Cosmetics guru Ciara Daly’s courses aim to brush up skills of the pre-YouTube generation
With their carefully contoured faces, highly defined eyebrows and perfect pouts, young women have become artists when it comes to putting on make-up.
However, a whole generation of females aged 40 and upwards feel they are being left behind when it comes to knowing how to make the most of their facial features.
A generation that didn’t grow up with online tutorials, many women over 40 not only falter when it comes to applying make-up but struggle to know what to buy from the array now available at cosmetic counters.
One of Northern Ireland’s top make-up artists, Ciara Daly, has had so many women in this age group asking for help that she has launched a popular one-day make-up tutorial course aimed exclusively at the over 40s.
Ciara (43) runs Ciara Daly Makeup on Belfast’s Lisburn Road and has been astonished at the course’s popularity which she says she could fill weekly if she had the time to run it.
“I had really noticed in the past few years a lot of people my age and older coming in just for advice on how to put their make-up on,” she says.
“We are living in an age of selfies and people taking pictures every day and posting them on social media.
“Also with Zoom meetings, people see themselves on screen, it’s like having a constant mirror up and they come to me and say they think they are desperate looking and want to learn how to look their best.
“We are a generation who didn’t grow up with YouTube. We would have relied on advice from the girl on the make-up counter in Anderson McAuley or Boots.
“I’ve all these mums telling me how fantastic their daughters are at putting make-up on, but young girls are spending hours and hours practising and learning from tutorials.
“What they are doing doesn’t suit women of my age and that’s where most are struggling.”
After teaching an increasing number of women how to apply make-up to enhance their more mature skin on a one-to-one basis, Ciara decided to launch a monthly course.
With only eight places available, it was soon booked out months in advance. To try and meet demand she now runs two a month.
She explains: “I can’t believe the demand or the feedback. Most women are going online to say it was the best day ever which is fantastic.
“They are coming riddled with self-doubt and hopefully leaving with new confidence.
“They are embarrassed because they don’t know how to apply make-up and have been doing the same thing for years.
“They are also totally overwhelmed with the choices out there and they literally don’t know where to start.
“It is like this weird age when we still want to look good, but we don’t want to overdo it or make it look like we are trying to be 21 again.
“I keep hearing women say their daughter did their make-up and they looked like a dog’s dinner. What suits a young person isn’t going to suit a more mature lady.
“Many say they used to love make-up but now feel they don’t know what they are doing with it anymore and there is a terrible feeling of inadequacy.”
For Ciara there are some magical yet simple tricks that all women can use to ensure they look their best.
Piling on make-up in middle age is a recipe for disaster and fine lines and wrinkles can easily look worse if you don’t know what you are doing.
That’s where Ciara’s expertise comes in.
Known for her relaxed approach to her work, her courses are also about having fun.
By the end of the day most are going home thrilled with their new look, armed with amazing tips and often with the added bonus of a few new friendships to look forward to.
Ciara says: “It’s all very relaxed and we have a couple of glasses of Prosecco, a bite to eat and it becomes like a therapy session with the girls.
“There is a lot of laughter and bonding but at the end of the day the girls are blown away by their make-up and leave with the tools to do their own faces and make themselves look great.
“The course is about taking it back to basics, to understand what products are doing and what they are not doing.
“If women know what products they need, then they are not going to be blindsided by the vast range available.
“We then go through techniques, what to put on and where to put it.
“I’ve found most women are making the same mistakes. We have people who have used liquid eye-liner for years, but it is now bleeding into the crevices in their eyes. These women like the definition and just showing them how to use something softer to achieve the same look can make a huge difference.
“It’s like there are all these wee eureka moments when you do explain why the make-up they are using isn’t working for them and show them an alternative.
“In many cases it is the skin that has changed, and women are working on a different canvas, so they need to update their techniques and understanding of make-up.
“The whole idea is to show them that they can still put make-up on and look good.
“I’m getting so much joy out of it. I really love it, empowering women again and helping them get their mojo back.”
Another common mistake is the use of shimmer eye shadows which can highlight fine lines on the eye lid. Ciara shows how to use the tiniest bit of shimmer to brighten the eye without drawing attention to any wrinkles.
Cheek illuminator is also something older women need to be careful with as it can highlight crow’s feet rather than define your cheek bones.
She says: “Women over 40 should be in their prime, still young but powerful and the course does help to empower them.
“Putting on make-up is not just about how you look but about how it makes you feel.
“If you know you are looking good then you are going to feel amazing.
“I do advise the women to take time to practise the techniques.
“At our age we tend to have busy lives with work, looking after kids and the home but it is worth just finding some time to perfect the new techniques and make sure you are getting them right.”
Encouraged by the demand and response to her courses Ciara is now organising a ‘girls’ day out’ one-day exhibition which she hopes to hold in Belfast in December.
Currently in the planning, she aims to offer a mix of inspiring talks, stalls to shop from, good food, live entertainment and, of course, make-up advice.
She adds: “It will be a day out for women over 40 to mix and mingle and enjoy some inspirational talks as well as a wee bit of shopping.”