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.
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.
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