Easy makeovers for all ages

The fashion grand dame Coco Chanel once said: "You can be gorgeous at 30, charming at 40 and irresistible for the rest of your life."

In this first issue of Style, the team tapped seven experts to show you how to look your best, whether you are in your nubile 20s or golden 60s.

The experts are stylists Keith Png, Daniel Boey and Audrey Ong; make-up artists Clarence Lee and Dollei Seah; and hairstylists Eugene Ong and Ken Hong.

They performed their magic on five women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, who were keen to look better. So like Chanel said, you can look irresistible at any age.


In her 20s 


Before & After PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

HANNAH TIANA, 21, student

Body shape: Short and curvy

"I'm only 1.51m tall. I want to learn how to look taller and slimmer. People have commented that I look older than I am."

Outfit (above, right): Cruise jumper; Playhound clutch; Inuovo sandals; all from Robinsons The Heeren

  • 20s: Style tips

  • Stylist Keith Png: "Younger women shouldn't follow fashion bloggers or Instagram influencers blindly.

    Whatever is on trend may not fit one's body shape, so if you are a 1.5m-tall girl, you shouldn't be dressing like a 1.8m-tall model."

    Stylist Audrey Ong: "The 20s is when you should explore to find your style. Experiment to see what works, but to do so, you need to understand your body type."

    Make-up artist Dollei Seah: "When you're in your 20s, you are tempted to experiment with make-up. That also means you have the tendency to apply too much of it.

    If you have good skin, there is no need to put on too much foundation and concealer. And don't think that more colours on your face will make you look better. Just keep the bright colours either to your eyes or lips; not both at the same time.

    Hairstylist Ken Hong: "This is the age where one should try different styles to find out what is suitable, as long as it goes with the professional environment."

THE OUTFIT

Stylist Audrey Ong: "When I first saw Hannah, I thought she looked 12 years older than her actual age. To make her look more her age, we put her in a romper that has a playful vibe. The dark colour helps elongate her body. She may be short, but her body is proportionate and she has nice curves.

To highlight her curves, we picked this romper that is cinched at the waist. She could try wearing high-waisted flared skirts that will help make her legs look longer and hide her hips and thighs."

Stylist Daniel Boey: "She needs to be selective about prints. The top she came in looked ageing.

Women who are short should avoid wearing very high heels as they highlight how short they are.

We put her in flatform sandals that give her height a little boost and also lend a young, fun vibe.

High-waisted pants would look good on Hannah, but she should not pair them with a baggy top. A figure-hugging one will help to elongate her silhouette. Colour blocking should be avoided as it would cut the body up."

THE MAKE-UP

Make-up artist Dollei Seah: "The first thing I noticed about Hannah was her foundation. Like many young women, she wore a shade that didn't suit her. It made her complexion grey and dull.

It is fine to use a foundation that is lighter than one's skin tone, but use it to brighten only the T-zone and under-eye areas. Make sure the foundation's undertone matches your skin's. For her olive skin, I picked a shade with a brown undertone. I contoured the rest of her face with a bronzer to balance the light foundation.

I added a light coral blush on her cheeks to brighten her complexion for a more youthful look.

She usually wears heavy eye make-up with black eyeliner that goes all the way to her sockets. This makes her look older. To define her eyes without adding years, I smudged some liner close to her upper lash line and on the outer corners of her eyes."

THE HAIRCUT

Hairstylist Ken Hong: "She has a high forehead and square jaw, which was highlighted by her long fringe. To make her look younger, I gave her bangs that taper from the brows to the cheekbones. This cut not only makes her look cute, but also adds character."

HANNAH ON HER NEW LOOK

"I definitely look and feel younger. This is a very fun outfit that I can see myself wearing to hang out with my friends. I've had a fringe before, but I've always found it uncomfortable when I perspire. I like how sweet and young I look with it, so I'm going to work hard at keeping it."


In her 30s


Before & After PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

IRENE CHAN, 36, HR executive

Body shape: Curvy

"I work in an environment where everyone wears T-shirts and jeans, but I'm starting to get a little bored of wearing that almost every day. As appearances aren't a big thing at my workplace, I don't really wear make-up either.

I've always kept my hair this length because it's easy to maintain, but it definitely feels too safe.

I think my arms are flabby, so I try not to wear anything sleeveless.

Since giving birth to my son 18 months ago, I've avoided wearing anything too tight-fitting as I'm conscious of my tummy."

Outfit (above, right): Lipsy dress; Dune London heels; Gerard Darel bag; all from Robinsons The Heeren

  • 30s: Style tips

  • Stylist Audrey Ong:"If your body has gone through changes after pregnancy, it's time to take a look at your wardrobe and put aside clothes that don't fit anymore because they don't do anything for your confidence.

    A flowy blouse will help to hide bulges. An empire waist dress, fitted at the bust area and loose beyond that, is another flattering option as it helps to hide wide hips and thighs."

    Make-up artist Dollei Seah: "Convenient do-it-all products are especially useful for women in this age group, as they may have more responsibilities at home and in their careers. They should also focus on enhancing their complexion with simple base make-up. This will make them look younger.

    As the fine lines around their eyes become more obvious at this age, they should stay away from matte eyeshadows which make the creases more obvious. Keep clear of frosty eyeshadow too, as it can make the eyes appear puffy and droopy when not applied correctly."

    Hairstylist Ken Hong: "Many women in their 30s will start to see their hair getting thinner. So add volume to the locks with a short style.

    Want to keep your hair long? Get a perm with big curls." 

THE OUTFIT

Stylist Daniel Boey: "I think the grey striped dress she came in was all wrong for her. It made her look sallow.

She mentioned that she was concerned about her tummy, but horizontal stripes only emphasise that. We picked this dress for its black graphic design on the side that has a slimming effect.

The prints add an interesting element to what would otherwise be a plain dress.

Her shoulders are quite narrow in proportion to her hips. The cap sleeves on this dress help to widen her shoulders.

I don't think her arms are flabby, but as she's conscious of them, the cap sleeves help to show off her arms without being too revealing."

Stylist Audrey Ong: "She just gave birth recently, so a tummy is to be expected, but hers isn't all that big. All she needs is some shaping underwear.

This dress is very versatile - pair it with a blazer and it's instantly more work-appropriate.

For her shoes, we decided on pointy black heels that are sleek and polished. Round-toed shoes can look dated."

THE MAKE-UP

Make-up artist Dollei Seah: "Irene has good skin. However, she finds it tricky to maintain it while juggling her roles at work and at home.

I recommended her a few multi-purpose cosmetic products that will help her look made up while protecting her skin so she can get ready in a jiffy.

One of them is a foundation with anti-ageing ingredients and sunscreen.

I also used a bright lipstick on her so she looked polished without too much effort."

THE HAIRCUT

Hairstylist Ken Hong: "Irene's shoulder-length hair, which is flat at the top and scraggly at the ends, makes her thin locks more obvious. To give it more volume, I cut it shorter.

This asymmetrical bob that reaches her chin is classic yet trendy, easy to maintain and makes her look professional.

This gradual cut is also suitable for women who are uncomfortable with short hair."

IRENE ON HER NEW LOOK

"I love this outfit, but I'll save it for outings with my husband.

I still don't think I want to stand out too much at my workplace.

I think I look fresher with the asymmetrical bob.

I've always thought that when I wear red lipstick, I look unapproachable, so I am surprised to see that it makes me look good."


In her 40s


Before & After PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

APARNA GULI, 46, housewife

Body shape: Y-shaped with shoulders and bust that are slightly larger than the waist

"I want to be more adventurous in my dressing and to look slimmer.

I usually wear minimal make-up - just sunscreen and some kohl on my eyes. I can never get my lipstick colour right, even when I blend shades together. The result just does not look flattering.

I want to highlight my eyes with make-up, but don't know how to.

As I get older, my complexion becomes dull. I want to learn how to brighten it. I have natural curls that are stubborn and unmanageable. I've been rebonding my hair to keep it in place. I'd like to try a new hairstyle."

Outfit (above, right): Dress and blazer, both from Warehouse

THE OUTFIT

Stylist Keith Png: "To balance her broad shoulders, Aparna should be more adventurous with her bottoms. A printed skirt or pants will do the trick. She has beautiful legs, so she should show them off too.

I picked a bandeau dress for her. To streamline her silhouette and disguise her broader shoulders, I added a long but lightweight jacket. The length of the jacket also makes her look taller.

I rolled up the sleeves of the blazer to show a bit of her skin and make the look sexier. A belt highlights her figure."

THE MAKE-UP

Make-up artist Clarence Lee: "Women with darker skin tones must pick the right foundation shade or they could end up with a grey-looking face. Before you buy, try the foundation on bare skin and check yourself in a mirror under natural and bright lighting. The right shade should blend in seamlessly with your natural skin tone. A dusky peach blush can help give skin a glow.

On Aparna's eyes, I applied a pale gold shadow on the inner corners and all over the lids. I used a dark green liner, as it is less harsh than black. A light chocolate brown pencil also helps to define her brows while softening her look.

Deep plums and midnight blues complement her skin tone - pastels would not work. I used a bright pink lipstick to light up her face."

THE HAIRCUT

Hairstylist Eugene Ong: "As she wants to keep her hair long, I trimmed it to give it some shape. Rebonding treatments make hair flat and lifeless. For a change, I gave her a blow dry with curls, so her rebonded locks look sleek and voluminous. She can also get a digital perm instead of a rebonding treatment for a more natural look."

APARNA ON HER NEW LOOK

"I like the dress as it hides my tummy. I've never dared to wear bright lipstick, but this fuchsia pink works. Rebonded hair is easy to maintain, but looks boring. I'm glad they gave my hair some bounce."


In her 50s


Before & After PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

TEO CHENG HIANG, 55, contracts analyst

Body shape: Rectangular. Her shoulders, waist and hips are of the same width

"I work in a corporate environment so I'm usually in dark or neutral colour shift dresses. Now that I'm in my 50s, my skin has started to sag, while my eye bags and dark circles are more prominent. I also have marionette lines, an uneven skin tone and pigmentation on my face. I'd like to learn how to use make-up to enhance my features.

I don't wear too much make-up. I just use tinted sunblock and loose powder. I darken my brows and put on some lipstick. And I think my hair is limp and thin."

Outfit (above, right): Dress, Karen Millen; bangles, Forever21; necklace and shoes, stylist's own

  • 40s and above: Style tips 

  • Stylist Keith Png: "Women should understand their body shape and realise that it will change over the years.

    For example, as women enter their 40s and 50s, their breasts will start to sag, so it's important that they wear the right kind of support bra. Even if they buy a beautiful dress, if they don't wear the right bra, it won't look good.

    Once you know your body shape and what needs to be done to correct the problem areas, you can become more experimental with your fashion choices.

    As you grow older, accessories become very important. They serve as a good distraction from areas which are compromised by age. It's also important to know how to style these accessories - a longer necklace draws attention to the waist, while a shorter necklace draws attention to the chest."

    Make-up artist Clarence Lee: "As women get older, they should wear less make-up. This is because as one ages, fine lines become more apparent. When you pile on the make-up, the lines become even more prominent and you look older.

    The eyes become more droopy when you hit your 40s. When you wear too much eye make-up, it will smudge and make you look tired.

    Young women like to experiment and try new colours. But when you reach your 40s, it is time to be sure of how you want to look and stick to a signature style. But of course, that said, you can switch up your make-up routine by trying say, a different lipstick shade."

    Hairstylist Eugene Ong: "Don't forget to take care of your scalp. Like the face, the skin on the scalp will also age.

    Use the right shampoo and make sure the follicles are healthy. If possible, pick a shampoo for your hair type and another one for your scalp (either dry, oily or sensitive).

    Some silicones that are found in haircare and hairstyling products can be hard to remove and weigh down the hair. So use a deep cleansing shampoo at least once a week.

    Don't forget to apply a hair tonic to nourish the hair follicles and scalp. After washing your hair, dry the scalp with a hairdryer, and massage the tonic into the crown area. Never apply tonic on a wet scalp, as the water acts as a barrier and hinders absorption.

    In my opinion, any style suits mature women. As long as you take care of your locks and they look full, you can look sexy. But if you have thinning hair, it is best to add volume by cutting your hair short."

THE OUTFIT

Stylist Keith Png: "It is easy to turn Cheng Hiang's rectangular body shape into one that looks like an hourglass. She just has to emphasise her waist with an accessory such as a belt, or strategic prints. I picked this dress as the contrasting stripes make her waist look smaller. We completed the look with her own statement necklace."

THE MAKE-UP

Make-up artist Clarence Lee: "Cheng Hiang thinks she has dark circles and eye bags, but she does not. She has eyes that bulge a little. All I did was add a little grey-blue eyeshadow close to her lash line and on the outer corners of her eyes. I also used liner and mascara to make her eyes look wider, brighter, and more lifted. The light eyeshadow colour complements her skin tone. Brown or black will look too harsh. A sheer or dusky beige blush suits her.

She has a nice nose and good cheekbones, so I focused on disguising the areas she is not happy with. I prepared her skin with serum, moisturiser and an anti-ageing make-up base to tighten her skin and even out its texture. She has a small jaw, so the loose skin around it and the jowls are more visible.

I blended a contouring stick under her cheekbones and jaw line to make her face look sharper. I also applied a highlighter on her cheeks and around marionette lines sparingly to further lift her face."

THE HAIRCUT

Hairstylist Eugene Ong: "Her hair is layered and textured, and she is not willing to go shorter. So I took out the loose ends to give her hair a rounded shape to add softness. Her hair is not as thin as she thinks. It's just that her natural hairline is high and that makes the locks near her temples look thin. So I layered the hair at her crown and swept them towards the front to create the illusion of fuller hair."

CHENG HIANG ON HER NEW LOOK

"The dress is not something I would usually wear, but I like it as it suits me. My hair looks better now and I've also learnt to fix the problem areas on my face with make-up. My daughter, who accompanied me to the makeover, says I look five years younger, more elegant and polished."


In her 60s


Before & After PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

DORIS LIM, 66, housewife

Body shape: Rectangular

"I'm usually in tights and a baggy blouse to hide my tummy. I like to dress up, but I'm not satisfied with how I look. I go for a facial every month and I've a complete skincare routine. I've always taken good care of my skin.

I like having embroidered eyebrows because it saves me the trouble of having to draw them, but for some reason, my brows always end up looking grey rather than dark brown. "

Outfit (above, right): Blazer, blouse, pants, shoes, all from Dorothy Perkins

THE OUTFIT

Stylist Keith Png: "She is an adventurous dresser, so I picked a trendy jungle-print blazer for her. Even mature women can follow fashion trends.

Doris has a large waist and slim legs. The printed blazer takes the attention away from her tummy, while the plain light-coloured pants draw attention to her legs."

THE MAKE-UP

Make-up artist Clarence Lee: "Doris has great skin. It is supple and firm with fine pores. She has the skin of someone a decade younger. All I had to do was use a little foundation to even out her complexion.

Like many women her age, Doris has tattooed liner on her upper and lower lash lines. To further define her eyes, I added liquid liner on the tattooed lines. Her brows are also embroidered, but it looks a little grey and that ages her.

To add fullness and a warmer shade to her brows, I stroked on a brown brow pencil. To make her features look more defined, I contoured her cheeks and nose subtly with a matte brown blusher. I also added a brighter lip colour to make her look younger and more radiant."

THE HAIRCUT

Hairstylist Eugene Ong: "Doris has plenty of hair, but it is heavy and scraggly at the ends. I trimmed it to give it shape and take away some weight. Older women should have more voluminous hair. Heavy-looking locks will make their features look droopy.

Doris is not willing to cut her hair short, so I pinned it into an updo that looks like a bob to make her look younger. A shorter do shows off her neck and makes her face look more lifted."

DORIS ON HER NEW LOOK

"The experience was fun. The hairstyling part was my favourite; I'm now seriously considering cutting my hair because I think I look good in a shorter crop. The clothes suit me too. I've learnt a lot on how to dress for my body shape.


The Experts


From left: Stylist Keith Png, Stylists Daniel Boey and Audrey Ong, Make-up artist Clarence Lee, Make-up artist Dollei Seah, Hairstylist Eugene Ong & Hairstylist Ken Hong 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2015, with the headline 'EASY MAKEOVERS FOR ALL AGES'. Print Edition | Subscribe