How do you feel about the lines and wrinkles that you see on your face? Do you cringe, pull your face back at the temples to see an unlined face, or race to your doctor for shots? Do you run to the cosmetic counter looking for that “fountain of youth” or watch an infomercial touting the latest “advances” in skin care “guaranteed” to make you look years younger, and then buy those products only to end up disappointed?
On the flip side, do you look at your face and see your history, your life, and all the things that make you, you?
I ask because a statement I made twice over the past month, innocuous as it was, elicited responses that saddened me. Not because of the actual responses, but because of the “thought” behind them. Let me try and explain…
Over the past few months, I’ve been on the hunt for decent skin care products. I’m looking at anti aging products (it’s my age, can’t help that). What I’m not looking for is that “fountain of youth” product. Why? Because it doesn’t exist.
If my budget allowed, and if it was something I wanted to do, I could probably go to my local cosmetic surgeon and get a few things “done.” While I’m not putting anyone down for doing this (it’s a personal thing, after all), the thought of having my face “changed” into something it is not, is not my cup of tea.
So, I’ve been doing research for skin care products that will work for me. I have sensitive and very dry skin. That means products with no acids of any kind, and it has to have tons of hydrating qualities to it. It also has to be relatively affordable. In my world, paying $150 for .5 oz of some miracle cream that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to isn’t very smart. I’m not paying for a “name” thankyouverymuch.
Over the past year or so, I’ve run the gamut from drugstore to quasi-expensive skin care products that didn’t do what they should have. In my opinion, when you have to use a night cream during the day, there is a problem with that product line.
A couple of weeks ago, I found a company that had a skin care product line that intrigued me. (I’m not naming it, because this is not about the product.) I headed over to my local Sephora to check it out and was assisted by a fabulous young lady.
I told her I had found a skin care product line that interested me and asked if she knew anything about it. (She did.) I told her I was looking for a product that would hydrate my skin, soften the lines and wrinkles that I have, and leave me looking refreshed. I wasn’t looking to erase what I have. I hoped the product line I was looking at would accomplish this.
As we discussed the products further – turns out I had chosen the right company, but the wrong line – I offhandedly remarked that I had earned every line and wrinkle…they were part of my life story. She stared at me (rather incredulously I might add) and then complimented me (sincerely) on that comment. I told her it was my truth. She commented that not one woman had ever said that when looking for skin care products…of any kind, regardless of their age. I found that sad.
There are thousands of skin care products out there, being purchased by millions of women, and I’m the only person who says out loud that I’m not interested in changing the way I look? That can’t be right.
What kind of example are we setting for the generations behind us? How do we expect girls growing up to accept themselves as they are, if we, as grown-up women, won’t? This doesn’t only apply to our faces either.
Flash forward to this past week. My husband and I went away for a few days after Christmas. The hotel we stayed at has a fabulous spa and we decided to get a treatment. (As an aside, this was the very first time my husband had a spa treatment – he loved it!)
I had a facial. I wasn’t looking for a miracle, just something to make me look hydrated and refreshed. Once again, (and without thinking), I made the same comment about my lines and wrinkles (and also that I wanted my husband to recognize me when we were done). And again, it elicited a surprised response. Why is that comment a source of amazement?
Is it because the comment was made to “younger” women? The Esthetician who did my facial must see hundreds of women, of all ages. Surely someone other than myself is OK with how her face looks. I wonder if I’d have made that comment to a more “experienced” woman if my comment would have been received the same way.
The point of all this? I’m saddened by the fact that we are so hell-bent on being (or staying) youthful, we forget the very real things that make us who we are. Women in particular, are made to feel old with ridiculous print and digital ads that tell us we need to look a certain way, and the lines on our faces are something to be ashamed of. Men are told they look “distinguished” with their grey hair and “rugged” (or something similar) with their lined faces. I call BS on all of that!
Never mind the fact that the women in those ads have been airbrushed and/or photo-shopped, and have had professional make-up help. I don’t want to look like that and it angers me that women spend billions of dollars every year trying to.
I suppose I’m lucky. My skin, even after abusing it in the sun for many years, still looks good. I have decent genetics to thank. However, being quite ill a year ago (I’m fine now), accelerated what was going to be a fact at some point. Does it bother me? No. There’s nothing I can do about it, so I can either work with and accept it, or I can spend thousands of dollars (that I can’t afford) putting off the inevitable. The lines and wrinkles on my face don’t jive with the person I am on the inside – I’m not old. With that said, those lines and wrinkles tell the world that I’ve lived – they are a part of “my story.” When I laugh, my crows feet crinkle… As I smile, my laugh lines deepen a bit more. There’s a story for every crease in my face. It makes me who I am. Why would I want to hide or erase that? Why would you?
When I look at myself in the mirror, I worry more about what I’m going to do with my hair, than the lines I see on my face. I am who I am, just the way I am. I can’t imagine looking any other way.
By the way, the products I purchased at Sephora? They’re fabulous…and I didn’t spend a fortune on them!