MARSHA DARMON smeared a clear serum on Mary Truitt's 81-year-old face, turning the ashen skin to a mocha brown.
"This is to help retain the moisture that's left in your skin," said Darmon, a cosmetician at Macy's Elizabeth Arden counter.
"I think I've lost everything I had years ago," quipped Truitt skeptically. And then she slid the back of her hand along her cheek.
"It feels wonderful!"
Truitt, of Fulton Avenue, didn't find a miracle product to reverse the signs of aging, but she was wide-eyed about the feel of her face. The octogenarian wasn't unique at the cosmetic counters at Owings Mill Mall. Several women like Truitt -- wrinkled women older than 65 -- were trying and purchasing skin care and makeup.
"I have lots of older women for customers," said Darmon, 33. "Some in their 70s, 80s."
Darmon said dryness, loss of elasticity and too much makeup are the main problems of older skin.
"We know a lot more now than they did then," said Darmon. "Most of what you see in the past 10 years are products that repair, preventive cosmetics. Older women didn't have any of that when they were younger.
"Skin care is the most important. There are improvements over a short period of time," said Darmon. "That's not to say there are long-term effects. Pharmaceuticals we are not allowed to dispense here.
Excessive makeup is another problem Darmon tries to correct for older cosmetics users.
"Some of them wear a foundation that's several shades off their normal skin color," she said. "They always want to look tan." The cosmetic pigment usually stops at the jaw line, she said, leaving an obvious attempt to look good looking bad.
"They wind up looking like they have a fake face."
Older women should wear what looks appropriate on them, just like younger women. Mascara might be inappropriate when eyelashes thin out, but Darmon suggested using a muted shade of eyeliner to compensate.
"I can't make any generalizations. All women are different. The eye color, skin color, hair color has an enormous amount to do with it," she said.
Hair colorist Willmar of Carl's at the Village of Cross Keys concurs.
"Usually we try to have the ladies go lighter than their original color," said the 40-year veteran of hair styling and coloring. "Dark is too contrasting."
Willmar, who says he's in his 60s, finds 70 out of 100 women experience thinning hair when they age.
"The natural oil in the hair is reduced. The hair is more porous so there's less sheen. Usually the shorter hair is more becoming on older women," he said.