New Faces – The perfect post hysterectomy make-up session

Well here you are operation over like me, and hopefully free from all the problems that made it necessary. So what next? Well as an enforced lady of leisure how about trawling though your make-up and having a throw out? I would take a bet from many years of advising women about their make-up that there are plenty of things to chuck! How about that impulse buy when you were delayed at Gatwick the other year or the lipstick that looked just great on your best girl friend but somehow doesn’t do anything for you. Then there is the eyeshadow palette you got for Christmas one time – you know the one with twelve bright shimmery colours but only one that really looks any good? Enough, out with them!

That great make-up man Douglas Young of Max Factor who trained me at their famous Bond Street Salon said something very wise. He said –   ‘Make-up is like your stomach, if it is working well you shouldn’t notice it‘. I know from long experience that most women just want to look great BUT natural which is of course what he was talking about. So here are some ideas on achieving a better make-up.


In my experience most women are quite good at choosing the right colour but sometimes the type of foundation they choose is either too heavy or too light. Heavy is ageing but you need a naturally even skin tone to get away with most tinted moisturisers.

If in doubt colour wise why not try one of the foundations that magically match in with your skin tone. They come in varying degrees of cover so try on your hand in the store first and see how they look. Lots of modern foundations are described as light reflecting, this means that they have tiny bits of shimmer in them which makes them unflattering for older skins. I would also be wary of mineral make-up if you are no longer twenty one, a matte powdered face can also be very ageing. I often just use a good concealer [ Benefits Boi-ing in Medium works for me ]  around my eyes, down my nose and to cover a bit of rosacea on my cheeks.


Translucent ! Translucent ! Translucent, nothing else is as fine and you can use it on all skin tones. Just use it down the centre of your face and around your eyes. I know powder brushes are big sellers but a velour powder puff is better. Bronzer is only flattering for those of us lucky enough to have smooth skin and no wrinkles or puffy areas.


This is where I think that most mistakes are made. I wonder why pale skinned women are so attracted to golds and lilacs, these colours are at their best on skin tones from olive to black. Brown has ruled the roost ever since the 80s as a ‘safe ‘ alternative but unless you have big eyelids it actually can make your eyes look smaller. if you must use it try a soft ‘latte’ shade. Also, I often see women with a pearly white shadow on the area under their brows. This idea has been championed by beauty editors for years and on young models can work but I wonder if you knew that when we want to age a young actress for a part that would be one of the first things that we would do.


Top eyelines are becoming fashionable again but I think a soft under line is one of the most important ways of making eyes look larger and always use one myself. Use a dark brown, or for deeper skins charcoal or black, eyeshadow or soft pencil. The trick is to take it along under the lower lashes but not go up to the corners of the eyes which would make narrow eyes smaller and round eyes rounder. Make-up articles often suggest only going half way along under your lashes but why would you only want to emphasise half your eye ?

I always advise trying this on your smaller eye [ yes we all have one ] then add some mascara and compare it’s size to the other eye.

The eye with the line will look as big or even bigger than the unmade -up one, then of course do the other one.  A black kohl line a’ la Catherine Zeta Jones inside your lower lashes will actually reduce the size of your eyes unless you are wearing a seriously big eye make-up.


Well this would be my Desert Island luxury. Did you know it was originally created for a French empress ? Black is fine for all but fair lashes. If you are following the latest trend and using falsies always mascara before applying them.


All I have to say about this is to use a colour that is neither too brown or too blue. Two positions work well. Number one – smile and take it over the apples of your cheeks as Marilyn Monroe did, this gives a fresh outdoor look or [  no 2 ] brush it softly along the cheekbones towards your ears making sure not to leave a little pale patch on the point of the bone which will make you look tired. Beware of magazine advice to add highlighter above blusher which will create a puffiness if you aren’t careful.


This is the other cosmetic where many women seem to have a problem, my clients often produce several dreary shades of brown. Oviously fashions change but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore warmer shades and indeed they are coming back. Kate Moss recently brought out some really zingy shades for Rimmel, I love colour no 20 which is a brilliant pink – it makes me happy just to wear it. If you are afraid of brighter shades try them as a tinted lipgloss first. Finally a warning about red lipstick – it has to go with a really smooth foundation and played down eyes to look great.

So there we are – some tips for the new looking you. Of course a great hair cut will make a big difference too, then the look will be complete. Enjoy the new you !


Rosemarie Swinfield is an internationally known top make –up designer, lecturer and author of three books on make-up and hair techniques which can be found in colleges worldwide. Her work covers many fields of expertise including make-up for film, photography, commercials, professional theatre and the training of several generations of young actors at Lamda and other leading British drama schools. She also advises clients in the public and corporate worlds on their make-up and hair.

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