GROWN-UP Glamour

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Byline: BEAUTY CONFIDENTIAL with Elsa McAlonan

WE'RE all allowed a bit of sparkle at Christmas, but it's important not to overdo it. Here, top make-up artists come to the rescue with face-saving tips, tricks and products for a grown-up party look, whatever your age.

QI'mover 60 -- can I get away with sexy party eyes? MAKE-UP queen Laura Mercier says: 'The older we get, the more visible the signs of ageing become and red veins can begin to appear on the eyelids.

'A great tip to disguise this is to use a fleshtoned eye primer or base -- try Laura Mercier Eye Basics ([euro]26, SpaceNK) -- which works as a foundation.

'It cancels out the redness, veins and discolouration and also serves as a base to your eyeshadow, ensuring it goes on more smoothly and lasts longer.

'You don't have to avoid eye make-up if your eyelids have become crepey and lined -- I find matte colours and cream shadows work really well.

'Avoid shadows that are shimmery, pearly or frosty because they attract attention to crepey lids. The idea is to keep colour emphasis close to your iris, rather than focusing attention on the lid.' Liz Pugh, a make-up artist with Avon, suggests mixing concealer with eye cream to diffuse the appearance of any lines.

'Add a little definition by blending a taupe shade of eye shadow into the socket. Apply a lighter shade under the brow bone to lift the eye,' she says.

'For a more glamorous look, draw a line close to the lashes from the centre to the outer corner -- try Avon Glimmerstick Diamonds Eyeliner in sparkling silver ([euro]6, avon.ie). This will give you all the sparkle you need.' QI look like a ghost without blusher, but how do I avoid looking like a clown? I'm 53.

'HIGHLIGHTING and contouring is the easiest way to soften the hands of time and is especially flattering on women in their 50s,' says Lori Taylor, Smashbox lead make-up artist.

'Add dimension by contouring the hollows of the cheek, the side of the nose and jawline. Smashbox Blush Rush in silhouette ([euro]26, Debenhams) is a pale apricot shade and perfect for subtle contouring. …