I'm just going to come out with it. I'm aging. Boo!
Still there? That should come as no surprise to anyone since we have all been growing a day older since the day we were born. Still, I have reached a point where the thought of losing my looks, whatever those are, is starting to feel like something to be swept under the rug and pretend it isn't happening.
When I was younger, my fresh-faced looks opened doors, but now that my once-sharp eyesight is fading, I try not to walk into those doors. In fact, I recently picked up my first sexual deterrent from the pharmacy, better known, dear readers, as READERS, so I can make out the tiny print on the bottom of my lipstick tubes. Mr. Bunny Petals agrees that the OTC spectacles don't foster that Sexy Librarian look, even if I manage to look very stern. Oops.
Some of us visibly age more slowly or quickly than others, but I suspect we all arrive at that fated day when say to ourselves, "Holy cats, I never noticed that before," when suddenly our freckles no longer fade in winter or a less-than-taut neckline are all we see. Or a crazy thought comes to us one morning in the shower that perhaps the real reason our eyelashes stopped holding a curl is because our eyelid creases are pushing against the lashes! Or when we finally lost that weight, The Girls, who used to sit up high and perky, are now pointing due south, such that you could almost toss them around your neck in a flesh-toned pashmina.
I have thought about my own fading outer beauty in the months since I started this blog. I originally created Everyday Beauty to drive traffic to the EDB forum, which is a place for over-40 beauties to discuss our own unique perspectives on whole health and beauty. Instead I got caught up in product-review fever, and although there is certainly nothing wrong with that, it seems I forgot to put the older-woman spin on it. My apologies. If I were more brave and cared less what people at work might think of my hobby, I'd have put my whole face out there for my makeup looks, not just a lip or an eye—so you could see what over 40 looks like.
As fun as all the reviews have been, I have reached a saturation point. Buying new makeup just isn't as much fun as it used to be—at least not if I do it every week. I'm not a makeup artist, so there's little point in my being a curator. There are too many other things I want, like a comfortable retirement. Too much stuff makes me stressed and unhappy. Remember this, when last summer I drove to Ikea and bought an Alex to consolidate my masses of beauty products?
Since then, I have carefully culled down those six drawers to one. One drawer contains all the products I use every day. And along the way, as I was testing the makeup I wanted to keep or not keep, I made the interesting discovery that I actually look better with less.
No, that was not a typo. This beauty blogger thinks she looks her best with little makeup! And it's not because I am some fine-boned, classic beauty. It's more about looking real. This crazy thought became obvious to me recently when I went through photos of myself from teenage years to present; I was gathering them (looking for my natural hair color!) to bring to my color consultation. I noticed that the candid photos taken of me at times like Christmas mornings (hair by Dairy Queen) or on weekends—both of which are times when I tend to wear little more than tinted lip balm—were times that I looked fresher, younger, even prettier.
The looking-younger revelation should not have surprised me, since one of the fastest ways to add years is to put on makeup. All we have to do is look at the 12-16 year old models on the pages of any fashion magazine to witness that.
So what's "a little makeup" to me? I'll write a separate article for the desert-island items I reach for every day, but for now let's just say that my daily items are the ones that allow much of my own skin to show through, flaws and all, because flawless skin looks good only in advertising. I choose colors that either match my skin completely or are an extension of my own coloring, maybe a little brighter or deeper. Cool beige, pinkish ivory, dusky lavender, blue grey, rose, and blue red. Currently this translates to:
- The simplest skincare possible.
- My beloved, holy-grail foundation (Jane Iredale), which I apply to the T zone only, so I don't deaden the glow on the high planes of my face.
- Well-groomed brows. This part is essential. Eyebrows frame the face, and as we get older, the hairs thin, lighten, and might even turn white.
- An easy, subtle eyeliner for those days when I want to make my lash roots look thicker. (Brows aren't the only hairy bits to thin—less volume on head, brows, lashes, and ... elsewhere are what many of us have to look forward to. Tightlining lets me skip mascara.
- A skintone-evening eyeshadow or primer for the entire lid space, preferably in a semi-matte or satin finish.
- A matte eyeshadows for subtle contouring, one that mirrors the colors found in my skin.
- A face-brightening lipstick. Being an ashy "Summer" type, I need something to liven up my bland coloring. A sheer, clear, rosy shade is ideal—something just a touch darker than my own pigment but not too dark. A punch of color is more important than ever as I get older and my coloring fades and becomes more cool.
- No blush needed, I am naturally rosy. If I do wear it, I'll choose something with a glowy finish, like NARS Gaiety or something bright, like Bobbi Brown Pale Pink.
- Elta MD Daily Sheild 45 sunscreen
- Clinique Brow Shaper in Shaping Charcoaled
- Lipstick (currently loving Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur or Romance)
I expect the above list will change over time. Certainly the go-to products I used in my 20s/30s do not all work now, and I have even noticed changes in the last 5 years. I also have a few friends 10-15 years older than I who say they no longer wear eyeshadow at all, but most every woman of a certain age I know is still wearing lipstick.
I love makeup. It's part of who I am because I love to adorn myself, even if the adornment is very subtle. So I don't intend to go completely barefaced any time soon, and I still want to have fun.
My personal definition of what real beauty is may evolve as I begin to accept the reality of what I see in the mirror. I would live a very sad and shallow life if beauty were only skin deep, so I wonder what the new face of Everyday Beauty will be this year.
No matter your age, young or not so young, have you noticed any changes? If so, how do you deal with them both mechanically and in your head space?