How the perfect lipstick can still be your armour past 50

Hannah Betts’s Better…not younger: How the perfect lipstick can still be your armour past 50

  • Hannah Betts explains that the lips shrink during midlife and many rely on lippy
  • UK-based beauty expert advises consulting Lisa Eldridge YouTube video on her lip-lifting technique for a happy-looking mouth
  • Among Lisa’s high-street heroes are: NYX’s Kitten Heels (£8,, a matte coral red; and Cali (£8,

A chap once fell in love with me because of my pillowy lips. These days he’d have a job locating them in certain lights. 

Ah, the midlife mouth: there’s no doubt that it shrinks a little and loses some of its ruddiness. And that’s without the cat’s bottom wrinkle effect that comes from too much sun and/or smoking. 

Then there are the nasolabial folds, those smile lines that extend from nose to lips, as ligaments around the mouth and chin loosen, encouraging fatty tissue to sag. (Judicious cheek filler is a help.) 

And let’s not forget the marionette lines that begin to take hold from the corners of the mouth to the chin, the name deriving from ventriloquists’ dummies. 

Hannah Betts explains that the lips shrink during midlife and many women rely on a trusty lipstick 

Small wonder so many of us 50- pluses hold near-religious sentiments about armouring ourselves with the right lipstick. 

Make-up artist to many a middleaged star — among them Helena Christensen, Isabella Rossellini, and Kristin Scott Thomas — Lisa Eldridge, 47, is the lipstick guru. 

‘The perfect tone can take years off you,’ she counsels, ‘brightening your teeth, skin and eyes, reducing sallowness and making your face glow.’ 

And don’t imagine this has to be some conservative hue: Lisa’s own mother, 81, has gone brighter with the years, now sporting scarlet. 

Texture plays its part. For the midlife mouth, Eldridge’s creamy matte True Velvet Lip Colours have enough bulk to fill in cracks and crevices. While her balmy but buildable Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colours are youthfully smoothing.

Do line lips, but don’t feel your shade has to match exactly; a softer tone works well for subtle over-lining. While gloss can be extremely _ flattering on the older pout — shine adding the illusion of greater mass. 

Hannah (pictured) advises consulting Lisa Eldridge YouTube video on her lip-lifting technique for a happy-looking mouth

‘Lipstick is the one-stop shop that changes everything,’ says Lisa. ‘An eye can take ages to create, but a really good, well-shaped lip will take five minutes.’ 

I urge you to consult Lisa’s YouTube video on her lip-lifting technique for a happy-looking mouth — it’s a game-changer. Lisa is launching ten new shades to bring her lipstick collection up to 39 hues, in four different textures, plus 17 pencils. One can either buy online or at her Carnival of Colour summer pop-up shop, in London’s Covent Garden until September. For Lisa is the colour queen. She has been told she has tetra-chromacy — that is, four rather than three photoreceptor cone cells in her retina, granting her a shade – recognition superpower. Whatever the reason, she creates lipstick better than anyone. 

As fans of her book and BBC series Make-up: A Glamorous History will know, she is also the expert on beauty’s heritage, not least period shades, which is why her lipsticks so often appear on screen. See Michelle Pfeiffer in The First Lady, Claire Foy in A Very British Scandal, the Gen Zs in Sex Education, the new Gossip Girl and the stars of the upcoming Barbie movie. 

Despite starting with reds, her best-seller, Kitten Mischief, is a peachy caramel (£26, Those looking for similar ‘my lips, but better’ neutrals can take their pick from Spirited Away, a slightly warmer, medium tan; Painterly, the gorgeous, worn-off, cool flush of old portraits; and the new Night Thoughts, a bitten-lip, black cherry which is perfect on blue-toned girls. Rose Official is a pretty petal popular with greyhaired devotees.

Among Lisa’s high-street heroes are: NYX’s Kitten Heels (£8,, a matte coral red; Cali (£8,, its cream satin tan; Rimmel’s matte berry Hollywood Red (£6.99,; Revlon’s matte blush pink Untold Stories (£8.99, boots. com); and Max Factor’s mauve cream-satin, Rosewood (£6.29, 

But frankly I’d rather save up for The One — one of Eldridge’s. Given Lisa’s genius, for once I am faced with options. And it’s a fabulous problem to have. 


K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask (£55,, a peptide-rich, leave-on mask for chemically or heatabused hair, is causing a huge stir as the new, arguably even better, Olaplex. One use has been proven to reverse the most severe hair crisis in just four minutes, returning locks to 82 per cent of their original strength. 



Sienna Miller, 40, (pictured) exfoliates with a Clarisonic face brush and applies Crème de La Mer’s Concentrate and Crème

Over lockdown, the actress, 40, exfoliated with a Clarisonic face brush then applied Crème de La Mer’s Concentrate and Crème, reporting: ‘My skin became clearer than it’s ever been.’ Sienna is a lip balm ‘junkie’, loving Dr Macrene High Performance AntiAging and Filler Lip Treatment, too. 


My addiction for layering hydration into my routine during the summer swelter. 

A moisture hit full of skin soothers, this feels like a drink of iced water. 

Pop these silicone patches in the fridge, then apply for ten minutes. They last for up to 15 uses. 

An energising serum, providing a ‘support stocking’ effect for de-puffed limbs. 

Not just for pregnant women, this has essential oils, peppermint and menthol to allay hormonal heat. 


The online blurb to describe Therapie Life Soothe Body Oil (from £18, refers to it as a ‘potent blend that helps soothe sensitivity during the moon cycle’ having been charged by crystals. 

Don’t be put off by the woo woo. Boasting the cramps alleviator and sedative clary sage, naturally analgesic armoise and hormonal cure-all chaste tree berry, this powerful essential oil concoction works wonders on any sort of hormonal pain and angst, menstrual or menopausal. 

Simply massage into the stomach, lower back and breasts. My mid-life period pain has gone off the scale. I am now relying on this to keep me (relatively) sane. 

Another hit from the London-based Therapie founder and aromatherapy guru Michelle Roques O’Neil. 

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