Helen Mirren: As you get older, you have to wear less and less makeup’

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Helen Mirren has an absolutely charming new interview with Redbook in the August issue. You know what I appreciate about this piece, and about so many of Helen Mirren’s interviews in general? She’s still treated as a beautiful, sexy movie star (which she is) and she’s asked the same kinds of questions that people ask, say, Jessica Alba or Reese Witherspoon. She’s asked about makeup and hair and girl stuff, and I love her answers. She is very wise and very cool. Some highlights:

Playing Madame Mallory, a celebrated French chef: “Oh, God, she’s so not close to me. As a Brit, we’ve always looked at the French and [wondered], Why do they never look untidy? We’ve got a terrific inferiority complex when it comes to them.”

Her beauty routine: “I don’t have one, quite honestly. I don’t really know what a beauty routine is. But I love beauty products, and I’m always trying new ones. One thing I consistently use is Latisse [the prescription lash-growth serum]. It really works, and if your eyelashes look great, you can let a lot of other things be crap.”

She wears makeup every day: “I wear makeup every day. I love putting it on, and I get really into it: a little bit of this here, a little bit of that there… But then I stand back and look in the mirror and it’s awful! So I take it all off because I’ve gotten too anal about it. It’s absolutely true that as you get older, you have to wear less and less makeup. You can get away with naked eyes if you’ve got red lips. Or red lips and sunglasses.”

Skincare: “Lately I’ve been using a Kate Somerville face wash, but I’m also a great believer in drugstore products. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get quality stuff nowadays. A brand like L’Oréal has amazing technology.”

She cuts her own hair: “Not always, but yes. I can’t handle going to the hairdresser every six weeks, so I only go about once a year. In between, I get out the scissors and do something, usually rather disastrously. Sometimes I’ll even chop my hair the morning of a big red-carpet event.”

[From Redbook]

Like Helen, I’m a big fan of products that I can buy at the drugstore (or more often than not in my case, the grocery store). I love mass-market brands because I’m cheap and I think that if you have brand loyalty to a brand like L’Oreal or Olay or even Pantene, it’s pretty much the same as the fancy, expensive stuff. I’ve also been known to cut my own (very long) hair, but I stopped doing that because it was making me feel TOO cheap (is there such a thing?). Now I fork over $10 bucks for an occasional trim and I’m fine with it.

Also – I’ve never heard that saying: “as you get older, you have to wear less and less makeup.” Is that a real rule or did Helen just make that up? Anyway… honk if you love hearing from Helen. I love her so much.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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103 Responses to “Helen Mirren: As you get older, you have to wear less and less makeup’”

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  1. Sullivan says:

    Honk! And, yeah, I think the older you get the less make-up you wear. No one wants to look like Baby Jane.

  2. Shauna says:

    I agree on the less makeup. I’m 43 and recently switched from putting liner on top and bottom to just top. The difference is stunning and the compliments are nice, too. I love makeup but I rarely use anything more than eyeliner, blush, mascara.

    My favorite drug store brand is elf. I love playing around with makeup and at $1 each I can afford to!

    • Sandra says:

      I totally agree with you – I stopped lining the bottom and only line the top, and I look so much fresher! That being said, my eyes really pop when I line the upper lashes, so I always make sure to do that. Let’s face it, with a few more lines that come with age (particularly under the eyes), the makeup just settles into them and it looks like hell.

      I am totally going to enjoy watching this thread for makeup and skincare tips today :) And yes, HONK for Helen.

    • Itsetsyou says:

      I only like some things from the drugstore – too much technology and chemicals to make is involved to make something smell good, feel good and last long. But I don’t buy any big brands at the department store either. I get organic and try to stick with the most natural products. Since I don’t use much even expensive organic stuff lasts a while and is totally worth the splurge.

      • MaiGirl says:

        I agree. Cosmetic companies are the worst offenders when it comes to known carcinogens in products. I’d rather spend a little more and know I’m using something simple and healthy.

      • Lexie says:

        My fiance got into making his own skincare products when he had a bad excema flare-up this past winter. He made me a whole line of natural, organic products! His skin looks great now and I’m totally in love with the deoderant he made me, as well as the eye cream. I swear the stuff he made works better than the other crap I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on.

      • jaye says:

        @Lexi…I find that some of the best skin care items the all natural ones. I only use coconut oil on my body and vegetable glycerin on dry patches. VG will heal dry skin in a day or so. I also use a couple of drops of VG mixed w/a drop of vitamin e oil and my skin has never been clearer or softer.

      • siri says:

        @jaye: that’s my experience, too. VG, cold pressed coconut oil, vitamine E oil, and sometimes I melt shea/cocoa butter, and mix it with a lighter oil (joyoba etc.) for my hands. No chemicals, and that stuff lasts forever, and is therefore in the end much cheaper than any store-bought cream. All these things can be used for all areas, even for under the eyes. And yes, less makeup as we age, since it really highlights the wrinkles.

    • lana86 says:

      bottom liner is a bad idea at any age, imho.

    • Isabelle says:

      yeah, lining the bottom ages you because it draws the eyes downward and emphasizes the dropping bottom lid, which drops more as you age. Lightly lining or tight lining the top eyes lashes is much better.

    • may234 says:

      @Marty, I thought everyone knew about this “trick”. Whitening out your waterline was big ~5 years ago until people took it too far and there were these girls with very obviously visible white lines on the waterline as well as in the inner corner of the eye, which supposedly makes you look refreshed.

      • fairy godmother says:

        @Marty- Thank you!
        @may234- I knew about using white eyeliner and black, but never really cared for it. After looking at the images someone kindly posted imo the nude just looks fresher, more subtle, and natural.
        Now if only I can find the right combo of primer, foundation, and moisturizer so my make-up does not make that awful peeling when blending. I am not asking for too much am I? Damn my magic wand! It just does not help with this sort of thing. Lol!

      • Sassy says:

        Professional models have always used the white tightline. Here is a trick that may look nice on some readers. This is for green eyes. Line your eyes with a brown pencil, top and bottom. Top the liner with a taupe eye shadow to smudge it just at the line. Add a champagne shimmer shadow to the lid. Line the waterline with an iridescent (light reflecting green shade). Finish with black mascara. This is a very, very subtle look.

    • mollie says:

      This is exactly how I feel!
      I thought it might be my imagination, but in my mid 40′s, suddenlyl I see photos when I have no lower liner on and my eyes look much fresher!

  3. aims says:

    Honk!

    I too am cheap and buy my skin care products at the grocery store. I feel like the quality is equal to the more expensive stuff. I love how down to earth she is. She’s lovely.

  4. BendyWindy says:

    I love Helen! And while I’ve never heard that when you get older you have to wear less makeup as a rule, I certainly agree with it. Foundations, blushes, etc., all settle into fine lines and get into clown territory VERY quickly. It’s not a good look.

    • Jayna says:

      Exactly. I see that with women who wear so much heavy makeup and it settles everywhere and can give a harsher look. Not all foundations settle in. Really thick ones do or not having the right moisturizer underneath.

      My mother had beautiful big blue eyes and never wore eye-makeup, always shaped her eyebrows and every morning put on a little concealer, a very light moisturizing foundation and a soft color berry lipstick and a touch of blush. She always looked so much younger than others her age.

      • Steph says:

        A good primer — like Too Faced’s Primed and Poreless — makes your foundation go on like butter and stay on. You can use WAY less and it will not settle. Primer alone works well too — especially if you have large pores. Clean, clean skin is a must though.

  5. Whatwhatnot says:

    She is right. Makeup can really age a woman. When I’ve gone out with a full face of makeup/contouring etc, people, including my mom, tell me I look much older than I really am and I’m in my late 30′s. When I wear little to no make-up, people think my daughter and I are really sisters and I can pass for a 20-something. I found the differences astounding, Now a days I keep it simple. And still get carded lol

  6. Nevermindme says:

    Honk double time she is still sexy as hell.

  7. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Honk. And she’s right about the makeup, especially anything with a sparkly effect. It just highlights the little lines and looks awful.

    I’ve used expensive face products and drug store products, and in my experience, you usually get what you pay for. Especially makeup. If I use drug store eye makeup or lipstick, it winds up all over my face.

  8. Nicolette says:

    Honk!! I love her. She seems like someone you could sit down and have tea with as she gives great advice about many issues, and at the same time someone to go out and have a few drinks with and be raunchy.

  9. tealily says:

    Honk!

    Also, where are you getting trims for $10??? Sign me up! :(

    • Kk says:

      Yea agree about $10 trims- where? Even haircuttery is more than that and they have a long hair surcharge now, which i understand for a blowdry but why for a cut? I have the same number of hairs as shorter haired people! Anyway, now i cut my own hair as well. So freeing! But if i wanted it cut short, i’d pay someone.

      • Esmom says:

        Yeah, that long hair surcharge is complete BS. I have long hair and I’d argue that it’s easier for the stylist than short hair because she doesn’t have to do a ton of shaping and layering. But it’s still way cheaper than the “real” salons in my neighborhood and I think the Hair Cuttery people are nice and down to earth so I’m fine with going there.

    • Macey says:

      I was going to ask that too. In my area it doesn’t matter if its a cut or a trim, they dont adjust price and you’re looking at $30-$40 just for cut. add some color and a cpl highlights and its well over $120.00. I just cant do that any more.

    • Steph says:

      See, this is my downfall. I spend a damn fortune at the hair salon. I’m not sorry (except when I realize that I spend — easily — about $6000 a year on my hair. But I’ve got really, really long red hair. The colour fades fast, I abhor roots and I refuse to have split ends. I’d rather spend on my hair than buy new clothes. My stylist is so gifted and I’m addicted.

  10. Jac says:

    I don’t think it matters how old you are, too much makeup will age anyone.

  11. vava says:

    I wish the Duchess of Cambridge would take note of this.

  12. HappyMom says:

    Actually-the older I get the more I think ALL women look better with less makeup. I stick with a little eyeliner, mascara, maybe a quick blush and lipgloss. Less is more. I want to see people’s faces-not clown makeup.

    • Esmom says:

      For me, that’s actually a lot of makeup, but I pretty much wore zero except for on my lips well into my 30s. Now that I’m closer to 50 than to 40, I realize I have to wear mascara (eyeliner on top for evenings) when I go out if I want to appear like a civilized human who is not haggard beyond belief!

      • Godwina says:

        Me too. I never wore any makeup until my early 40s (where I am now) because I was blessed with big eyes, thick lashes, full mouth and great skin (though cursed with a fivehead). Now? Mascara, a smoky eye, and a good BB cream, and for nights out, lip colour. Since I started wearing makeup: compliments.

        I’ve never gone full foundation or blush, though. That scares me and I’ll likely make a hash of it with my lack of skills.

  13. Nanea says:

    Dame Helen is so good-looking still, and such a positive and quirky individual. I like her a lot, political views and all.

    My mom is 85, and all she uses is a hydrating foundation, loose powder and then lipstick, usually a berry shade. And she colors her hair, a light golden blond that she prefers to her natural white.

    • Liberty says:

      Honk! My mom does this too, Nanea, and she looks amazing for her age and swears by Pond’s creams — a new doctor was in shock at her wonderful skin. I found my two friends w the best skin in their 30s and early 40s are using the same stuff (Ponds) so I switched. Love it.

      The” Less with Age” thing is a rule I heard first when I was doing adv for some top-end cosmetics brands and from some stylists/photogs on shoots. One ad company cosmetics rep told us that if we couldn’t afford the three-digit price tags on their creams, to use Oil of Olay or Ponds or L’Oreal for the same basic results really. I still use drugstore brands and have contrasted to expensive brands to double-check. Helen is right — the technology is totally there now at every price level.

      How you hydrate and avoid sun and figure out your dairy tolerances makes a difference too, as much as diet — don’t eat crap. I avoid sun, use sunblock, never smoke. I drink my water — and can get by with less make-up and it does make you look better. Yes to the eyeliner-on-top-only trick.

      When I lived in Bavaria, in the countryside, friends had gorgeous skin — also doing what my grandmother recommended! They also had fab natural cometic lines there in the Apotheke that I loved – the original BB creme was from a German co (Scrhammek) too and it’s great. They also had Ponds there! Perfection.

  14. Happyhat says:

    Wow… I’d consider L’Oreal to be high-end, but perhaps that’s because I’m a pauper…

  15. PunkyMomma says:

    Honk! A bit of concealer, a good mascara and a nice lipstick with a matching lip liner. I buy both really expensive as well as drugstore products. I spend the most on the mascara, usually Lancôme because I’ve found the preservatives in drugstore products degenerate more quickly than the department store brands. L’Oreal makes a wonderful concealer that rivals the concealer (I’m too lazy to go check the name) ordered from France that cost mucho bucco. If I splurge on the lip pencil, I can wear drugstore lipstick.

  16. don't kill me i'm french says:

    Store brand and beauty box

  17. Jayna says:

    She and Sharon Stone are aging beautifully. She is older than Sharon, but both seem to share the same philosophy about it. Sharon Stone did a part in the Linda Lovelace movie where she was not glamorous at all, no makeup really, and showed her lines. I didn’t recognize her and admired her for taking such a role where she went the opposite and looked like a middle-aged, frumpy housewife. It reminded me of Helen, who never takes roles for vanity’s sake, yet away from her roles is always younger and fresher looking than her age and beautiful in real life.

    • Steph says:

      Hasn’t Sharon Stone had a ton of plastic surgery though? Good plastic surgery, granted, but I think she’s had some help. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — with a light hand, it can be fine. You don’t want to wind up looking like Janice Dickinson (who really was lovely when she was a girl and before she started jacking her face up).

  18. Jennifer says:

    LOVE HER! I’m 41 and I wear much less makeup than I did even just a few years ago. Gone are the days of eyeliner. It really just makes you look weird (the older you get), I think. And gone are the days of actual colored eye shadows (at least for me). I prefer neutral colors that are a tad shimmery, but nothing heavy.

  19. Jaded says:

    Double honk! And I love that she’s staying away from face pulls and botox and all that crap, she’s utterly gorgeous and sexy as h*ll!

  20. Mrs McCubbins says:

    I agree with her but she’s also had a facelift! I think there’s fillers in her face as well.

  21. Ginger says:

    HONK! I’ve always adored Helen. I pay attention when she speaks about beauty because I’ve wanted to look like her “when I grow up” since I was about 12 and first saw her in Excalibur. I’ve never worn much makeup to begin with so it won’t be a stretch for me to go without. Some days I only curl my lashes and wear a little mascara. Other days I will go for the lipstick and sunglasses. I think what she’s saying is that as you get older you are less self conscious or as I like to say “You don’t give a S#t what other people think” It’s wonderful to wear a little bit of makeup and have a healthy glow. I am however unlike most of you here in that I go to my hairdresser every month for color and a cut. It’s been my thing forever and I’m not ready to give it up. But when I do I would love to go all silver and white like Helen.

  22. LaurieH says:

    This is so incredibly true (take note younger readers!). The instinct is to slather yourswlf in makeup as you get older to cover the wrinkles, skin discolorations and spots – but it make those things demonstratably worse! You end up with cakey/crepey face and add years to your face. I have been experimenting for a year on my 50 year old face and this is what works for me (and shaved 10 yrs off my face): a good cleaning with my Clairsonic at night followed by Roc retinol Correxion moisturizer. In the morning, Trish McEnvoy’s Beauty Booster serum. Bare Escentuals Bareskin foundation (you have to use their special brush), a bit of corally-pink cream blush, some very light cream blush just on the brow bone and corners of my eyes, some mascara (top lashes only) and a pigmented nude lipstick. Perfect.

  23. taxi says:

    Foundation can settle into our lines & “shimmer” is deadly on aging skin, especially in eye shadows. Lipsticks feather or bleed into any fine lines, too. Around 45-50 is when even well- cared-for eyelids can start getting crepe-y. No one is ever too old for mascara.

    Mirren had (at least) a neck lift a few years ago but she looks great & uses age-appropriate makeup, as do Sharon Stone & Jane Fonda.

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      @taxi I’m turning 40 soon and this post makes me want to go stick my head in the oven! You are right of course, just a depressing thought! A little shimmer, used sparingly to highlight, is not a sin. Ah well I hope I look like Helen in 20 yrs. I still like to play with makeup but do wipe most of it off now, it is super ageing.

  24. I Choose Me says:

    Honk! I love her and want her to be my spirit animal. I agree with her about the less makeup as you get older, except I’d amend that to less makeup, period. I absolutely detest the troweled on look.

  25. Janeite says:

    So nice to see a post about Helen Mirren! She’s a lovely lady.

  26. Yelp says:

    Honk! I love her, I want to age just like her. Helen Mirren and Charlotte Rampling are my favorite 50+ ladies.

  27. Lady Macbeth (ex HiddlesF) says:

    Honk! I always loved Helen and yes I always heard that women should wear less makeup when they get older. I am in my early forties and I usually wear no makeup at all. Most of the time, at job interviews I got people asking me if I was cheating on my CV because I don’t even look as being in my thirties. If I put makeup on, I just show my age. Quite a bit of difference.

  28. Emily C. says:

    I don’t think I can wear less makeup as I get older, because what’s less than zero? I don’t get to wear lip balm when I need it now? No one ever HAS to wear any amount of makeup. Just do what you want.

  29. Jenny12 says:

    This woman kicks butt on every possible level and is a great example of aging gracefully and joyfully.

  30. aqua says:

    with or without make up she is simply beautiful

  31. Lexie says:

    I’m 28 and already wearing less makeup than I wore at 22. Back in those fresh-out-of-college days, I wore a full-face to work every day – foundation, blush, eye makeup. Now I use great natural moisturizers, a derma-roller once a month, and an occasional mild peel. All I wear during the day is a combination sunscreen/tinted moisturizer, and my skin hasn’t looked so good since I was a teen.
    Combine that with my new hair cut and someone just asked me what my grade I’m entering!

  32. Godwina says:

    I fell in love with her in the mid-1990s watching Prime Suspect. She was my GURL. Then the rape-culture-y comments/rape apology interview happened and I’ve never regained that level of adoration. I love her *around* her anti-feminism or internalized misogyny or whatever she struggles with, but I can’t truly love her now. The heart breaks. Her views are probably symptoms of her own coping mechanism as a survivor–I get that–but I just can’t with the blind Helen love anymore once she publicly enabled those views. I’ll always be a fan of her performances, though. But I don’t see her “wise,” personally.

  33. Ange says:

    honk!

    I am kind of opposite to her though. I splurge on expensive skin care products and cheap out on the makeup. My philosophy has always been to have great foundation skin and you don’t need a heap of stuff on it. I do buy decent mascara though, that’s the one thing I can’t cheap out on because I have such stubby little eyelashes. :(

  34. Reece says:

    Honk!

    She’s right. It starts to go in all the wrong places and ends up highlighting the wrinkles instead of de-emphasizing them. Especially the sparkly stuff.

  35. Evie says:

    Honking for Dame Helen! She is gorgeous and she has a terrific figure. Here’s a link to a picture of her in a bikini taken in 2011
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2040108/Helen-Mirren-Bikini-photo-haunt-rest-life.html

    Go Helen!

    • Chris says:

      Completely adore her. I have found that post 50 (quite a bit post) I get massive joy from skincare, just to throw this in here….immediate results with gorgeous potions and unguents.
      The eyeliner thing upthread: tightlining (upper lid) is the single most transformative trick I ever found, oh to have known it 30 yrs ago. And a jolly good nude pencil if you want one, in at least three shades of ‘nude’ is by Laura Mercier. Absolutely brilliant and long lasting, unscented too.
      For what it’s worth, I’m of the opinion that she’s had no work done, and couldn’t be arsed about ageing enough to contemplate it.

  36. LaurieH says:

    As someone who just turned 50, I am inclined to write advice book about aging. There are so many misconceptions about “older women” and ridiculous advice being given. Times have changed! A 50 year old woman today is not like a 50 year old from my grandmother’s generation – and yet the advice we’re often given (and worse yet, abide by) seems to come from that time. How many of you have heard that when you reach 40, you should cut your hair? Or stop wearing a bikini? Or that your sex life takes a nose dive? I am 50. I grow my hair out. I wear bikinis. I am a competitive sailboat racer. And I have a scrumptious sex life. I may not “look” as good as I did when I was in my 20′s according to society’s definition of beauty. My body may be more achey than it was when I was younger. But spiritually and emotionally, I have never felt so alive. I think that happens because as you get older, that air of invincibility dissipates and you become acutely aware of your own mortality. So everything is better. It is liberating and worth savoring and celebrating. If you want to wear a lot of makeup and it makes you feel good – do it. For me, it makes me look older and so I wear less. That’s me. But you should do what you want to do – what makes you feel good and happy – and as far as society and younger people giving you side-eye and telling you what you should do – give them the finger. Because with God’s good grace, they’ll be your age one day and understand why they got the finger. :-)

  37. Tres Jolie says:

    Helen does look great, but in fairness to us regular folk she has admitted that she’s had some work done. I do agree with the less is more when you are older though. I used to love using a dark color in my eyelid creases but am finding lately that it doesn’t work for me anymore. I’m using a lighter shade on my lids and it’s much better. Also stopped lining the under eye and replaced it will filling in my eyebrows. Lipstick is a must as they lose their color with age!