to share with other women.

      If you have more thoughts about this, email at geri@faboverfifty.com.

      My very best,
      Geri

  • Mamavaleeta03

    Honestly, I haven’t used powder blush in several years. I have quite prominent cheekbones, and when I switched to cream blush as my skin became drier with age, I noticed that I received more compliments. That’ll do it!

  • Becky

    Everything Andrea’s written in this article makes sense. I think the book would be very interesting as it specifically address skin 50 and over. I’m not asking for the fountain of youth here. Just something that makes me look the best I can.

  • Vic holtzman

    Finally some help!!

  • Nancy

    thanks so for this information about dry powder blushes. I have been questioning this look on me for the past few years. I found that I had to use a makeup pad to remove and “tone down” some of the color that I had just applied…before I went out the door! I will surely look for the creme blush that I used to use before I went to the powder make-up and powder blush!

  • Dona Stewart

    After using a powder blush, blending with a dry makeup sponge and checking twice in a magnifying mirror, I can accept the results. If after reading “Toss the gloss” and finding a better alternative I’d be onboard for a change.

  • I don’t use any blush due to rosacea problems but can’t wait to read this book – sounds perfect for me.

  • Sidney

    I ditched powder of any sort years ago for the reason Ms Robinson says. So I expect the rest of her advice is spot on and I am interested in the Mrs. Robinson line of cosmetics when it comes out. Meanwhile, I would so love to receive a copy of Andrea Robinson’s book. I would definitely be paying attention to a woman who isn’t afraid to speak the truth.

  • pattib

    Guess I am just lucky with my skin. I have never used foundation, powder, powder blush etc. I wash my face gently and add a light coating of Bio Oil which I have used for years. Once I found it I have used nothing else. I use a dab of under eye cream for darkish skin. I wear my usual eye make up. Liner, mascara and occasionally a dab of shadow. All my life I have used my lipstick as my blush and it always matches. My skin is good and I truly believe its because I haven’t junked it up with pore clogging products. The picture of me that comes up was made last summer shortly after my 69th birthday and no touch up.

  • Bettie

    I use a mineral makeup powder blush and I see no problems with it at all. I’m in my mid-sixties so it must be pretty good. Like other in this list, I have very pale, cool-undertone skin and cream blush looks bit clownish for my taste. I also use a bit of faux tan powder under my cheek bones to make them look at bit better. Do you recommend cream or liquid for this as well?

  • Dawn

    I am 54 and still use powdered blush. I can’t seem to put cream or stick blush on properly.

  • I have heard this before and I do believe it’s true. I have recently changed back to liquid foundation & concealer because of this.
    The only issue that has held me back from using cream blushes is control. The powders are so much easier to apply with a brush. I need to learn good technique for cream blush application.

  • Michelle Yard

    I vary between powder blush and no blush. All blush just makes me feel awkward and made up. No idea why. I do think an honest, no-hidden-agenda book about beauty over 50 would be awesome. In fact, it irritates the snickers out of me that we’re the largest single demographic in this country with the largest spending power, and marketers (of which I am one) discount us. For Pete’s sake, we’re going to be spending like crazy for 20+ years to come (or far more). *Stepping off her soap box now*

  • Laura

    Every face has its own unique pros and cons so what to accent and what to downplay varies.

  • Ruthi

    It’s true. A non-powder, sheer blush looks best ( I like Cindy’s Boomsticks) – but also found the ONLY powder blush that I like is the pricey Tom Ford one…

  • Linda White

    Wear what works for you! I’m 54 and still wear powder blush. I dont have dry patches of skin on my cheeks or lines there for it to catch in.Ive never tried creambut used to use the Bonne Bell gel blush in my 20’s because my skin was so oily that powder would melt away and had to be applied often. Im still oily but it has decreased some where powder works now. I would try cream if I knew it wouldnt break me out and would last.

  • PAT HAYDEN

    I HAVE NOTICED THAT AT NIGHT BLUSH ISNT SO BAD, BUT DURING THE SUN LIGHT HOURS IT MAKES YOU LOOK 5 TO 10 YEAR OLDER
    AND AGES YOU AS THE DAY GOES ON.
    IT’S ALMOST LIKE YOUR FACE CANT BREATH
    GLAD TO KNOW IT’S NOT ONLY JUST ME.

  • TerryH

    Thank you for the insight. It seems that as I age it has become more difficult to get a smooth, natural and becoming look to my skin. I’ve almost stopped using makeup because it never looks right. I will definitely stop using powder blush now.

    • Hi Terry H,

      I wear less makeup than I used to, although I prefer a bit of makeup rather than none because I think it makes me look “prettier.” If you can, buy Andrea’s book. It truly gives us straight-forward advice on mascaras, blushes, shadows, foundations, concealers. The plethora of products on the market is downright confusing and the majority of salespeople and makeup artists at the counters just want to SELL PRODUCT AND LOTS OF IT. Sure, there are many talented, honest salespeople and makeup artists, too, but if they don’t sell you a tons of stuff, they don’t keep their jobs. Often, salespeople have told me I look great in every shade of lipstick I try on. If I don’t like the red, they shove a orange in my hand. If I don’t like the orange, it’s on to brown. Toss the Gloss gives clear instructions on how to choose the best lip color for your features.

  • Nell

    I’d love to try your new line ! I have powder blush I mix with a bit of BB cream ( sunscreen protection), because the cream blushes all look like clown cheeks on pale skin. I hope you will have shades to complement the very pale among us.

  • CMason

    I currently use powder, but after reading the article I think I will give the cream blush a try. See if it looks/works better.

  • Diane Hinkle

    Powder blush would never stay on me. It seems to be there……..and then…….gone with the wind. I need something that stays on and I am not above using a bit of my lipstick on my finger to get the color I want.

  • Francine ONeill

    It’s nice to know someone is watching out for us

  • VIctoria

    I have been using bronzing powder in lieu of blush, but I am certainly willing to reconsider it. I’ve never noticed a problem.

  • I’m always open to new ideas. If a cream blush doesn’t make my skin look like I’m over heated in the summer, I’ll try it and keep using it. It’s not good to get stuck in your youth. What works when we’re young, might not be your best look when you reach that “certain” age.

  • Zenaida

    I am in my fifties and I use powder blush. I have not had any problems, yet.

  • Ginger

    I’ve used both cream and powder blush. I like the cream blush the best.

  • Kim V.

    I use cream in the winter and powder during the summer, that may change but cream just melts off during the warmer months.

    • Francesca

      Me too – when it’s humid in summer pwder just grabs too much.
      i still use both powder and blush at 52 but am not yet post menopausal so we’ll see. Love Stila’s convertible colour which comes in subtle colours and blends in easily, isn’t greasy and lasts. I tried a couple of the colours as lip cremes and never bothered again – too dry and matte. But my best cream blush! I recommend. (qualifications – none except being a buyer of anything newish just to try it out ever since i was 18-ish.)

  • Lorraine

    Rouge! I haven’t heard that used in a long time… but she’s right, born in 1960 I dreamily watched my grandmother apply rouge and she looked so pretty and happy while my mom and aunts were starting to use powder and “cake” makeup, which needed wetting and more time and well, my grandmother had one simple moist glowing blush in that rouge, now called cream, tint, or stain. I only use these moist ones as powder does look dry and after 50 I don’t want that.

  • AJB

    Guess I need to find a good cream blush or tint!

  • Marygrace

    And Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson….Great make up tips and advice for us young boomers is a wonderful idea! Please send my copy ASAP.

  • Deborah Efron

    Not convinced a blanket statement re all powder blushes would be applicable for
    all senior skin types. At 70 I still lack many wrinkles and so far cream and solid
    blushes work equally well. (cream blushes tend to ‘disappear’ over a few hours…)

  • Kathy Davis

    Don’t use powder

  • It makes perfect sense. I have noticed that my powder blush does not look the same on me anymore. And it is about time that cosmetic companies cater to older women. I am interested in makeup, not just anti-aging creams!!

  • Ruth

    I would throw out not only powdered blush but any powder. I tend to have oily to normal skin and any type of powder makes me look really old and wrinkled as it settles into every line.

  • SuzyM

    Powder blush just sits on top of my skin like dust. I’d love to find a great cream blush, but too many of them go right into my pores and don’t spread well. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of cream blushes available to us. Another problem is that I don’t blush orange or pale mauve. It seems like there are too many unnatural shades of blush out there, whether it’s powder or cream. I blush a healthy berry tone. Does anyone have any suggestions? I used to love a cream stick blush by Smashbox that was called, Ultraviolet. It was perfect. It was sheer yet let my skin show through. It also wore well. It’s been discontinued. I have also used a Mac lipstick called Sophisto as a blush. Where have all the Berries gone? : ( I’m getting ready to invest in a cream blush by La Prairie, and the color is actually Berry!

    • Hi Suzy,

      I just looked in Andrea’s book and she likes the following creme blushes for FOF women:
      Laurier Mercier Creme Cheek Colour (her favorite shade is Praline)
      MAC Blushcreme (her favorite shade is Lilicent)
      Maybellline Dream Mousse Blush
      Nars Creme Blush
      Revlon Creme Blush

      I don’t know if these five blushes come in the color you prefer, but it’s worth looking to see.

      • SuzyM

        Thank you very much Geri – I appreciate the list! I’ll have it with me when I head to the Mall this weekend! With all those options, I’m hoping that one will work for me.

        • Hi again Suzy,

          You’re welcome. Let me know if you find something.

      • Susan

        Thanks for the product recommendations. I have a stronger, oilier skin in the summer and live in one of the most humid places in the US. The mere thought of putting anything heavy, sticky, oily on my skin is icky. Believe me, it’s icky enough already, lol. One can barely wear any makeup here in the summer because of the highest humidity “melt-factor”. I’m intrigued with the idea of a tint, though. I wear minimal makeup all-year round because of the factors sited both in the article and by commenters. Also, I am olive-toned, which means that most colors made for pale/light skin tend to be too light/pasty for me (olive-skin/brown eyes/brunette). So keep those ideas and suggestions coming. Also, a good mascara recommendation would be a tremendous help…need a good one that won’t give me raccoon eyes when it’s in the 90s and 85% humidity for weeks on end.

  • Carolyn Wade

    I’d love to find blush that looks natural!

  • jo

    Why would any woman over 50 wear makeup? A beautiful complexion comes from self acceptance, a jog, a swim. The natural beauty of an older woman is priceless.

    • Loretta

      I find that I wear more make-up now than I ever have…
      The colors have softened, greatly, and moved from cool to warm tones. Alas, no more fabulous Joan Jett eyeliner! But I feel like a ghost if I don’t powder in my eyebrows and put on a lipstick.

  • Tammy

    I have always used powder blush. My skin is on the oily side. I am willing to try a creme or tint though.

  • Nancy (Bunnie)

    I’m going to do everyone a favor here and leak my long time secret makeup brand made for us…it’s Lauren Hutton’s “Good Stuff”. You can thank me later.

  • Katie

    I use powder but am willing to try liquid

    • Hi Katie,

      Andrea recommends creme or gel. Don’t know about liquid.

      Best,
      Geri

  • Melissa Alvarado

    I’ve just started to use cream blush on the apples of my cheeks, I’m not sure what I think about it yet. I still use a bronze powder blush to try to shade my ever getting heavier cheeks, to make it look like I still have cheek bones. So I guess I use both. I’m always afraid the cream blush on the apples of my cheeks just makes me look as if I have rosacea…..but I’m always open to suggestions and a new way of doing things.

  • Gail

    I like powder blush. The creams are usually too vivid and/or orange for my pale skin. I also hate getting the cream blush under my fingernails. Powder blush, applied with a big brush, is more subtle and hygienic – and the color lasts longer. Find me a subtle cream blush that doesn’t immediately disappear into my skin and I’ll be happy to try it.

  • Mary

    Throwing away powder blush seems reasonable. I always liked the Bonnie Bell gel blush and I just got back from an appointment with my Derm. where she advised me on the “barnacles” LOL. So yes, I will have no problem throwing away the powder blush and the foundation that never looks good anyway.
    It would be nice to have a make-up line for the over-the-hill crowd. I just hope it is affordable.

    • Hi Mary,

      Andrea told me her line will be affordable.

  • Mick

    Powder or creme – depends on your skin. And the climate. Try both and while you are at it: try some purple eye shadow/liner. It does a fabulous ‘smokey eye” look.

  • Sher

    This makes perfect sense and yet I never really thought about it. We lose our youthful glow as we age and yet we use powders that dull our complexion
    For the first time since puberty, we can use powders that no longer fade on our complexion because we are minus the oils that seem to fade the powder and yet we then miss the dewy glow of our skin by using a powder.
    Thanks for brining this to our attention.

  • laurie weil

    I started using a cream blush several years ago. It looks on me.

  • Donna Hart

    I own powder blush, liquid tint and cream stick blush. I use them all occasionally, but prefer the tint. I like the powder blush during hot weather, when my skin turns much oilier than normal, and the cream doesn’t stay put. Please, Ms. Robinson, design a cream blush that will withstand the heat of summer. I’m extremely interested in your new line!

  • Lily B

    Too bad magazine editors are more interested in the advertising bucks than anything else. I haven’t paid attention to them in years, after I saw a product that was absolute garbage listed as one of their top picks.

    • Hi Lily,

      It’s not that magazine editors are more interested in advertising dollars; the fact is, they know they won’t have jobs if they don’t write about the magazine’s major advertisers. Without beauty advertisers like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Clinique, etc. the magazines would probably have to go out of business. The same is true in the fashion business.

  • Marie

    Love Bobbi brown cream blush. Still have some powder, but don’t like it as much.

  • I had been using a powder blush and never loved it. When I read Andrea’s book, I threw it out and bought a cream blush. It’s moist, not oily; it glides on the cheek and blends beautifully, and the color is far richer than the powder.

  • Cindy Winters

    I have never been able to find a cream blush that wasn’t streaky or lacking i. The perfect color.

  • Sharon Siqueiros

    I myself realized over the past few years that powder blush just wasn’t right anymore….Most especially since so many have waaaay too much sparkle

  • I have never believed the hype of beauty products, especially not the claims about “anti-aging” skincare. It’s amazing that an industry is allowed so much consumer deception.

    Now to the Lanvin fragrance example, another deception… I have a blog. As blogger, according to FTC guidelines, I have to disclose every red cent payment and minuscule sample I receive. Large publications, who receive sums with lots of zeros and commas from advertisers don’t need to disclose a thing, yet we should all believe that the editorial section is… editorial? I’m thinking that this is why independent bloggers are carrying more weight these days. Paid or not, their readers know and trust them.

    • Great points, Anne-Marie. The big beauty companies “own” the magazines. If L’Oreal brands pulled their ads out of Allure, for example, the magazine would probably have to fold.

  • Janet Kaye

    Love my cream blush for years.

  • Nancy

    Never thought about it this way but I am on board!!!!

  • Linda

    Didn’t realize that powder blush did that,but I have been transitioning over to stick and cream blushes. Thanks for the info, I won’t use the powder ANYMORE!

  • Susan Brozinsky

    A cream blush works much better

  • Absolutely! Powder blush is not a good over-fifty product! Dab a bit of the lipstick you are wearing and blend.. Don’t go clown though!!

  • penny boyer

    I currently use powder blush. But have considered changing to a cream. But I have used the same stuff so long, change is hard. But want to look better.

  • Barb

    It seems that just recently I’ve come across several articles about this, women over a certain shouldn’t use powder blush. I use powder, stick or cream, usually not at the same time. I’ll have to look more closely to see if the powder is getting blotchy, etc. I like using the different kinds depending on the day, mood, whatever.