Age Without Apology Expert Chat: top make-up artist Ruby Hammer

Age Without Apology Expert Chat: top make-up artist Ruby Hammer

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 Ruby Hammer - you can watch our chat in full here.

International make-up artist Ruby Hammer MBE has worked in beauty for over 25 years. As a top make-up artist, her work has appeared across the world on the catwalk, in print and on TV. In 1998 Ruby, together with (current British Beauty Council CEO) Millie Kendall, launched the Ruby & Millie cosmetics brand. More recently, in 2019 Ruby launched her Ruby Hammer cosmetics and accessories range.

Our chat covered the correct way to approach your skin needs; changing our attitudes towards age; finding peace with ourselves and much more.

Getting started… with no formal training
I started off as a make-up artist’s assistant. I had no formal training as a make-up artist. I had to learn about different light; different skin; how being inside a studio is different to being on location. It’s not just the technical skills, it’s also how you navigate relationships with people; how you navigate the hierarchy; how you talk to the photographic assistant, the photographer; the client; your agent. The whole of life is a learning curve! I learnt as I went along.

On looking good for your age
What does that mean, exactly?! Somebody pays you a compliment and says you look great for your age and I think, ‘What is that?!’. Are they paying me a compliment?! I guess they are, but also, what sort of compliment is that?! You should just say somebody looks great.

Don’t be ‘anti’ age
One of the most important things in being alive is ageing, so for me it’s a blessing. If you do not want to age does that mean you want to die? So to keep fighting the process, anti-this, anti-that, it’s not good. Ageing is a wonderful thing because it means you’re living, you’re alive. It’s a blessing.

Arm yourself with knowledge when it comes to looking after your skin
In terms of skin ageing, you need to ask yourself, ‘How has my skin changed?’. Science and technology and the chemistry of what’s on offer now has come on leaps and bounds. Gather lots of info. Keep your eyes and ears open, play with products, it’s part of the process.

Prepping model’s skin
In my kit I have to have something that will work for most skin types and skin tones, but I can’t carry everything! I always have a cleanser; an eye make-up remover; a liquid exfoliant; a plumping, not-too-greasy eye cream; a moisturiser. Definitely lip balm, eye drops. If the model’s skin is a bit dehydrated, I have some good face oils, one is from Willowberry. Without good skin I can’t do good make-up.

Finding the best eye cream
At the end of the day the best eye cream is one that is not going to irritate you. You only need a tiny bit around the eyes and then I put any residue at the top of the nose, between the brows and around the temples.

The all-natural, 2-second trick to looking better
If you are post-50, the elastin and collagen, the scaffolding of your skin, is going. Gravity is pulling down, so you have to massage the face to get the oxygen going, you have to get the circulation going. One of the quickest tricks is your posture: if you just open up the shoulders and stand upright, you are already pulling everything up.

Changing the language around ageing
There does have to be a different approach. The fact we’re talking about it more, it’s not as taboo. There are people with spending power that are of a certain age, so marketing people have now got to think, ‘Ok, they have got commercial currency’. Using language like anti-ageing, if you are offending the consumer, you’re going to be losing that money, so everyone is making a concerted effort, but is it enough? No! We’ve got a long way to go. All we can do is encourage, talk about it openly and suggest, “Wouldn’t this be a better way to deal with it?”.

Assess your skin condition, not your skin age
Everybody is unique and not everybody ages exactly the same way. Being asked, “Have you got any tips about applying concealer for a 30-year-old or 40, 50, 60, 70…?”. It just makes me scream because maybe the 70-year-old has taken good care of her skin and there’s a 40-year-old over there who has really abused her skin, she’s drunk too much, her lifestyle choices have been off. There’s not just one beauty tip for each age bracket!

It depends on the individual: how genetically blessed they are; their lifestyle choices; food; exercise; sun protection; meditation; sleeping; having a joyful life. It’s not about someone’s age, it’s about them.

It’s down to you. You’re going to have to be the biggest radar and antennae for yourself. Everyone needs to make the best of themselves but the only way you can do that is by knowing yourself. You can find masses of skincare information out there that you can tailor to yourself or go to an expert to help you where it’s relevant.

What top tip would you give to age without apology?
Live your life as joyfully as you can. And gratefully. Find peace with yourself, because you’re all you’ve got! While we’re on this planet we’ve got to do the best we can. We can’t control anyone else, but we have got the power to do things for ourselves. Take charge. And just be you.

Watch our live chat with Ruby Hammer 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.