O Magazine: What's the secret to projecting a youthful look, regardless of age?
Bobbi Brown: Looking fresh and rested. When are you the most beautiful? When you're on vacation. The trick is to discipline yourself to get enough sleep and find ways to handle your stress in your everyday life too. If you're well-rested instead of sleep deprived, you'll take years off your face. When I need to pick myself up, I do three things. I dab yellow-based concealer under my eyes with my fingers and set it with a powder puff. Then I apply a slightly brighter blush than my usual one to look like I'm flushed. And I spritz on fragrance as an energizer.
O: And what makes women look older?
BB: Worrying constantly about their looks. I believe in being low maintenance. As a matter of fact, I don't often look at myself in the mirror. It's not that I don't have the time—I simply don't have the inclination. Most of us look better when we don't know what we look like anyway.
The best thing to do before a party, for instance, is take a deep breath and tell yourself, "Okay, I am going to have a great time." And then don't look in a mirror all night. It works better than running to the ladies' room every half hour and fixing your makeup.
Oh, and drink a lot of water all day long. When I forget to drink water, I look so much older!
O: What's your philosophy regarding plastic surgery?
BB: It is too easy to go so far that you lose any character in your face. What I would recommend, though, is having your teeth whitened. It's amazing. It totally lightens up your face and you look years younger.
O Magazine: What's the biggest misconception women have about makeup as they age?
Sylvie Chantecaille: That they need more; they actually need less. You can switch to a lightweight foundation that moisturizes your skin and evens it out without covering it too much. Sheer makeup makes your skin look much sexier. Heavy makeup makes you look like you're trying to hide something.
O: What about plastic surgery?
SC: I would suggest resisting the temptation to undergo plastic surgery, except perhaps for pockets under your eyes. Don't do anything that takes away from the expression of your eyes or your smile. Believe me, a face that doesn't move is not a beauty asset. Unfortunately, I know from personal experience. After the birth of my son, I struggled for ten years with the paralysis of half my face. Eventually, I learned to live with it. Then, a couple of years ago, I contracted Lyme disease, and the other side of my face was temporarily paralyzed. So I learned to deal with that too! That's part of growing up. At some point in your life you have to learn to take full responsibility for your own happiness. And for me, that also meant leaving the corporate world to create my own fragrance and, then, cosmetic line. Taking that risk allowed me to bring balance to my life, and consequently I feel—and look—more content.
O: How do you think other women can take advantage of their life experience to look more beautiful with time?
SC: It all adds up to finding out who you are. But remember: Fear—whether of life, of aging, or of change—is the worst danger you will encounter. It's the one thing that can really paralyze you.
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