Timeless Beauty

Everywhere you turn, middle-aged women are looking decidedly less like, well, middle-aged women. We examine why ageless beauty is on trend for both young and old

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Everywhere you turn, middle-aged women are looking decidedly less like, well, middle-aged women. We examine why ageless beauty is on trend for both young and old

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Gong Li


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• Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser, $50 (150 ml).

• HERA Magic Starter SPF25 PA++ in 01 Rose, $62 (35 ml).

Great makeup requires top skin condition, according to makeup artist and L’Oréal Paris Makeup Director Noni Smith. “The skin surface needs to be well exfoliated and hydrated so it’s ready for makeup.”

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• NARS Liquid Blush in Torrid, $50.

• Lancome L’Absolue Lacquer in 202 Nuit et Jour, $48.

Noni advocated thoughtful makeup texture choices for mature skin. “Cream Blush, warm monochromatic eye colour and lip gloss are fresh and youthful.”

A radiant and barely-there complexion topped off with luscious, lightly-tousled locks – celebrities like Fan Bingbing, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi and Aishwarya Rai have this effortless, modern beauty down pat. Oh, and did we mention that some of these ladies are over 40 years old? Meet generation ageless.

There was a time when we women hit a certain age and suddenly found ourselves relegated to a style wasteland populated by sensible haircuts, cakedon face powder and non-event vermilion lipsticks.

Not helping matters was the down-and-out message from many beauty brands. Wrinkles. Grey Hair. Quick, cover them, hide them or make them disappear! (And it seems that connection with beauty advertising is still a struggle. A recent survey noted that 91 per cent of women aged 50 to 70 wished marketers would treat them as people, and not stereotypes.) Despite the noise, the so-called new generation ageless have overhauled their beauty approach. It’s not uncommon nowadays to observe a glamorous woman and struggle to predict her age.

A poll by marketing company SuperHuman found that 96 per cent of 40-plus women don’t feel middle-aged. So no wonder we no longer want to style ourselves according to a number we have no connection with.

Vibrant, luminous complexions have replaced the mature skin markers of yesteryear like dryness or pigmentation. Hair is textured and styled according to current trends, brows are softly shaded and makeup is subtly applied to restore definition to the features. A particular beauty look is becoming less ubiquitous with the year on your passport. More and more, age is really becoming just a number.

So where has the shift in attitude come from? There are a few factors at play: The holistic health movement and its trickle down into beauty, alongside a less-is-more approach to styling. The so-called ageless generation has grown up receiving a loud and clear health message: You’ve only got one body so you better look after it. Prioritising diet, fitness and wellness in the constant pursuit of bettering one’s own health position has become standard practice – and this is evidenced in the bodies and faces of mature women everywhere.

The beauty industry has also evolved to embrace the wellnesscentered approach. No amount of makeup or hair styling can mask poor skin or hair, so both the professional and home-care focus is about prevention, nourishment and repair.

Beyond products, the importance of beauty from within is squarely in the spotlight. Ensuring adequate water intake, getting enough sleep and eating healthy hold as much importance as the latest super skincare ingredient.

Finally, an understated and frillsfree approach to hair and makeup has fallen into generation ageless’ favour. While many women in the years gone by saw beauty as a mask, the current trend is about natural enhancement. It’s no longer about the makeover, but the make-under.

A flick of the wrist while wielding a heated flat iron and a mist of texturising spray puts women of all ages on the fast track to undone style. This is teamed with a barely-there complexion (bless you, BB creams) enhanced by illuminator and capped off with mascara and nude lips. For every day wear, these face flattering touches are all that’s necessary. Ageing gracefully has never looked so good.

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Fan Bingbing

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K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo Lasting Eyebrow Tint, $23.90.

For a refreshed appearance, brow stylist Amy Jean (amyjean.com.au) recommends semipermanent brow tattoos. “Conservatively enhanced brows do wonders,” Amy Says. Not ready for the commitment? Try a brow tint.

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• Sothys Hydra3HA Hydrating Youth Cream, $168 (50 ml).
• Clair Skin Solutions Hydro Firming Serum, $72 (30 ml).

Consistency is the key to sparkling skin, according to facialist Sue Donn. “I recommend the fab five: Cleanse, tone, exfoliate, moisturise and eye cream. And once you’ve found what works for you, stick with it.”

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• IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+ in Medium, $62 (32 ml).
• Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Moonlight, $65 (15 ml).

For a glowing complexion, Noni recommends using a dewy base, followed by a custom-blend foundation. “Try mixing a luminiser with your foundation,” Noni suggests.

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Aishwarya Rai

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Zhang Ziyi


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• Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Blue, $258.
• ReFa S CARAT, $220.

Beauty gadgets are like at-home facials you can enjoy at your own convenience. Facial rollers like the ReFa S CARAT use microcurrent technology to firm skin, while the Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Blue soothes redness and promotes healing.