Look good at any age

A beauty expert says getting older doesn't mean you have to give up your fashion sense

March 11, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Brenda Dalton of Hagerstown has been working in the beauty industry for more than 30 years and owns a salon in Frederick, Md. She says from dressing appropriately for your age to good skin care can help you look younger.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

When Brenda Dalton dips into her bag of hair and makeup tricks, she often performs a little magic.

She transforms her clients from drab to fab.

For more than 30 years, Dalton has worked in the world of beauty.

She's been an image consultant in New York and Philadelphia, has provided hair and makeup for national photo shoots and has taught the professional beauty industry the latest trends.

She also does hair and makeup for brides and pageant contestants, was a total image consultant for many years with Miss Maryland and owns a salon — RoseBrooke Studio in downtown Frederick, Md.

In addition, she's a stylist to some of music's top bands, including REO Speedwagon, who will be performing in Frederick this summer and will be visiting Dalton's studio.

With her expertise, the Hagerstown woman knows beauty.

And working with clients of all backgrounds and ages, she also knows the desire to look stylish doesn't disappear after a certain number of birthdays.

But keeping up with the trends and not looking like you're stuck in a time warp can be a challenge for some older adults.

Look mature, not dated

The key is updating your image without looking like your daughter, Dalton said.

Dalton said women today are more in tune than ever with looking their best.

"We've come a long way, babe," she said. "We are multitasking every day and realizing we must give something back to ourselves — and that includes looking and feeling the best we can."

Dalton said today's older adults can look fashionable and cutting edge — and they don't have to shop in the junior department.

"We live in the year 2011, ladies," she said. "There are lots of great fashions suitable for all shapes and sizes that are age appropriate. As far as dressing like a teenager, I don't think skinny jeans are for everyone."

Skin makes a difference

Dalton said she teaches a total image class for those people who need a little help with making the right fashion choices — from clothing to makeup and hair.

But the No. 1 tip she provides for everyone, she said, is the importance of good skin care.

"Skin cares includes three basic steps every morning and evening," she said. "Cleanse, tone and moisturize."

It's also important to exfoliate once a week in order to remove the old skin cells and generate new ones, she said. This will help your skin care products to penetrate into the skin and really do their job.

Dalton suggests a mask once a week to increase your natural moisturizing levels or to clarify and remove excess oils and impurities.

"It's also very important to adjust your skin care products for every change of season," she said. "Our skin reacts differently to all environmental changes, such as humidity, dry air and wind. Our skin also will try to adjust to hormonal changes and medications. That's why it's important to keep a pH balance of 4.5. As we get older, we want to make sure we're treating our skin like fine china, not every day dishes."

An unfortunate side of aging is the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

"As we all go through the aging process, our skin is depleted of collagen and our laugh lines become deeper and our forehead lines become more prominent," she said. "Feeding our skin active ingredients to create and speed up cellular activity is very important. There are lots of great professional products that have the latest and greatest science delivery systems to help this process. Antioxidants are also a key factor — vitamins A, C, D and E — to preserve our skin and keep it healthy."

Though tempting, Dalton suggests staying away from products that claim they can fill in the lines. "It's usually a fiber product that will smear your makeup and flake off throughout the day."

Also, drink lots of water, she stressed. "Fine lines come from beneath our top layer of skin. Water helps to keep the skin hydrated."

Other problem areas for many older adults are age spots and discoloration.

"Age spots are hyperpigmentation stuck beneath the top layer of skin," Dalton said. "It's usually caused by sun damage, hormonal changes, such as menopause and pregnancy, as well as any time our estrogen levels change."

There are many products, both over-the-counter and by prescription, that can address this area.

But staying out of the sun and always using sunblock are your best defenses, she said.

Watch how you put on your makeup

Dalton said makeup can also make or break your look as you age.

How much makeup you use and what you use depends on a person's lifestyle and preferences, she said. 

But she suggests natural tones on the eyes, light color lips and blush for a daytime look. Moving into night, you might try darker shades. Color depends on hair and skin tones (warm or cool), she said. That's why it's important for a professional makeup consultant to help direct you so you're not spending lots of money on products you'll try and never use again, she said.

Application technique also is valuable instruction provided by a professional. 

"You can create depth on the face and enhance your God-given features," she said. "For example, if you want to make your lips bigger, apply your lip pencil on the outside of your lips. If you want them smaller, apply on the inside of the lip line."

Hair is just as important

When it comes to hairstyles, Dalton said getting older doesn't mean creativity is off limits.

"Getting the right look depends greatly on one's facial features, lifestyles and the expectations of how they want to see themselves," she said. "And, as far as hair color, it's an art, not a way of life. There is no rule of light vs. dark shades as we get older."

As women have become more secure in who they are, many are opting to keep their gray, Dalton said.

"Gray is beautiful. But, sometimes, it doesn't come in evenly, making maintenance difficult. Blending your natural hair color into gray is an option. There also are some shampoos and conditioners to help keep gray from looking yellow and dull. There, again, it is best to have a great hairstylist who can help direct you professionally."

Most important, she said, is to keep it simple and cost effective. With good advice, you can look great at any age and it doesn't have to involve a lot of money.

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