At home one day, organizing photographs into albums (last done, 2007), I came across a wedding photo of Hubs and me in the church. Just for fun, I showed it to a girlfriend the next day and she blurted out, “Wow, you were beautiful.”
Thank you. And ouch.
She must have seen my tiny wince at her use of the past tense, because she rushed to add, “Of course, you still are. Especially for your age.”
Okay. Stop talking.
Society has many, oh-so-many, ways to tell a woman she’s no longer young. For those of us who are sixty, but still feel forty, well, that’s super, but it doesn’t change the fact that we aren’t forty. We’re fifty, sixty, or seventy-plus. Yep, our youth has left the building. And it’s never coming back. But does that mean we “were” beautiful, back in the day, but now, due to the number of candles on our cake, not so much?
That’s just stupid.
Inner beauty aside (that’s between you and your spirit guide), let’s talk about outer beauty. It’s true that we’ll never look forty again, but was that ever really the goal? Studies show that Boomer women are more concerned with looking vibrant, less tired, more alive. Totally achievable.
There are a zillion articles in cyberspace about what works and what doesn’t, application techniques, ingredients, and where to put your money. Much of it is contradictory or motivated by a desire to sell you something (“You should buy our complete skin care line, because it’s all designed to work together.” Horse pucky). If you’re like me, and you love spending hours online, sifting through beauty sites for new skin care products or color trends, by all means, come on over and I’ll pour the wine. But maybe you’d rather be out curing cancer. Or helping your DIL raise future world leaders. Or maybe you’re busy plotting revenge against your husband’s trampy 32-year-old mistress. If you have priorities other than the study of all things beauty, this is for you.
I have a computer wizard that helps me whenever I need something done on my website (or, more accurately, when I’ve screwed something up and it needs to be undone). Could I do some research and learn how to do this myself? Probably. But I don’t want to. I love that I can just message her, describe the problem, then walk away, knowing she has the skills and the interest to make it all better.
Many women look at beauty products the same way. Of course you could do the research yourself to determine what you need, what you should spend, what brand you’ll like, and whether or not the product will perform as advertised. But maybe you don’t want to.
I started in this industry when I was 24. During the past thirty-plus years, I’ve worked in the cosmetics industry as a beauty director, product and sales trainer, freelance speaker, and newspaper columnist. I’m also an unabashed product junkie, and have sampled, kept, and discarded hundreds of products. During that time, I’ve encountered hundreds of women who have said, “Just spell it out. What should I buy? Where can I find it? How do I use it? Write it down, give me the list, and I’m outta here.”
I can do that.
Starting today, and every other Thursday, Laugh Lines will have a Q&A column about beauty for Boomers. I’ll answer your questions about products, techniques, or concerns. Big questions. Little questions. Everything in-between. What have you always wanted to know, but didn’t know who to ask? Never figured out how to do a “smoky eye”? Haven’t been able to find a foundation that stays on? Frustrated with skin care lines that all claim to make you look ten years younger (but never do)? Can’t figure out why makeup you’ve worn for 20 years now looks like Cirque-du-Soleil? Tired of under-eye puffiness that makes you look…well, tired? Piece of cake. Think of me as your personal Beauty Sherpa. I’ll answer you as simply as I can (including insider secrets that they don’t tell you at the cosmetics counter). I’ll also include inexpensive product suggestions, so you can “grab and go,” getting back to changing the world and living your fabulous life.
Is this going to be fun or what?? Here’s a sample of what’s to come:
Boomer Beauty, Made Simple. No. 1.
Q. I like to look natural, but polished. I’m comfortable with nudes, but my daughter says they make me look washed out. What am I doing wrong?
A. Unless you’re Beyonce, an entire palette of nudes is hard to pull off. It tends to make you look deceased. Most of us need a little color in our face somewhere, as a sign of life. Make your eyes sparkle with a navy or purple eye pencil, blended well, on your upper lash line. Or go with nude eyes, but wear with a soft cherry or coral-pink lip gloss. Blusher should be in a peachy-pink or rosy color for a soft, natural flush. (Nude blusher often looks like dirt smudges. Besides, who blushes in beige? And true coral can make you look like you’re channeling The Donald.)
Q. I haven’t worn makeup for years. I feel like I look tired all the time, but I don’t want to look “made up.” Any suggestions?
A. Keep it simple. A tinted moisturizer to even out your skin tone. A light brush of bronzing powder all over for a healthy finish. (If you like a little glow, get one that includes soft shimmer.) Add a soft, peachy-pink blusher and a single swipe of shimmery nude eyeshadow. Swipe on a tinted lip gloss, and you’re done. You’ll look virtually makeup free, but like you just came back from a weekend in Bora Bora.
Q. What do you do when you’ve only got five minutes to get out the door?
A. I love this question, because it happens to me all the time. Apply tinted moisturizer. Brush blusher on upper cheekbones. Apply your favorite “wow” lipstick. And on your way out the door, grab a seriously cool pair of sunglasses. (The price is less important than the cool factor.) You’ll be all that, in less than five. Works every time.
Products I’m loving for these looks:
Maybelline Lasting Drama makes a gorgeous sapphire blue eye pencil
Maybelline My Baby Lips Balm Crayons are just fun
Physician’s Formula Argon Wear Blush, in Rose
Rimmel #Insta Flawless Perfecting Radiant Skin Tint. Gets you perfect, fast
Hard Candy Baked Bronzer. Healthy, luminescent skin
L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow Singles, in Amber Rush
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil. Soft, sexy, sheer
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, in Rich Girl Red