Vibrant Nation » NeXT
Home  »  Community News  »  Vibrant Nation » NeXT
The Makeover Guy
8 lessons from 8 makeovers of women over 50
Fashion & Beauty
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As women age, the more beautiful they become–but often, the less attractive they feel. Who they are isn’t coming across in how they look. And so, they feel invisible.

I wrote a makeover book for women over 45 because I like them. We “get” each other. Younger women tend to gravitate towards the trendy and trivial whereas women who’ve sort of “been there, done that,” like I have, are impatient with hype. My clients are smart and they’re ready to hear it. I wrote my book, Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45, as a labor of love–focusing on techniques I’ve used for over 20 years in my professional career, and addressing the specific challenges women face as they grow older and as their bodies change.

Here are some of the lessons women 50+ can learn from makeovers in my book:

1. Growing old is optional

Rici is the perfect illustration of what happens when you do next to nothing because “it’s just too much work.” Looking natural does not mean doing nothing, especially after 60! It takes makeup to look naturally attractive.

Rici’s “before” look evoked granny in the rocking chair with the knitting–but that image simply didn’t match the Rici I met. With a great hairstyle and highlights, shaped brows, and yes, makeup–we see the true Rici, a woman who wants more from life, who wants to live.

2. Your hair speaks volumes

Nancy has a great personality that her “before” look didn’t come close to capturing. Technically, there was nothing wrong with Nancy’s look–but, as I suggested, she might want to save it till she’s 70.

Much of Nancy’s transformation had to do with simply getting rid of her grey and going for a cut that truly suits her. Short, blond, and bangs all promote a youthful look. The spirit of who Nancy really is radiates in her “after” photo, and that’s what any makeover is all about.

3. Classic doesn’t have to mean boring

Linda’s “before” look was classic to the point of failure. Her hair and clothes were shapeless, her makeup colorless, her workbag completely lacking style. Did someone say “schoolmarm”?

Her “after” look is still classic, but it lets Linda’s vibrant personality shine through. To me there is nothing sexier than a woman in a straight black skirt, a beautiful silk blouse opened one extra button with a killer pair of heels. Plus, the matching hem, hose, and heel work together to elongate her legs. Bam!

4. Give yourself a liftBy age 40, about 40% of women have experienced some hair loss, and the hair loss accelerates during menopause. The right haircut and styling can make a big difference.

For example, Carol thought she needed shorter layers on top for height. In truth, she needed color for texture and more length on top for support. Take control: Give yourself some lift and keep it there by back-combing and using a fine mist hairspray, preferably aerosol.

5. Dress the woman you are today

As you try to find the balance between growing older and looking modern, don’t fall into the trap of becoming “mutton dressed as lamb.” You won’t look younger, you’ll simply look vulnerable and insecure.

Cheryl’s transformation shows the importance of dressing age-appropriately. Rather than tell a story about our past, our image must declare the person we’ve become. In her “after” photo, Cheryl shows just a hint of cleavage (all that’s needed!) and her skirt length, just below the knee, is flattering as well as sexy.

6. Build a foundation

Maybe in the 1960’s and ’70s you burned your bra and let it all hang out, but as time passes, the spirit may still be willing, but the flesh does become weak. It’s time to recognize that the single, most important garment you can wear under slim-fitting clothing is the appropriate foundation.

Lynette’s makeover shows how the right shapewear smooths, slims, and firms. Also, choosing an outfit that creates a monochromatic line slenderizes and balances.

7. Minimize

Lynda told me she hadn’t really “gone out” since the 1980’s because she’d been self-conscious about her weight. But after weight-loss surgery, she lost 155 pounds. And although I thought Lynda was beautiful, she couldn’t seem to see it.

In Lynda’s makeover, warm colors brighten her face while monochromatic color blocking is slenderizing. The lapels draw the eye up and out, away from her midsection. The V-neck elongates, and the necklace draws the eye to Lynda’s face. Finally, fuller leg pants help balance a bigger top.

8. Keep it current

Gail started out with home hair color from hell and a dated hairstyle, plus dark makeup that was aging–and a little scary. Part of the problem was that Gail had spent her life spending money on her children’s clothing, makeup, and haircuts–but had trouble feeling that she deserved those things for herself.

Gail’s makeover stayed true to her beauty buzzwords–simple, clean, and natural–but the softer hair and makeup are much more feminine and the trapeze silhouette works well for her A-shape body.

VN Editors
Prevent grey hair color with five foods
Fashion & Beauty
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Next time you write out the grocery list, make sure you’re choosing foods that prevent grey hair color. There are at least five items you’re going to want to put on the list if you want to keep your natural color longer, and avoid the trip to the grocery for the grey hair dye a little longer.

The battle against grey hair color

Grey hair causes many women to feel stressed and worried, even before they get it. More and more women are experiencing premature grey hair color, so there’s good reason to be frightened. But the rise in grey hair color at an early age could be due to poor dieting decisions and stress, both of which cause grey hair to appear. Start eating a better diet, using five foods that prevent grey hair color, and keep your natural color a little longer.

    • Fresh greens. Fresh green vegetables are naturally rich in Vitamins B6 and B12, which keep hair healthy. Spinach is a good source of these B vitamins, but if you really want to get an influx of hair health look for spirulina. It’s a blue-green sea algae that’s rich in vitamins, and doesn’t that sound delicious? Of course, if sea plants don’t appeal to you, simply incorporate leafy green vegetables into your diet for two or three of your daily meals. Steam your vegetables to leave more of the vitamins and nutrition intact. In addition to promoting healthy hair color, these B vitamins help to prevent fatigue, reduce the risk of heart disease and keep skin healthier.
  • Chocolate. How good is this news? Chocolate is naturally rich in copper, which produces melanin in your hair. Melanin is responsible for producing color, which makes it essential for preventing grey hair color. Chocolate is a great source of copper, so eat it up – but do it wisely. Choose dark chocolate, which contains fewer calories than milk chocolate, and enjoy it in moderation. Brush your teeth after consuming chocolate, to get rid of the sugar (which causes cavities), and get plenty of healthy exercise.
  • Berries. Eat lots of fresh berries, especially strawberries, to get Vitamin C into your system. In addition to promoting healthy hair, Vitamin C produces natural collagen that helps to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging.
  • Salmon. Tasty and easy to find, salmon is a great food for fighting grey hair color. Salmon is a natural source of selenium, which regulates hormone production that keeps your hair colorful. Salmon also fights free radicals, which you don’t want in your system.
  • Almonds. Almonds are delicious and abundant, easy to buy anywhere, and they’re rich in both Vitamin E and copper. You need both, so incorporate almonds into your chocolate, salads, rice dishes and sauces and start loading up on hair-healthy nutrients.

When you’re eating a vitamin-rich and nutrient-rich diet, drink plenty of water. Those nutrients need water to flow through your body. If you’re not well-hydrated, you won’t get the maximum benefits from all those special, grey hair color-fighting foods.

Learn more about keeping hair healthy in our free special report, Grey hair after 50: 7 keys to styling, coloring, and caring for grey hair whether you choose to cover or embrace it.

VN Editors
Best Makeup Over 50: Tips and tricks to conceal dark circles under your eyes, minimize under eye puffiness, and get rid of bags under your eyes
Fashion & Beauty
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Use makeup tips and tricks to conceal dark under eye circles, reduce puffiness and banish those bags. Tired, puffy-looking eyes will immediately age you, even if the rest of your face is absolutely fabulous. The right under eye makeup can hide all of this, and with a few little tricks you can shave years and years away from your eyes.

Prep the base

The best makeup tips and tricks can’t be seen. The secret of getting great makeup over 50 is simple: primer. Makeup Geek recommends 5 primers, a list that includes Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector and MAC Mattifying Gel.

  1. First, moisturize your under eye area. Always apply moisturizer before applying cosmetics to keep skin from drying out.
  2. Next, dab a pea-sized ball of primer on a clean finger and very gently rub the primer under your eye.
  3. Repeat on the other eye.
  4. Wait for the primer to dry, at least 1 minute.

Under eye concealer

How to conceal dark circles under eyes

Once your eye is primed and ready, you’re going to want to apply concealer. This is your best weapon when it comes to dark circles under your eyes, but it can be dangerous when used improperly. Prevention advises using an under eye concealer with a yellow undertone. Choose one that’s at least two shades lighter than your skin tone. For some dark circles, a more orange-based concealer may work better.

Apply concealer for under eye circles with a small brush or your ring finger, starting at the outer corner of the eye just under the lash line. Move from corner to corner.

Build the foundation

How to Hide Under-Eye Circles with Makeup

Once your under eye area is primed and concealed, apply your usual foundation. Your foundation should match the same color tone as your chest, and should be placed on your face in a single smooth coating. Always include the area under your eyes when you’re applying your foundation. If needed, use a small brush to get more even coverage, but don’t apply it too roughly or you’ll mess up your concealer. Dust the under eye area with a sheer, yellowish powder to help the under eye makeup stay put.

Under eye makeup

Once all the preparation is done, certain makeup tips and tricks can be applied to further hide the shadows and puffiness.

  1. Whiten the inner corners of your eyes with a dab of white eye shadow or a little dot from a white eye pencil. Use a brush to gently blend it in, and lighten up this dark eye area.
  2. Lighten up on the eyeliner, too. When you apply your eyeliner, use a very thin line and a waterproof brand. Waterproof eyeliner won’t smudge as easily. Smudged eyeliner makes dark under eye circles even more noticeable. A liquid liner creates very fine lines.
  3. Use light eye shadows to make eyes look brighter and wider, which helps make puffiness and dark circles harder to see. Shadows with a little shimmer to them will draw more light to your eyes, brightening dark circles.

Wake up your eyes

If your eyes are really tired and puffy-looking, apply tea bags to them for 15 minutes before you begin applying any makeup. Over 50 women benefit from the caffeine in the tea, which has a lifting effect and reduces puffiness. Soak the bags in hot water for about 60 seconds, then dip them in ice water long enough to cool them off. Apply them right to your eyes for about 15 minutes. Rinse your eyes with cool water, pat dry, and then go about applying primer, concealer, foundation and the rest of your makeup.

Tips and Tricks

Everything else you do with your makeup can help make puffiness and dark circles less noticeable. Brush a little white eye shadow beneath the curve of your eyebrow to make your eyes look lifted. Fill in your eyebrows to hide thinning areas using a pencil that matches your hair shade. And when you’re applying makeup, brush a little eye shadow beneath your lower lash line, just under your eyeliner. This will lighten up the area under your eyes and keep the eyeliner from smudging at the same time. Makeup over 50 isn’t all that different from makeup at any other age; you’re just using a few extra cosmetic tricks.

A little under eye makeup goes a long way toward hiding those dark circles. Apply your makeup evenly and with a very delicate hand, and avoid layering on a bunch of it. Heavy makeup will only settle in small wrinkles and make your eyes look baggy. The secret of makeup over 50 is that less is more. Apply it correctly, use the right colors, throw in a few tricks, and you’ll get a beautiful finished look.

VN Editors
8 smart fixes for problem brows
Fashion & Beauty
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well-groomed eyebrows can make a woman look years younger. A beautifully shaped arch can give your face a lift, showcase your eyes, and impart instant sophistication.

But not every woman is blessed with naturally beautiful brows – and after 50, we may not be working with the same brows we had when we were 30 or 40. The fact is, problem eyebrows are a real source of frustration among many members of the Vibrant Nation community:

“For some reason my eyebrows have thinned out to the point they are almost nonexistent.”

“My thinning eyebrows are really bothering me. I also have white, wiry brows that crop up now and then. Help!”



“I have been waxing my eyebrows forever, but I better stop because they are getting thinner by the minute.”

In her new Vibrant Nation Beauty Guide Great Hair After 50, author Lois Joy Johnson identifies one common cause of less than flattering brows: “Trendy plucking during our high school or college years often resulted in skinny lines and exaggerated comma or tadpole shapes that never quite grew back – and that now make your entire face look dated.”

VN blogger Susan Tolles points out that simple aging can be a big factor, as well: “When I was younger, I had thick, dark eyebrows. There was even a time when I almost had a ‘uni-brow’ and had to constantly pluck to keep from looking like the young Brooke Shields. What the heck happened? No more thick brows, and I seldom have to tweeze. I even have to color them now to give them definition.”

Fortunately, vibrant women over 50 who want to look and feel their best don’t have to settle for unkempt, shapeless brows, tweezed-too-thin brows, drawn-on brows, or gray brows. Below are eight smart brow fixes from beauty expert Lois Joy Johnson and other VN members that can help you achieve the beautiful, flattering brows you want.

Smart solutions for problem brows

1. Rule out or treat any related medical causes of thinning brows.

Sparse brows after 50 may be a symptom of an underlying health issue. In the VN Beauty Guide Great Hair After 50, author Lois Joy Johnson quotes New York City dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt who says that “sparse brows or half-brows with missing tails are often a sign of thyroid issues.” So if your eyebrows are thinning, the first thing you’ll want to do is have your endocrinologist check for a medical reason for the hair loss.

VN member MUM is a case in point. Five years ago, at age 57, MUM discovered that she had hypothyroid (slow thyroid). “I am now on medication and my eyebrows have come back to life – so much so that I need to pluck them regularly! My advice [to women with thinning eyebrows] go to the doctor and get your TSH levels checked.”

VN blogger Dr. Dorree Lynn adds, “Start with a blood test to check your hormone levels first, then see what other type of professional may help you.” Prescription medications are only one option. “Sometimes, a good nutritionist can prescribe supplements that help. Diet and exercise have also been known to help as well.”

2. Consider Botox for drooping brows.

Cosmetic procedures like Botox are not for everyone, but for some women whose brows have begun to droop over time, they can be a good solution. Lois Joy Johnson says that “Botox injections can help lift a saggy brow that may be dragging your eyes down and create a more open look.”

3. When it comes to permanent makeup (eyebrow tattoos), the right technician makes all the difference.

VN members have varying opinions on permanent makeup as a solution for thinning brows. VN member EnergizerSnobabe advises, “Resist eyebrow tatooing. As you age, your skin will sag, and your tatooed eyebrows will go every which way! [But] if you really want to do something permanent, find a permanent makeup artist with lots of brow experience (look at her portfolio of ‘before and after’ pictures). She can go much lighter so the effect isn’t as dramatic and obvious – then if your face changes, you’re not stuck with squiggly brows.”

VN member Molson had her eyebrows tattooed ten years ago to minimize a scar in her eyebrows, and likes the results. “My eyebrows still look great, but I am thinking of having them re-touched. Once you have them done, you don’t have to think about doing anything to them except keeping track of the white hairs. For best results, look for a person who does reconstructive make up, instead of just permanent make-up.”

VN member Zblair agrees that the right aesthetician makes all the difference. “I had my brows tattooed with ink that resembled my hair color and was also good with my skin. The aesthetician used very tiny strokes and it really looked like brows. Three months after my initial work I went in for a touch up and they lasted close to three years. That same aesthetician did a lot of permanent makeup for stroke victims and also did ‘tats’ of nipples on the redone breasts of women who had had mastectomies. She was amazing!”

4. Protect the brows you have.
VN member 2melifeisgood takes extra care when shampooing her hair. Even when getting her hair cut, she says, “I gently remind the shampoo person to be care of not washing away my brows. Got to have a sense of humor about the aging process!” VN member centralsports adds, “My beauty consultant warned me about sleeping on my side – we will lose our outer brows because of this.”

5. Recreate brows from scratch with makeup.

Former beauty and fashion director of More magazine Lois Joy Johnson shares the following tips in her Vibrant Nation Beauty Guide, Great Hair After 50:

  • In general, a medium, full brow with a gentle arch and extended elongated shape is youthful and attractive on most women.
  • When you create a new brow with makeup, allow time for your eye to adjust to seeing your face with more brow definition.
  • Don’t aim for symmetry since one brow is always higher or fuller or arched differently.
  • Brow powders make filling in bald areas and creating a natural-looking shape where hairs are missing easier. You can use a brush-on brow powder applied to a waxy balm base (they often come in kits together), using a firm, flat-tip, angled brow brush to feather in hairs.
  • You can also try a powder pencil for a similar and faster effect.
  • Brush any brow makeup pencils or powders through with a spiral brush to soften and blend the makeup for a more natural look.
  • I recommend Lancôme Le Crayon Poudre Powder Pencil for Brows ($24 click here to buy), Dior Powder Brow Pencil ($28 click here to buy), and Clarins Pro Palette Eyebrow Kit ($35 click here to buy), which has powder filler, wax, and brushes in one mirrored compact.

6. Try eyebrow regrowth serum (Lumigan/Latisse).

VN member Wellheld says, “For the past three weeks I’ve been using Lumigan, the glaucoma treatment that as a side effect makes hair grow. (As a beauty treatment it’s marketed under a different name.) They say use the product for four weeks before you expect to see a result, but I am convinced I can see a difference in both my eyelashes and brows already. I use one drop for both both eyes and lashes, so the 3 ml bottle should last ages. I apply it using a very fine eyeliner brush, as if I was applying eyeliner. It’s not cheap but it seems to be working.”

VN member Ageless Elaine says, “Off label use of Latisse often works. It sure works for me. Please note: Latisse is a prescription drug. See a physician to get the prescription and make sure you understand how to use it properly and do not have any contraindications in your medical history. Result: longer, fuller lashes – and eyebrows!”

VN member Kiki12 is a fan of Latisse as well: “I have been using Latisse for the last two months, and I am truly amazed by the performance. I have always had very thin eyelashes and the last couple years thinning eyebrows at the ends. I had my thyroid checked and it is 3 which is still normal. So I started using Latisse. It is about $100 but you get a $20 rebate from Latisse and they also send rebates to your email for refills if you sign up. I put it on my eyebrows which are growing longer and thicker by the day. After you achieve full growth you can apply it less like twice a week and maintain results. I am sold on this product. I have not had any adverse effects.”

7. Control long, wiry brows.

In her Vibrant Nation Beauty Guide, Great Hair After 50 Lois Joy Johnson says, “Lots of women find their brow texture becomes increasingly coarse and unruly with age. Here’s my advice for trimming and managing long, wiry brows:

  • First, brush them straight up with your spiral brush, and using a straight, small scissor (not a curved manicure one), trim the long hair excess to follow the upper brow line.
  • Next, Brush them down and then do the same along the bottom line of the brow.
  • Finally, use a brow gel to control these wild hairs and hold them in line. I like Revlon Brow Styling Gel ($5.99 click here to buy) – it comes in clear and works alone or right over brow pencils or powder fillers.”

8. How to handle gray eyebrows

“Don’t do gray brows even if your hair is gray,” is Lois Joy Johnson’s advice. “You need the extra definition and eye-framing shape.” Here are Lois’ brow coloring tips from Great Hair After 50:

  • When it comes to brows and hair color, resist the urge to match.
  • Brows after 50 should be softer in tone – never too blonde because they disappear and never too dark because they can give the face a severe look. Redheads can go brown – never dye them red!
  • When choosing a color, you may want to go a shade lighter at first to compensate until you get the hang of it.
  • A tinted brow gel is the best way to blend in gray brows and groom wiry coarse hairs up for a fresher, more open eye.
  • I recommend Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel ($21 click here to buy), which comes in blonde, caramel, brunette, espresso, and granite.

Elin Danien
Back to school after 50: 6 tips
Work & Money
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  1. Investigate all possible funding sources.
    There are a lot of scholarships available. Get on the web and start looking. If you are planning to attend college in the Delaware Valley, contact Bread Upon the Waters.
  2. If you have kids, do it for them.
    By going back to school to get your degree, remember – you are being a terrific role model for your children.
  3. If you’re married, having a supportive husband is wonderful, but not essential.
    Next to money, one of the biggest problems older women encounter when going back to school is a husband who doesn’t have a degree and feels threatened by a wife who gets one. I have no good advice to fix that. Some Bread scholars have ended up getting a divorce. My feeling is, it would have happened anyway. If your spouse or family won’t support you, find an encouraging friend to do it instead.
  4. Find a mentor.
    Seek out a mentor within the academic community. Find someone with whom you can discuss courses, your doubts and fears, hopes and dreams – someone who can really and truly inspire you. Academics are people who like to be admired – and most of them love to help those who ask for help.
  5. University staff get breaks on tuition.
    If the university that you want to attend is beyond your financial means and you don’t have a scholarship possibility there, find an area within the university where you can get a job. Often, university staff gets to take courses for free, only paying the taxes on what the course would have cost. You may have to work for six months first before you qualify – but that’s okay. It usually takes six months just to figure out which courses to take.
  6. Volunteering can get you on the inside track.
    If you’re interested in archaeology, for example, being a volunteer guide at a museum is a great way to start. That way, if a job opens up, you’re on the spot. In a small town, you may not need a Ph.D to volunteer – just show interest, arrive on time every day, know the material. It’s a good way to get to know your future colleagues in the field.

Share your own advice for vibrant women returning to school!