I started thinking about this a week or so ago after reading a post on Alyson Walsh's blog That's Not My Age. Back to Base: The Best Foundations for Older Skin features a shot of older model Tanya Drouginska, followed by beauty journalist Vicci Bentley's discussion of favourite foundations, concealers, and the brushes to apply them. Good information, I thought. And just as interesting were the reader comments. They ran the gamut from criticism of Ms. Drouginska for looking overly made-up, to praise for her beauty. From comments that older women should wear less foundation or none at all, to one offer to recommend a good botox "gal" to other interested readers. Huh. We over-50s sure run the gamut when it comes to opinions on "beauty intervention" don't we?
|Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, both lovely at almost 81. source|
Just to be perfectly clear, I think I'm somewhere in the middle of the continuum. I say "yes" to hair dye, not to mention highlights and low lights, and smoothing, de-frizzing product. Although I am trying to go a bit more natural these days, in that I'm swearing off the blow dryer (somewhat) and the straightening iron and letting my curls have a bit more freedom.
|Helen Mirren feeling good about being 70. source|
|Charlotte Rampling comfortable in her own skin at 70. source|
|Meryl Streep rocking the red carpet at 66 source|
|My personal fashion inspiration Ines de La Fressange, stunning at 58. source|
Later, we talked about what he meant by "risk." Physical complications, risk of infection, of course. But also emotional and psychological complications. And it's funny because his thoughts pretty much mirrored my own, what I had already decided. We talked about slippery slope. The idea that once started on the snipping and tweaking, would you not be hard-pressed to stop? We talked about the risk of procedures gone awry. I mean, we've all seen the post-surgical photos of people who don't look at all like their former lovely (and a little bit lined) selves anymore.
Then my research lead me to the website Skin Tour written by cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Brandith Irwin which gives you the lowdown on all kinds of cosmetic products and procedures for all kinds of aging issues. I took the "Anti-Aging Tour"... where you click on a part of your face and see a chart with possible procedures, risks, and approximate costs. For those lines over the lips, the site suggests that "there is no one method that is effective" and recommends "a little filler, a little Botox, and some laser work" to "reduce and improve them." Risks are low for many treatments, if the provider is "experienced." But, for instance, with Botox treatments, a "poor injector" can result in skin "bumpiness," "facial asymmetries or chewing problems." Lasers, peels and other "resurfacing" treatments can result in "scarring and white areas that do not match your skin tone." Not to mention the cost, and the fact that these procedures have to be done every few months. And even if you avoid the possible complications, and after the pain and swelling and bruising abates... might it be like that ad for Lays potato chips: "Bet you can't eat just one?" What scientists call "hedonic hyperphagia," except you become obsessed with looking young instead of eating snack foods, and you find you can't stop? Slippery slope indeed.
So. I'm not tempted to go there... not tempted to have a little work done. Even though according to this article in the Washington Post it's become as "routine as 'eating kale and going to spin class'" Really? Okay. But I'm not in the public eye. I'm not even in front of a class anymore, now that I'm retired. I don't have to apply for a job at age (almost) sixty. I'm not judged daily by the media according to how young, or old, I look. And I don't know what it's like to be in the position of someone who feels that pressure to look younger than they are. Okay, okay... I concede it could be argued that I do try to look younger than I am by colouring my hair. But when it comes to my face, as many older women are increasingly saying, I feel that I've earned my crow's feet and laugh lines. I kind of like them. I think it makes me look more interesting. Like I know stuff. And have been places, and seen things. I aspire to be like the women in the photos above. Who look as if they've lived a life. And still look wonderful.
I must tell you that when I was reading the recommendations for how to treat those lines above my lips, and the website said "a little filler, a little Botox..." I had to laugh. I was reminded of that line from Chuckles the Clown on the Mary Tyler Moore Show in the seventies. You know..."A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants?" Which lead me to this clip. From the episode where Chuckles dies, and at his funeral, Mary has sooo much trouble acting appropriately. I love this scene.
So, I guess we all have our own version of how much is too much intervention when it comes to looking good. Me. Well, I've spilled the beans about where I stand. I'm not comfortable with "having a little work done"... on the outside at least. I'm busy enough trying to refashion myself on the inside. Retirement will do that to you.
Maybe I'll write about that. But later... though.
Right now I want to hear what you have to say about this issue. Where do you fit on the "beauty intervention continuum?" How do you feel about a little filler, a little Botox? Maybe even a little seltzer down your pants?