Customer Reviews: Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+
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on March 21, 2014
I was on a no buy kindle diet for the sake of my over strained book budget when I was overcome by temptation and bought this intriguing book. I'm glad I did.

First off, when I was reading the sample portion on the kindle, I was caught by the author's comment on how middle aged men run the makeup industry and decide what the biggest demographic wants to buy without any reality check whatsoever. They design their products, and market to teens, and the over 50 crowd which actually has the money to spend is relegated to high priced largely ineffective wrinkle products. Or as another author put it, paying for pearls and getting the same old ineffective garbage.

Since I just finished a cranky rant on Makeupalley complaining about the lack of satin matte eye shadows and the glut on the market with shimmery evil bombs of glitter fallout that make my aging wrinkly eyelids look like metallic lizard skin (so attractive no?), this author was speaking right to me!!!!

So of course I bought the book, if only to read more of her funny and accurate comments on the state of makeup for real women, in the biggest demographic of all-- the aging boomers, of which I am one. It certainly explains why several high end brands seem to concentrate on shiny glitter bombs whether it's eyeshadow, blush or foundation. That, or it's a suck the life out of your face matte version intended to mop up the oil slick prone teen to twenty something.

I have only gotten to the eye makeup technique of Mrs. X and I HAD to write a 5 star review. This is fantastic stuff in here. I concur with a lot of her recommendations (and respectfully disagree with some)! There is SO much new stuff in here on applying makeup, buying it, what to do and not to do--it is a must have.

OK I have a growing bookshelf on this subject ranging from Anne Barone's Chic & Slim Toujours: Aging Beautifully Like Those Chic French Women, Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Facelifts: Aging with Attitude, to Tish Jett's Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance.

This is a useful addition to the shelf! This author adds a whole lot more to the discussion including how menopause changes the skin colour, tone and texture and why even if you bought rosy tinted foundation in the past, you may want a bit more of a golden tint now. Edited to add, she covers why you may wish to switch from powders and matte formulas to a satiny version without shimmer or shine but with a glowy life to it. And she gives brand name suggestions to try at all price points. Her skin care advice is excellent, and again she gives good product advice for all price ranges.

I started buying Allure magazine to help me figure out what to buy and how to apply makeup as I turned 45. I couldn't get away with the no makeup beyond a little brow powder anymore. I needed help. I'm 57 turning 58 this year, and I've spent a lot of money learning the hard way since then. While I like Allure magazine, they don't give good advice for 50 plus in makeup either products or application techniques or skin care for that matter. If you aren't a makeup maven from your early teens, and like me are just getting back into more makeup to help combat age, there is a real lack of practical advice. Allure markets to 30 somethings. Their cover looks are often grayish and matte. Inside stories concentrate on glitter bombs and bright colours. NOT the best for a 50 plus. Where do you go, if you are over 50 and don't want to spend buckets of money testing out various products only to dump them in the trash?

This book and the ones I mention above, help fill the void. Whether it is skin care or makeup, things change after 50 and it's helpful to have this kind of guidebook. I really like her emphasis on doing what you can with a cheap eyeshadow; versus going for expensive Botox and surgery. Even if you CAN afford it, lots of us don't want to bother. Age isn't a problem, it's just how on earth do you look your best lately with the new laugh lines, wrinkles, redness and blotchy bits?

WAY TO GO ANDREA! Love this book, I will add more to this review later.

Oh and for anyone else fussing like me over the cost of another book, well, ease your mind, this author will save you mega bucks on your skin care and makeup budget so don't worry. Well worth the purchase.

Adding more here:
Her advice is superb. I've had more time to read this carefully & it is one of the best! It is the quickest & simplest guide to using makeup and skin care products after 50. I checked her recommendations & I've used many of them. My experiences line up with her observations. I found after 56 my skin changed and the usual skin care anti aging stuff that worked well for me from 46-56 suddenly started irritating my skin instead. I switched to CeraVe in the large jar, not the stuff marked am or pm and my skin calmed down. Unsurprisingly I found it listed in her recommended creams.

That chapter on eye makeup is worth the price of the book ten times over. Many books recommend the Incognito quint eyeshadow set by Dior as an ideal neutral toned set for older women. That will cost 60$ or so last I checked. I had it for a few years & tossed it because the shine got to be too much & it gave me an odd metallic lizard skin glow on my wrinkly eyelids. It also irritated my sensitive skin. Not good. She doesn't even mention it.

One of HER recommendations is the Maybelline Expertwear Browntones duo which is a matte satin finish that doesn't accent a single wrinkle, feels like butter & covers all the veins, redness & dark shadows. It doesn't irritate, it lasts all day AND IT COSTS 1/10th of the Dior product. I already owned that duo, & its one I've recommended to friends. A REALLY good product! I suspect Mrs. X used the Madrague duo by NARS but it costs a mint. Try Maybelline first, then NYX mattes next to save the budget.

For the eye technique of Mrs. X it's the best one to play with. Amazing. For a slightly lighter flesh tone beige try NYX matte eye shadows (she doesn't mention these but I am because that Mrs X eye technique is a winner and if you need something good, cheap but a tad lighter then here is is) in the unfortunately named Lapdance and for an ivory cream to beige also a satin matte the shade Leather and Lace is superb. Neither cost a mint, and I found them for 8$ each at Target.

Speaking a little more on Mrs. X and the mascara technique, I tried the windshield wiper move and it really DOES lay down the mascara in a flash. Bit heavy so it's helpful to have one of the newer brushes such as the Clump Crusher one by Cover Girl which is the mascara I used. Combs out the heavy deposit and smooths it all out. LOVE IT!

As I said, the eye technique of Mrs. X is worth the price of the book, ten times over. Get it, and use the technique on your own stuff, before buying anything new. It really is a great eye makeup lesson for those of us over 50 with crepey lids, and lots of veining, redness, dark circles, laugh lines and other detritus earned in a full rich life.

I've tried all of her 4 best mascaras, along with a whole lot more mascaras that don't quite compete and I think she is quite correct in her 4 winners. The ones she recommends all work with my hooded oily eyelids, don't budge, flake or smear and I don't have to use the waterproof versions either. They aren't irritating or itchy feeling, nor are they heavy and crunchy on the lashes. They all come off easily with cleanser and water, no makeup remover or scrubbing required. I enjoyed her back room stories about how the different companies compete to produce the best mascaras. I'd add one more, High Impact regular mascara by Clinique.

Several of her lipstick recommendations are sitting on my makeup table right now, and again, I think she is quite correct. (In my opinion, one she mentions - Revlon Super Lustrous - beats out the competition from Dior, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Maybelline, Cover Girl, Rimmel and L'Oreal six ways to Sunday! They are creamy, don't migrate into lip lines, moisturize and come in a raft of colours to suit anyone!) Buy the book, try the stuff she recommends starting with the cheaper stuff at Walmart or Target and see what you think. I think you'll be delighted.

Not sure I will toss ALL my lip gloss or switch to cream blush just yet though. I don't use the uber shiny sparkle filled lip glosses, preferring neutral cream types for a bit of colour & extra moisture, and I like my cream foundation (I already had another one of her recommended ones--Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish sponge on cream foundation which I dab on with a concealer brush). I don't like rubbing it off as I blend out a cream blush but honestly THAT is my only quibble and I think she might be right even with my personal gloss and powder blush preferences.

WHAT A GREAT BOOK!!!!! If you want a simple guide to skin care and makeup that keeps you from spending a ton of money on duds, you couldn't get a better book.
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on April 16, 2014
Robinson didn't bring anything new to the table as far as beauty insider "dirt" goes, and although Robinson's book did have some good, basic information about skin care and procedures, once again, there was nothing new. If you're reasonably well-informed, you'll find yourself skimming and skipping over large sections of the book. As for Robinson's brand name product recommendations, they are there more as a token than any sort of meaningful guide. Despite my lukewarm reaction to the book, I'm sure there are some ladies who will find some helpful information and so I was willing to give it two stars. Where I really part ways with Robinson; however, is when it comes to her edicts regarding makeup.

First, a little background: Robinson along with makeup genius Kevyn Aucoin created Ultima II's successful line called The Nakeds. Back in the early 80's, The Nakeds was a refreshing departure from all the bright colors that dominated a woman's makeup arsenal. I loved it and wore many of the beautiful neutral shades for awhile. But that was then and this is now. Today, The Nakeds seems old fashioned and one dimensional because makeup has evolved, but Robinson hasn't. Robinson is, and obviously always has been, a proponent of makeup that is practical, minimal, and neutral. There is nothing wrong with that except she believes ALL women 50+ MUST adhere to HER esthetic if they want to look attractive. That kind of approach simply isn't true and doesn't take into account the individual needs and attributes of women no matter their age. For example, she says all any woman needs to have is one eye palette in shades of brown for dark eyes or shades of gray for light eyes--nothing else; no color whatsoever, no shimmer, no sparkle. Where's the fun? Where's the joie de vivre? Where's individual expression? I'd never advocate a woman my age ringing her eyes with vibrant glittery colors, but I think it is perfectly possible to work a bit of color and a hint of shimmer with our neutrals so that we look fashionable without trying too hard. But then, I'm nudging seventy so maybe I'm just in the throes of a second childhood! LOL Anyway, Robinson takes the same my-way-or-the-highway approach to other color cosmetics as well. You know the "Toss the Gloss" in the title? That refers to her oft repeated edict that no women over fifty should ever wear lipgloss of any kind. Despite all Robinson's talk about celebrating who we are and our unique beauty, she then tells us throughout the book that we must do this or that in accordance with her beauty rules or we risk looking like "crypt-keepers"! Yes, "crypt-keepers". Those are Robinson's words; not mine.

Now, here's the kicker: Robinson puts forth the notion that makeup should not be used to recapture the appearance of youth; rather it should be used to enhance our aging features. OK so far. But, after giving us a bunch of rules that ignore our individuality and which are guaranteed to fade us into neutrality, she herself owns up to having had a face lift! I have absolutely no issue with cosmetic procedures tastefully done, but Robinson seems hypocritical to decry the use of makeup to regain a more youthful appearance, but then embrace cosmetic surgery to do the same thing.

All considered, I wouldn't advise anyone to pay full price for this. Wait until it hits the libraries or buy it used.
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on April 26, 2014
Was hoping for more depth. Didn't really tell me anything I hadn't already found apparent. The content could really have been delivered in a small pamphlet (Wear sunscreen. Moisturize. Don't wear glittery makeup. Avoid powdery makeup. Go for a "natural" look. Drugstore brands are often the same as high end products. Don't overdo it on cosmetic procedures.). I frequently found myself just skimming over passages, because they were either repeating things said earlier or were just going on and on about how great we should think we are, or how important the author is.
I thought there might be some actual useful makeup selection and application advice, but I found it all to be too general and not detailed. I read other reviews about how helpful the eye makeup info was (and this is largely what influenced me to read this), but I was sorely disappointed. It was basically the same techniques I've been told since the age of 13, but in less detail. And not even with decent diagrams, god forbid any kind of actual photos to demonstrate.
If you're looking for a cheerleader, maybe this book will help you. But if you are wanting more substance you will likely be let down.
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on June 18, 2014
I was highly disappointed in this book. It contains no information that you wouldn't already know if you have read 6 months' worth of More, Oprah and/or Real Simple magazines. The skimpy information was padded with giant illustrations and anecdotes from the author's, as she keeps reminding us, decades in the beauty business.

You could get as much for free by watching a couple Bobbi Brown how-to videos or searching YouTube for makeup after 50.

I read this book in 45 minutes because it contained so little real info. The only thing of value was one page about how to do eye makeup. If I could give this 0 stars I would do so.

If you have never read a beauty magazine in your life, this book may help you. However, if you have never read a beauty magazine, you probably don't care about cosmetics and appearance enough to read this book.

P.S. I got a good laugh when she refers to 70s TV star "Farrah Faucet." Obviously, the book was not EDITED by a 50-plus person!
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on April 10, 2014
What a great book! I loved her wit from the first page! There are terrific beauty and style tips as well as interesting insight into the beauty industry. I've worked in the industry before and even learned new things! Read it cover to cover and loved every bit of it. I felt like Andrea was standing next to me as I went through my bathroom cabinet and makeup drawers happily tossing the gloss! The illustrations are charming to boot! Would definitely recommend it!
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on August 17, 2014
Don't buy this book, if you want it get it from the local library! Its full of info most women over 55 already know. She starts out with 5 basic cosmetics. giving one the idea that your makeup routine should be basic and simple. However, two chapters later adds 5 more to your routine, with some fairly complex process!Her thoughts on nude and brown neutrals for lipstick could be horrendous for some complexions. Too brown lipstick drains me, makes me look tied and sick. I need a pop of color on my lips.
Also, I never buy cosmetics or skin care products without consulting or Paulas Choice. Oddly, most of the authors cosmetic suggestions are rated poorly by Paula so don't waste your money on them. The author states you should not use eyeliner liquid, then states powder can be a disaster, but does not mention eye gel liner at all. She gives her suggestion of 5 eye pencils that all migrate and give raccoon eyes after two hours! If you want good advice on makeup at any age go to beautipedia .com. Paula will not send you in the wrong direction, out of thousands of reviews over 12 years and two giant beauty bibles she has probably got a 95 percent correct rating on makeup, skin care and hair easy task! As another writer mentions, getting a face-lift, and writing a book about (supposedly a simple beauty process for women over 50)are in conflict.
All that said I did garner a gem from her book, I was using Nars (orgasm) blush in a powder form and have decided to try to go to cream or stick blush.
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on August 24, 2015
I had high expectations for this book considering who the author is. Most of the 'tips' were rather standard and could be found on any youtube anytime/anyday. I thought there would be a lot more on the why's, the how's and more real scoop. I felt like the author was keeping a lot close to the vest.
The big deal over the" how to apply eyeshadow" by some woman who had been married 4 or 5x was such a let down. Although, I suppose I could have read it as validation for what I already knew but I didn't need a book for that. It was eye makeup 101.
Toward the end of the book we (finally) find out after all the info about makeup really making a big difference - that the author has used expensive other means of fighting age - a facelift among them. To me this rather discounted the previous book information and it made her emphasis on makeup etc fall to the wayside.
My other very real criticism was the assumption that ALL women over (say 50) should NEVER use powder blush (among other absolute no-no's. Hey some of us absolutely need a powder blush - oily women eat cream blushes. I have a hard time when someone gives and absolute like that. I am a very sophisticated user of products - both skincare and cosmetics and no way can I use a cream blush with any success. The right color powder blush however is smashing. As far as eye shadow - a little subtle wash of sheen/semi-sparkle shadow in the center of lid or corner (or a tad above your matte on the lid) can perk things up if done right. All matte can look flat and dull.
I did appreciate her emphasis on lipsticks - and her advice on using a L'Oreal or Maybelline without sacrificing quality. In other words, no need to use a lipstick from the higher brands unless you love the gorgeous packaging, brand name or color. Her premise is that the formula's end up being same or similar as high end and there is a trickle down (or trickle up!) effect here. Most cosmetics come out of a few cosmetic monopolies and so the research and formula's are not so different - no matter what the cosmetic is.
If you are a total newbie to the cosmetic world this might be a good start for you. If you have a grasp on things - you too could have written this book - even without the years in the business.
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on May 4, 2014
I've been waiting for a book just like this one! I am a young 65+ lady and have been trying to find the right kind of makeup for a long time. I've read a lot of magazine articles about "the right makeup for you" and I keep adding to my list of "must try" items. However, I never am completely happy with what ends up in my make up bag. That was until I read Ms. Robinson's book, made a new "must have" list and threw all my current makeup in the trash. It's been a long time since I've heard people say "You look like you got a good's night sleep" or "Did you do something new to your eyes, face, skin?".

Several of my friends at work have gotten this book after seeing what a difference it has made in my "new looks". I strongly suggest you get this book today so you can "Toss the Gloss" and have a lovely new face without ever going to a "face doctor"!
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on October 10, 2014
I absolutely loved this book! I am a budget-conscious beauty lover with a lot of allergies and a lot of other priorities other than spending a ton of money on the beauty industry's ever-changing trends. Yes, I am under 40 but the tips, tricks, and explanations offered in the book are for the conscious spender who wants to look classic, timeless and do so with smart spending habits. The author is an industry insider who keeps things witty, fresh, and frank throughout the books pages. Some reviews found the information shared a re-hash of the obvious, but considering how much the beauty and cosmetics industry is raking in, apparently things are not as obvious as one would think. In the book, the author talks about the luxury brands, the designer brands, celebrity endorsements, and drugstore deals that can keep any woman looking and feeling her best-without breaking the bank. As a younger woman, I can appreciate learning the truth and saving my hard earned cash. Some of the beauty advice may not be best tailored to women of color or women with more unique skin situations-as I myself fit both of these categories-but I still found this book very insightful and worth a read. Now the price has gone back up, as I bought it when it was only $1.99 and thought it was a good read. If you think the price is a bit much, then go check it browse it somewhere else to ensure you think its a good fit for you.
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VINE VOICEon May 3, 2016
I remember when I was just out of college, I went for an interview at a small newspaper, where I was to meet the female editor. The secretary walked me into her office, where she was standing with her back to the door, talking on the phone. I sat down and waited: the woman had a nice figure, and absolutely gorgeous long blonde hair, feathered, frosted, and clearly well cared for. She hung up the phone, turned to greet me, and it was all I could do to keep from gasping: she was clearly a woman in her 50s, with a ton of garish makeup on, and not to a good effect. The makeup was overdone, highlighted every wrinkle (and probably some that weren't there.) The face didn't match the hair or figure or clothes.

I've always been on the conservative side with makeup, simply because that's what worked for me. But I never forgot that woman, and the shock of how she looked. Reading 'Toss the Gloss,' I was pretty certain Andrea Q. Robinson may have had a similar experience, but hers was at the beauty counter at Bloomingdales.

The funny thing, though, after flipping through this book, I'm more offended at this advice than I am by women who wear too much of the wrong kind of makeup. You know how you grew up, reading fashion magazines, and being told to be yourself, to be unique, to be an individual? Well, now that you're old, throw that all away! Now you'd better conform to her Robinson's edicts (and make no mistake: they ARE edicts), or you're going to look like a ridiculous old crone.

Take the title, and the thing with lip gloss. I have always hated lip gloss, but that's because it's sticky, doesn't last, and I have dragging my hair through my lips (wind + lip gloss + long hair = mess.) But to be perfectly honest, I don't get what the big deal is. So WHAT if a woman with a few lip lines wears gloss? It's not going to make her look like a battleax!

This book is larded with such dictums. I couldn't settle in and read the big type (you'll be through the text in an hour) without feeling like I was getting stuck with needles. Do this, don't do that, you MUST! Oh, giveth me a freaking break. Anyone who's read magazines and kept up with beauty and fashion knows the rules, and you can see when things that worked before aren't working as well, so you tweak or change them. Robinson seems more horrified by the idea of aging women making themselves look even worse (cause you know, every woman over 40 wants to be 20) by running after their vanished youth.

Reading this book feels like you're stuck in an anthology of Tennessee Williams plays on his varieties of faded southern belles.

I reached the watershed when I got to the lip section. I may not like gloss, but I love red lipstick, all shades, from bright to inky dark. With my coloring, nude lips makes me look like a corpse (although if I was a teenager, I'd do it anyway, like all kiddies do with trends.) But shock, horror, revolt! According to Dame Robinson, as you'd guess, red lipstick is a major sin, although not apparently as big a crime as lip gloss on old ladies.

Right around this time, you'd probably want to know what Robinson looks like. Well, she's very well preserved. If you read on, you discover she's had a facelift (that's after telling everyone else to go easy on the Botox.) I have nothing against a nip and tuck when the time calls for it, but I do have something major against someone with more commandments than Moses who lays down these laws while beating women up for adding a few fun things to their look to make makeup enjoyable.

Reading Robinson, you get the feeling that if you're over a certain age, all you can do is tread water and hope the neighbors are kind to poor old decrepit you. (That's unless you have access to her plastic surgeon.)

Thinking back to that blonde editor with the way overdone face, yes, that's someone who is a Glamour 'before' for certain. But surely the vast majority of women who've are 40 and beyond aren't imbeciles. They have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't. Who's to say a bit of glitter on the eyes or cheeks is going to make them look like fools? Robinson?

I don't know, maybe I'm going to have to write the book that addresses makeup for women who aren't kids anymore, but who have also made peace with that reality, and intend to enjoy their looks and make the most of them. I don't think that that means you need a set of makeup commandments set in stone by someone whose most youthful activity was a facelift!

If you've read any issue of Allure since 1990, you need this book like you need frost pink sparkle gloss (actually, does anyone over the age of 12 need that?) But if you've got a yen for that gloss, think of Robinson, smile, strike a blow for women everyone, and gloss away!
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