living a well tended life... at any age

about face, part three: eyes, cheeks and lips

So we’ve talked skin care. And a whole lot about foundation. Let’s move on to eyes, cheeks and lips!

vintage 70's cutex ad

photo source: found in mom’s basement 

I am, to put it mildly, a make-up minimalist. When I look back at pictures from 20 years ago I am floored by how much makeup I wore (and how much time I must have spent putting it on).

But my lifestyle and (ahem) more mature stage of life dictate a more natural, low-maintenance approach. Which is not to say bare-faced. Oh, no. So let me share my tried-and-true tips for polished, flattering and easy make-up:


 vintage 70's maybelline ad

photo source: flickriver

If I had to answer the proverbial “house on fire” question about what I would grab (in the make-up category, obviously!) – the answer would be mascara. Mascara is my friend. Mascara makes me look alive, awake, refreshed and well-rested. Without it, I get a lot of  “are you feeling well?” Or, “rough night?” You get it.

Okay – mascara tips:

1. Apply to upper lashes only. I know, shocking – right? But think about it – mascara on your bottom lashes means smudge-city by the end of the day. Now I know that the “morning after” look is hot editorially these days, but not so much at nursery school pick-up. Need more convincing? If you emphasize top and bottom lashes equally, you actually close up your eyes and make them look smaller. STILL need more? Once you are of a “certain age” and gravity is no longer your friend, you want attention focused up-up-up when people look at you. I promise, it will take a little getting used to but try it for a week and see what you think.

(Jeez, that was only point #1!)

2. DON’T PUMP THE WAND!!!! Hear me? Every time you put the brush in the tube you put air in as well. Air dries out the mascara and shortens its shelf-life. Pumping the wand is something we mindlessly do, so pay attention and remember – once in, once out.

3. Apply multiple thin coats. Go for 2-3 thin coats as opposed to one thick one, wiping off most of the mascara over the opening of the tube before applying.

4. After three months – toss it. Mascara is notorious for harboring bacteria. You can minimize this by NOT PUMPING the wand (see #2). But you should always replace the tube after 3 months. It’s not designed to last longer than that.

Eyeshadow– Hmm. Don’t wear frosted if you’re over 35? I don’t wear eyeshadow. Can’t help you. Sorry.

vintage 70's maybelline ad

photo source: eyeshadow lipstick 

Eyeliner – If you have  short or sparse lashes or cannot wear mascara, eye liner can add depth and emphasis to your lash line. I skip it, but if you’re so inclined:

Try to picture creating a line along the base of your lashes. There should be no “gap” between your lash base and liner. The best way to do this is by pulling up on your brow for a smooth surface and to go with nice short strokes all the way across. You can then connect the strokes with a q-tip to smooth and set the line, and follow up with another line on top if you like.

Upper lashes only – see mascara tip #1. If I could get every woman I know to change one thing it would be to stop lining under their eyes. This flatters no one. Trust me.

vintage 70's aziza ad

 photo source: flickriver


Most important blush tip? You know you’ve “done it wrong” when someone compliments your blush. It should be sparingly applied and, when done correctly, look like your cheeks’ own natural color.

On that note, don’t match your blush to your outfit. Blush is like foundation – it should complement your skin’s tone and coloring, and look as natural as possible. You can coordinate eye shadow and lipstick with your clothes – your blush should look like YOU.

So – WHERE does the blush go? Here’s my no-fail trick to applying blush in the perfect spot every time:blush zone

image source: sharenoesis

Picture a vertical line running down your face, starting from the center of your eye and working down – the blush goes no closer in toward toward the center of your face than that. Now imagine a perpendicular line running horizontally along the base of your nose – the blush goes no lower than that. At the point where those two imaginary lines meet is where your blush starts, working your way up and out toward your temples. Done.


vintage 70's lipsmackers ad

photo source: found in mom’s basement 

Wouldn’t you love to do your lips once in the morning and not have to touch up till afternoon? Lip liner will make all the difference in how your lipstick looks and how long it lasts. Here’s how to apply it:

Start with your lip liner. If you’ve never used one before and are leery, pick a neutral shade (one that’s close to your natural lip color) to start. Outline your lips and then fill in completely.

Next, apply your lipstick. Lightly blot.

Finally, go back over your lips with the lip pencil – but outline only this time. This gives a nice precise shape to your lips and helps prevent feathering and bleeding.

You will LOVE how this looks and how much longer your lipstick wears.

So that does it for my beauty series! What did you think? I know that this stepped outside of my “DDD” box, but I really do love sharing what I know and I hope that you found it helpful. Are there other beauty/skincare topics you’d like to see here? Please let me know – your suggestion may appear in a future post!

I had fun finding these vintage ads – like every teenage girl in the 70’s, I was obsessed with “Seventeen” magazine. This last ad is for Love’s Baby Soft, which I literally doused myself in throughout my entire adolescence:

vintage 70's love's baby soft ad

photo source: ads by dee

I was 12 when this ad came out. Could you imagine this ad appearing in a girls’ magazine today?

Good times.


  1. Sandra on May 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I wear soooo much less makeup too than in my younger days. Partly time constraints (post-kid I just can’t spend the time to put it on and take it off) and partly I find that my skin is much more sensitive to everything.

    Mascara and a little concealer and eye liner and lipstick and blush are for going out. During the day, blush?

    I think too I got into wearing less after 10 years on the east coast – hot humid summers do not make for makeup wearing!

    • sheri silver on May 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      I’ve definitely noticed a trend in the “less is more” look amongst my friends as we’ve gotten older – and it’s a good thing, overall!

  2. Hotly Spiced on May 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I didn’t know that about pumping the wand and I’ve always only worn one coat. Great to learn something new at this stage of my life – but like you, I wear minimal (but not bare-faced) make-up and no, no eye shadow xx

    • sheri silver on May 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      Glad to be the one to show you! 🙂

  3. Melanie on May 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I want to dig through your mom’s basement! I swear I remember that Bonne Bell ad! I used to wear Love’s Baby Soft too. I even had a Love’s Baby Soft nightshirt. 🙂

    • Melanie on May 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Dude…I thought these were really from your mom’s basement. Ha!

      • sheri silver on May 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm

        Cracking up right now – I wondered how many people would think that! I do have an actual 1978 Seventeen magazine – the coveted “Back to School” issue, no less!

    • sheri silver on May 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      I had the nightshirt too!

  4. Jennifer Cullen on May 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Love this info. And yes, I do remember Love’s Baby Soft. I actually wore it. I’m more of a minimalist now too.
    I do wear mascara most days and I am guilty of wand pumping. I’ll try to stop now!

    • sheri silver on May 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Good girl – your eyes will thank you! xo

  5. Leslie on May 23, 2012 at 8:37 am

    It’s so funny to think that when I was 16 with a youthful face and perfect skin I spent half an hour “fixing my face” every day and nearly 30 years later makeup is something I only wear on special occasions! I had the Seventeens and also Young Miss (anyone remember that–they changed the name to Young and Modern later!).

    • sheri silver on May 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      YES! Oh my, I loved Young Miss too! 🙂

  6. Lisa on May 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Sheri, as always, your tips are wonderful! I had no idea about the mascara (especially the tossing the tube after 3 months part! Will follow your advice right now). Also, I will refrain from doing my lower lashes – while this will be a tough habit to break, you’ve convinced me!

    Love, love, LOVE the vintage images. How awesome are those!

    • sheri silver on May 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Good girl – let me know how the “lower lash” thing goes! And how great were those ads! I was up way too late looking through them! 🙂

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