For Christmas I got Nora Ephron’s latest book, a collection of her journalism. I so love Nora Ephron’s writing style and her take on life and, in particular, I love her piece on ‘8 hours and counting’, as seriously I take ages in the bathroom putting on the makeup and then removing it. I’m reminded of the angst I felt just a year ago when I stayed with someone and had to share the bathroom. (Do you remember when you were young just going to bed having done nothing at all!) Would they understand the time I take and where would I put my teeth?
Actually, it turned out fine, but Ephron’s theory is that as we age we spend at least 8 hours a week on maintenance. Me, it must be far more than 8 hours now, what with the exercises that I’m doing nearly every morning. Does it get a tad tedious as the hours mount up? Not exactly, as I stick to it, and, I accept I have to work really hard to keep up the standards and just keep moving!
And so here’s what I mean by the maintenance necessary (for me, certainly) to keep these ‘standards’.
- General faffing around
At night the first thing is the contact lenses – taking them out and cleaning them. That’s a minimum of 5 minutes (and sometimes more when one contact lens won’t come out, which happens a lot as you get older because you get dryer eyes). Then I carefully take my makeup off, which includes paying a huge amount of attention to removing the eye makeup (at least 5 minutes). Then I reach for a clean white flannel, put it under the hot tap, making it as hot as possible and then cover my face taking particular care to warm up the eye-lids (because I have a chronic condition there that reacts well to warmth). But this technique is also good for exfoliation as I use the cloth to massage the face a bit. That’s at least another 5 minutes. After this I apply first a serum (I used to buy quite an expensive one but have found Boots No 7 Replenishing Facial Oil simply excellent) then a night moisturiser, also Boots No 7. And more medical stuff for the eye-lids. That’s another 5 minutes.
Then, of course there’s the teeth cleaning and everything that goes with it. So you get the gist, if I have a shower it’s well over half an hour, if not, it’s just under half an hour – every night, no matter how tired I am, that’s my routine.
In the morning it’s everything in reverse and then the makeup, which I wouldn’t ever not put on – no way. And I don’t care for that argument that makeup is a patriarchal conspiracy against women – oh please. Life is hard enough. Let’s just have some fun.
You know what, I’m being brave ‘cos here’s a selfie of me with no makeup. I mean, I am what I am – nearly 70! And I’ve got the lighting for the frugal clothes just right. But here’s me in the bathroom with no flattering lighting. And do you think I’d go out of the house looking like that! No way.
So here’s me with the makeup (again with no flattering lighting) and it’s my view that I look better with. And that’s what’s important – be happy with your look.
I’d say, though, take note of your complexion, and your colouring, because sometimes, and especially as we age, some of us can look pale and washed out without makeup – I certainly do. Or you can get more blotchy or veiny. That’s me as well. So using a brush and taking all of 30 seconds on goes LookFabulousForever primer and base. And then the eye-makeup – 5 minutes.
And here’s me in my office with slightly softer lighting.
Of course, don’t say, ‘but I’m getting too old for makeup!’ No, just adjust the makeup for your face not your age. Watch a couple of Tricia Cusden’s videos – she puts makeup on 80 & 90 year olds – so really age is not the barrier to makeup it’s attitude.
Now I’m approaching 70 I really am taking the advice of Helen Mirren. Do have a look at this link to see what I mean!!! Look, it’s not about swearing it’s the attitude. And with regard to your appearance do not listen to advice about what to wear or how to look, even from me! I mean it.
My perspective and take on life is we wear what we want. My only proviso is that we don’t fade away and think less of ourselves as we age – that’s my approach and stance. So wear that frothy dress and those high heels if you want to – go on, do.
And the maintenance thing. Yes, there is a connection. (And also I’m trying not to contradict myself!) But what we should do, I think, is take time to be aware of what is fashionable and what is not. Then we critique it. Then we search out the clothes that suit us.
And in my case, I search in charity shops, but for you, it could be anywhere. But this is us: we don’t listen to fashion journalists, who are half our age. (Or, if they’re deliberately writing for the older woman, are still often at least 20 years younger!) No, instead, we are in charge. We are in control. We curate our ‘look’. We have attitude!!!
And that’s the main thing really, attitude.
Of course, I haven’t mentioned all the times I get my legs waxed (ouch); electrolysis for, you know; the nails manicured and painted; and then there are the facials; plus getting the hair cut and coloured. (All of these are not every week, btw) Then there’s the chiropodist and just lately I’ve been going to the osteopath every 4 weeks or so for my shoulders and a lower back injury. What with the osteopath, the opticians (for contacts and glasses) and the dentist some months you also seem to need shed loads of money. Btw, in the UK we really don’t like talking about this thing called money. But, all of that, reader, is why I buy clothes in charity shops! And finally, don’t forget the exercises in the morning that are a must. Those are every day.
So, it’s way, way over 8 hours of maintenance, but hey, why not! This keeps me going, or from going under really!!! Ageing is not for softies, someone said (actually Katherine Hepburn) but given the right attitude and doing all this stuff, I can take it, oh yeh, baby!
How about you? Do tell me if you’ve increased the maintenance.
Actually, after writing this I can see I’ll be writing about hair soon, including the unwanted type (I have a lot of that, oh yes). But that’s all for now.
Penny, the frugalfashionshopper
P.S. Actually, re: the ‘look’. Yesterday, I wore (without the hat) that long tweedy vintage skirt I bought recently. But I caught sight of myself in a shop mirror and, oh lawks, it looked a bit matronly. Tried on a shorter skirt, what a difference! Lesson learnt, be careful of the ‘look’.