Book Review: Toss the Gloss by Andrea Q. Robinson

TossGlossBeauty how-to books always make me tired. In this witty advice book for women over fifty, Andrea Robinson claims that your entire beauty routine shouldn’t take more than ten minutes. Considering that her eye make up list alone has nine steps and includes five different products and five specialized tools, I don’t see how she beats the clock. And since my everyday routine takes about thirty seconds—wash face and apply sunscreen—ten minutes is still a long time.

I’m probably not the intended audience for this book, but even au naturel types like me can learn from her insider view of the beauty industry. She gives general advice about anti-aging products for older skin, telling which ones work (only a few) and which ones don’t (most of the rest.) For those who use a lot of makeup, she warns against products she thinks further age older skin, including powder foundation, liquid eyeliner, and bold red lipstick.

Unlike many writers on aging, Robinson has an upbeat tone. Her goal, she says, is to make you look like yourself, only better; she has no plans to make you over into your daughter. According to her, the best tools to look good can be bought over the counter, and you don’t even need to go to a department store to find them. In her lists of recommended products, she always includes brands that you can find in a grocery store.

If you read carefully, though, you will discover that Robinson employs much more than makeup in her own beauty regime. She uses hormone replace therapy, has had a face lift, and gets regular filler injections from a dermatologist. Most of her preferred products don’t come from the drug store. A glance at her press photo tells you that she looks a lot younger than your average fifty year old. For me, this undercut her advice about loving yourself as you are.

What did I learn? Since I sometimes go beyond sunscreen for special events, I discovered better brands to try and entirely new makeup categories to consider. Just to be clear, though, I don’t think my first purchase will be an eyelid primer.


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4 Responses to Book Review: Toss the Gloss by Andrea Q. Robinson

  1. Rhoda K says:

    I notice that all improvement hints, etc. are for those over 50. Well, after 50 we continue to change and since I’m in my 70s I think I could use a bit more help. Since I don’t have money to waste nor want any injections I guess we’ll just have to keep plugging along, best we can. 😉 As always, thanks for your articles on fashion – keep up the good work.

  2. I read the book on my Kindle, which was a bit of a mistake because I then had to go back through it for the recommended products. After reading the book I made a few small changes to my minimal make-up. I did buy a creme blush which is much better than powders, but was hard to find. I also bought what I thought was a completely frivolous thing, a a MagicLumi pen, but it turns out that I like it as well.

    I also found her advice to be a bit contradictory to her own life. To me the most interesting part was the connection between advertisers and the products featured in magazine editorials, and how companies threaten to pull ads unless their products are featured. So much for following a magazine’s advice!

  3. julieeilber says:

    Thanks for reading it so we don’t have to, Lynn! The older I get, the less I care about that stuff, but now I’ve gotten a little vain about social media photos. I’ve had good luck with cream-based products from Bobbie Brown and Laura Mercier, which tend to be formulated for older skin.

  4. Jen O says:

    You are hilarious! Yes, perhaps there are a few special make-up tips we could all use in our golden years, but seriously, retirement is a casual lifestyle where it’s real easy to look overdone, a fact most journalists are unaware of. For me, having a good hair stylist is much more important than anything I put on my face. Add to that good posture, and I think most women of any age can look just fine.
    BTW: When one is of a certain age and needs a new makeup product, just try getting good service and the right product at Sephora or any other makeup counter . This is yet another area of retail where the mature customer is off the grid.

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