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Auriens | Twitter

1 Minute Read

The latest Tweets from Auriens (@auriensliving). A brand new later lifestyle concept launching in 2019, dedicated to luxury living, tailored to later life. London, England.

Follow them here: Auriens Living | Twitter

AofA Interview: Tricia Cusden – Creator of ‘Look Fabulous Forever’

6 Minute Read

Tricia Cusden is a beauty ‘vlogger’ and creator of ‘Look Fabulous Forever’, a global cosmetics brand for the over 50s:

‘At LFF we are not just a beauty brand we are a movement. A movement to celebrate mature beauty, to challenge perceptions and to embrace the benefits of ageing.’ – Tricia Cusden
Advantages of Age interviewed her about her decision to provide makeup for older women based on her own ‘dire experience of finding it very hard to source makeup which suited my older face’.

Can we really look fabulous forever?

Yes, we can! Looking fabulous is about caring for your appearance and staying engaged with beauty and fashion but on your own terms. It’s also about creating a confident style so that you feel good about yourself.

How does it feel to be a successful beauty vlogger in your 70s?

It feels absolutely wonderful. The best bit of my weekly blog posts is reading the comments underneath and the ‘conversation’ element that this stimulates. I also enjoy making the videos because I know how much our ‘viewers’ love them and learn from them about latest makeup techniques.

Does your makeup philosophy help mature women feel better about themselves?

Absolutely! That is the whole point of LFF. We are upbeat, positive and we celebrate the beauty in older faces. Everything we do and say and all our images are intended to say ‘you matter too!’

Do you feel you’ve transformed your life with the ‘correct’ use of makeup and is it your mission to transform the lives of other olders?

The daily transformation that makeup effects to my face, especially now I am 70, greatly enhances my confidence and ability to ‘face the day.’ We get a lot of feedback from our customers that their LFF makeup is helping them to feel much better about their ageing face. My mission is to confront (and hopefully change) the profound ageism of our society.

Do you feel there is a place for just wearing no makeup at all?

Of course, there is! If an older woman has no desire to wear makeup who am I to say otherwise? It’s not my personal choice, but it’s a free country!

Could we even consider that women wearing makeup is sexist – ie we are conforming to how men want us to look. Or are we wearing makeup to please ourselves?

This is the old feminist argument that makeup is a construct of a patriarchal system! Sorry, but I wear makeup because I like to look good to please myself. There is absolutely no way that my choice to wear makeup is influenced by the desire to please or attract a man – nor has it at any time in my life. I also feel that the pressure on older women to ‘tone it down’ (i.e. wear less or no makeup) is deeply ageist as self-adornment is only for the young and beautiful.

What do you think about the beauty industries current efforts to find a substitute for the words anti-ageing?

I consider it lip-service without any real evidence that the beauty industry is actually becoming less ageist. Dior has just announced that Cara Delevigne (24) as their ‘face of anti-ageing.’ What a joke!

What inspired you to address the way older women were using makeup and the products available?

My own dire experience of finding it very hard to source makeup which suited my older face. I also disliked the ‘anti-ageing’ rhetoric of the beauty industry. I just kept thinking ‘I could do better than this!’ and LFF was born.

Does ‘mature’ makeup have to promote dignity and ageing gracefully? What about individuality, originality and wanting to stand out?

There is nothing about ‘mature makeup’ which precludes individuality, originality or wanting to stand out! Making up a face (of whatever age) is a creative process – so if you want to have more dramatic eye makeup or a really vibrant lippie we’d say ‘go for it!’

Is there such a thing as ‘age-appropriate’ lipstick shades?

No – the main thing is to choose whether you are warm or cool toned colour. If you are warm toned you will suit colours like nude, caramel, coral and brownish pinks. If you are cool toned the best choice is for pinks, plums and cool blue reds.

Are false eyelashes out of bounds for older women?

Not necessarily as long as they are the lighter weight ones. Mary Berry sears false eyelashes on Bake-Off and looks great but they are quite natural looking.

How can we avoid the ‘Bette Davis/Baby Jane’ look – and do we even need to?

By applying the makeup carefully, blending well and using brushes to perfect the finished effect. No garish eye makeup, spiky eyelashes or lipstick applied over the natural lipline!

What is unique about your age-related products?

Every single one of them has been formulated to suit an older face. For instance, older skin is quite absorbent and less smooth than a younger face. This means that makeup tends to disappear fast and look less smooth. Our Face Prime, foundation, concealer, blusher and highlighter all work together and once applied will stay looking that way until bedtime.

What is the difference between younger and older makeup styles?

Most older women prefer to look naturally enhanced rather than heavily made up. For instance, there is a current fashion for heavy brow treatments on younger faces. This would look quite scary on an older face – so we suggest a more natural effect

Choose just one product you feel is ideal for older faces and explain why.

A Face Prime. Most older women don’t know how brilliant face primers are. they are applied on top of moisturiser and under foundation and are wonderful at create a lovely smooth surface and ‘holding’ the makeup in place for hours. Our Smooth Like Silk Face Prime is a top seller for us for good reason.

What do you think about plastic surgery or botox?

Personally, I’d never let anyone near my face with a needle or a scalpel. I also think that women who have work tend to look ‘weird’ rather than younger. But I’d also never condemn anyone for making that choice – again it’s a free country!

Are you involved in the composition of your products?

Not really. That is not my area of expertise. I leave formulations to the experts and then we test the results. Once we are happy that they work in the way that we want them to work, we add the products to our range.

Do you use animal testing on your products?

No animal testing on any products or ingredients. We have Leaping Bunny accreditation.

How much time do you spend a week on this and how did you finance it?

I used £40,000 of my own savings to launch LFF and have since managed to attract investment (initially from family) as needed. Our business has never borrowed money nor does it have any debt. I work full time. Our business is open 24/7 and 365 days a year, and although I now have a great team I am still needed for various things every day and often spend time at the weekend responding to FB comments and the hundreds of comments we get on the blog which goes out at 8.00 am every Sunday. But I love it all so it doesn’t feel like work.

Gray or Nay | Dimples On My What

9 Minute Read

I’m having a love affair with gray hair right now. I think of little else. Except of course, for a million other anxiety inducing thoughts. 😉 Based on recent searches, my Pinterest feed is fully loaded with every shade and style of gray hair – Transitioning to Gray Hair. How to Go Gray Gracefully. Transition to Gray Hair. Growing Out Gray Hair. Best Hair Styles for Gray Hair.

Read the full story here: Gray or Nay | Dimples On My What

Oh Lordy – what’s all this ‘Midster’ terminology?

1 Minute Read

Recently, there was a panel discussion on ‘Midsters’ and whether they were leading a colourful life. We sent well-being and fashion expert, Rebecca Weef-Smith along to find out what it was all about.

What’s with the Midster?

I took a bit of a dislike to the term Midster, it sounds like a slightly baggy low rise jean that Marks and Spencer would think was a good idea but – as was mentioned more than once by the audience at the launch – M & S do get it so wrong. I also have a feeling of it being too closely aligned to Mister and found myself humming some old show tune – mister can you spare a dime – but I will try not to let that interfere with my objectivity about the report which was commissioned by JD Williams, a company specialising in products for women over 45.

Overall the findings do reflect what we know here at AofA, life is bloody good when you are over 45; midster life for today’s 45-65-year-olds is a ‘distinct and exciting phase of life’.

Angela Spindler, the CEO of N Brown Group which owns JD Williams, was frank about her feelings of enjoying this part of her own life, “Age is just a number by which we are no longer defined.” There was much talk of possibilities, new opportunities and positive ageing attitudes in society at large. Women in the 45+ bracket are more confident in their appearance, have a better sex life, and are enjoying their leisure time more. However the report does also show that more than one in ten women are concerned about losing their sex drive, along with memory loss, independence and health problems.

A General Sense of Ageing

Thank goodness only 13% of those surveyed want to be 18 again but half – yes 50% – want to be thirty again. Are they mad? Has no one told them of the Advantages of Age?

As the panel discussed there is still loads of scare-mongering around; how dreadful this aging is going to be, oh the loneliness, the poverty, the poor health. AofA has a duty of care to put this right! We need to get out there and evangelise guys; 48% of 45+ women fear being a burden on loved ones and 68% fear losing their independence. This is not a reflection of my aging tribe, where is the flamboyance and sheer joy, where are the mavericks…has the word not spread that being a ‘baby-boomer’ is much better than being a ‘millennial’?

Women & Shopping

A whopping 70% of the women surveyed feel ignored by the high street, which brings me back to Marks and Spencer’s. And what can be learnt from this report that will inform the real world. At this point it may be useful to remember that JD Williams are retailers, and whilst the survey could be viewed from an alternative angle, my takeaway was that the launch was geared towards a fashion audience who are attempting to understand this demographic in order to sell them fashion, real clothes in stores and fashion-media, either traditional print or online.

The audience and panel discussed the disconnect between how we see ourselves and what we are being offered on the high street in terms of actual garments – how they fit, what styles are age appropriate -and the experience of shopping – creating environments that appeal to women 45+. What do we really want fashion retailers to provide that will switch us back on to enjoying connecting with fashion- shopping? 55% of women in this age group find it hard to discover clothing that they think suits them and the same figure -55%- stick to high street brands where they can try on before buying. 66% of the surveys stay with shops they feel comfortable in, even though 9 out of 10 put a lot of thought into outfit selection. My question would be where is the sense of adventure there? We need to encourage them to take a few more risks with where they shop and try something different, especially the 30% who desire to shop more fashionably but think they are too old! We need to do an AofA round the UK bus tour to get their flamboyance flowing! Come on ladies M & S isn’t the only option. Surprisingly shopping in charity shops didn’t figure large on the creating a positive fashion after 45. It seems that the idea wasn’t consider necessary to the survey. I wonder what the data would have revealed had they asked how many 45+ women in the UK bought fashion items from the plethora of charity retailers on every high street. My experience of working as a stylist with this age group is that there is a definite positive shift in the way that they create identity with clothes. I have a sense that age brings with it the freedom to explore fashion without the restrictions of going into an office every day, or dressing to attract the attention of men; I know that AofA members certainly aren’t all wearing ‘age-appropriate outfits’ but are certainly having fun with dressing to suit themselves.

Media Impact on body confidence

Even with all the apparent positive aging attitudes that the report reveals that the women surveyed still feel underrepresented by mainstream media; 8 in 10 don’t feel TV advertising reflects who they are, with the same figure believing that their age group has no presence on fashion catwalks.

72% are concerned with the misleading effect of photo-shopping images leading to unrealistic expectations. The idea of real 45+ women’s bodies, the way we actually perceive our own bodies, and the manner in which we compare with celebrity bodies always comes back to Helen Mirren – 60% of those surveyed put her at the top of their most admired list – poor woman, can she never be allowed off her perfect perch.

The negative impact of the media on body confidence overall was deemed relatively low with 62% of women stating that the media had no effect on their body perceptions at all.

I was cheered by the fact that nearly 1 in 20 British women aged 45+ would post a bikini –clad photo of themselves on social media and this was before Alex Shulman posted her infamous image. Of the five panel members only one said she would absolutely not post a bikini- selfie, the audience weren’t polled, which was a shame because I really wanted to know; I also wanted to know how many would have put up naked photos on social media in order to walk the talk of positive body image but alas I didn’t get the chance to ask that question!

Sex and Intimacy

42% of women surveyed want more sex, with 6 in 10 agreeing that there is less stigma attached to dating in this age group than 20 years ago. I wonder if it is the other 4 out of 10 who make up the 42% wanting more sex. Sadly only 10% found that sex was better after menopause and 23% said that their post-menopause sex-life was worse. I’m pretty sure that the fact that only 25% of those surveyed felt that it is more acceptable to be promiscuous at 45+ has some relevance to this figure but I’ve yet to work out what that my be, or what promiscuous actually related to. I would have like clarification here, it all felt a bit prudish and a British brush it under the carpet attitude of not wanting the nitty-gritty. Come on I want to know what promiscuity means to the 45+ woman in the street, clearly the 24% only having sex once a year or less may be skewing the data.

Home and Work Life

Before the debate convened I was chatting to a fashion editor who only last week had become a freelancer after 40+ years of employment. It would appear, according to this survey,that being an older entrepreneur is still unusual; only 11% of those surveyed had a career change in their 50s. (There is no figure for a career change in the 60s so I’m reading that as 50+ which could be wrong of me). There was nothing in the report, which I could find, to highlight the growing band of older female entrepreneurs or freelancers who are generating positive working experiences for themselves.

25% of this demographic struggle with a work–life balance, which means that 75% have found a way to successfully negotiate this juggling act. Overall there was little good news in this section, with 45% of women in London seeing themselves as the main breadwinner compared to 34% in the rest of the country there was a feeling that there wasn’t much opportunity for these women to enjoy the extra leisure time that they had stated was the thing they were most looking forward when becoming a ‘midster’ (44%). Another one in five was most looking forward to their free bus pass, so more AoA bus adventures then!

How colourful are we really being at 45+?

The findings in this report left me feeling less than confident that this colourful life was taking place in many parts of the UK for 45+ women. I had hoped for multi-coloured chandelier earrings with bells and whistles. Or at least an exotic splash of red. It all felt a bit beige to be honest.

The panel didn’t seem very excited about being older either; they all looked great, women in their prime who should be having a great time, but the overall impression I had was that these women felt the choices they had were limited. I was very aware of my own bra-less state in a room full of sensible support underwear. This isn’t a judgement, merely an observation; my desire to be a bit of a rebel in the room, to see aging as an aspirational goal with a freedom-pass, may well have coloured my expectations of my fellow attendees. I just want them to have a bit of a blast in an Advantages of Age style. Come on ladies let your hair down and get on the Bus!

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