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.