Beauty Tips: New or Old Advice?

Quick note about this article: I write this back in 2015, nearly 10 years ago now. And I still find what I read in this post funny.

While on a recent visit to the hair salon, I decided to actually sit down and look at the many magazines they had. I don’t normally do this. I’m either reading a book, or the work of another writer they asked me to review. But the latest issue of the Next magazine sported an article title that caught my eye: The New Beauty Rules: 30s, 40s, 50s & Beyond. So I had to look at what new advice is out there.

I laughed.

For anyone who has read my previous blog post series of “Why I Admire My Mother”, you will have noticed an entry that spoke of how my mother is aging wonderfully well. Just look at her photo (re-posted below for convenience). Granted this picture of her was taken in 2006, when she was approaching 50, but even back then, no one would believe that she was the age she was. It’s funny how the people she works with can believe that she has teenage grandchildren, but struggle with the concept that she has a daughter who will be 39 in July.

(Updated: In the year of 2024, I turn 48. So… Maybe next year, I’ll get some photos done with the same pose as my mother below, so we can all see how much I look like her.)

Photo of my mother, Debbie Mohr

This photo of my mother was taken in 2006, when she was 49. In the years after this photo was taken, she hadn’t aged much… at least not on the outside. (She died in 2020 of a stress-induced heart attack. You can read my eulogy here. And she LOVED life.)

So what was this so-called new advice to aging gracefully, and why did I laugh?

For woman in their 20s, the article suggested that you reduce the amount of makeup you wear (move away from those smoky eyes and bold lips), wear sunscreen everyday, and look after your hair. For those in their 30s, cleanse and moisturize daily, use a separate conditioner to your shampoo and invest in concealer. For the 40s, wash your hair frequently, and don’t use the straighteners so much, take the time to reassess your skincare products, and, again, wear less makeup. The 50s, worry only about the face, forget the hips. Look at the redness and the fading brows. And the 60s, moisturize using a product with things such as jojoba, reassess your diet for hydrating foods, continue to exfoliate.

Why do I laugh? Well, I have never really worn much makeup. In fact, there are only three reasons why I will wear makeup: I’m on stage and don’t want to look like a ghost; I’m going out somewhere special, such as a wedding; or I look like something the cat dragged in when I wake up in the morning. Even when I do wear makeup, it’s always as natural looking as possible. I hate that caked-on look. There is nothing less attractive.

(Updated: Nearly a decade after first writing this, I can think of many things less attractive than the caked-on makeup look. In fact, the caked-on makeup look, in some circumstances, can be extremely beautiful. Drag queens often have caked-on makeup, and some of the drag queens are drop-dead gorgeous. However, I still don’t wear makeup myself unless I have to.)

I have always cleansed and moisturized. My mother insisted that I learn to look after my skin properly, especially considering that I spent so much of my teenage years on stage. You want to know how horrible caked-on makeup feels? Try being in a production of Grease that ran for 19 nights straight, between technics and the performances, every night layering on the grease paint and the bright silver eyeshadow. My cheeks and eyelids were so raw after that.

Sunscreen… Well, I live in New Zealand where the sun is incredibly intense and you WILL burn in something as little as two minutes in the height of summer. In Christchurch, we live so close to the ozone hole, that the schools here have a No-Hat-No-Play policy for both the fall and spring terms. The skin cancer rates are so high, that children learn at a young age that the gorgeous summer tans just aren’t worth the risk. Even my ten-year-old daughter will put on a moisturizer with sunscreen in it on a daily basis. The sun comes out, and on goes the hat.

(Update: My daughter is now 19 (2024), and she is religious about cleaning her skin and moisturizing. Her skincare routine is much more intensive than mine. She has even gotten to the point where she gives herself a mini-spa day once a week. And YES, she still heavily uses sunscreen, but the hat… well… She sometimes wears a baseball cap. My son on the other hand: He lives in that baseball cap. I’ve rarely seen him without it. Me: Yeah, I’m too lazy for extensive routine that my daughter has. I don’t have the patience (or the time) to spend 30 minutes in front of the mirror everyday. So, my routine is called clean with proper cleanser every day, and use moisturize with sunscreen built in. And I don’t even own a hair brush.)

The hair… Well, I have always used a separate conditioner and my hair dresser loves playing with my soft long hair. That’s all I’ll say about that.

(Update: My hair is now short, because the long hair was making me look like mutton-dressing-up-as-lamb. But I still have the soft hair and use a separate conditioner. The hair is just getting rather gray. And my regular salon trips are often motivated by gray-be-gone.)

In the article that I read, the one bit of advice that made me laugh the most was the bit about paying attention to the face and forgetting the hips. Nearly every day growing up, my mother would say, “The Italians have an old saying; forget the hips and save the face.” I don’t know if the Italians really do have that saying, but I’d like to think they do.

The point is, the advice that magazines are trying to pass off as the latest and greatest is NOT new, folks. It has always been there, it’s just that now people are starting to listen. With the number of big named stars reaching their 40s, 50s, 60s, and, of course, the big 70s, and the so-called big reveal of their youthful looks, has made people wise up to what my mother had been telling me for years.

Copyright © 2015 by Judy L Mohr
Updated Copyright © 2024 by Judy L Mohr

Posted in Humor, Personal Favourites, Random and tagged .

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