It’s 7pm in the UK, and Tricia Cusden looks beautiful even on Zoom. Dressed simply, she’s wearing light makeup and striking pink lipstick that matches her earrings.
“Makeup made for a younger face didn’t work on my 65 year old face. It would disappear without a trace. it wouldn’t look as luminous as I wanted it to look.”
Tricia, 73, is an expert on makeup for older women. At 65 she took a risk and started her business Look Fabulous Forever to provide women with makeup specially formulated for older faces.
The business now has a global fanbase. Tricia’s YouTube tutorials have millions of views. She’s published a book, and had her products in the Oscars showbags. And during the pandemic, Tricia’s business actually grew as thousands of women all over the world supported each other through her Facebook pages.
In the first instalment of our interview, Tricia gives us her insights on beauty, what’s important in a makeup product for older women, and how she developed the perfect products.
What is beauty, from your perspective?
I think it’s about looking your best self. You know, we can’t all be like film stars. But I think all of us in our own way can be beautiful and I definitely think that as you get older, using makeup is a very good way to look the absolute best that you can, and I definitely think that older women in particular need makeup more. They don’t need more makeup, but they need makeup more than younger women do.
“All of us in our own way can be beautiful.”
That’s just because they lose so much definition and colour and life from their faces. So if you use a little bit of makeup, you bring back all of that. You bring back your features, your colour, and life to your face, and I think that therefore you can look your best self.
“If you use a little bit of makeup, you bring back your features, your colour, and life to your face.”
So in your own way you can engage with the world of beauty, let’s put it that way.
What are common makeup problems for older women?
The biggest problem that you have when you’re older is that your skin changes a lot, post-menopause. Gradually your skin is drying out. You’re obviously losing things like collagen and elastin. As you lose that, your skin looks less plump, but it also tends then to wrinkle and you get all the signs of ageing that you would expect to get as you go further and further away from menopause.
“I think the biggest makeup challenge for most women, is finding a way to compensate for dryness.”
I think the biggest challenge for most women when it comes to makeup, is finding a way to compensate for that dryness, which is partly to do with skincare. But also when I devised Look Fabulous Forever, I really wanted to have primers because if you put a primer onto a face, it’s a bit like priming a wall before you paint it. It will hold your makeup in place for longer and it counteracts that problem of dehydration.
Once you noticed the need for cosmetics for older women, how did you go about developing your range? Was it straightforward?
It was fairly straightforward. I mean, I was completely naive. But I think it really helps when you’re very naive about something because you can take risks without thinking that they are risks!
I was 65, and I’d always loved makeup. But I knew nothing about the beauty industry. I was a beauty outsider, I wasn’t a beauty insider. So I Googled cosmetics manufacturers!
I was a beauty outsider, I wasn’t a beauty insider.
In a way, looking back, it was completely bonkers. (This is eight years ago.) And I came across this site in the UK, and I rang this guy up and said, “I want to come and talk to you, I’m thinking of launching a product range of makeup specifically formulated for older faces.”
And when I got there, he was an older man himself. His wife was in her 60s. And he just said, “This is the most brilliant idea, I really think this is brilliant.” He’d been a cosmetic manufacturer for about 25 years. He said, “Show me the products that you’re currently using that you think work quite well on you.”
“I was using about thirteen different brands that I’d arrived at through trial and error and a lot of wasted money.”
I was using about twelve or thirteen different brands that I’d arrived at through trial and error and a lot – a lot – of wasted money. And I told him why I liked them. He just kept saying, “OK, that’s fine, I get what you’re where you’re coming from, and I’ll start making you some products. I’ll send them to you, and you can try them, you can test them, but also give them to your friends to test them on a range of different faces.”
My first product range was about twelve products. But it was enough for me to be able to launch and actually get off the ground. And when I was doing makeovers, I had enough product to be able to suit the range of women.
In part two, Trisha tells us what makeup means to her and the unexpected role makeup played for women around the world in lockdown.