The other night, as Hubby and I were heading into the bedroom to get ready for bed, he looked at me and said “Go spend a half hour on your face.” He wasn’t being insulting. He was referring to my regular evening routine, which is but a pale shadow of my morning routine.
I am really not a vain person. Truly. I don’t think I wear a lot of makeup. I prefer to keep things as fuss-free as possible. But as the years have passed, I have gradually added more and more products to my repertoire.
Thirty years ago, mascara and lip gloss were all the makeup I thought I needed. I spent a lot of time outdoors riding horses, so my skin carried a gentle tan nearly all year. Who needed that heavy, nasty foundation stuff? Not me! Au naturale was the way to go. I hate to admit it, but the only reason I started trying to figure out how to remove the mascara was because I got tired of my pillowcases having two big brown dots on them. My high class makeup remover? Johnson’s Baby Oil on a cotton ball. That was skin care for me at twenty.
Eventually, as my career started progressing and I ended up moving from the factory into the office, I started realizing that I looked a little monochromatic, with my short blonde hair, fair skin, and grey-blue eyes. So I started adding a little powder blush to my cheeks. That made my lips look naked, so, once in a while, I wore lipstick, although I hated the way it felt on my lips and usually ended up chewing it off. Once the horses were gone and I stopped spending so much time in the sun, my natural tan faded, so I started messing with foundations, which inevitably led to my skin breaking out. The slippery slope had started, and there was no turning back.
Today, between cosmetics and over-the-counter supplements, I use a whopping twenty different products every day (or at least every weekday). TWENTY! What kind of ego-centric woman uses 20 products? If anyone had told me 30, 20, even 10 years ago that I’d be using 20 different products on and in my body just to reach the bare minimum of presentableness, I’d have laughed myself silly. And yet here I am.
Right after breakfast, I start swallowing pills – calcium  to keep my bones from shrinking, a “silver” multi-vitamin (just in case) , some Claritin  for my perpetual allergies, and the newest addition, a probiotic capsule . Probiotics are the big craze now. Supposedly, they put millions of “good” bacteria in our digestive systems to help us maintain regularity (especially important to someone like me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome – gotta love that classy name). You’ve seen Jamie Lee Curtis raving about Activia on TV? Well, this is the same idea, but in a pill that’s (a little) cheaper and (much) easier to remember every day. My doctor recommended it, so I added it to the morning pill pile.
After the pills, it’s on to brushing my teeth with a special anti-sensitivity toothpaste , which prevents me from hitting the ceiling when I eat anything sugary or cold (Sensodyne is the only one that works for me). Then into the shower, where I clean my face with gentle Cetaphil  most days (with a once-a-week scrub with St. Ives Invigorating Cleanser), then out to slather Lubriderm lotion  on my legs to prevent reptile-like scales on my skin in the cold, dry winter months.
And now to the face. First, I work on the “fine lines and wrinkles” around my eyes by using a nifty little lotion applicator with cold metal rollers that are supposed to help reduce puffiness (Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Eye Roller) . Then the moisturizing serum . This is the one and only area where I’ve managed to find a less expensive generic solution that actually works. My moisturizer of choice is Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum, but it is pricey, and the bottle keeps getting smaller. I’ve discovered that the generic Top Care Regenerating Serum has nearly identical ingredients, comes in a large bottle, and costs less. After the serum, which makes my skin feel like velvet, I’ve recently added a tinted eye cream  to reduce the pesky dark circles that showed up about the same time menopause did (Olay Regenerist Touch of Concealer Eye Cream).
Having never found a foundation I liked, I finally settled for a tinted moisturizer  to even my skin tone (Almay Smart Shade Anti-Aging Makeup – must buy anything with “anti-aging” in the title!). Powder blush had to go a few years ago when I realized the experts were right – the powder settles in your wrinkles and makes them look deeper. I now use a light creamy blush  (Almay Smart Shade Blush). I still consider myself naked without mascara – blonde eyelashes will do that. So mascara  goes on next (usually Maybelline Define-A-Lash).
I’m winding down now (how do I make it to work on time?). Next is deodorant  that won’t vanish halfway through the day or halfway through my next hot flash (Degree Clinical Protection). A little mousse  into the hair before I dry it (Nexus Volumizing). A little hairspray  once it’s dry (Nexus Comb-Thru). A little spritz of cologne . My signature scent, Giorgio, is hard to find these days, but Hubby managed to find a large bottle to put under the Christmas tree this year. No wonder I love him! After the perfume, I should be ready to head out the door…finally. Oops, almost forgot – the lipstick  usually goes on in the car, at one of the stop lights on the way to work. Oh, shut up – you know you do it, too.
The evening routine is modest in comparison, despite what Hubby says. Remove the whole mess with some cleansing cloths , which really were a wonderful invention for lazy women like me (Ponds Wet Cleansing Towelettes). And a nighttime moisturizer  to cap off the day (Garnier Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Night Cream). That’s right, folks – it lifts, it fights wrinkles, AND it firms! All in one magical little jar.
Good grief. Now that I look at the list, my bathroom probably should have some “toxic chemical” warning signs on it. I’m honestly NOT trying to fight aging. I want to do it naturally and comfortably. I don’t want to be one of those silly women who looks all pulled and painted and overdone in their attempt to “hide” wrinkles. But I also don’t want to be one of those ladies whose makeup routine hasn’t changed since they were eighteen. Aging is a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean we have to take the ride without giving ourselves at least a little help, right?
Twenty daily products worth? Well, as long as I’m headed out to an office workplace, yes, I’m afraid so. At 53, I think my skin looks pretty darn good. I just hope the list won’t grow too much more, or I’ll have to start setting the alarm for 5AM.