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. Zuzu 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 turkey wattle is 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 fading outer beauty in the months since I started this blog. If I were not so guarded about my privacy (I really don't want colleagues to know what I get up to in my spare time) I'd regularly feature my face on this blog so you could see what over 40 looks like.
As fun as all the product reviews have been for me to write, 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. 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 not so much 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 because I was looking 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. And not just when I actually was younger.
The looking-younger revelation should not have surprised me, as one of the surest 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 ... and maybe not even then. I choose colors that either match my skin completely or extend colors present in skin, veins, hair, and eyes. Pale pink, antique rose, dusty lavender, muted peackcock, cadet blue, dove grey, etc. Currently this translates to:
- The simplest skincare possible with the fewest ingredients possible (unscented, of course).
- My ever reliable foundation (Jane Iredale), which I apply to the T zone only, so I don't dull the glow on the high planes of my face.
- Well-groomed brows. Above all, brows are 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.
- [Optional] a glowy blush, like NARS Gaiety.
- Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46
- Clinique Brow Shaper in Shaping Charcoaled
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?