Going ‘Less Is More’ with Make-Up, But With Fabulous Skin

Image of Alicia Keys by Andrea Pippins from Lenny.com

Image of Alicia Keys by Andrea Pippins from Lenny.com

The facialist Sharon McGlinchey was over from her native Australia recently, in between making me feel amazing (she is my favourite facialist, evs) we hung out and chatted about having the confidence to go make-up free now we’re a bit older.

The conversation was inspired by Sharon’s friend Dotti recently having helped Alicia Keyes improve her skin (using Sharon’s products, as it happens) in order to make her bold #NoMakeUp announcement. Alicia wrote an excellent essay Time To Uncover on Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s brilliant Lenny website.

Much like our views on colouring our hair, it’s coincided with me becoming increasingly lo-fi with my make up routine as I’ve gotten older.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a red lipstick and can waste hours looking at foundations, but as a freelancer who works mostly from home and who is generally lazy when it comes to twiddling about with eyeliner brushes and pencils (who has the time to do those winged flicks?) I’ve been rethinking my whole approach to make up. I’d rather spend my money on perfume.

I emailed New York based Dotti to ask her opinion on going ‘less is more’ on my make up routine.

“With the base, look for a more sheer tint, which will give you an even glow and sheer coverage, so as not to mask the skin. When applying, remember you can sheer-down your base by adding in some moisturiser. And apply with your fingers, as the heat of the hand helps settle base into the skin. Also tinting lashes is very elegant, you just curl and go and if you use a mascara, brush or comb the lashes to keep them fanned open. Remember colour can be used for a pop of humor and personality, to bring out what you love about you.”

I’m thinking my red lipstick is OK then, or my Pepto-Bismel pink…But she finishes off with a few wise words on skin…

“Looking after the skin is the most important part of makeup, because its the largest organ in body and plays a huge part in our communication”

I asked Sharon if her grown up customers were brave enough to go without make up or did they still need that prop?

“My experience is that the older women get, they realise they need less make up, not more. My experience at the moment is that younger girls are wearing a lot of make up, they seem determined to cover up and create this absolutely flawless finish, I’m seeing a lot of girls in their twenties with bad acne because they’ve been using heavy coverage since their early teens.

Dotti’s been Alicia’s make up artist for six years and she’s been spending a lot of time cleaning her skin up, focusing on ‘less is more’. I’m ‘less is more’ on my skin care approach and Dotti believes ‘less is more’ for make up. She’s a make up artist who wears very  little make up!

We first met because she sent a lot of models who were having skin traumas – acne and irritations – to me, so I could fix their skin. If you have great skin you don’t need to wear much make up, it gives you the confidence to go without. Dotti’s make up routine’s all about a hint of mascara, a bit of blush on your cheeks and a bit of lip gloss.”

It takes confidence to say ‘my skin is good enough’ though, doesn’t it?

“Oh definitely. We all think, ‘everyone else has it on, so I should too’.

My aim is to repair the skin, to give it a helping hand in the most natural way possible. My products are concentrated and a little goes a long way.  You know by our age that if you eat healthily, you see it come through in better skin, so putting a load of chemicals on your face seems counter intuitive.

My older clients don’t want to wear a lot of make up, but they do turn to Botox and fillers because they don’t want the lines. We all go through weak points in life, as our kids leave home we start to question who we are. And if all our friends are doing it, perhaps you’re divorced or thinking of internet dating, there’s pressure to conform. We need more role models, strong women like Alicia, who will stand up and say, “I’m fine the way I am, wrinkles and no make up are fine’.”


Two of my favourite moisturisers from the MV range

Interestingly, Sharon tells me that French women are the least users of Botox, possibly because they are brought up looking after their skin and have a strong sense of themselves. They see the value in a great hair cut, a regular facial and good clothes.

So I’m going Less Is More with make up FNO and I’m going to employ the same rules that we’ve been applying here at TWR to our recent fashion purchasing, buy less but buy better. Good foundation (I am a YSL fan), good lipstick (Bobbi Brown) and good skincare (Sharon’s MV Organic Skincare is a good start).

What about you? Do you fancy going make-up free now you’re a grown up?


Two good ‘repair’ oils from the MV range










  • Sandra says:

    Good article. I really go for more natural products too. As far as make-up is concerned, I definitely use less since I got to retirement age: foundation, mascara, natural lipstick or lip gloss. These organic skincare products look wonderful!

  • Janet says:

    Totally agree about looking after one’s skin, cleansing and moisturising carefully and regularly, but although I may do the no make-up look at home, I’ll almost always put on some light foundation, blusher, mascara and lipstick if going out of the house. I’ve been using mostly Clinique products for about 20 years or so, and rarely get any irritation on my skin. These products look interesting,

  • What a wonderful article! I’ve learned so many fantastic makeup tips and tricks from this tutorial. I really appreciate organic skin care products that will be useful for everyone. Really products are very effective and innovative. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that your skin absorbs what you put on it. I’ll definitely look into using more natural products in the future so I can keep my body healthy. Thanks for the great post!

  • Amanda says:

    Glad it’s hit the spot womenfolk, and the MV products are terrific, I can vouch for that, I’ve been using them for a while now. They are quietly, simply, fabulous. A

  • Jacqueline says:

    I’m with you all the way on this. At almost 70 I am fanatical about cleansing and moisturising but have never used any ‘anti ageing’ products, due to a sensitive skin being prone to allergic reactions. Now concentrating on my brows and using the Bobbi Brown gel plus her great lipsticks. Nars foundation and mascara and that’s it for the day.

  • Katy F says:

    Yes, I agree, good skin is everything. Make up is a fun addition, but a light touch is best. I have to wonder how all these ‘beautiful’ young women who cover themselves in make up every day will cope with ageing. Personally I love to see good skin, good grooming and personality in a woman’s look rather than the carbon copy look that is popular.

  • June Mason says:

    Can I buy Sharon McGlincheys in the U K

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