The New Mid-Life: None of this is made up


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Makeup in your 40s is a far cry from the stuff plastered on in a woman’s younger years.

Move over, 20-year-olds!

These days, it’s all about specialists focusing on those in “the new mid-life.” No longer do I dream of having a chauffeur or professional cook (well, maybe sometimes I do.) But ever since I entered the new mid-life, which means being in my 40s in the year 2014, I now dream of having a live-in professional makeup artist, especially after meeting Deborah Williams, who “only” does makeup for those in mid-life.

The greatest compliment for the new mid-lifers, after all, is to be asked for identification at the liquor store. In our parents’ generation, when they were mid-lifers, their greatest compliment would probably be that they were good parents.

I think I am a good parent, but I still want a damn live-in makeup artist. What woman, especially in her 40s, wouldn’t? Especially since we don’t walk around in real life photoshopped. My problem is not that I can’t get out of bed because of creaking joints — not yet anyway, thank God — but that I still have to look in the mirror each morning.

“The horror!” I’ll scream, while brushing my teeth, because there are pillow marks stamped deeply in my face. The bags under my eyes are as dark as thunderclouds. And don’t even get me started on my laugh-lines.

When I turned 40, I was like, “Yup. Time to start wearing makeup! Don’t want to scare any kids with this natural face at morning drop off!”

Well, guess what? Williams, the founder of Grace, a makeup consultant business, doesn’t have time for anyone under the age of 40! Her business card reads, “Makeup for Midlife.” Yes, Williams, who also does makeup for the hosts of Global’s The Morning Show, has carved out a niche by teaching those in their mid-life how to put on makeup properly.

“After one lesson, it can change your life.”

“As we get older, we shouldn’t be into fads. But not wearing makeup is like wearing a little black dress with flip-flops. You’re just missing something,” she says. Williams says she “only” works with anyone over 40 because although 40 may be the new 30, it doesn’t mean women in their 40s should wear the same type of make up, or the same amount of makeup, as a 30-year-old.

Williams started her private makeup and consultations for mid-lifers in a studio in the Beaches, near Leslieville. “I realized that a lot of women in mid-life didn’t want to sit in bright lights in a department store with a 20-year-old doing their makeup and selling them the product of the month that clearly didn’t suit them. I completely saw an opening in the market.… I was amazed at how many women in mid-life needed, and wanted, help with their makeup routine.”

Often, she says, no one has told mid-lifers they need a new makeup routine, so they either pile it on or decide to not wear anything. “Both options aren’t ideal!” she says.

Williams says that those in their mid-life have no idea what they are doing when it comes to putting on makeup. “I think I’m the only one in Toronto who specializes in makeup for mid-life,” she says. “Women are thrilled when they hear what I do. Women are living longer now, so of course they want to age gracefully,” she says.

How many women do you know who are still doing the same makeup routine now for two decades? How many women do you see wearing so much makeup that you can’t figure out their age, but you know they are probably younger than they look? “I have women coming in still wearing their makeup the same way they wore it in the ’70s! They are thrilled for a change.” Williams’ motto for her business is, “Love the way you age.”

As women get older, “less is more,” is the best philosophy when it comes to wearing makeup, she says. “In your 20s, you can play around with makeup, but when women get older, they just put more and more on, thinking it makes them look younger when they are just dating themselves to look even older!”

When it comes to makeup, are we really our own worst enemies? Simple answer: Yes. Williams says if women in their mid-life, ironically, “modernize” their makeup routine, it can take “10 years” off how we look.” Women in their 40s and 50s come to her studio, and some bring their own makeup. Williams will then spend the first five minutes doing her own face to show that to look good it doesn’t need to take more than five minutes.

“I’ll pick a feature that really shines on them.…” she says. “A lot of women actually are now not turning to invasive procedures to stay looking young,” she adds. Foundation is a must. “It evens out the skin,” she says. As well, according to Williams, we need a little lip gloss (for our fading lip color) some mascara, and eyeliner.

Interestingly, six weeks after an initial consultation and lesson, her clients come back for a “brush up lesson.”

“Sometimes, they forget what I showed them, or they can’t get it right. For example, I tell women who are older to not put eyeliner all across their lids. It should be put on two or three lashes away from the inside of their eyes. I’ve had so many groups of women friends in their 40s come in for workshops. The best is that they leave with a ‘wow’ moment when they realize that a little modernization to match skin tone, hair, lips and even brow shape completely changes how they look. After one lesson, it can change your life.”

The new mid-life is no longer terrifying, thanks to those like Williams. And if I may brag a little, I look 10 years younger and in less than 10 minutes. So, of course, I went straight to the liquor store … and was asked for ID.

Post City Magazines’ columnist Rebecca Eckler is the author of Knocked Up, Wiped!, How to Raise a Boyfriend, The Lucky Sperm Club and her latest book, The Mommy Mob.

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