My mother told me it was time to start putting on face cream because wrinkles would soon start to rear their ugly head. I was 25. She recommended an expensive brand, and even gave me a couple of jars every Christmas.
Mom told me I looked unattractive in my glasses, which I needed since I was ten. Every few years, I got fitted for contact lenses because I felt so ugly wearing glasses. But I could never get the left one to be comfortable. It always felt as if there were dust in that eye when the lens was in. My mother told me I should suck it up and wear the lenses anyway, but there was no way I could do that.
When my grandmother reached inside her bra to take out her lipstick and apply it to my lips, I wanted to run the other way and scream. For years, I made a halfhearted effort and wore lipstick, while rubbing some in on my cheeks first thing in the morning (just like my grandmother – I don’t think they made blush-on when she was young). I never did bother to re-apply it during the day as it wore off.
I never could stand the feeling of make-up on my face or nail polish on my nails. Foundation and nail polish made me feel as if my skin and nails were clogged and couldn’t breathe. I remember in high school going with a friend to a presentation on make-up at Lord & Taylor’s in Manhattan; we got in free because her father was high up in the executive office. They showed us how to apply make-up — layer by layer, foundation, blush, and then make-up remover, lip stick, eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, creams to soften the face, astringent, etc. etc. I gave it a Herculean effort and practiced applying all the samples, and even spent a fortune on everything they recommended.
I finally bagged this routine. The time it took, the expense, and how lousy it felt on my skin made me give up the whole production. I didn’t feel normal, however, because all my friends were going the make-up/nail polish route.
I detested the transition of my salt-and-pepper hair during my 40s and 50s and began to dye it once plucking the grey hairs became a joke. In my 50’s, when I mentioned to my boss I was thinking to stop dyeing my hair, she adamantly recommended against it — she said it was especially important to look as young as possible in the working world.
When I turned 60, four years ago, that was it. I had been spending a fortune coloring my hair, and so, to celebrate entering my 7th decade, I simply stopped doing that. People had been telling me that my dyed hair looked natural, but now, when I look back at photos of me with dark brown hair compared to the grey it really is, I laugh. Who was I kidding to think the dye job looked real?
Recently, I also stopped putting on lipstick. I’ve continued to cream my face throughout my life, but only with whatever body lotion I was using on my body. Cream felt so good on my dry skin.
Now, even though I am invisible to some and others seem mad that I am older, the funny thing is that these days, many actually compliment me on my complexion. I get even more compliments on my hair. And even more on what a nice smile I have. (And now, my so-called ugly glasses hide the wrinkles around my eyes. Ha ha. So there!)
Well, here’s a great post written by Tifany Lee from elephantjournal.com that says it all when it comes to liberating ourselves from wearing make-up and consequently, becoming free.
I’m sure many of you women out there have experienced some of the above, either dished out by family members or certainly, by the media. I’d love to hear your stories. In the meantime, here’s to joyful living and freedom and simply being who you are!
BTW, please don’t take what I’ve written as a criticism if you love make-up and nail polish and dyed hair. That’s cool. We all have to do what feels right for us. And that’s the way to go. I’m just basically a rebel, and I can’t help it, and that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! 🙂
Yours in aging with class,