Hey – we may as well have fun as we go sliding into old age, right?

Posts tagged ‘cosmetics’

Tools of the Age

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 [1] to keep my bones from shrinking, a “silver” multi-vitamin (just in case) [2], some Claritin [3] for my perpetual allergies, and the newest addition, a probiotic capsule [4].  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 [5], 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 [6] most days (with a once-a-week scrub with St. Ives Invigorating Cleanser), then out to slather Lubriderm lotion [7] 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) [8].  Then the moisturizing serum [9].  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 [10] 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 [11] 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 [12] (Almay Smart Shade Blush).  I still consider myself naked without mascara – blonde eyelashes will do that.  So mascara [13] 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 [14] that won’t vanish halfway through the day or halfway through my next hot flash (Degree Clinical Protection).  A little mousse [15] into the hair before I dry it (Nexus Volumizing).  A little hairspray [16] once it’s dry (Nexus Comb-Thru).  A little spritz of cologne [17].  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 [18] 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 [19], which really were a wonderful invention for lazy women like me (Ponds Wet Cleansing Towelettes).  And a nighttime moisturizer [20] 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.

Boomers and Their Naughty Toys

It’s hardly news that Baby Boomers are seriously changing the world as we pass through our various life stages en masse.  And a lot of those changes have been good.  We raised civil disobedience to an art form.  We marched on Washington as college students, and now we’re doing it as grandparents, as fervent as ever.

And speaking of grandparents, have you noticed that Boomers are not at all interested in being called grandparents?  Oh, we love our grandchildren dearly, but I don’t think I know any Boomers who allow their grandchildren to call them “Grandma” or “Grandpa”.  No, we’re “Pop-pop” and “Nay-Nay”.  Or “Bubba” and “Gammy”.  Or Papa and Gaga.  I’m “Nana” myself, but I have an excuse – my wonderful grandchildren are courtesy of my husband’s children, and I don’t feel I have the right to be called “Grandma”.  But of the seven grandkids and multiple sets of grandparents, I don’t think there’s a “Grandma” or “Grandpa” in the bunch.  Apparently Boomers are rather traumatized at the thought of admitting we might be as old as our own grandparents always seemed to be.  And in typical Boomer fashion, rather than address a problem, we promptly avoid it by calling it something else.  We’re not old as long as we insist on not being called “Grandma.”

We’ve changed entire industries as we’ve gracefully (or not so gracefully) aged.  Decades ago, the cosmetic companies catered to the young.  Already beautiful, store cosmetics simply enhanced the natural beauty of young women everywhere.  But now, young women have a hard time finding cosmetics to fit their needs.  Everything is marketed to boomers, with a major emphasis on “younger looking skin”, “hydrating formulas” and “reduced lines and wrinkles”.  We Boomer ladies are not ready to be old, and we’re certainly not ready (or willing) to look old!  First, it was products designed for women over 40 – that made headlines back in the day.  Now, most companies have products aimed at women over 50.  And several (including Avon) are actively working on products for women over 60. 

Our drive to remain forever young has also given birth to a booming (pardon the pun) cosmetic surgery industry.  We’ve moved beyond facelifts and nose jobs to laser peels, eye lifts, neck tucks, breast augmentations, and lyposuction.   Cosmetic surgeons can now basically sculpt our bodies – removing a little fat here (tummy), and injecting it there (face, to reduce wrinkles).  Puffy belly and drooping derriere?  No problem – they can pull fat from the front and inject it in the backside.  And my fellow Baby Boomers are lining up for every procedure that can be imagined.  After all, if we’re not going to be called grandparents, we’re certainly not going to look like grandparents!

I know we’re changing the world, and changing industries, and redefining the term “senior citizen”, and that’s all well and good.  I like the idea of becoming a sassy senior citizen, sliding into old like a runner sliding into home base, instead of just toddling there.  But there are some things that were just fine the way they were.  

When I was in my twenties, there were certain stores where you went to buy naughty little toys for the boudoir.   Not necessarily XXX adult stores (ew-w-w!), but grown-up stores where sexy lingerie and silly little things where offered in a discreet manner in the back corner.  But now, Boomers are as in-your-face about our sexuality as we are about everything else.  Watch any television show, and you’ll see the commercials where couples our age just touch each other, and suddenly the music crescendos and the kitchen walls fall away to reveal waterfalls as the they dance in each other’s arms and head off to do heaven-knows-what – as long as he’s taking the right blue pill.  Okay, I get it.  Boomers are still having sex.  That’s cool.  Really.  But do we have to make it prime-time conversation?  Whatever happened to a quiet talk with your doctor, and a quiet drive to the store?  Do we really need it in our living rooms every night?  

When I first started receiving catalogs in the mail that cater to Boomers, like “As We Change” (a favorite), I loved the clothes and shoes and bathing suits designed for women older than 25.  But it took me a while to get used to a fairly large section of the catalog that was openly dedicated to vibrators, lubricants, etc.  Really?  When did sex toys become mainstream?  No plain manila envelope anymore – this stuff is right there in color.  Call me naïve, but I’m like a pre-teen sneaking a peek at Playboy magazine – I’m turning the page upside down, studying the products, and trying to figure out how some of them are used.  A cone?  Seriously?

But the final straw was yesterday’s mail, when we received an innocuous catalog from Carol Wright Gifts.  This is one of those tacky little catalogs where you can sometimes find cute stocking stuffers, toys for the grandkids, or just get a laugh at the “as seen on TV” miracle products (“you don’t need a gym – just use our amazing Body Builder shake weight twice a day for a body like Atlas!”).   So there I am, flipping through pages of flannel pajamas, velour slippers, Pillow Pets, and orthotic insoles.  And there, right on page 16 (and 17 and 48 and 49), are full color pages of sex toys!  Explicit sex toys.  Really explicit.  With “lifelike skin” (double ew-w-w!). 

This is all in the same mail order catalog that sells Bissell sweepers, waterproof bed pads and a walker with a food tray attached.  On one page I can buy a Magic G or Rabbit Bleu (look it up if you want – I’m not explaining).  On the next, I can order a pretty woven blanket with a poem about daughters.  On one page I can buy a turtleneck dickie.  On the next, I can buy a mechanized one.  Puh-leez!  Do we really need to be able to buy our sex toys from the same place we buy our dog toys?

I know we Boomers are a progressive bunch, and we love to talk and share and hold hands and tell everyone what we like and don’t like.  But there are some things that really can remain in the closet (or bottom drawer, or whatever).  I’m not judging, but I simply don’t want to know that my friends might be using these things!  And I pity the poor parents with young children who may stumble across an innocent-looking catalog like this….that’s a conversation that no parent wants to be forced into having.  I’m not railing against the products.  I just don’t need them showing up in my mailbox unannounced. 

We may think our parents’ generation was prudish, but sometimes a little decorum and discretion is appropriate.  The constant Viagra commercials are bad enough, but I dread the day I see a commercial in prime time for the Amazing Butterfly Kiss.  Some things just need to stay in the bedroom with the lights dimmed, don’t you think???

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: