It’s no secret that the media’s portrayal and treatment of older women isn’t always positive. Actresses often speak out about the lack of roles made available for women over 30. Gray hairs and wrinkles are usually airbrushed out, or simply avoided at all costs. These unfair societal standards and skewed perceptions of beauty are exactly what inspired Taylor Chang-Babaian—a celebrity makeup artist and author—to write her latest book, “Beauty Rewind.” The book is dedicated to helping older women recognize their worth and beauty despite the oft-stigmatized aging process. We sat down with the beauty buff to talk skin care, hair care and what it means to be your best self. Read all about her perspective below!
Tell us about your daily skin care routine.
I am really busy, so I try to keep it as simple as possible. Sometimes it changes a bit depending on what’s going on with my skin. In the morning, I use a gentle Murad cleanser, followed by a Murad collagen serum, because I’m seeing a loss of elastin in my skin. I seal in the serum with Clé de Peau Beauté day moisturizer. This has sunscreen it it, but not quite enough for me—so I wait a minute or two and then put a layer of Clé de Peau Beauté sunscreen with SPF 50+ on my face and chest. In the middle of the day, I add yet another layer of sunscreen. This time it’s a loose sunscreen, which is actually easier to apply than it sounds. It comes with a brush, which I rub in circular motions on my chest and face. No mirror necessary!
Why did you ultimately decide to write a book like “Beauty Rewind“? What is it about the aging process in relation to beauty that intrigues you?
My books are always about answering meaningful questions that arise throughout different chapters of my life. During tours for my other books, I met a lot of women who were unhappy about their age. There was always a complaint about a wrinkle; a self-deprecating or “I’m too old to …” comment (the worst!). Beauty is about being your best self, inside and out, at any age. I wanted women to know that they are never too old to do anything, and that beauty is not just reserved for the young. I wanted to write a book that I would want to read; a book that challenged what the mainstream media projects as beautiful. I wanted to profile amazing women who don’t define themselves by their age.
I got into makeup because of its ability to empower. I was considered the “ugly” sister growing up, but I learned how to make myself feel beautiful, and it gave me the confidence to take on the world. I wanted to provide others with that same power. By age 40, women tend to be more comfortable in their own skin—they often don’t really want to look like anyone other than their best selves. I noticed that the media rarely profiled older women as beautiful, so I wanted to do it myself. I’ve acquired incredible knowledge and resources in my 20+ years in the beauty business; as a result, I’m fortunate to feel in control of my aging. I wanted to help other women feel that same sense of control. The whole point of this book is to help you look and feel your best—now or 10 years from now; regardless of age.
How do you maintain gorgeous skin while balancing family and a stressful career?
I was a tomboy growing up, and I still am in some ways. I don’t look forward to my skin care routine (does anyone?), but it works, so I do it every morning and night, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Many women make the mistake of unnecessarily complicating their skin care routines. Make all of your products easily accessible—you’re never going to use them if they’re hiding in a drawer. And don’t try to go from nothing to a 9-step process. Start small! Doing one step daily is more beneficial than doing nine steps once a week.
Do you wear makeup?
Every day—although I’m wearing less as I get older. Foundation, no powder (it defines every line on my face), Anastasia brow pomade, NARS waterproof eyeliner and a natural-looking pair of krē•āt beauty false lashes. And lip gloss, of course—usually Paula’s Choice clear lip gloss because it has SPF 40.
What’s your hair care routine?
I have really long hair—and a very active lifestyle. I wash and condition every other day, and I get highlights because my hair is so gray. What I lack in wrinkles, I make up for with gray hairs. I used to joke that my grays came from having kids, but my daughter is 20 and she has quite a few, so that argument doesn’t really work. I use L’Oréal Root Rescue to touch up my roots and hide my grays. I love that I can do it myself in just 10 minutes, as I have a really hard time sitting still for long periods of time! To keep my hair healthy, I let it dry naturally whenever I can. When applying sunscreen to my skin, I often apply the excess to the ends of my hair to keep them from getting brittle.
Do you have any travel-specific beauty routines?
When flying, I don’t wear foundation so that I can reapply a heavy, hydrating moisturizer on the plane. Most people don’t know that the air on planes is actually drier than the desert.
If we looked in your handbag right now, what five beauty products we would find?
Sunscreen, Colorescience powder, Paula’s Choice clear lip gloss, Clé de Peau Beauté concealer, krē•āt beauty eyelash gluein case of emergencies) and aWater is crucial for maintaining good skin!
Do you have a signature scent?
No. I’m really sensitive to smell—and as a makeup artist, I never want to wear a scent that may irritate my clients. I just try to smell light and fresh, and that usually comes from my moisturizer and body wash. L’Occitane has a great lemony scent. I also love Clé de Peau Beauté’s cream—it’s moisturizing and has a beautifully light scent.
What makes you feel especially beautiful?
Like most women, I’m really critical of myself. I feel beautiful when I’m donning a sultry smoky eye, a pencil skirt and really high heels—and when I’ve accomplished something meaningful that makes me feel strong. Beauty is holistic: You won’t feel truly beautiful if you’re not working toward something in life, nor will you feel beautiful if you’re constantly worrying about how you look.
Do you have any tips for how to best embrace the aging process?
One of the best things I ever did was get active. I started running at age 38 with the goal of running a marathon by age 40; I ran it a month before my 39th birthday. My favorite tip: Simply stop telling your body what it can and cannot do. The human body is capable of so much more than we realize.
Did you learn any important lessons about beauty from your mother?
Sadly, not what you’d think. My mother told me I was ugly. Not in so many words—but she would call me fat daily, and she booked plastic surgery for me when I was in high school. I was fortunate to have girlfriends at the time who gave me the strength to stand up to her and say no. She would also get me strange perms and cut my hair to make me “beautiful.” It may sound counterintuitive, but that’s one of the main reasons I got into beauty. I took the way I looked into my own hands, and I decided for myself how I wanted the world to see me. I made a lot of mistakes, but I figured it out. It is up to you to find your own beauty—it’s there, no matter what anyone tells you.
What’s your beauty bedtime routine?
If I’m really exhausted by evening (which, nowadays, is often), I will do my beauty routine by my bed. I remove my eye makeup first using a Lancôme remover for waterproof eye makeup. I do this twice to ensure that I completely remove my eye makeup. Then I apply Simple micellar water with a cotton pad until I don’t see any more makeup coming off on the pad. Then I use a toner. Right now I’m all about hydration, so I use a hydrating La Mer toner and finish off with a collagen serum and an evening moisturizer. I also make sure to use Elizabeth Arden’s 8-hour cream on my lips so they don’t dehydrate. Lips get ignored way too often. They shrink with age, so taking care of them is always a priority for me. This may sound like a lengthy routine, but I usually finish in a couple of minutes.
When I’m not exhausted, I’ll use a Murad cleanser and my Clarisonic. I try to do this at least twice a week, followed by a 15-minute Shiseido Benefiance mask. I also try to do an Acure Organics seaweed scrub once a week when I’m not using the Clarisonic; it exfoliates my skin a bit more deeply.
Written by Mackenzie Patterson
Headshot photo by Albert Sanchez