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The Five Makeup Mistakes That Will Make You Look Older PLUS an exclusive video tutorial that shows you EXACTLY how to look younger from beauty expert HANNAH BETTS

If I could scrap every edict that tells women what they can and cannot do based on age and modesty, I would. If something makes you happy, knock yourself out.

However, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I encouraged you to engage in makeup methods that make you look worse, out of touch, or older than you actually are.

And using the products and techniques we valued in the 1970s, 1980s and even ’20s can make us look like extras in a historical drama rather than the switched-on, culturally relevant individuals we are.

Fashions change, technology advances, and faces evolve, which means that nifty little trick you perfected in 1994 now looks not only outdated, but like you’ve lost track of it.

Here are the things you should avoid.

Hannah Betts: Young women tell me all the time that they “love” my makeup and I take that as the biggest compliment.  This does not mean that I am “mutton disguised as a lamb” – banish that idea!

Hannah Betts: Young women tell me all the time that they “love” my makeup, and I take that as the biggest compliment. This does not mean that I am “mutton disguised as a lamb” – banish that idea!

The mask

The most obvious rendition of the mask was the flight attendant’s in-flight maquillage – an exaggerated face in which every feature was equally emphasized. Some women are now making a crude equivalent with cartoon outlines and blocky neutrals. Whether you’re 19 or 90, a mask makes you look years – maybe decades – older and strangely inhuman.

How to break the habit? Start by taking something away, at least for a while. Lock your eyeliner in a drawer and just opt ​​for mascara, or skip the mascara and work brown liner into the roots of your lashes. Swap lipstick for balm. Dilute your foundation with a moisturizer and skip the bronzer.

Invest in differentiated tools. The ELF Professional Set of 12 Makeup Brushes (£14.50, elfcosmetics.co.uk) is a good starting point for figuring out what you want to use and what you don’t. For smudging kohl, I’d add a Charlotte Tilbury Eyeliner Brush (£22, charlottetilbury.com); a Jones Road Blush Brush (£34, jonesroadbeauty.com) for blush; plus a double-ended Morphe M101 Lightform Foundation Brush (£16, boots.com). And work with subtlety, not the proverbial trowel.

Tired texture

We’re often advised to avoid shine as we age, but it’s a dull, over-matte look that can build up over the years; a touch of clarity that appears dewy, youthful.

Have a race!

Competition for Beauty Egg (£50 for subscribers; £60 for non-subscribers, lookfantastic.com) is fierce.

The contents are worth more than £206, including a Medik8 Retinal Ceramide Eye Cream and Philip Kingsley Elasti-Styler 5-in-1 Hair Treatment.

When you spend money on anything, make it your foundation. The best ones not only simulate a glowing complexion, they also provide skin care benefits. Names to try include Glossier, Shiseido, Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath.

Apply while your SPF still provides some lubrication, apply sparingly, and stop while skin still looks like skin. Add dimension with the highlighter of your choice. Then set with a tiny layer of the brightening Revolution Y2K Cherry Bake Loose Powder & Puff (£5.99, superdrug.com).

Horror brows

I know thin brows are back in style in high fashion circles—and I still say don’t do it. Regardless, eyebrows diminish with age, meaning we can look medievally bald by our late 30s.

Fill in the gaps with the glossy, hair-like Ilia In-full Micro Tip Brow Pencil (£24, iliabeauty.com), then fill in and out with Glossier Boy Brow (£20, glossier.com).

A real eye-catcher

It’s so easy to get our eyes wrong—fashionable shadows, too much mascara—that’s why I’m a huge fan of YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok phenomenon Erica Taylor. The New York-based makeup artist, who is in her late 40s, has become known for demonstrating old-fashioned aging techniques with new, brilliant techniques.

I especially commend her for demonstrating how a 1980s look heavy on black lines makes the entire face sag, while her 2024 “Sunrise” version just lifts it. I love her – that’s why I’m really happy that she made an exclusive video for the readers of my column!

Too confident a face

Erica and I also agree that Safe Face can be classic and boring – we should all experiment, modernize and bring joy.

Open your eyes – and your mind. Treat yourself to a Jones Road, Space NK and/or MAC makeover; Search Superdrug for ELF glitter; and beat Kiko for pigmentation rupture. Look at TikTok and imagine Gen Z brands and viral trends.

Young women tell me all the time that they “love” my makeup and I take that as the biggest compliment. That doesn’t mean I’m “mutton disguised as a lamb.” Banish this anachronistic idea once and for all. It means that I perceive them as alive. And that is, above all, the goal.

Desire for cosmetics

The dangers of the cost of living crisis are so great that every week I am amazed at how much prices have risen since I last wrote about a product.

Not so my trusty Philips epilator – Satinelle Essential BRE225 (£31.63, amazon.co.uk).

When I bought my latest model in 2017 it cost around £30, and it’s still around £30 – less than the cost of a single waxing session at my local salon for over seven years of hair removal.

It’s easy and painless (just shave beforehand, keep hair short, and pull skin taut), can be used anywhere (including my armpits and bikini line), while the regrowth is gentle and subtle. It must have saved me thousands of pounds over the years.

My icon of the week…

Penelope Cruz

The star celebrates her upcoming 50th birthday by wearing a PVC Mugler corset on the cover of Elle. She loves Lancôme Hydra Zen Anti-Stress Moisturizing Cream-Gel (£47), “perfect for when your skin needs extra moisture” and Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara (£29). She’s been wearing the Lancôme Trésor fragrance (from £67, lancome.co.uk) since she was a teenager.

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