Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: "Makeup ages you"

A recent International Herald Tribune article on Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's humanitarian visit to Burkina Faso included a little dish from France's first lady:

In private, Bruni-Sarkozy has no trouble making down-to-earth small talk: that Daniel Craig is good-looking but Sean Connery will go down as the best James Bond; how some of her friends have become paranoid that their phone conversations with her are monitored by French intelligence officers; how women over 25 - 28 at the latest - should stop wearing makeup because it ages them; how she longs to have a child with Sarkozy, but knows that at age 41, she is "just at the edge."

I wonder if she means foundation, which can sit in lines and look cakey.

But... 28!
Just at the age when you begin to realize your skin won't look flawlessly fresh forever, Carla urges you to junk your kit.

On the other hand, she has a point. I met with a woman recently who had that telltale orangy line around the bottom of her face, the masklike result of the wrong shade, badly blended, and thought foregoing foundation would have looked so much better.

I changed my makeup around Carla's present age, realizing deep red lipstick made me look crazed, not racy- though I still keep a tube of in my drawer and occasionally put it on to read in bed. (I still keep my toenails red!)

I also axed aggressive coral and bright fuscia, which I thought were perky, but which made the makeup expert at Bobbi Brown shudder. He moved me into those neutral 'lippy' colours I've stuck with.

Maybe at 60 I should revise my makeup palette again.
Have you changed your products or colours as you mature? What do you recommend for your gorgeous, post-50 friends?


Anonymous said…
Hmm... interesting that she says nothing of abandoning the window and curtains hairstyle by a certain age. It is the one thing I do not like about her. When she wears it up she looks a million dollars, just as she did with a fringe (bangs to you!).

I've never liked wearing foundation make-up. I've tried every brand in every shade over the decades and have never ever found one that looks natural. Not only that but it also takes the natural dewiness out of my complexion rather like nail polish remover takes the natural shine out of your nails.

Now I use a fine layer of fake tan (Lancome) on my face in the winter months, applied once a week after gentle exfoliation. Much more comfortable and doesn't highlight the fine lines.
Susan B said…
I've given up on liquid foundation as well. I'm currently using a loose mineral powder from a makeup line my hair stylist is trying to market and develop, but I also like the Diorskin powder. I'm finding that powders (lightly applied) seem to tone down the redness better (I've inherited the ruddiness of my Scottish ancestors). I've also given up on brightly colored lipstick, and dark lipsticks. They seem to make my lips look smaller and draw attention to the jowls that are beginning to develop on either side. And no more frosted eye shadow...yikes! In fact, I usually just fill in by skimpy brows a bit and maybe use some mascara and that's it on the eyes. But I think blush still works for me, as long as it has a little bit of sparkle/radiance in it. Bronzers generally make me look too brown/orange.
Julianne said…
My 16 year old son had quite insightful observations for me. He said "mom, that red lipstick makes you look old." And even better, " mom you have lines over your lips." Thanks!

I really have looked at a lot of pictures from France, and truly the women with less makeup look best. I think it starts with getting your skin in the best shape possible, and I am working on that. I can't go with no makeup, I would look dead. But I am trying to perfect wearing it while not looking like I am wearing any.
Anonymous said…
Poor Carla. Wait til her skin fades. And will she apply her dogma to hair colour too?

Sophia Loren said that the pursuit of beauty is one of the great joys of being a woman.

I have found the makeup -foundation answer for me at least: Tinted moisturizer! It gives enough coverage to even out my already pretty good old skin,never looks cakey or gives colour lines and comes with SPF if you want it. You might have to fool around to get the type which works for you: matte, shiny, rich, light. Even the cheap ones (Cover Girl) are good but my current favourite is the the VICHY line; lumineuse or matte.

I eschew powder (which makes me look old) of all kinds, including blush, preferring the TARTE line of sheer cheek stains. I like the sheer long lasting lipcolors in the Revlon ColorStay line, particularly Sheer Pomegrante for the winter when I am pale and Sheer Rosette for the summer when I have some colour and like a less red lipstick look. Eyeliner in gray and MAC shadow in Shale. Voluminous black-brown mascara and I'm done in 5 minutes.

Oh, lordy, I love makeup! It turns me from a plain hausfrau into a tolerably pretty woman. Magic!

WendyB said…
Funny, I often think Carla could use a little makeup. She looks so wan. I always thinking that she looked so amazing during her modeling days and guessing that's what good makeup does for someone with good bone structure. Makes 'em something much better than they are.
WendyB said…
Funny, I often think Carla could use a little makeup. She looks so wan. I always thinking that she looked so amazing during her modeling days and guessing that's what good makeup does for someone with good bone structure. Makes 'em something much better than they are.
materfamilias said…
Like sjcyogi, I'm a tinted moisturizer user. I also use a neutral eyeshadow, some cream blush, and some mascara. Carla's lucky she doesn't need to for now, but like Pseu I need to tone down the ruddiness, and probably unlike Pseu, I have short, pale lashes that benefit from a coat of colour.
As for the lips, I've watched for years as a dynamic older friend (in her 70s) transforms herself magically from wan and tired to vibrant and beautiful with the sweep of a gorgeous fuschia lipstick -- it may simply be a combination of charisma and placebo effect, it may break the rules about ageing and makeup, and it may be purely individual, but it's damned impressive -- I say ignore the rule-makers and find what lets you shine (altho' it doesn't hurt to let the Carlas inspire you to take an honest, clear-eyed look in the mirror from time to time)
Frugal Scholar said…
Carla has been blessed with beauty, brains, talent, and fortune! But I do think she is wrong. When you are young, you don't really need make-up. when you are older, you need it to look like you are taking care of yourself. that makes a difference in how people respond to you and how you feel about yourself.

My husband once said that, while we have different shares of beauty when we are young, as we age, we start to look more and more alike. So life becomes more fair. That struck me as a wise statement.
I tend to use a mineral powder with my older clients,though some still like the liquid foundation I have (which is very light and gives you a nice dewy look, and doesnt seem to settle into lines).

Blush is a must as it gives back some colour, mascara and lipstick are the essentials - after that you can play, but avoid eyeshadows with sheen.
Mardel said…
Hmm, I like a little foundation, but I have used tinted moisturizer as well. I like my foundation applied very sparingly, using a brush, and about half the amount you think you may be able to get away with. Getting the color right is important, as is a primer. Otherwise I keep the makeup looking pretty neutral and natural. I have pale lashes and need mascara, and avoid powder, it makes my already dry skin look much older.
Duchesse said…
All: OK! I am getting tinted moisturizer. Moisture on the face, lips, lids: take that advice, Carla!

sjcyogi: Maybe when we have lunch Friday you would help me pick the right shade?

materfamilias: Oh how I wish I could pull off bright lipstick! Good for her!

Fugal: That remark of Mr Dr's makes me think... may apply more to men than women, I'll have to observe for awhile. Interesting idea.

mardel: That's an intriguing way of applying moisturizer. Almost like the airbrush but without all the fuss.
Anonymous said…
Great post Duchesse! I love to hate Carla Bruni....

I think the less is more idea for everyday is true if you want to look youngish...But the true goal should be to look fresh, healthy, alive. That means making the eyes stand out by using a little coverup on your "spots" on your face. Once they recede, your eyes have the chance to be the focus of your face.

All you need is a little concealer under the eye, a flick of black mascara and well-groomed eyebrow.

I love to dab a bit of Bobbi Brown creme blush on my cheeks for a healthy flush.

Light lips in neutral pinks work great on most women.

Giorgio Armani Shaping Foundation is the best for when you really want a nice base layer...IE weddings! I have no idea what's in it, but it is just superior for coverage that looks imperceptible, and it gives a very subtle glow, and I don't mean "shine" or "sparkle." It blends beautifully and lasts much longer than you should keep any cosmetic!
my skin tone is so uneven that i must use foundation when "dressing up" but have gone for an almost mousse like consistency -- very light. i gave up shiny eye shadows, and i also gave up blush about 10 years ago. it never sits right on me and i already have a very "ruddy" complexion (also from scots ancestors)... because i wear glasses, i have to wear mascara, but make sure the brush is really almost dry so there's no clumping. (sorry, but sophia loren looked pretty frightening at the Oscars, i thought) no eyeliner and i use a sort of neutral shade of lip gloss. i am certainly thinking of a makeup consult with someone good (i believe deja pseu recommended bobby brown). i can't stand to look "made up" but can't get away with naked skin anymore, if ever.
Anonymous said…
Southern Women are known world-wide for being beautiful. It's because they take care of themselves, and sorry, Carla, but they wear makeup. And plenty of it. You can wear as much as you want as long as it is blended properly and the right colors. Including foundation. I've yet to see a woman who doesn't need at least some makeup. After 30 foundation is a must. You just have to find the right one for your skin.
Duchesse said…
Anonymous: Let's hope Carla Googles herself and finds these comments!

Sjcyogi: Thanks for finding me the great feather-light makeup (a L'Oreal product) and teaching me to blend with moisturizer for a "custom colour" that's probably 1/6 the price of Prescriptives. You are my makeup guru!
Anonymous said…
Anonymous about Southern Women. I'm assuming you mean Southern US? (Not Southern Italy or Southern France?) The overly-made-up look many Southern US belles go for is considered very gauche in France. It is seen there, and seen even more in Italy, but on people one would think of as gaudy Eurotrash.

Cultures are different.

I don't wear much makeup in daily life, but I'd love to know how to update it - one of the reasons I tend to eschew it. All the best-before lipsticks I have in that drawer are various reds. I'd look ghastly in pinky stuff, but red looks wrong. Honestly don't know what to wear and don't find most magazines very useful for an artist in her 50s who doesn't want to look like the proverbial mutton alert, or corporate.

Unlike Anonymous, I tend to agree that too much makeup ages you, but that doesn't necessarily mean that some isn't a great help. I do see a lot of women over 40 (on up to 90 and on) who look ghastly with all the makeup they cake on.
Anonymous said…
Once again, you can't argue with the fact that southern belles are considered the great beauties of the US. Much more so than French women, or any other women for that matter. I hear and see so many women who think they 'don't do makeup' and they are so wrong.

Most true southern women know how to blend their makeup and wear it well. Sorry, it's just a fact.
Anonymous said…
Northern vs. Southern Women
My friend Anita lived and now lives in Michigan, but for many years she lived in Atlanta. Here's her reaction to my earlier posting about southern vs. northern women:

I can tell you first hand what the difference is in Northern and Southern gals. After moving south, I had to learn how to dress.

Living in Atlanta for several years and coming back north once a year, my husband and I could plainly see the difference. On one such visit, we landed in Grand Rapids (Michigan) and stayed the night at a hotel. In the morning I looked at the people there having brunch and said, " Look at these women! They are colorless !!" The women were all dressed in mainly solid browns, blues and grays. There was nothing outstanding about the design of their clothing. They only wore a trace of make up and nothing flashy in the way of earrings and jewelry. And plain shoes. It was summer !!! Were these woman not pretty? I think they were not using what they had.

Southern gals just know that if one is good, two is better and three is better yet. They go for the total package look from a very young age and time and effort is put into looking nice. Little girls have ribbons and accessories for their hair and there it starts.

The difference in using make up is night and day. The vast majority of Southern gals wouldn't go anywhere without make up. If the Northern gals put on a light coat of mascara they are doing good. With Southern gals, if the jewery isn't big enough to be seen at an arms length, it isn't worth having including earrings and a diamond engagement ring.

Just sitting in the parking lot of a Michigan Wal-Mart vs the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Fayetteville, Georgia tells it all. Michigan gives gals in jeans, printed tee-shirts, dirty white running shoes, little or no make up or jewery. In Fayetteville, the girl can be wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, but the tee is tucked in, she has a cute belt, her shoes are dressier, her hair is done, she has make -up on and a showy pair of earrings. Is one girl better looking than the other?? All things being equal, the Southern gal is more pleasing to look at.

The shoes that are offered in the South are so much nicer than the ones in the North. While living in Atlanta, I bought some really stylish shoes ...... soft green suede, suede and snake skin heals in eggplant color, multi color leathers of teal, tan and coral with satin ribbon ties. I haven't seen such offered in this area. They most likely wouldn't sell.

To conclude. Southern gals have a more polished look.

Category: Eclectic Miscellany Posted on Tuesday, April 8
Susan B said…
Anon - having lived in different regions of the US, it's been my experience that every region has a little bit different aesthetic. People in Northern California dress up a bit more than they do here in So Cal. I was rasied to believe that a lot of makeup and jewelry was "tacky" by my family, but was also lectured by a woman in New York that only NY women really knew how to dress and wear makeup. So everyone has their regional loyalties, I guess. I think ultimately we all have to figure out what aesthetic we're comfortable with and go with it. I've seen beautiful women everywhere I've been: U.S. (north, south, east and west), Canada, Paris, Mexico, Costa Rica, and women everywhere who don't take care of themselves. No one has a monopoly either way.
Duchesse said…
Anonymous: Like Deja Pseu, I enjoy observing regional or national differences in how women present themselves. I wouldn't call one "better", though when confronted with a look I rarely see in my locale, it can cause me to think initially "Wow, I would never wear that." I think it's just what one is accustomed to seeing.

And sometimes I see a woman looking so amazing (to my eye) that I wish I could borrow an ounce of her style!

The challenge is when one moves (or visits for work)- whether to try to fit in or keep the look habitual to you.
s. said…
I think Carla - and her hair - is gorgeous but she has been chain smoking for more than 20 years so I think she's soon going to have to turn to the scalpel or some other extreme measures if she wants to remain so beautiful.

I lived 4 years in the American South and I lived 5 years in Paris and, to my eye, the women of both places were hideously unappealing compared to New York women. Just goes to show you how we all have different opinions of what is pleasing.
Duchesse said…
s.: "Hideously unappealing" was a surprise to me. I wouldn't put the women of the US South and Parisiennes in the same category at all- I can usually tell which is which when they visit one another's habitat.

And I have seen more bad haircuts in NYC than in other cities of over 3 million.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Duchesse said…
Anonymous at 9:25 on 04/10/10:
I have deleted your comment because it was was neither a fully-developed thought nor a contribution to a current discussion. I also request that anonymous commenters sign their posts to put a modicum of accountability into the forum.

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