Colour conversation with Tricia Cusden, founder of Look Fabulous for Ever
Tricia Cusden’s makeup brand Look Fabulous Forever helps older women discover the cosmetics that suit them best. Here, she talks about the confidence-boosting powers of colour analysis and shares her golden rules for looking great after 50.
What inspired you to launch Look Fabulous Forever?
There were several things that inspired me to launch a beauty brand which would appeal specifically to post-menopausal women when I was 65 years old. The first was my personal circumstances. In 2013 I was semi-retired from my career as a management trainer and had just had a bruising year in 2012. In January of that year my daughter, Suzy, gave birth to a very sick baby, India, who was not expected to live. I was needed on an almost daily basis sometimes to help to look after India’s sister Freya who was two years old, or to be at India’s bedside in hospital to give Suzy time at home and
also to offer emotional support to Suzy and her husband Ben, both of whom were very distraught. Against the odds, India survived and was eventually discharged home with a comprehensive care package to support her complex medical needs.
I decided to start Look Fabulous Forever [LFF] when India was a year old and ‘out of the woods.’ I felt an overwhelming need for a fresh challenge and a new direction for my life. As I have always loved both business and makeup I decided to combine the two and at the same time take on the ‘anti-ageing’ beauty industry. I wanted LFF to be a pro-age beauty brand which would encourage older women to celebrate and value their ageing faces. I also decided only to feature real older women (mostly my friends!) in our videos and makeover photos rather than using flawless 20 year olds as every other beauty brand does.
Can you tell us the concept behind the beauty brand and the importance of skin tone and seasonal palette?
Look Fabulous Forever is primarily a ‘colour’ cosmetics brand. In other words, we sell the products that you apply to your face to add shape, definition and colour in order to enhance your looks. As we age the biggest problem is the reduction in melanin in the skin which means that facial features like eyebrows, eyes, cheeks and lips all start to fade and there is much less ‘luminance of contrast’. Most women think that it is wrinkled skin which makes you look older – in fact, it’s the loss of the contrast between your features and the surrounding skin which makes you look older. The brilliant thing about makeup is that you can quickly and easily restore the definition to brows, eyes, cheeks and lips with makeup. I also knew that most women either have a blue or yellow undertone to their skin. This makes them either cool or warm toned and it informs which colour cosmetics will suit you best. I therefore made the decision to divide all colour choices for the makeup into ‘cool’ (summer/winter) or ‘warm’ (spring/autumn) to make it much easier to buy the make-up online.
What are your favourite LFF products?
I love them all! However, I’d say that my personal favourites are our brilliant Continuous Cover Foundation, which is the best base I have ever used. It glides on with our Smooth Like Silk Face Prime and I can quickly cover any blemishes (I have acne rosacea) with our Cover to Cover Conceal. I also can’t live without our Brow Shape, which is the most subtle and flattering way to restore my faded and sparse eyebrows. And Never Feather Lip Prime ensures that my lipstick stays crisp at the edges and doesn’t ‘bleed’ into the lines around my mouth.
What season are you and how does wearing the right colour clothes make you feel?
I am a cool toned ‘winter’. I had my colours done years ago and was delighted to find that my wardrobe was already full of the right colour choices for my skin tone. I did make the odd mistake and once bought a mustard top which was that season’s ‘must-have’. I would try it on and invariably take it off again, but couldn’t put my finger on the reason why it felt so wrong. The colour analysis explained why it was such a disaster for me! I love clothes and feel so much more confident when I am dressed in a colour which I know is perfect with my grey eyes and silver hair and cool skin tone.
Who, in your opinion, wears makeup well and looks great for their age?
My personal favourite is Dame Judi Dench. This beautiful 82-year-old woman has the most expressive and lively face, and I love the way she wears makeup to enhance her natural beauty.
What are your golden rules for looking great over 50?
I’d say first and foremost ‘make an effort’. I see many older women who have thrown in the towel. We live in a very ageist society which makes it hard to feel that you still matter but we older women don’t have to conspire by becoming invisible. So my golden rule is to stay engaged with the world of fashion and beauty on your own terms and refuse to be invisible. Have your hair cut into a flattering style, wear brightly coloured clothes and accessories in flattering shapes and wear LFF make-up. All of this will raise your morale and boost your confidence.
Instant confidence boost?
A bright and vibrant red lipstick every time.
You have recently launched LFF at Home programme. Can you tell us about it?
We have been reluctant to sell our make-up through retail stores because we would want it sold by age-appropriate women and this is hard to control. So, we have a whole new and exciting initiative called ‘LFF at Home’. We are recruiting ‘Friends’ who are being trained to sell our make-up to women at home either at makeover parties or beauty playgrounds, where potential customers can come and experiment with our products and receive some guidance from the Friend. These events are proving to be very successful and we are excited that LFF at Home offers older women an opportunity to run their own successful beauty and style business and earn money in the process.
Favourite colours in your wardrobe?
In the summertime I particularly love fuchsia and turquoise teamed with pure white and navy. I have lots of earrings, bangles and beads in those colours too. In the winter I love grey and navy and I have an all-time favourite winter coat in a beautiful soft pink. Whenever I wear it I always get loads of compliments and that makes me feel a million dollars.