Tricia Cusden is an expert on makeup for older women. Eight years ago, at 65, she started multi-million dollar business Look Fabulous Forever to provide makeup products that would work for older faces.
Find out how she did it, her personal style, and her attitude to life at 73 in the final part of our interview.
Find part one here.
“You don’t close life off because you’ve reached a particular age. you say, I’ll have a go see what happens. “
Personal style is another aspect of fabulousness that you encourage. When did you start to develop your personal style and what do you do for inspiration?
I’m not very brave when it comes to style. I’m not tremendously funky or different or hugely high fashion, let’s put it that way! I think I have quite a conservative sort of classic style. But I’ve always loved accessories. So earrings!
(Tricia holds up a pair of silver lightning bolt earrings that she loves to wear.)
I’ve got those in purple as well. I often wear quite bold and quite bright coloured earrings.
“now I’m older I do look better in in more vivid and brighter colours.”
I quite like strong colour, so I wear bright pink or purple, or turquoise, or colours like that. I’m aware of that route which a lot of older women go down, of toning it down, keeping it very safe. And I’ve come to think that now I’m older I do look a lot better in in more vivid and brighter colours, because my hair has gone grey.
Also with lipstick, I tend to wear quite bright colours, and quite a lot of red lipsticks. So I’d say that I concentrate on getting colour into my look, certainly into my lips, and using accessories (particularly earrings). And then really enjoying colour in my clothes.
“I try to avoid those traps you can fall into when you’re older… I’m not very keen on safe and boring!”
In winter there’s a lot of older women who cover themselves up in these very shapeless and horrible black puffer coats. I would never buy or wear one of those! I’ve got a bright red coat that I wore all last winter. And this winter, I’ve just bought myself a really beautiful purple coat. I avoid those traps that you can fall into when you’re older, of toning it down and looking quite safe and boring. I’m not very keen on safe and boring!
So, being warm and looking good at the same time?
Yes, it’s challenging but you can do it!
What’s important in a beauty product for older women?
“Makeup made for a younger face didn’t work on my 65 year old face.”
What’s important is that it works with your ageing face.
When I first had the idea of launching a range of makeup specifically formulated for older faces, I got a lot of scepticism. Quite a few people told me that makeup was makeup and you could apply it to any face no matter the age of the face. But I knew, because I was already experiencing problems: 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, and so on.
“Work with the differences that have happened to your face as you’ve got older rather than fighting against them.”
What is important when you’re older is to wear the right makeup applied in the right way, and work with the differences that have happened to your face as you’ve got older rather than fighting against them. I could give you lots of specific examples of what I mean by that, but if the makeup is formulated properly and it’s formulated to take account of the things that I talked about earlier, then it enhances your look. It doesn’t draw attention to the problems.
“Makeup should enhance your look, not draw attention to the problems.”
What have you learned, in the eight years that you’ve been running Look Fabulous Forever?
“I’ve learned that you can take risks, you can do something apparently mad.”
I’ve learned very powerfully that you can take risks, you can do something apparently mad (which was to be an outsider, and to launch a makeup brand). That you can still engage with the world on your terms in a very positive way, which I feel like I’ve done. If you’d told me that I would launch a great makeup brand at the age of 65, and that eight years on we’d be a multi-million pound business, I would probably have laughed lots of hollow laughs and said, “Yeah, right”. But that is exactly what has happened. And it’s a huge surprise.
“We went to the Oscars. We had product in the Oscars goodie bags.”
It has absolutely taught me that you should keep on taking risks, that you should keep on believing, and that you’re never too old and it’s never too late. And that surprising things can still happen.
And, you know, lots of lots of surprising things have happened! We went to the Oscars. (We had product in the Oscars goodie bags.) This was three years ago. My daughters (who work with me) and I all flew out to LA and we ended up on the red carpet for the Elton John after-Oscars party. And it was absolutely brilliant.
So I think it’s incredibly important that you keep your mind open to the possibility of anything and everything happening and you keep taking risks. You don’t close life off because you’ve reached a particular age, you just say, “I’ll have a go see what happens”.
And you never know what’s going to happen.