What Meryl Streep can teach you about makeup

London - Even Hollywood’s most beautiful women suffer from sallow skin, crepey eyes and thinning lips over 50. The right make-up can hide a multitude of sins, but get it wrong and you can look even older. Celebrity make-up artist Lisa Eldridge has worked with Vanessa Redgrave and Sandra Bullock as well as younger stars such as Keira Knightley. Here, she talks about the best products and tricks for older faces - and which stars do it best.

Meryl Streep, 63, has wonderfully expressive brows. They're long, thick and match her fair hair.Vanessa Redgrave, 76, has a lovely natural glow. Her make-up is always fresh, clean and brightening but never obvious.Intuitives are already highly popular in the US. There, psychic Laura Day has made millions as a consultant to Wall Street corporations and actresses such as Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, pictured, and Nicole Kidman.Goldie Hawn uses it 'to manage stress'.A  bright red lip is an elegant, modern look on an older woman and Annette looks fabulousJudi Dench, 78, is a master at the perfect evening eye.


Eyebrows lighten and thin with age, so using an eye pencil will make a dramatic difference to an older face, restoring definition and structure.

Create small, light, imperfect strokes, tracing where brows have thinned so they look natural and not drawn on.

Avoid anything darker than your hair colour - brows that blend in look more forgiving. If you have grey or greying hair, avoid red or brown pencils which can look fake.


Meryl Streep, 63, has wonderfully expressive brows. They’re long, thick and match her fair hair. The high arch lifts her face and eyes and they are rough and ready enough to look natural but well groomed.


The wrong foundation can be more ageing than grey hair. Older faces suit something with a light, fresh and balmy texture, such as Bobbi Brown’s tinted moisturising balm (

Never test foundation on the back of your hand - this area ages more quickly and a tone that matches here will be completely the wrong colour for your face.

Blend a test patch towards the back of your jaw and down the side of your neck, which is less pigmented or blotchy and provides the truest representation of your natural skin tone.

Older ladies shouldn’t use a puff: it disperses too much powder at once, allowing it to stick in creases and drawing attention to lines.

If you need powder, use it sparingly and build up slowly with a brush no bigger than a 50 pence piece.

Vanessa Redgrave, 76, has a lovely natural glow. Her make-up is always fresh, clean and brightening but never obvious.

I use a tinted moisturising balm and Chanel’s Vitalumiere foundation (Boots) on her, which are smoothing and boost natural luminosity. She loves a more paired-back look.


As we get older our cheeks drop, so blusher makes faces instantly more youthful. Instead of applying it just around the cheek’s apple -the fattest part of the cheek - blend upwards and outwards towards the ear covering a larger surface area. This counters a sagging jowl and gives a brighter, flushed feel.

Circles of blusher look dated. If you have grey or very fair hair and a cool complexion, choose pale pink tones. Those with olive complexions and darker hair suit a peach cheek.

Cream blushers are better than powders for older, dry skin. Max Factor’s miracle touch creamy blush (Boots) is one of the best.

Demi Moore, 50, likes to clash her olive complexion with a pale pink cheek, which she carries off with ease. It’s all about maintaining soft, flattering lines.

Whenever I do her make-up with an apricot blusher she stops me, handing over a pink one instead which always looks better. Sometimes you can break a few rules.


Older skins should splash out on expensive bronzers as the particles are milled more finely and sit without clogging up in any creases.

Apart from brands like Guerlain and Clinique - which do the best finely milled bronzers - Bourjois is the only High Street brand with a matt bronzer free from glitter and shimmer, which can look wrong on an older face.

A quick brush of bronzer can hide lighter patches of skin that form under the eyes as we age. Don’t use a brush with a large head for bronzing as it flattens the face.

A small brush can direct colour to specific places to shape and contour the face.

Goldie Hawn, 67, has a great healthy glow. Her skin looks natural and never too orange. Concentrate bronzer on the cheeks, nose and forehead - the places where the sun would naturally fall - and use a tawny shade for a sun-kissed look.


Lipstick needn’t dull with age. As long as the rest of your face looks natural, a bright red, pink or orange works in your 50s, 60s or 70s. Texture is important though, as lips thin and dry as we get older and matt lipsticks dry lips out even more. Instead, use moisturising lipstick or tinted balm. I like YSL’s Rouge Volupte Shine (£24, for older mouths, as it contains plumping hyaluronic capsules.

When I did 54-year-old Annette Bening’s make-up for the BAFTAs, we chose her dress around a bright red lip. This is an elegant, modern look on an older woman and Annette looked fabulous. We used a lip liner in the same shade to enhance and enlarge her natural lip line.


Avoid metallic or shimmering eyeshadow, which gathers in the lines around our eyes. Carefully applied eye liner and mascara, however, can work miracles and create definition.

Use good eyeliner and pull the eyebrow as high as you can. Move a pencil in tiny circular movements where the lashes meet the eyelid. Work the colour into the root and base of the lashes, staying on the outer half of the eyelid to open the eye and add depth.

Apply mascara right to the roots of lashes, using a magnifying mirror to help you see what you’re doing. Older women shouldn’t wear shiny liquid liner, which looks far too severe.

Use a cotton bud or fingertip to smudge and soften the edges of liners or eyeshadows. Eyelashes can thin with age but fake eyelashes can help.

Accents - shorter lash strips about ten lashes long - are natural looking and easy to apply. Attach them at the outer edges to widen and lift sagging lids (

Judi Dench, 78, is a master at the perfect evening eye. She has a strong brow bone and deep set eyes, so smoky, well-blended colours at the back of the socket bring out her eyes. - Daily Mail