To makeup artist Taylor Chang-Babaian, beauty products are tools to uncover individuality, not conceal it. When she was a teenage tomboy, makeup helped her discover her beauty by allowing her to show herself as she wanted to be – “It was my alternative to surgery,” she says – and later it gave her a career that led her to work with celebrities the likes of Yoko Ono, Paula Abdul, Adrien Brody and Michael Caine, and for magazines, including Rolling Stone, Vogue, Essence and Elle, to launch a false eyelash brand called Krē•āt Beauty and to write books that, starting with “Asian Faces” in 2007, smashed stereotypes. “The stereotypes of Asian women were really bad. They had to be really provocative and sexy or nerdy. I put Asians in a different light,” she explains.
“It was my alternative to surgery”
Chang-Babaian’s latest book, “Beauty Rewind,” upends established ideas about women as they age. Her 40th birthday inspired her to reflect upon aging. “A lot of my friends had turned 40, and it was a negative thing to get older. I didn’t understand why,” says Chang-Babaian. “I had achieved a lot by 40. I actually looked forward to it. A lot of the problems women have is that they think by 40 they are supposed to have this or that instead of accepting where they are and being happy with it.” Her book spotlights other women with a similar attitude. Among them are Juicy Couture co-founders Gela Nash Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy, who prove women can be funky into their Fifties, Stephanie Liner, a Fortysomething real estate developer who smolders in a smoky eye, and Jackie Barton, a scientist and sexagenarian demonstrating beauty and brains definitely mix. “You don’t need to be defined by your age,” says Chang-Babaian. “You can grow beautifully inside and out.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to use great beauty products and use them well. In “Beauty Rewind,” Chang-Babaian eases women’s concerns about aging by advising them on a host of makeup and skin care options. Here, she pinpoints a few tips for women to consider as they wind through the decades:
For women in their Twenties: Prevention is key to staving off premature aging. Chang-Babaian recommends Twentysomethings tame sun damage with plenty of sunscreen. Two of her favorites are La Mer The Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid and Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 50, a powder that can be applied and reapplied over makeup. The makeup can be minimal. “To have great skin, they don’t need much, maybe some concealer and powder, if they think they are a little shiny. There are 20-year-olds getting lip injections and Botox. It is really unnecessary,” says Chang-Babaian. Even if someone is wearing only minimal makeup, she stresses fully removing the makeup is imperative. Chang-Babaian says don’t skimp on cleansing with a product such as Neutrogena’s Fresh Foaming Cleanser.
For women in their Thirties: Deciding on and sticking to a skin care regimen are a Thirtysomething’s main skin care tasks. Sunscreen is a staple in that regimen, and an exfoliator and moisturizer are added. Chang-Babaian likes Dermalogica’s Skin Smoothing Cream and Dr. Jessica Wu’s Active Enzyme Micro-Polish Exfoliator. For their makeup, she counsels Thirtysomethings to try fluid foundation. “It will help with the fine lines, and it is not too heavy that it will sit in them,” says Chang-Babaian. She suggests Clé de Peau’s Refining Fluid Foundation.
For women in their Forties: Skin care regimens expand further in the Forties. Serums targeting spots and wrinkles like Chang-Babaian’s favorite HydroPeptide HydroStem+6 Stem Cell Antioxidant Serum are incorporated. She proposes stronger exfoliators, too, like Murad’s Intensive Wrinkle Reducer. In terms of makeup, Chang-Babaian tells Fortysomethings to consider increasing the weight of their foundation. “You want to make sure it is still finely milled, and it is not something that looks cakey. I wouldn’t go for a foundation powder,” instructs Chang-Babaian, highlighting Shiseido’s Radiant Lifting Foundation as a good foundation choice.
For women in their Fifties: Menopause affects skin care and makeup application for Fiftysomethings. Chang-Babaian urges women to explore skin care products that tackle menopausal changes. Shiseido’s Benefiance NutriPerfect, for example, was created with women going through menopause in mind. Symptoms of menopause, particularly sweating, make makeup application difficult. Chang-Babaian’s hint is to put on makeup in a cool room. Contouring becomes crucial. “You have more sagging happening, and the shadows in your face start to point downward. You want to use contouring to create the illusion of lifting in the face,” says Chang-Babaian. For contouring, she is partial to Tom Ford’s Shade and Illuminate highlighter and shading cream duo.
For women in their Sixties: Sparsity is very Sixties. Brow and lashes lessen, and lips lose definition. “It is really important to redefine the brows and redefine the eye line,” says Chang-Babaian, who is a believer in lip liner as well. Her product picks are Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade and Votre Vu’s Drawmatic Lip Liner. Heavy hydration is high up in the skin care needs of Sixtysomethings. “They call the Sixties the desert years. It is really about dryness, so you have to make sure that you moisturize,” says Chang-Babaian. Her moisturizer choice is Shiseido’s Revitalizing Cream.