My Top 9 Hero Beauty Products for Over 40 Women

My Top 9 Hero Beauty Products for Over 40 Women | Not Dressed As Lamb

Here they are at last – my top 9 hero beauty products for over 40 women!

I’ve been meaning to write this post FOREVER. It’s been a draft for who knows how long, and although I didn’t have the actual products listed I always had them swimming about in my head. So when I recently found myself bulk-buying one of them in case of nuclear war (see product no. 3), I realised that I needed to get this post written. Whilst I don’t claim to be any kind of expert when it comes to makeup and beauty products, I do know what I like and have found some real gems over the years that I always swear by.

You might be wondering, Why a Top 9? Why not a Top 10? – I have no idea really. It seemed a bit more interesting than a Top 10, plus maybe the 3 x 3 grid in Instagram influences me more than I dare admit…!! I just listed them all in one go and then stopped once I struggled to think of any more. If they didn’t immediately come to mind then they’re not my personal hero products, in my opinion.

I’ve stuck to everyday makeup products and everyday beauty products that are actually good for everyone. I know I’ve put in the post title “for over 40 women”, but these beauty products can be used by all ages; however, many of them specifically help us older gals with various factors associated with ageing. And as I always say, I believe in “optimum ageing”, not anti-ageing… there ain’t nothin wrong with ageing, ladies! How something that happens to Every. Single. Person. Ever. as their time on this planet increases can be a bad thing, I have NO idea. It’s a privilege denied to many as they say, and I believe these products will make you look and feel your best no matter what year you were born.


I believe in “optimum ageing”, not anti-ageing… there ain’t nothin wrong with ageing, ladies!


They sure make ME feel good, anyway… unless I’ve gone away and I’ve left one of them at home, that is – then it’s like the world has ended!! 😉


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My top 9 hero beauty products for over 40 women

1. Eyelashes – lash extensions

On a photo shoot last year I was asked what the one beauty product I couldn’t live without was – my answer was eyelash extensions. If I was deserted on a desert island I think I’d need to have my niece flown out to join me as she does my eyelashes for me… once you start, you can never go back!

In case you’re not sure what they are exactly, lash extensions are individual lashes attached to your own with special glue – don’t worry, your eyes are fully protected throughout the process – and it takes about an hour from scratch. If you look after them carefully (not getting them wet too often, not rubbing or pulling at them, no mascara) then they can look perfect for about two weeks before you start losing one or two of them gradually. They’ll be good for about three to four weeks before they start to look too sparse. I have infills about every third week and they take about half an hour (depending on how many lashes are left).

My Top 9 Hero Beauty Products for Over 40 Women - eyelash extensions | Not Dressed As Lamb

Having big, dark, full lashes not only saves you time curling your lashes and putting on mascara, but it also makes you look half decent even when you’re wearing no makeup at all (this is so good when you’re older and you have some lines and wrinkles – it’s easy to look tired when all it is is that you’re just not wearing any makeup). I frighten myself less in the mirror in the morning when I have extensions, so for that reason they’re my number one essential…!

(If you’re in the Exeter or Devon area I can highly recommend my niece – who is fully trained by the way – see her Instagram account with contact details here.)


2. Setting spray – NYX makeup setting spray

OMG this is such a lifesaver!  The NYX makeup setting spray (US link) comes in matte and dewy finishes and does what it says on the tin. It’s SO good in hot weather when sweat tends to make your makeup slide off your face, and it also sets your makeup perfectly if you’ve got a long day of wearing a full face of makeup ahead of you. Unlike some sprays I’ve used it doesn’t sting or leave your face crusty. I kick myself when I’ve left the house and forgotten to spray my face with this stuff, hence why I now keep an extra bottle in my makeup bag.


3. Cleanser – Beauty Pie Double-Phase Daily Deep Rinse-Off Cleanser

Now there’s a mouthful: the Beauty Pie Double-Phase Daily Deep Rinse-Off Cleanser is my newest favourite on this list. I’ve only been using it for a few weeks but I was so impressed I bought four more tubes in case they go out of stock. Now there is a caveat with any Beauty Pie product – if you’ve not shopped there before then you unfortunately can’t just stop by, add to basket and continue on to the checkout. Beauty Pie only gives you access to their luxury makeup and skincare with memberships that start at £10 a month (disclosure: I was gifted a year’s no-obligation membership by Beauty Pie) so that you can shop at “members’ prices”.

How it works is that Beauty Pie sell luxury beauty products at hugely discounted prices by sourcing the best makeup and skincare from the world’s leading laboratories, put it in their own packaging and sell it directly to their members “without the mumbo-jumbo, the middlemen, or the markups”. In other words, you could be buying a Chanel product but it’s in Beauty Pie’s packaging (which, I have to say, is gorgeous and minimalist in itself) – you only pay factory cost prices.

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For example, my cleanser’s regular price is £25 as a luxury brand’s product, but I paid £5.11 for it. But don’t forget you pay the membership fee (which you can pay monthly or annually) and delivery so of course you do pay for the privilege, but the quality of the products I’ve bought so far and the cheap-as-chips prices I paid for them makes me think it’s REALLY worth it.

My Top 9 Hero Beauty Products for Over 40 Women | Beauty Pie Double-Phase Daily Deep Rinse-Off Cleanser | Not Dressed As Lamb

Back to the cleanser: It smells divine. It reminds me of my eraser collection (UK readers: yes, my rubber collection – I didn’t want to scare my US readers by saying I collected rubbers) I had when I was a kid (and STILL have I’m glad to say). It’s made me use face cloths rather than cotton wool which is good for the environment – you rub the cleanser into your skin, work warm water into it then take it off with a warm wet cloth. I bought a big pack of face cloths so that I always use a clean one and I LOVE the super clean feeling you get from really working the cleanser in and then wiping it off.

Other products I’ve bought from Beauty Pie that I’d highly recommend: foundation, eye pencils, powder blush, brushes (they are HEAVEN and so obviously top quality), eye cream… let me know if you’d like a post about Beauty Pie, I’d be happy to write in more detail about the process and the products I’ve tried.


4. Retinol – PurOrganica Retinol Serum

This retinol serum from PurOrganica* seems to divide opinion, but personally I love it. It’s described as a “correcting serum” and is not just for fine lines but also for acne, acne scars and pigmentation. I apply it after cleansing and before my moisturiser – it does have a nice tingling, tightening effect so I’m hoping that I’ll do a Benjamin Button and start to visibly get younger and younger as it smooths out my lines and wrinkles. Or maybe I’ll just stop ageing like Blake Lively in The Age of Adaline and not get any older at all, wouldn’t that be nice…

Seriously – it’s one of the few retinols I’ve tried (though I haven’t tried THAT many to be honest) that has actually made a visible difference to my 40 plus year old face. I’ve started to see my pigmentation start to fade a little too so I’m sticking with it for a while yet.

*At the time of writing it was unfortunately out of stock at Amazon but hopefully it’ll come back in.

And in the spirit of ensuring that everyone’s on the same page, I don’t want to assume in a Mean Girls way that EVERYONE knows what retinol is, don’t they…?! (I hate articles and adverts that bombard you with science and assume that everyone knows what they’re talking about.) Retinol is a form of Vitamin A (that’s why you get a lot of beauty bloggers talk about Vitamin A products) which promotes skin renewal and enhances the production of collagen. I was actually told by a dermatologist that it’s the only product that will go any way to improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and can perhaps reverse some of the side effects of sun damage, i.e. pigmentation.


5. Moisturiser – Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream and Night Cream

I reviewed the Nivea Q10 range back in October as part of a Nivea campaign, but I’d been using their products for at least a couple of years so I was already a fan. I’ve tried MANY different moisturisers over the years, but I always switched from one to the next, trying to find the perfect one, until I tried Nivea Q10 day cream and Q10 night cream. The day cream comes in SPF15 and SPF30, so kudos to Nivea for adding sunscreen. Both smell good (almost no smell to be honest, the nearest thing it reminds me of is of being on holiday) and are not at all greasy. The day cream is perfect under makeup and the night cream is thick and creamy and leaves your face superbly moisturised come next morning, nor does it sting my face like many night creams I’ve tried.

To top it all they’re more than affordable, even at the full price of around £10 (though Tesco and Boots often sell it at half price which is when I stock up on it). Nivea claim it’s the no.1 best-selling “anti-age” night cream and the no.2 best-selling anti-age day cream in the UK, so that’s a fairly hefty endorsement for how good they are.

So at that price you can truly slap on the old night cream, because you’re worth it (though isn’t that another brand…?!) 😉


6. Nail colour – Nails Inc Porchester Square

Remember when greige (grey-beige) was THE nail colour a few years ago? Never mind whatever colour is in this season, Nails Inc Porchester Square is the ultimate, flatters-everyone colour IMO. I first saw it on makeup artist Lisa Eldridge and thought her nails looked totally wow – luckily she’d listed what she had on (I think because everybody kept asking what nail colour she was wearing) and I bought it immediately.

My Top 9 Hero Beauty Products for Over 40 Women - Nails Inc Porchester Square nail polish | Not Dressed As Lamb

It has the tiniest hint of purpley-lilac to it, but that’s only noticeable when I compare it to the other many greige nail colours I own. None are as flattering as Nails Inc Porchester Square, and the bonuses keep coming: it’s opaque and you can get away with just one coat if you’re in a rush; Nails Inc lasts infinitely longer than other brands with almost no chipping, and although the price is a little more than regular drugstore brands, I think they’re total value for money at about £15 ($21.50) a bottle.


7. Face powder – Bare Minerals Mineral Veil

Many beauty tutorials I watch on YouTube (admittedly by much younger YouTubers, only because there are more of them) skip powder altogether. I also read that older women should skip it because it makes a lined face look more lined and we get more fine hairs on our face as we age… WHATEVER, I’m a face powder user and I’m proud! I have always, always used face powder to set my foundation and concealer and I just don’t get how the YouTubers slather on a thick layer of foundation and then go straight to blush and eyeshadow without it all sliding across their face within half an hour. (Am I the only one here?!)

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That said, I AM very aware of looking cakey and powdery – that’s the last thing I want – so finding a powder that stops my foundation gettin’ slippy without making me look like an extra in a film about Marie Antoinette has been a lifelong battle. That was until I discovered Bare Minerals Mineral Veil (US link). This stuff is so good, so light and so invisible that I can’t see myself wanting to try anything else.

I have both the Original and the Illuminating version – avoid Illuminating unless you like a bit of sparkle in your face powder. I use it instead of highlighter on top of the Original and/or in the summer when I want a bit more of a dewy look. What I love most about the product is the fact that it blots any oil on your face and KEEPS it blotted throughout the day without making you look matte and powdery. You’re super blotted but look like your skin is still glowy and unpowdered. I give it 1,000 out of 10.


8. Nail treatment – Yoffee

I never claimed these products would all be “glamorous” products – this one is definitely NOT glamorous. If you have ever had any sort of nail infection then you’ll know not only how much it can hurt but also how unsightly it is. (If you just want to read about the glam products and don’t like “icky” stuff I suggest you skip this one.)

Yoffee – a clear liquid in a dropper bottle – totally saved a minging nail I had on the ring finger of my right hand. Out of nowhere, and for no reason I knew of, I got an infected cuticle about five years ago. I thought the nail bed was permanently damaged but luckily it eventually cleared up – however what then happened was that the nail started to separate from the nail bed so I ended up with the white part about halfway up my nail. I wore a false nail over it for years to cover it up as it was so unsightly, but it was also painful (regular readers may have noticed that I used to have really long nails, I think I grew them long and glamorous to make me feel better about the unsightly one). That was until last summer, when I decided to cut off all my nails so that I could get that one repugnant nail sorted.

I happened to see Yoffee on Amazon and it had really good reviews – as it was less than £10 I had nothing to lose. It’s made of all natural products: argan, tea tree, clove, rosemary and pomegranate oils.

Here’s the amazing part – IT WORKED A FLIPPING MIRACLE ON MY NAIL.

I cut back all the white part of the nail so that the bed was exposed (I did warn you to skip this one if you don’t like icky stuff) and applied a couple of drops of Yoffee two or three times a day. (On days when I had a photo shoot or an event I wore a single false nail over the top just so as not to scare anyone with my “man nail” as my nieces called it.) In six months my nail went from being a half nail separated from the nail bed to grown back in full, attached to the nail bed and looking pink and healthy with a perfect white tip – all it took was just a couple of drops of this clear liquid. I had to wait for the nail to grow out of course but amazingly the pain stopped within a few days of using the product.  My hideous “man nail” is no more…!


9. Brow makeup – Stila All Day Waterproof Brow Colour

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour (US link) is another mini miracle – if you overplucked your eyebrows in the 90s (or even the 70s!) and, like mine, they stayed patchy and sparse, this product will change your makeup routine LIFE.

It’s in a pen form – like a long pointed fibre tip – and comes in 4 or 5 shades. Once you’ve mastered the pen it works like magic, drawing in the finest of individual brow hairs where they once stood. If you look at my brows in the picture below where I used the Stila pen, note that only about 60% of the “hairs” you see here are real… the rest (especially at the outer edges where I have barely any hairs at all) are drawn on.

My Top 9 Hero Beauty Products for Over 40 Women - filled in eyebrows with Stila All Day Waterproof Brow Colour | Not Dressed As Lamb

Not only does it give you great-looking eyebrows, but it’s waterproof and completely smudge-proof. Once you’ve drawn them on, they’re ON – it’s pretty much like using a semi-permanent marker. So with practice you can draw on the most beautiful of brows; at the moment I’m favouring the all-brushed-up look à la Sophia Loren and the Stila pen is perfect to create that. (You’re never going to see me with mahoosively thick Instagram eyebrows that look like they were spray painted on – I like to see individual hairs.)

My best tip: use the pen at a flatter angle to your face, not at a right angle like a normal pen, and use the very lightest of touches. It means the “hairs” will be finer and more realistic… It will be as if the 90s never happened at all!

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My Top 9 Hero Beauty Products for Over 40 Women | Not Dressed As Lamb

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Disclosure: This post was not sponsored in any way by the brands mentioned but it contains some affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission at no cost to you (click here for my full disclosure). Any items listed as c/o were gifted. All content is original and opinions are my own and 100% honest.



  1. 8 March 2018 / 4:00 pm

    Some fab recommendations Catherine! I love the close up of your eyelash extensions by the way. You look awesome xxx

  2. Heidi
    28 February 2018 / 12:54 am

    This post is AMAZING Catherine! Thank you so much for sharing-I’ll be ordering several of these tonight!

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

  3. Susie
    25 February 2018 / 6:08 pm

    Love your style and advice! I just started eyelash extensions, and love them. If you are penciling in your brows, I would recommend permanent makeup for brows. But make sure you do your homework and find someone qualified. My ‘artist’ blended multiple colors to get the optimum natural color for me. It is a lifesaver being able to skip this part of make up. Also, I would not be without getting shellac nail polish every two weeks. I used to be embarrassed by my nails and after several years of doing shellac they are stronger than ever and always look good. I love getting a French polish with a very pale pink undertone. Very classy. By the way, you look fabulous!

  4. Danish Pastry
    23 February 2018 / 4:24 pm

    Great post, I’m going to try the setting spray as like you I like a powder to set my make up, and find a setting spray helps to stop me look too powdery. I haven’t used full face foundation for years, but I still like a bit of powder. I especially like the sound of the dewy one. Might have to source the bare minerals powder too!
    I totally agree that it’s all about aging gracefully, rather than trying (and probably failing) to stop the process in its tracks. I’ve been embracing my grey hair for about 3 years or so now. I used to have coppery low lights in my brown hair, but my hairdresser advised these could start looking red/ orange instead of the subtle copper I loved, so we gradually changed the colours over a year or so, and I haven’t had my hair coloured for at least 18 months now. My hair is still mainly brown with the most amazing silver grey high lights. People think they are achieved with the help of my hairdresser (who tells me she could never do them this well!). I’d say the most difficult bit was getting used to my hair going from warm tones with the copper, to cooler tones, I’ve adjusted my make up and wear brighter clothes to liven things up a bit!

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 5:53 pm

      Everyone I’ve recommended the NYX setting spray to has loved it, Susan! And that’s great to hear about you growing your colour out to grey – I’m planning to start the same process when I turn 50. I want to see just how grey I am, and if it looks good then I’ll fully embrace it!! Glad you liked the post x

  5. Karen Ball
    23 February 2018 / 2:10 pm

    Great post, love reading about beauty products and although I have fairly sensitive skin and in my mid 50’s I am a beauty junkie at heart !!! I am a huge Bareminerals makeup fan and tend to skin to stick to mainly cheaper skin care products as they seem to have less ingredients in them. I read about Nivea Q10 a few weeks ago on one of your blogs from a while ago and decided to try the eye cream….thank you so much – love it ! It might not turn back the clock but it makes me feel positive using it ha ha !!
    Hope Riley is doing okay, have a lovely weekend x

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 5:51 pm

      Karen my skin is quite sensitive too – I mentioned night creams making my skin sting – so I can thoroughly recommend the Q10 day and night creams if you have sensitive skin. It’s honestly one of the few that doesn’t make me go AAAAAAARGH HURTS when I use it…! 😉

      And yes Riley is doing really well thank you, he’s on painkillers which seem to be doing the trick… I’ve never known him have such a huge appetite (normally he’s a mega fussy eater) or want to go out walking so much! We’re just really happy we’ve managed to make him comfortable and content for now 🙂

  6. 23 February 2018 / 11:22 am

    Nivea?? Really, I mean, I love their under the shower lotion and sometimes I use the cream fro the classic blue can as a mask. Should I try it, perhaps. It is a lot cheaper then Estee Lauder!

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 12:27 pm

      I don’t know how they make it so cheap Nancy but I know a lot of converts to Q10 who totally agree with me!

  7. 23 February 2018 / 11:13 am

    This is fab Catherine, lots of new to me bits! I am with you 100% on powder. Absolutely hate a greasy face. Also now that I have botox, the powder really stops that tell-tale look shiny you get.
    I couldn’t sign off without mentioning how stunning you are in that close-up shot. I know you posted it before but blimey woman it stops me dead every time! xx

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 12:25 pm

      Aww thank you MT…!!! 😀 Yes to the powder and yes to the botox shiny thing. Thank god I’m not the only one who still uses powder, thought I was missing something!

  8. 23 February 2018 / 9:23 am

    I’m still chuckling at your rubbers comment! I used to collect them too – and just adored the smell. Any time I smell anything like that, it just takes me back to my youth. Sigh… those were the days he he he!
    This is such a fab post, Catherine. I’ve already added it to my favourites so I can come back to it at a later date whenever I’m looking to buy beauty products.
    When you talked about the time you had a minging (!) nail, it reminded me of the time when I had a wart on my finger. I was 16, I think. I tried everything to get rid of it. Nothing worked until someone told me to rub it with a piece of meat and bury the meat in the garden. At this stage I was willing to try anything. And you know what? It worked!!!!!
    Have a fab weekend, Catherine.
    Suzy xx

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 12:19 pm

      OMG I can’t believe that old wives’ tale worked, Suzy!!!!! LOL 😉

  9. Sue
    22 February 2018 / 9:54 pm

    Hi Catherine, I’ve read about Beauty Pie before but don’t know anyone who has used them before. Would love a post on them and to find out more please.

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 12:18 pm

      Gotcha Sue – I’ll get something started! x

  10. Lynda
    22 February 2018 / 9:27 pm

    I too love your phrase, “optimum aging” – it’s so positive and non-condescending! We’re going to get older, but we can still be happy, healthy, and attractive 🙂


    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 12:18 pm

      Hear, hear, Lynda!!!!!!! xo

  11. 22 February 2018 / 8:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing these little tips, I recommend the eyelashes – mine are a god-send and I love not having to ‘do’ them in the morning! Jacqui

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 12:18 pm

      They make life so much easier, don’t they Jacqui!!

  12. 22 February 2018 / 8:31 pm

    Dear Catharine. Oh, I love your term “optimum ageing”. I admit that sometimes I struggle with ageing and sometimes I embrace it. That’s probably why I love your term so much: it is not about avoiding it, but embracing it in a positive way. Great thinking! Oh, and about your umber 9. 9 stands for change… apt for your blogpost! Love, Lieske

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 12:17 pm

      It’s a MUCH better expression, isn’t it Lieske? If only the beauty industry would adopt it…! thank you x

  13. 22 February 2018 / 7:38 pm

    I’m certainly looking into the Nails Inc. Really like the colour, Catherine.
    Laurie xx

    • catherine
      23 February 2018 / 12:16 pm

      You’ll love it, Laurie!

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