Things change as we get older. I won’t go into detail as you know what I’m talking about, but one issue that I haven’t been able to resolve is finding the perfect eyeliner. Back in the olden days (the 60s and 70s), I could execute a perfect swipe of eyeliner faster than . . . well, the blink of an eye. My eyelids were taut, receptive and beautifully enhanced by whatever I applied, in whatever colour. And I applied plenty.
As we age, less is better. We no longer apply foundation with a spatula, mascara with a broom or blusher with a mop. A delicate touch is now the order of the day. But boomer gals still like makeup and we have a sizeable inventory to back this up. Every so often I purge my supplies while trying not to calculate the money invested/wasted on products that didn’t work for one reason or another. Sometimes when I go through my ‘retired’ makeup and skin care products, I discover I own multiples of the same thing.
Eyeliner is my current challenge. While my eyelids are not exactly ‘crepey’ yet (I’m sure that’s not far off), I can’t get the exact result with eyeliner that I used to. Liquid eyeliners are just too difficult to control and the result is a bit too harsh, even after smudging. Pencils scratch, pull and refuse to stay put. I’ve had the most success with wetting a brush and using cake eyeliner or eyeshadow to apply a line that can be softened with the finger or a sponge wand. But even careful application doesn’t give me nearly the result I used to get when my eyelids were . . . well, you know, young.
While I keep searching for the definitive, perfect eyeliner solution, I decided to go through my existing inventory and was shocked at what I already own. Any thoughts of purchasing something new were immediately wiped out by the humiliating sight of an entire tray of assorted eyeliner products. You name it—I’ve tried it. What I’ve invested in eyeliners alone would probably pay off the national debt of a third world country. And that doesn’t include skincare products, hair products and makeup. I’m not proud of it. Just stating the facts.
I recently had my eyebrows microbladed which will hopefully take care of the brow pencil issues. And don’t even suggest getting my eyeliner tattoo’d on. There are just too many downsides to that procedure for me to even consider it as an option. In the meantime, I need to figure out what I’m going to do with a queen’s ransom in eyeliner pencils that I don’t use. I’d be interested to know what brand of eyeliner works for you, my fellow boomers? Let’s share.
I did it! Several months ago I mentioned that I was considering getting my eyebrows microbladed and if I did I’d let you know how it went. Well—the deed has been done and I’m absolutely thrilled with the results.
Like most baby boomer women, I plucked my eyebrows into extinction during the 70s when thin, arched brows were the fashion. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. They never grew back. If only the hair removal on my other body parts (chin, legs, bikini area etc.) had been as effective I’d have been spared years of maintenance.
The procedure requires three appointments:
Consultation: Before undergoing microblading, I had a mandatory free consultation with the technician to ensure I was a safe candidate, i.e. not pregnant, no auto-immune issues, not a diabetic, etc. During the consultation, the technician measured the optimal shape of my new brows and with a conventional eyebrow pencil drew in what they would look like. This took about 15 minutes.
Procedure: A few days later I went in for the main procedure. Over a period of slightly more than two hours, the technician:
Measures and maps the final brow design using plastic templates and guides. She carefully angled and marked the outline, the borders, extremities and overall shape. Then, she applied a numbing cream which she left on for about 25 minutes to activate before starting the procedure. And, I signed pages of legal waivers.
Together we selected the pigment colour. I was reminded that the colour would initially look much darker than the final outcome. I selected milk chocolate, not too ashy and with a bit of warmth. I’m naturally fair with blue eyes so I didn’t want anything too harsh. I also insisted she not make the arch too sharp and I didn’t want the inner corners squared like I’ve seen some brows done. I wanted them to look completely natural but better than what Mother Nature endowed me with.
For the actual microblading procedure, the technician uses a blade to etch and deposit pigment into the brow area. It was painless, which really surprised me. She first plucked a few stray natural hairs and that was the only part that was slightly uncomfortable. I do have a high pain threshold so others might might experience a bit of discomfort, but I found it painless. Microblading is not exactly the same as tattooing. Pigment cream is deposited into tiny hair-shaped cuts in the brow area which results in a far more natural look than tattoo ink. There are many variations in colour and shape you can choose from depending on whether you want a natural or more dramatic look.
The technician was incredibly precise and patient as she carried out the procedure. About 90 minutes later she showed me the first glimpse of my completed brows and I was thrilled. My followup instructions involved applying a special white ointment to the brows with a Q-Tip several times a day to preserve and protect the new brows. I was advised not to get them wet for a couple of weeks. They will appear flaky and crusty at first, but I am not to pick or brush the brows. Just let them heal. I experienced no swelling, just a tiny itch after a day or two which is natural, and I didn’t scratch.
Followup and touch-up: I’m scheduled to go back six weeks after the procedure for a final touch-up and assessment. I don’t anticipate any problems, but I’ll let you know what happens after the appointment. It’s still a fairly new technique so I expect I may need touch-ups once a year or so which is an easy path to perfect eyebrows. And it’s so lovely to wake up in the morning with eyebrows.
If you decide to go ahead with the procedure be very careful to only use an experienced licensed technician. You don’t want to risk infection or poor artistry. She’ll be happy to show you pictures of her previous work to help make your decision.
I had the work done by Katey Kristabelle at Caryl Baker Visage salon in Sherway Gardens Mall (Tel: 416-622-6667) located at 25 The West Mall, Highway 427 and Queen Elizabeth Way in Toronto’s west end. They did an amazing job and if you decide to have Caryl Baker Visage bring your brows back to life, they’re generously offering a special promotion for readers and followers of BOOMERBROADCAST.
Mention my name (Lynda Davis) at Caryl Baker Visage in Sherway Gardens and say you were referred by BOOMERBROADCAST (you can show this blog posting on your phone) and they’ll give you a discount on microblading services. Valid at the Sherway Gardens salon only. And don’t forget to send me pictures of the new you.
Every year I look forward to writing a bitchy critique of the famous September issue of Vogue magazine. At upwards of 800 pages, it arrives with a heavy thud in my mailbox (a couple of years ago the postman actually rang my doorbell and personally handed it to me) and usually gives me a couple of hours of entertainment.
Most of what Vogue offers up is utter nonsense and completely irrelevant to the average woman. Despite this, somehow I usually manage to find one or two tiny sparks of inspiration in its superficial pages. This year? There’s nothing to write about. No inspiration. Nadda. Zero. Rien. Ziltch. Not a single thing. There is an article about an upcoming HBO series on Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan quartet, but otherwise, the September 2018 issue of Vogue is barren of anything relevant or worthwhile to this old boomer.
Is it just me or are fashion magazines seriously out of touch with their readers? I’m becoming increasingly fed up with fashion media, despite their few and infrequent pathetic attempts at recognizing older readers, a.k.a. baby boomers. As the saying goes, “Idon’t know why I botha’.“. Who’s out of touch? Me? Or them?
Are you sitting down? Burberry recently incinerated $37 million worth of their luxury brand merchandise that didn’t sell. Rather than dilute the cachet of their brand by offering it at discounted prices to the great unwashed masses (like us), they torched it. It must be lovely to have a business with such generous markups and profit margins that you can afford to just set fire to $37 million. That act of destruction reminded me of how casually we treat our possessions regardless of the cost. Not only are fashions from Zara, The Gap and other mass retailers treated as disposable fashion, so are premium brands. Our “affluenza” and consumerism has reached ridiculous proportions.
Natalie Atkinson’s recent piece in The Globe and Mail about extending the life of your personal possessions was a reminder that we need to be more thoughtful about what we buy and conscientious about managing our belongings. It came on the heels of a sobering documentary Clothing Waste – Fashion’s Dirty Secret which aired recently on CBC’s Marketplace. Both pieces highlighted the negative effects of disposable clothing on the environment and the facts presented left me feeling ashamed and totally committed to changing my wanton ways. I used to feel vindicated when I dropped off old clothing at a charity bin until I saw on Marketplace what happens to my donations. Giant bales of excess used clothing sit in warehouses until they’re shipped to places like Africa or India. They’re then sold in street markets as used clothing—which seems all fine and dandy—until we’re shown the piles of clothing being burned behind the stalls—clothing that doesn’t sell. Brand names like Tommy Hilfinger, H&M, Old Navy and others, all go up in smoke. Even third world countries don’t want or don’t know what to do with our cast-offs.
We didn’t start off this way
When boomers were growing up we didn’t have the vast, disposable wardrobes we see today. In addition to a few everyday school clothes, we had a good Sunday outfit which did double duty for going to birthday parties or Christmas concerts. One winter coat, one pair of boots, one pair of everyday school shoes and one pair of good shoes was the norm and they lasted until we outgrew them. Our parents’ wardrobes were equally modest. Some of us perhaps remember our fathers having shoes resoled to extend their life. I grew up in a house built in the 1880s with no closets. My spartan wardrobe was either folded in a couple of dresser drawers or hung on hooks on the back of my bedroom door and I did just fine with fewer items.
How far we’ve fallen. How many boomer gals have commandeered the entire master bedroom closet for racks of clothes (many of which we don’t wear or they don’t fit) and relegated our partners’ clothes to the spare bedroom closet? It’s an insidious process, a slippery slope and regular culling unfortunately invites more buying.
When I first started working in 1965, I was thrilled to finally have my own money to spend on mini dresses, shoes and even fabric to sew my own version of Twiggy-inspired fashion. How could we not fall in love with what fashion was offering in the sixties? It was a total transformation from boring and practical to colourful and fun. Over the years, boomer gals have spent small fortunes on dressing for success, weekend wear and special event dresses. To this day I’m still filled with self-lothing when I think that I spent the equivalent of nearly a week’s wages on that burgundy ultra-suede suit that I wore for one season in the seventies. Then, there are all the matching shoes, purses, coats, jackets, accessories—well, you get the picture. Who among us wouldn’t love to have some of that wasted money now earning interest in our RRSP.
What to do, starting with myself:
I know my triggers. From now on I’m going to be more discriminating about what I purchase and avoid the following potential hazards:
Trips to the mall just acquaint me with more things I do not need so I’ll minimize the number of times I visit the mall. Ditto for internet shopping.
Fashion magazines are bait for suckers like me. Seeing something I like starts me longing for it. See Item 1 above.
When I see things on women’s television shows that include fashion and home decorating segments I’m motivated to shop. I’d be further ahead reading my books or going for a walk instead of watching those programs.
Comparing myself with the beautiful people is counterproductive. How often do we think if we just had that blouse, that bracelet, that designer handbag or pair of sunglasses, our lives would be complete.
Advertising for the latest skincare or makeup product guaranteed to solve all our problems is so tempting and generally a complete waste of money. I have to work on tuning out the marketing ‘noise’ and stick with whatever basics work for me.
The wellness industry including thousands of websites such as GOOP are constantly setting us up to think we need improving with supplements, diets, cleanses and other new age gimmicks. Tune out.
This is not a definitive list but it’s a good start. These steps are actionable immediately and would make a difference not only in my self-esteem and the environment but more importantly, my bank account. We can still feel great about ourselves without being sucked into the vortex of disposable fashion, useless health and beauty products and general consumerism. Regular culling of our closets serves to remind us that we already have too much and we should be much more discriminating about what we buy. I’ll definitely buy into that. Starting now. What about you?
At what point does safe, so-called classic dressing become just plain boring? We’ve always been told that basic black and white is a never-fail look for any occasion. It’s safe, easy to assemble and accessorize and we can be assured of never feeling self-conscious. I’ve religiously adhered to that principle for far too long and my closet now looks like a nun lives here. It’s time I kicked the “habit”. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many pairs of black pants I own, not to mention black and white blouses, tee shirts and sweaters. How many times have we shown up for lunch with girlfriends when most if not all of us are wearing some combination of black or white pants and top?
Assembling a travel wardrobe is one instance however when I think black and white is recommended. Who cares if you wear the same outfit several times? You can easily rinse out pieces in hotel sinks if they need freshening up and an assortment of colourful scarves brings a basic look to life. It makes packing easier and lighter while relieving us of wondering what to wear. Easy peasy.
Summer should be about colour. It took some mental convincing to force myself to buy a pair of pants at Chico’s this spring in a colour called Malibu Punch which is a kind of coral-pink. Seeing them on a baby boomer fashion blog that I follow (susanafter60) persuaded me that they could work and I’m glad I bought them. And, naturally, I have a million white tops to wear with them. Now, I’m waiting for a sunflower yellow linen blazer to go on sale at J. Crew and when it does I’ll have another piece to brighten up my wardrobe and my spirits. It’ll look amazing with all those black and white pants I own as well as both dark and light skinny jeans.
As a side note, I’ve recently become a convert to Chico’s who opened stores in Canadian malls within the last couple of years. They also have a great website for online ordering. I don’t care for their entire line but some pieces are wonderful for boomers and their pants fit perfectly. Try on a few to determine your correct size as their sizes are numbered 000 (seriously?) to size 4 (comparable to XXL or size 20) with half sizes and include petites. I’m 5 ft. 3″ tall and their size 1 petite fits me perfectly. Prices are affordable and they have great sales. If you visit the United States, they have a sister company located in most major malls called SOMA which specializes in wonderful lingerie. I load up when I visit the States.
Few women wore white jeans and a black tee shirt better than Jackie Kennedy. However, lacking her innate beauty and grace, I need a bit more help. While I still lean heavily on that classic black and white look, I’m making a serious effort to brighten up my wardrobe. Summer sales are now on and I intend to change my habit and go for pink, blue, yellow and red. Even though I know I already have far too many white tops, just the other day I scoped out a cute little sleeveless blouse I saw in the window at Massimo Dutti in the mall. Fortunately they didn’t have my size or I’d have another one to add to my collection. I’m ashamed to admit that I think I actually have some white tops in my closet that I’ve never even worn. Needs and wants are very different. Can’t resist the siren’s call.
Who among us doesn’t look at magazines or at our own bodies in the privacy of bedroom mirrors or in retail store fitting rooms and wish we were thinner, taller or prettier. The media sets impossibly high standards for appearance and even though we know those pictures are extensively Photoshopped and otherwise altered, we can’t help feeling like we fall short. Well, we’re not short, fat or abnormal. Models are genetic freaks. We’re the normal ones. Here are some statistics that will make you feel a whole lot better about yourself:
Average height of Canadian women – 5 ft. 4 inches. Any woman over 5 ft. 10 inches tall is in the 97.6 height percentile. Now who’s the freak?
Average waist measurement for Canadian women – 35 inches. For American women it’s 37.5 inches. If you’ve ever seen the portions of nutritionally poor food they dish out in American restaurants you’ll understand why there’s a difference.
Average dress size – 14. For American women it’s 16-18. Are you listening retail corporate buyers?
Naturally blonde hair and blue eyes are genetically carried by only 17 percent of the population. Most Canadians and Americans carry the dominant brown-eyed gene with recessive blue-eyed genes declining each year.
Fully 90 percent of women have cellulite—including models and celebrities. It’s the product of female estrogen and cannot be eradicated. This becomes particularly evident once we are no longer teenagers.
Magazines and other forms of media have finally recognized that no one can relate to the genetic mutants featured in fashion and beauty ads. We’re now seeing mature models like Maye Musk and women with normal-sized bodies being featured in media. While it’s tempting to scream “too little, too late” we have to take whatever we can get in the battle to change perceptions of beauty. We’ve achieved a tiny slice of recognition and if we keep the pressure on advertisers and manufacturers we can turn the tide.
The challenge now is to listen to my own advice. Every time I’m tempted to be critical of some aspect of my appearance, I’ll remind myself of how blessed I really am. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m happy. That’s more than enough and more than many people can claim to have. You’re beautiful girlfriend and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.