Boomer Broads have been warned from an early age to take care of our skin, like the French women do. Use sunblock, cleanse, tone, moisturize. Serums for tightening, serums for lightening, serums for plumping, serums for smoothing. Cosmetics companies, estheticians and dermatologists are making billions of dollars feeding our insecurities.
I have invested the cost equivalent of a luxury German car in skincare products and I still have acne, rosacea, itching, blotching and bumping. Those glossy ads in magazines are so seductive. Every new skincare product promises to deliver perfect smooth skin.
There’s an IKEA Billy bookcase in our bathroom which serves as medicine cabinet, drugstore, beauty supply outlet and fountain of youth. I purchased extra shelves to accommodate my copious supplies of makeup, hair care products, skin care potions, nail polishes including top coats, base coats, cuticle creams, nail strengtheners and buffers clippers, emery boards and files, hair brushes, rollers and combs, cotton pads, sun blocks, fake tanners, cleansers, toners, moisturizers, primers, peelers, plumpers, body creams, foot creams, exfoliators, clippers, sanders, pluckers and lash curlers. Each item is a necessary ingredient in getting me through the day. My husband owns a razor, antiperspirant, and hairbrush which occupy less than five inches of space on one shelf.
Every month the fashion and beauty magazines introduce more new miracle creams, serums, lotions and cleansers. And every month I have to restrain myself from running out and buying the newest, latest and greatest. Standing in a drug store or the cosmetics section of a department store is not only bewildering and overwhelming it’s just plain scary. If I don’t buy into their dogma will I turn into the Sea Hag? I’d much rather face the day looking like Cameron Diaz than Mick Jagger.
Watching makeup artists and beauty consultants on TV or reading their advice in magazines has become strangely amusing. Each one assumes a knowledgeable air and claims their expert advice is the definitive word on lip plumping, cheek sculpting or creating a smoky eye.
Many years ago I worked for a major cosmestics company selling their products in a swanky downtown Toronto department store. I too assumed a confident air while I assured my customers that the $125.00 night cream would most definitely make their dreams come true. In fact, I knew nothing more about it than they did. It’s all about hope. And let’s not forget that all those pictures of perfect complexions and thick hair in magazines have been Photoshopped to death – or to life as it should be.
And now they’ve thrown Botox, fillers and expensive surgical procedures into the mix. Should I? or Shouldn’t I? Or would I rather take a trip to Paris with the money? Or perhaps save it for my retirement? Or pay my mortgage? There isn’t a women on TV or in the movies who is capable of moving her forehead or upper lip – their faces are paralyzed to look like wax. How is that a good thing?
The October 2013 issue of #MORE Magazine has the results of their 2013 beauty search among women “of a certain age”. One of the winners, Evelyn Harris, Age 71 has lovely silver hair combed back in a stylish bob and she has beautiful skin. Her secret? “I’ve washed my face with Dial soap most of my life, and I use a little Aquaphor on dry spots on my skin. I’ve never had plastic surgery and I let my silver hair grow in years ago, in my forties.” Coincidently, when I joined Ma Bell in 1965, as part of my medical examination at hiring, they suggested I wash my face with Dial soap.
Now I know that today’s cosmetics are supposedly far superior scientifically to what we had even a year ago, but it’s hard to argue with the evidence. My mother is 83 years old and does not have a wrinkle. Her skin is like porcelain. Her beauty regimen? Fifty years of Dove soap and Nivea Crème. Who’s the smart one here? Is it nature or nurture? Darned if I know. Oops. Gotta go. The Oil of Olay tank truck just pulled up.