It’s been an interesting day–and it’s only noon. First I’m going to whine a bit. My auto-immune disease (psoriatic arthritis–blech) and osteoarthritis combined with seven bulging cervical discs deciding to pinch a nerve that leaves my left arm numb, tingling and radiating with pain have put me really far behind in planning for school this year.
I teach PreAP Sophomore English and AP Literature and Composition to seniors. It’s fun. It’s demanding. it takes tons of planning and tons of grading. I feel another blog coming. I’ll save it. Anyway, I woke up today and had to take a stinkin’ pain pill. Slow motion movement and so many things to accomplish. Did some Greek yogurt with cinnamon and a few nuts, did some yoga stretches to Good Morning America, kissed the hubster good-bye and decided to work on painting my newest DIY discovery: the door desk/table. Found an old door at ReStore, and hubby stripped it for me yesterday. Today I planned to add my citrus green spray paint for that “pop” of color every HGTV addict knows so well. I’m spraying away–got my rhythm going–when I look up and there’s this dude walking up my driveway.
I live in a mid-town area of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a 50’s ranch style house that is always in perpetual rehab. Lots of older folks in my neighborhood and lately we have had some crime–garage doors left open apparently invite people to just wander in and take whatever appeals to them. I’m painting away in my baggy drawers (that any type of britches for you folks who don’t live in Oklahoma) and my sleep t-shirt and my flip-flops and my bandana to distract sweat from my eyes and this guy comes sashaying right up to me. Has a sad story about his dead car (right around the corner that I can’t see) and he says he lives just over there (a vague gesture past John and Joan’s house–that was a big fat lie) and he’s called a tow truck and his mom had to leave (I don’t even know what the mom thing was–just another “trust me” ploy) and if I didn’t give him money, he was going to have to go pick up his car from a blshioofwhig. At least that’s what it sounded like.
I’m not a sucker, but nor am I unsympathetic. However, I kept thinking about the Quick Trip down the street and the stores just a couple of blocks away (a 10 minute walk) and I got a bit wary, Why didn’t he go there for help instead door to door? I told him sorry–no cash. He kept pushing wanting me to tell him where he might find some money…I AM FREAKING INSIDE!! He finally left and I closed the garage door and the blinds in the house and called the police. I’m not sure he was casing houses, but he certainly was lying to get money and I started thinking about all the elderly people in my neighborhood who would just fork over cash to be nice–or let a stranger in their house–thus, the police. Like I said…not my typical Monday.
I decide to dig into schoolwork when my friend, Debbie, texts me, and we end up having a long literary texting session discussing the necessity of 19th century literature and her love for Thomas Hardy. When I finally got around to a shower, it was already nine. I was hours behind my mental schedule. As I squinted at my face in the mirror, an idea came to me–I’m going to bare my boring 55-year-old face to the blogging world and talk about the realities of over-the-hill beauty. WARNING: THESE PICTURES ARE PAINFUL TO LOOK AT. VIEW AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Once upon a time, I had a window of cuteness. It was a small window, but I had one. Not beautiful, not lovely. Cute. Now I am entering the Winston Churchill era of beauty. Sagging jowls. Droopy eyes. Dark spots. Maybe more Bassett hound than Churchill. Hard to tell. I get on Pinterest and look at “Middle Aged Beauty” and I scoff a bit. Those women may be middle aged, but they still look like models with their high cheekbones and thin waists and unwrinkled necks…I can’t relate. They intimidate. (Notice the rhyme? I can’t help it. Poetry is my life! Stage Directions: “Hand to forehead”)
In a spurt of audacity, I decided I’d blog about my beauty woes and show how I try to defeat them via Ulta, Sephora, and Target.
1. Fading. I put on my make-up, go to school and by lunch I am the same color as the walls. Virtually invisible. My former auburn hair is fading, too. Hair color isn’t punching it up like it used to. Not much grey yet, just some white around the front.Blah.
2. Sagging. My eyes are round and now drooping slightly. The skin under my eyes is thinning and is always slightly purple. I’ve never had any cheekbones (despite being 1/4890216 Cherokee), but now my cheeks have meandered south and may end up on my neck.
3. Albino eyes: I’m a fair-skinned chica and have always had white eyelashes, but now they are white and skinny. AND my eyebrows are thinning and turning white. AND apparently all these medicines for my decrepit body are causing chunks to fall out. Literally disappear. I keep thinking of those women who pencil in their eyebrows and I’m scared.
4. Glasses. I have severe dry eyes so no more contacts pour moi. No Lasik. Glasses. Men don’t make passes at women who wear glasses. I’m thankful I’m past passes, but the glasses still dominate my face. And of course, I want the nerdy black ones because…well, I’m a nerd. Plus I need giant fat lenses due to my almost blind status.
I figure that I’m not the only woman in the world who is faced with these particular dilemmas, thus I’ll share what I do in order to maintain some confidence and not become completely invisible.
1. Primer–it’s not the same as spackling paste! You can get primers to go under foundation by any number of cosmetic manufacturers. I like Smashbox. A tad pricey, but lasts for a good long while. After moisturizing, I use my primer. I switched to a CC cream primer because it supposedly helps with age spots. I’ll let you know if it helps. So far it just feels good. I think my brown spots actually like it.
2. Concealer–some of you are blessed and don’t need to use much of this. I use Benefit’s Erase Paste but it doesn’t erase–it just sort of mellows the purple. I put some around the corners of my nose and dab a bit on my happy brown spots.
3. Foundation-I tried a new one because I had bonus points at Ulta and I’d researched and found that Too Faced’s liquid foundation was great. I’m going to go back to L’Oreal’s Visible Lift Serum foundation. It’s luminous. And cheaper. Use a sponge and dab on the foundation, blending carefully. Use a big soft brush for powder (I love love love Too Faced’s Candlelight powder–I think older women need a bit of glow–at least I do.)
4. Highlighter and blush-I don’t like to wear blush because my skin is dry and cream blushes never last and powder ones are dull. Since I don’t like to spend money on them, I buy e.l.f. blushes at Target because they are so cheap (about 3 dollars). Dust on a bit of blush and watch out. No harsh lines. No apricot splotches. No hairline color mixtures of foundation, powder and blush. Just be simple. A bit on the apples of cheeks. Then add a touch of High Beam highlighter by Benefit (a small bottle will last you a year) at a place on your cheekbones that doesn’t meld into a wrinkle or crease. Avoid highlighter on your face if you are crinkly. I have my Grandma Helen’s skin–she didn’t have many wrinkles–even in her 70s. I’m blessed. You can add a touch of highlighter under your brow, as well. I think older women should be luminous and not dried-up looking.
5. Eyebrows- You need them. They frame your face. There are tons of products out there that have fibers in them to help fill in the blank spots. I’m using a Smashbox powder and gel routine. It stays on well and doesn’t look fake. I hope. Seriously though, you’ll be surprised how great you look if your eyebrows have some shape and definition. Now when mine completely disappear, I have no idea what I’ll do.
6. Eyes: color, liner, mascara-I don’t like lots of color on my eyelids. I
don’t think we “mature” or “well-seasoned” or “ripe” (don’t you just love society’s attempt at euphemisms for middle-aged women?) should splatter gold frosted eye shadow across our lids. Subtle grays, plums, browns look so much better. Target is my homeboy for eye shadow. I usually go with browns. And I usually only use one color in the daytime. Sometimes a darker color in the creases if I want to attempt a smokey eye. For me eyeliner is essential. Gel. Liquid. Pencil. it doesn’t matter. I don’t have a “lash line” because my eyelashes are
blonde at the roots, so I make sure to get the eyeliner as close to the lash line as possible. I like my Revlon felt tip brown/black. It lines thinly and cleanly and lets me do a baby cat-eye (which helps my eye droop). Add a serum-infused mascara (I use Urban Decay) and done.
7. Lips-I’m a lip balm girl. I like the lip balms made by Revlon and L’Oreal. You can get every shade and they are subtle and creamy. I wish I
could do a bright red lipstick, but I’m too self-conscious.
That’s it. Now I look less invisible and more ready to take on potential burglars and empty spray paint cans.
*Note: please excuse the really awful pictures. I gave my good camera to my daughter as a wedding present, and haven’t picked up a nice “point and shoot” because I’m broke due to so many DIY inexpensive home rehabs!
Women out there over 50! Any great tips?