I’m so pleased to introduce you to the delightful and very knowledgable, Tricia Cusden, founder of Look Fabulous Forever which, if you haven’t heard of before and you’re a woman of a certain age, you will thank me forever for alerting you to! ☺ Look Fabulous Forever will help you do just that. Read on for Tricia’s nuggets of wellbeing and beauty wisdom…
Your website is very inspirational, I love the ‘real women’ all looking wonderful and trying new ways to improve their image. What is the first piece of advice you’d give to somebody stuck in a rut with clothes and makeup?
Get some advice and help! Videos are a brilliant way to get new ideas for makeup – both in terms of new products and also application. As to clothes I’d go to a store and book a personal shopper, or maybe (although it can be pricey) go to a style consultant. If neither appeals, then ask a stylish friend to come shopping with you and suggest some new looks
What was the inspiration for Look Fabulous Forever and how hard was it to get it off the ground?
I was inspired by 3 things. Firstly the feeling of ‘what now?’ after a traumatic year supporting my daughter and her husband as they coped with a very sick baby. The baby survived against the odds and I was left feeling in great need of a new challenge. Secondly I hated the anti-ageing rhetoric of the beauty industry and thirdly I kept buying makeup which no longer suited my skin. It was incredibly easy to get off the ground. Nine months of very hard work but all of it a huge pleasure.
What are your key makeup products that you can’t do without or that you just love?
I never buy any other makeup brand now I have my own – it would feel like a form of adultery! I have acne rosacea so I can’t wait to apply our Base and Conceal which makes the redness and blemishes magically disappear. I would never leave the house without lipstick and I thank goodness every day for our Lip Prime which stops my (often vibrant) Lip Colour from feathering into the wrinkles round my mouth.
Did the menopause affect you and if so, how?
My menopause started in my late forties. I have always suffered with migraines and the peri-menopause triggered some of the worst migraine attacks I have ever had. I was getting them every 2 weeks and would be in bed for 2-3 days in a darkened room, vomiting every hour or so. I was totally debilitated and exhausted (I was working full time and the attacks would be every other weekend). In the end I saw a specialist and he suggested HRT and a daily anti-migraine pill which totally overcame the problem. I stayed on HRT for about 14 years which meant that I completely avoided the menopause!
Many women reach 40 or 50 and start to feel they’ve left ‘it’ too late, whether it be taking up exercising, meeting new friends or starting a business. What do you think and how do you get out of that ‘it’s too late for me’ mind-set?
I just don’t get that you could ever feel that 40 or 50 is too late for anything! I am nearly 69 and have just started exercising with a personal trainer for the first time ever. I have also taken up ballroom and Latin dancing (another new experience). When I started Look Fabulous Forever I just believed it was the perfect time to do it because I had so much useful experience. Nothing about it ever fazes me because I always think ‘Of course I can do it’ – I think that my age gives me that confidence. Someone of 40 now will probably live until they are 90 – are you really going to spend 50 years saying ‘it’s too late for me now?’
I really enjoyed your blog post on everyday ageism – you’re so right – even magazines aimed at 40/50 plus still airbrush older women so they’re not so wrinkly. It’s a surefire way of giving us all a complex but we need to keep telling ourselves that they don’t look like that in real life. I want to see real older women represented in mags and TV – that’s not to say I don’t want them to look wonderful for their age – just don’t try to pull the wool over our eyes. We are not stupid! I do see a change now with fashion designers and model agencies accepting older women on the runway and in their campaigns. Do you see an improvement in everyday ageism – where do you think it is most rife?
You say that older women are being accepted on the runway…ummm…. as long as they are very tall, very thin and have long white or grey hair. In other words they are just an older looking version of the stereotypes designers have always insisted on. The fashion industry is possibly the most ageist industry – but media companies have a lot to answer for too. My latest pet hate? – the term ‘Ageless’. It’s another way to pretend that ageing doesn’t happen. Ageing brings real physical, emotional and mental changes – why can’t we accept that and celebrate it? I like being the age I am and see few downsides.
What is your favourite kind of exercise/fitness?
I hate all forms of exercise but I have finally acknowledged that unless I start improving my balance, flexibility and core strength I am going to have a very decrepit old age. So I now have a personal trainer and have started dancing. I also walk everywhere.
What makes you feel your happiest and most content?
Being in my house in France during the summer with my family (My two daughters, sons-in-law and my 5 grand-children). I am also very content on my own and am never happier than when I am reading. I also love sleeping!
Do you have a good tip for boosting the mood of women feeling a bit down about getting older?
See growing old as a privilege only given to those who stay alive that long. My mother died of cancer when she was 67. There was so much she missed in all our lives. Do you think she would have cared about a few extra wrinkles if she could have enjoyed a further 20 years of active life?
Would you consider cosmetic surgery or any type of non-surgical procedures such as Botox or fillers?
Never in a million years! The thought of someone coming near my face with a scalpel or syringe is totally horrific to me. However this is a personal aversion and I realise that there are many who choose that route. What I really dislike is the fact that many people (men and women) feel the need to resort to these procedures because they believe that looking older is such an appalling tragedy.
Are there any particular women in the public eye (or anybody you know personally) that you find inspiring and why?
There are so many! My favourite women in their 90’s are the Queen, Iris Apfel and Diana Athill. They all look wonderful and are all still contributing in admirable ways. Women in their 80’s – Judi Dench, Joan Bakewell and Mary Berry – all bright and full of life. Women in their 70’s Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley and (recently in Strictly Come dancing) Leslie Joseph for their sass and energy.
What are the biggest makeup mistakes you find women might make as they get older?
Not sorting out their eyebrows. Eyebrows are really tricky as you age – they fade, disappear or become wiry and grow in weird directions. But eyebrows give shape, proportion and symmetry not just to the eyes but to the whole face. I came up with the idea of our Brow Shape so that eyebrows can be restored to a subtle perfection. We get so much wonderful feedback from women who love the ease with which they can restore the former glory of their brows!
What is your ‘look good, feel fab’ indulgence?
I do love shopping for new clothes. There’s nothing better than finding something that makes you feel stylish and elegant.
Tell us about your family.
I have been divorced for 25 years and live alone very happily. I have absolutely no desire for another relationship. I wrote a blog about my very happy single state and was amazed at how many women emailed to say “Oh good! Someone who feels just like me!”. I do however have a lot of love in my life from my daughters and grand-children. I adore them all. I also have a few very close friends who incredibly important and supportive to me, as I hope I am to them.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future of Look Fabulous Forever?
Absolutely! It’s a daily source of pleasure, excitement and surprise. We have just started trialling TV ads and are starting a brand refresh of our products and website. I have also been approached by a publisher and signed a book deal which is incredibly exciting.
I wholeheartedly agree with Tricia that life is a privilege – at any age, and also that if you want to do something, it really is never too late. How do you feel about ageing? I hope Tricia’s words inspired you as much as they did me – let me know!
Keep up to date with Tricia’s blogs, new videos and exciting new products at www.lookfabulousforever.com