The wonderful readers on the Midlife Boulevard have really had me thinking this week. I knew some of you would have issues with words in this book, How Not to Look Old by Charla Krupp. But, others believed similar to me that the baby should not be thrown out with the bath water. So, I wondered WHAT ARE WE REALLY STRIVING FOR AFTER AGE 40? Not to look old? What is old, anyway? And why do so many have anxiety attacks over the word OLD? Like it or not there is a point where wrinkles, gray hair, and gravity wins!
As I pondered, it occurred to me that old is not initially about looks…it is about a state of mind. I don’t consider Betty White or Iris Apfel old though both are 92. However, I have an 18-year-old student who is very old. It’s in our thinking and our authenticity. Author Ellen Shubin of the book The Essentials of Fabulous writes “Authentic people are happy in their own skin. Authentic people are destined, some might say determined to have more fun. They carry themselves with ease to invite closeness. They like themselves. How lucky they are to move through the day unhampered by a scolding interior voice depleting their energies. Their inner monologues produce a kind of unerring confidence that’s inspiring and attainable.” And, I might add, youthful.
But, does authentic mean we go completely natural? Can we be authentic and still color our hair and use top of the line skincare treatments? I believe so. The key is to be happy in our own skin.
So, the reality for me and I think many of us, is that in order to feel authentic confidence and hear those positive messages inside, we must look our best. The goal is not to be younger, just to look in the mirror and smile before leaving the house. So, Krupp’s guidelines can help many of us do just that.
When I read Chapters 3-5, I felt like I had just passed a test! According to all of the information in each of these chapters, I am looking 19 years younger…that’s 41…woo hoo! (You can add them up, can’t you?) Seriously, I’ve done all three of her recommendations and I do like what I see…
Chapter 3 – Lighten Your Hair will take off 10 Years
Krupp contends that the first thing people notice is our hair. She also seems a little frustrated the Baby Boomers have made gray hair hip, but acknowledges there are women who wear gray very confidently. She writes, “But before you join the sisterhood of the silver foxes, know that although platinum can look cool, it will never look young. Truthfully, it adds ten years. Most of us are all too happy to wash that gray right out of our hair.”
At age fifty, I was ready for a big change and decided to go brunette. I have loved it, but in the last year my stylist and I decided it was time for a gradual move toward lighter hair and I went from brunette to dark blonde. I am going lighter for all of the reasons Krupp says to and to eventually allow my gray to take control…when I am ready! Now, ladies, I am from South Texas not New York City–we have talented hair stylists; however, I do not know one woman who uses a separate colorist as Krupp recommends. Do any of you use a stylist and a colorist? I trust my stylist. She said the same thing, “dark hair will at some point begin to age us, because it throws darkness onto the face and emphasizes lines and wrinkles.”
This chapter gives very specific hair care advice for those who want to be gray and for those who don’t. She even defines many salon terms so we enter the process educated.
Chapter 4 – Tame the Brows and take off 4 years
My hair stylist was actually the one who said, “Honey, we have to do something about those brows!” And she whipped her chair around and pulled out the wax! I also do not have a brow specialist. But, Krupp quotes “the brow man” of New York, Robert Sweet William of Barneys as saying, “As we get older, we need a more refined look. It’s more sophisticated.” Krupp goes so far to say that NOTHING ages us like bushy, unkempt brows. “A good brow has a classic, well groomed shape that is timeless.”
She has excellent advice for care, tweezing, color, and overall grooming of our brows. I never knew to tweeze right after a shower because the skin is softer and relaxed. Oh, the pain that could have been avoided!
Chapter 5 – Chic Up The Eyewear to take off 5 years
When I went through my makeover at age 50, I was enjoying so much fun clothes shopping, I ignored the glasses. It was my children who said, “Mom, those glasses make you look old and out of style!” Krupp writes, “ Dated frames, boring frames, frames that droop downward, metal rims, rimless glasses, half glasses, an eyeglass necklace, bifocals, coke bottle lenses, and squinting, all add on the years.”
I love my Ray Ban black frames and I chose to do the Progressive Lenses so as to avoid the bifocal problem. They are expensive, but since I wear them almost all of the time, I believe they are worth it. In fact, she wrote black frames are a staple like a great white shirt or pair of jeans. She does give excellent, specific advice if you are in the market for eyewear.
See, I passed this test: lighter hair, trimmed brows, and trendy glasses. How are you doing? At least, how are you feeling when you look in the mirror each day. Remember, it is about attitude and how we feel more than a checklist. Don’t get so closed off to some of the words, that you do not hear the advice.
Thanks for stopping by the Joy Boutique! See you next week for Chapter 6-8! Have a great one!