I have been doing portrait photography for at least 30 years and in that time, the majority of my subjects have been women. In fact, I honed my portrait skills back in the day by photographing the before and after portraits of women at our guest events when I was a consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics. I learned early on how to pose and light a woman to enhance the beauty of her face and hide her flaws. And of course, there is the magic of Photoshop! Sadly though, the magic of Photoshop won’t work on us in our every day life, however, there are a few things we can do to help us downplay some of those pesky flaws in our faces, especially for the more mature woman.

Let me preface this by letting you know that I share this from experience as I celebrated my 66th birthday this year so every thing I am about to share with you is something that I have learned and experienced through out my adult life and I am by no means an expert in this field nor do I endorse any of the products or companies that I might mention.

First of all, like the title of this post states, lighten up ladies! Even though there might be some things that we absolutely hate about our face or body, we really do need to lighten up on ourselves because our family and friends love us for who we are no matter the flaws and they see us just as we are every day. My husband always tells me that he only sees the girl that he fell in love with when we were teenagers. Even though I don’t feel that way when I look in the mirror, that’s how he feels and that’s all that matters….well, to him any way! 🙂

Seriously ladies, we are own worst enemies when it comes to vanity. I know that when I see myself in a photograph that has not been photoshopped, the first thing I see are all of my flaws and I cringe to think that other people are going to see that photograph. I am not and never have been photogenic and many of my female clients express that same thing to me when they get ready for their portrait session. Fortunately, when they see their final images, a lot of that anxiety goes out the window.

So, what CAN we do to camouflage some of those pesky little flaws that only WE perceive to be so huge and ugly?

(1) First things first…it goes without saying that we should wash our face twice a day and as our skin matures, and it is even more important than ever to exfoliate as often as possible. We need to help remove the old skin cells so that we bring oxygen to the surface of the skin to stimulate circulation, creating a healthy, more radiant glow.

(2) Plump It Up! Besides drinking lot’s of water, you should moisturize your face, neck and dĂ©colletage at least twice a day. There are a plethora of great moisturizers out there that offer many anti-aging ingredients, including sunscreens, however, just make sure that you use a water based moisturizer that will help hydrate your skin and won’t clog your pores.

(3) Protect And Defend! Use sunscreen every day! Even if you are not going to be in the direct sun, you can still get the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays when you are out and about. Sun damage is accumulative and is the leading cause of pre-mature aging, as well as skin cancer. So you will want to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection.

(4) Primed And Ready! Before applying your foundation, start by using a primer. A primer made specifically for mature and aging skin can help smooth fine lines, wrinkles, and pores—which comes in handy when applying foundation that often tends to fall into creases.

(5) Foundation Fab or Fail! There are a couple of things that I want to say about foundation for mature skin. First, choose a foundation makeup that matches your skin tone. So often, I photograph women who’s face doesn’t blend with their neck and some who’s foundation is a bit orange or too pale, which I have to correct in photoshop. I would highly suggest either buying through a beauty consultant or a makeup counter where you can sample the foundation, and apply a streak of it downward from your lower jaw to your neck. The right shade should blend in to the skin tone of your neck. Secondly, be sure to select a foundation that is not heavy and stay away from the powdery type. The best foundation I have ever had was airbrushed! Talk about light weight and flawless!! But most of us don’t have the luxury of having our makeup airbrushed every day and even if you do purchase one of those airbrush kits, it is a learning curve and time consuming so be sure to use either a liquid or a light creamy foundation that adds a bit of moisture to the skin.

And “Lighten Up” when you are applying your foundation! For some reason, we tend to think that we need to massage it into our skin when in fact, it should just sit on the surface. The best advice that I ever got was to apply foundation with a brush! I start by applying foundation with my fingers in a dotted pattern on my forehead, cheeks and chin then I use the foundation brush to blend it out. I brush lightly on the areas where I have fine lines.

(6) “Lighten Up” with concealer! I find that the best time to use a concealer is on top of the foundation. Find a concealer that is two shades lighter than your skin tone or foundation shade. There are so many types of concealers to choose from so just be sure that it isn’t the type that settles into fine lines. I like to use the one from Dermablend because it provides full coverage while keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized. And because I have some dark spots on my face, I apply the concealer to those areas as well and lightly blend it in with the foundation brush.

And now about those lines. . . as you may know, those pesky little lines cast shadows on our face, which make them more apparent. Especially around the mouth where we tend to get those marionette lines. So after you have applied your foundation, I recommend applying your concealer lightly under the eyes, and on top of those lines, then blend them out with the foundation brush as it still has a small amount of foundation with which to blend it in.

(7) “Lighten Up” on the powder! Or don’t use any at all. If you do use a powder, apply it sparingly on the nose, chin and forehead but keep it way from those fine lines. And if you do use a powder, make sure that it gives you a dewey finish and not a dull matte one. You can also get away with a translucent powder. However, the very best thing to do is to set your makeup with a makeup setting spray. Just make sure you wait to use it after you have done your eyes and blush.

(8) Emphasize your eyes. One of the best ways to take the focus off of your skin is to put the focus on your eyes. But “Lighten Up” on the eye shadow! And stay away from the shimmer! You might want apply a light, pale color on your eye lid all the way up to just under the eyebrow. Then apply a darker shadow into the crease of your eye and then the key is to blend, blend, blend from the outer eye, inward. You never want to see where harsh outlines of the color.

Next, you will want to define your eyes with an eye definer applied thinly on the top and bottom of your eyelids next to the lashes. If you have large eyes, you can go all the way to the inner corner, but if you have small eyes, just apply it to the outer third portion of your eye.

Apply mascara to your lashes and although there are many types of mascara to choose from that will give you thick, full looking lashes, you can also brush a tiny bit of translucent powder onto your lashes before applying your mascara which will also give you that full lash look. Although I recommend using a clean, disposable mascara brush each time you dip it into your mascara to keep it from contamination.

(9) Don’t neglect your eyebrows! Eyebrows frame the eyes. Unfortunately, as we start to mature, we tend to see a thinning in our eyebrows. It has something to do with the decrease in hormones, etc. Most of us will see some thinning on the outer third of our brows and some might not be able to see any brow at all. Personally, this is what I am experiencing and I use a very fine, soft eyebrow pencil that is a Taupe color which is slightly lighter than but blends with my highlighted, dark brown hair, and I apply it with light, whispy strokes to give the appearance of hair. If you have sparse brows, you should use pencil instead of an eyebrow powder. This is because the powder needs something to cling to and can slide off without hairs. If you have bushy, wiry brows, trim them, then fill in with a natural powder. And be sure to use a color that blends with your current hair color. If you’re afraid of making your eyebrows uneven, there are eyebrow stencils that you can use.

(10) Made You Blush! The best type of blush to use on mature skin is a creamy blush. You can get away with using a powder blush if use it sparingly and if you don’t have any lines or wrinkles in the cheek area as the powder will set into those lines. Correct application is the key when applying your blush. You will want to keep it at least two fingers away from your eye and your nose and apply it to the cheekbone area above your jowls and blend the outer edges and blend it into your skin. The key is to give you a soft, natural, healthy flush. As for colors, pinks and corals work well for lighter skin tones and of course, deeper colors are typically best for darker skin. You will want to stay away from bronzers and shimmery colors as well.

(11) Lucious Lip Service! If you struggle with lip color “bleeding” or “feathering” into the fine lines and wrinkles around your lips, try this easy tip. Apply a small amount of  eyeshadow primers around your lips (not on your lips, just around the outside edges). The eyeshadow primer will help smooth out lines, and will act as a barrier to keep your lip color in place. You can also line your lips with a lip liner that matches your lip color. For mature lips, choosing the right color can make all the difference! Neutral shades like roses and corals produce a natural-looking “flush” that is universally flattering. And don’t forget to exfoliate your lips! Exfoliation is key for mature lips! Our lips lose the plumpness over time and produce fewer natural oils. Exfoliating your lips regularly can help stimulate blood flow and keep them looking soft and smooth!

As I mentioned earlier, when you are finished applying all of your makeup, be sure that every thing is blended and then spray your face with a makeup setting spray that not only keeps it from sliding into those pesky fine lines, but also keeps your makeup looking perfect all day even in the hot and sweaty summer! Plus, now you are picture perfect