Christopher Hopkins developed a love for the hair and beauty biz at a young age, watching his mother do her hair, makeup and clothes every morning. He started doing makeovers in high school (complete with before and after photos!) and never looked back. He’s now the official go-to guy for women of all ages looking to break out of a style rut.

Hopkins’s new book, Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45, features practical advice on wardrobe, makeup and hair styles, while being true to your personal style. Why write a book specifically targeting the more experienced woman? “I love women who’ve lived a little,” he says. “I like the combination of confidence and willingness to be vulnerable that women acquire as they age.”

Do you think women over 45 need to stage a “return” of some kind?

Not all. Some do. I think women become more attractive as they age, but often start to feel invisible.  They look in the mirror and think…”who is that?” At this age, we see things changing.  Divorce, death, loss of job, empty nest, illness, etc. When those life changes happen, you can be left with a sense of. “Ok, now what?” That’s why I wrote the book, to answer that question.

What’s your advice for a woman who feels she’s stuck in a beauty rut but isn’t sure how to break out of her comfort zone?

Circle the beauty wagons and regroup. Who are you now? I have a quiz in the book, (and on my website) that helps you define adjectives describing how you want to be perceived. Usually “dated” isn’t one of them. Purge the old, and then slowly, carefully, add fresh, updated pieces that help you express your NEW ideal personal style.

Should 40 women follow makeup and hair trends?

If it’s a trend that flatters you, definitely. A trend that flatters your face, your hair and your body type is always refreshing. But full on trend duplication – regardless of how it looks on you – is embarrassing.

We hear a lot about “age appropriate” dress – what’s your definition of that?

Age appropriate is knowing who you’ve become, and then expressing that in your hair, clothes and make up. To me age appropriate means a little less. A little less revealing. A little less bling. Simpler, cleaner, less bells and whistles.

What are the most important beauty products for a woman to have in her makeup arsenal?

Mainly it depends on personal style. A more casual woman may just need concealer and lip gloss; a more of a dramatic personality will need the whole kit and caboodle. But I do believe if you want to look your best over 40, you will benefit from at least foundation, bronzer/blush, mascara and a flattering lip color.

The phone rings and it’s a last minute invitation to a fabulous party. What can you do in just 15 minutes?

When you put an outfit together that totally works, write it all down. I call these “wardrobe winners”.  Keep them jotted down in a notebook kept in a dresser drawer or closet with a list of outfits that work. Include accessories and shoes so you’re not stuck staring at your closet in a rush, trying to remember what looked so cute with those jeans, and why it isn’t working with these shoes.

And, remember the word BLEWPTICK to throw in your evening bag: blush, lipstick, eyeliner, wallet, powder, tissues, identification, cell phone and keys. You can always fluff in the car!