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age without apology interview celeb make-up artist caroline barnes

Age Without Apology expert chat: Top make-up artist Caroline Barnes

Our Willowberry Age Without Apology Insta Live Series is held bi-weekly on our Instagram page. These live chats with expert guests are designed to help you navigate age with confidence and style. Here are the highlights of our recent chat with top make-up artist Caroline Barnes.

Caroline Barnes has a career which spans over 20 years. During that time, she has worked on countless fashion shows, magazine shoots and made up the faces of many a celebrity including Kylie Minogue, Naomi Campbell and Emma Watson. Caroline has a YouTube channel: Speed Beauty, loved by many for its expert beauty tips.

During our chat, Caroline shares her top beauty tips including why exfoliation and hydration are essential to older skin, how to help your make-up survive hot flushes and the glow-giving joy of face oils. We also discuss how the beauty industry should be doing more to represent older ages and why getting older is a gift.

You were the first top make-up artist to rave about Willowberry back in 2017!

The Willowberry Cleansing Balm is so lovely, it feels like it melts away the day. It feels so nice. Make-up and skincare really need to be things that make us feel so relaxed and calm.

And the Willowberry Face Oil, too. The important factor for me is that it isn’t greasy. It is really hydrating and lightweight on the skin. I often put a few drops into my hands and then rub my hands together and kind of just press the oil into the face so that it really hydrates. I don’t just slather it on!

How to deal with skin that is becoming drier as you get older

There are two key factors: exfoliation and hydration. Also, using an oil as a top coat of ultra-hydration to your skincare can make a complete difference. People think that dry skin just needs lots of moisturiser, which it does, but as we age, cell turnover slows so we need to really help it, encourage exfoliation – even if it’s just with a flannel, as long as it lifts the skin off - and then rehydrate. It takes 3 or 4 days to see a difference but getting dry skin to look better is always down to exfoliation. At home in the last year I’ve also started putting a mask on after doing my skincare in the morning and then just walking around the house with it on! Then I just tap dry afterwards and my skin feels a bit more bouncy during the day.

Face Oil is everything

Your Willowberry Face Oil is super rich but super light and works so beautifully used the right way under and over make-up.

Say I’d been at work and was going to a meeting and I wanted to look more professional and finished, I would always tap a little bit of oil around my eyes where my fine lines are. It just sort of amplifies the skin. I don’t want to look sparkly or glittery, I just want to look like I’ve got glowing skin. I love facial oils. Mixed with foundation they give this sort of super-real gleam. I personally like, and so do a lot of beauty editors and make-up artists, skin that looks really radiant.

How to get volume back into your brows

If you have sparse eyebrows and you want to get volume into your brows, try using a brow ink. Put on your skincare and then remove any excess oil or grease with a bit of micellar water. Make sure the area is dry and then apply the ink. Do fine, hair-like strokes especially in the centre of the brow and wherever else you need them. That stops them looking too blocky. If you make them too hard they can overpower your face, especially if your features are softening over time. 

The best sort of make-up for surviving hot flushes

You have to use products that are water resistant or that have an oil-in-water formula. If you do have a hot flush and become very hot, it’s the wafting action and the patting action that will save your make-up rather than wiping your face. If your skin tends to go quite red then you need to use more caramel/bronze colours in your make-up.

How to apply concealer under the eyes

The main thing is to avoid a windscreen wiper action. It’s about pushing the concealer in and letting it sit and unite with your skin and then blending out the edges.

Why getting older is a gift

I don’t have a problem with getting older at all, I’m much happier now I’m older and I’ve very sadly lost quite a few younger friends in my life so I’m bloody grateful to be here quite frankly. What I don’t want to do is feel really young and then look at myself in the mirror and see this reflection that looks tired and fed-up when inside I feel sparkly. That’s the difference. You want to be able to use skincare and make-up to put a flush in your cheeks or a fullness in your lips or a lift in your eye using certain products.

Beauty brands need to let us see older models

It’s coming but it’s coming slowly and not quick enough as far as I’m concerned. There are certain companies that have done this really well but until I see more images of women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s…I’m nearly 50. Where are we?! Brands need to find the right photographers, they need to use the right lighting and they need to stop retouching. We have to start getting used to seeing women and men with lines and looking older and respect that and cherish it. We [older people] have got really good things to say and a lot to offer so the more we keep doing it, the better. We don’t just have to hide away.

Don’t compare your reflection in the mirror to retouched models and film stars

Let’s face it, all the campaigns that we see in magazines and advertising are all retouched. You might look at an actress and think, ‘Oh I’d love to look like her,’ but you’ve never actually seen her close up and she probably doesn’t look anything like that picture anyway!

How to Age Without Apology

Never apologise! Always be grateful. It’s just confidence. I don’t think you can ever underestimate the energy of a person when they walk into the room and what that does to other people. We all gravitate to positive, sunny people so it’s about putting your best foot forward and being fun and engaging and interesting, rather than becoming shy and intimidated because you’re worried about your brows or your skin’s a bit red. They are just silly little things that are so big in our own heads but people have got their own worries and they simply don’t care what you look like. They will comment on your nice lipstick or nail varnish but, the minor details that we see? Nobody cares! So just embrace people around you and smile.

Watch our live chat with Caroline Barnes in full here. Follow Willowberry on Instagram and look out for our Age Without Apology Insta Live Series every other Wednesday.


Willowberry is nutritious natural skincare for grown-ups, for your best skin. 

A favourite with top make-up artists, Willowberry's luxurious award-winning products protect skin’s natural barrier function, to nourish and revive grown-up skin without telling women to be 'anti-ageing'.

As seen in Vogue, Independent, The Telegraph, This Morning and more.

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