Stephan Baldwin is the Director of Business Development for Assisted Living Center, a resource for senior care communities.
Applying makeup on seniors is a niche that savvy beauty professionals recognize as lucrative. When beauty pros master the skills and build a loyal clientele, they’ll reap the benefits for years to come. Elderly skin requires special care and expertise. Following are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Less Is More
The same dramatic eyes and lips that make a young woman look captivating and mysterious, tends to make seniors appear overdone and, for lack of a better term, “like they’re trying too hard.” Though the inclination might be to apply heavier makeup to disguise age spots, lines, scars and other imperfections, doing so will create an unnatural look. Seniors’ features tend to fade over time. Using a light hand to gently bring out features like eyebrows, eyelashes and lips is often all that’s needed to make a senior lady look stunning.
2. Seniors Might Be More Pain-Sensitive
Remember that seniors could be on medications that cause pain sensitivity. They may have face or eye injuries leftover from surgeries that are still sensitive or in the healing phase. Whereas a young woman might not even blink when plucking her brows, the same treatment could cause excruciating pain to a senior. Be extra gentle, and be sure to have your client alert you if you’re causing her any pain.
3. Skin Undertones May Be Unusual
Most young and middle-aged people can be categorized as having red, green or blue skin undertones. Seniors, however, may have unusual skin undertones such as yellow or gray. This could be due to medication side effects or an underlying illness. Be prepared to blend a special foundation when applying senior makeup, because you might not be able to find a good match at your beauty supplies store.
4. Highlighter Is Your New Best Friend
Senior skin is often a big saggy from gravity’s impact over the years, and can be uneven or dull from wear and tear that everyone encounters in life. Highlighter is your best friend when applying makeup on senior citizens. With the effective use of a good highlighter, the skin over your client’s eyes will appear tighter and brighter. Your client’s skin can achieve luminescence, and sagging jowls can be disguised.
5. Moisturizer Is the New Foundation
Younger skin often needs a combination of oil-sopping ingredients and moisturizer, depending on the client. Seniors almost invariably do well with a comprehensive application of moisturizer before anything else goes on the skin. Moisturizer can serve as a makeup primer.
6. Consult with Your Client on Colors
Seniors have spent years in front of the mirror, and they will have strong opinions on what colors look good on them, and which ones they dislike. While as the cosmetologist, you should certainly suggest possible colors to use, it’s important to listen to what your senior client wants. Rather than try to change a client’s mind, give their choices a chance. Your client’s color choices combined with the expertise of a beauty pro might create a beautiful result.
7. Stay Away from Black
Black makeup simply isn’t the most flattering color for seniors. It tends to lend a harshness that the majority of seniors can’t pull off. Whether applying mascara, eyeliner, or eyebrow makeup, grays and browns are generally better choices.
When senior makeup application is mastered, you’ll be opened up to a whole new demographic of potential clients. Not only is this specialized field in demand, but it can be extremely fulfilling.
What to continue your cosmetology education? Check out our beauty classes!