Beauty Call: What would Helen Mirren do?

Follow these make-up tips to look less like Barbara Cartland and more like Mirren as you age

Helen Mirren: so low-maintenance she often cuts her own hair

Helen Mirren: so low-maintenance she often cuts her own hair


At 68, Helen Mirren is one of those women who seem to get better-looking as they age. Who can forget the famous red bikini photo? The secret behind Mirren’s ageless beauty appears to be simple: she sticks to the “less is more” principle. She is not a brand snob and counts L’Oréal, Kiehl’s, Crabtree & Evelyn and Kate Somerville among her favourite brands; she uses the products that suit her best, regardless of price. Mirren doesn’t have a gruelling exercise and diet regime and she hasn’t gone down the Botox and filler road that many actors feel pressure to. In fact, she’s so low-maintenance that she often cuts her own hair.

Mirren loves make-up and wears it every day, but she has adapted her look to suit her age. Many of us make the mistake of using the same make-up we have relied on for years without realising that a change would be more flattering. Mirren recently said that, as you get older, you need to wear less make-up, especially around the eyes. So for us to look less like Barbara Cartland and more like Mirren as we age, try out the following advice.


Keep it light

Heavy, matt foundation will settle into lines and accentuate them, so choose a sheer and light-reflecting base such as Max Factor CC Cream or Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. Mixing a light-reflecting, colour-correcting cream with your foundation will instantly brighten your face. I use Yves Saint Laurent CC cream in rose all the time when I’m feeling grey and dingy and it’s become one of my staples. The under-eyes will benefit from a reflective concealer/highlighter such as the classic YSL Touche Éclat.

It’s probably time to retire the dramatic eye make-up and liner you wore in your 20s in favour of softer shades. Gently blended taupes, creams and beiges work well to enhance eyes without drawing attention to any lines.

We are overwhelmed with a glut of neutral eye palettes at the moment, so it is easy to find a decent one at any price point (try Catrice or Rimmel for good-value and good-quality alternatives to Bobbi Brown or Urban Decay Naked palettes).

It is not true that brown shadow suits everyone, and it can be annoying when make-up artists adopt a one-shade-suits-all approach to products. Brown eyeshadow sinks my eyes right back into their sockets. It is surprising how flattering and brightening pinks and soft lilacs are: give these shades a try if neutrals aren’t doing anything for you.

Matt eyeshadow is a good bet, as shimmer can highlight lines, but you don’t have to throw out your favourite sparkling shades. Just use them on the centre of the eyelid and don’t take them above the eye crease.While Mirren and the equally age-proof Julianne Moore both use red lipstick to glam up, anyone who has lines around their mouth needs to apply colour with care. Using one of the sheerer lip colours instead of a flat matt works well – try Butter London Lippy.


Tinted balms

Other tips include wearing blusher on the apples of your cheeks to create a mini-facelift effect and not over-plucking eyebrows. You could also try Mirren’s trick of wearing a big pair of sunglasses and a bright lip for instant glamour.

Aisling is on Twitter @aismcdermott More at





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