As I shared last week, April is the NINTH anniversary of Frugalwoods! To celebrate, I’m typing down memory lane with reflections on some of my most influential old posts. Nine years is a long time to do anything and I’m curious to see if I agree with my old self or if my thoughts have changed in the intervening years.

Old Me vs. Current Me: A Showdown

Frugalwoods Family Easter Photo April 2014

The first post I want to reflect on was a real zinger when it came out and generated quite a bit of controversy and discussion (288 comments!). Published July 27, 2015, it’s my oft-cited “Less Makeup, More Confidence: My Frugal Beauty Manifesto.

When I wrote this, I was 31 and didn’t have any kids. Re-reading it now–at 39 with two young children–my thoughts have changed. First of all, the writing is bad. It’s painful to look at something you thought was AMAZING 8 years ago and realize it is MEDIOCRE AT BEST. I was still finding my voice, I hadn’t yet read “The Art of Memoir” and it shows. Moving on…

I opened this piece with:

I’ve stopped wearing makeup entirely. Well almost entirely–I still don mascara and the occasional lip gloss, but otherwise, my face is makeup free

True or False in 2023?

Mostly true. Since adopting a pixie cut in 2021 (with no plans to return to long hair), I find myself putting on eye make-up (liner, shadow and mascara) for out-of-the-house and video call excursions. Without eye make-up and hair products, I look like a young Justin Bieber. Not in a hot way.

Frugalwoods Family Easter Photo 2023 (taken this past Sunday)

I still don’t wear any on-the-face makeup because I can’t stand the way it feels on my skin and it always makes me break out. I wore some on-the-face makeup for the wedding I went to in February and it was itchy. It did look nice with my fire-engine red lipstick from Walgreens, but not something I’m going to do on the regular.

Result: mostly true, with me actually wearing more eye make-up now than in 2015.

Next I wrote:

I cringe when I think of just how much of those two precious resources–time and money–I wasted on something as insignificant as my physical appearance. My devotion to how I look was spurred on in equal parts by insecurity and the pressures that our culture mercilessly levies on women to reach increasingly unattainable levels of perfection.

I mostly agree with myself here. I was/am insecure and our culture is indeed merciless to women in just about every way possible (and seems to find new ways everyday!).

→However, I disagree with myself that physical appearance is “insignificant.”

Unfortunately, I think it’s pretty darn significant for most people when they’re trying to get a job, keep a job, find a partner, command respect, not be harassed/bullied for their identity or appearance and… ya know, be a person in the world. I think it’s supremely privileged to deign physical appearance as insignificant because for many people, it’s a crucial determinant of their ability to move up in socioeconomic class/status, advance in their careers, find a partner, express their gender identity, etc.

Me + Frugal Hound the day I started Frugalwoods

I’d like for physical appearance to be “insignificant,” but that’s something only a conventionally attractive person can say. It’s kind of like when a rich person tells you that money doesn’t matter. If you’re scrambling to pay rent and feed your kids, then YEAH money matters.

I can, however, relate to my old self and my nascent subjugation of my appearance. I’d spent close to 15 years at that point hyper-focused on my appearance and I remember at the time feeling that I needed to do a complete detox. Just like the “lean Frugalwoods years” I outlined in this post, I needed to go back to zero before I could find tenable middle ground.

Result: I agree that I wasted a lot of time worrying about my appearance, I agree that beauty standards are unattainable and serve to make people insecure. I disagree that appearance is insignificant. I think the nuance here is that it’s significant in many cultural contexts; but on a daily basis, each individual can choose to relegate or amplify its importance depending on what they’re doing that day.

The Privilege Of Conventional Attractiveness

Another thing I missed in 2015 was the fact that by not wearing makeup, I was putting myself only one standard deviation away from society’s conventional beauty standards of: white, thin, tall, cisgender, and heterosexual. I was still all of those other things. Me not wearing makeup wasn’t going to start a revolution. But again, it was revolutionary for me as an individual and my conception of my self-worth.

→It’s interesting now–with the benefit of hindsight–to nestle my personal experience within the broader societal context of beauty expectations.

Next We Enjoy Five Paragraphs on Acne:

With our first baby, Kidwoods, in 2017

I’d say this is more paragraphs than anyone wants to read about acne. Expect maybe dermatologists. Shout out to my dermatologist readers–this one’s for you!!! The acne situation cleared up once I stopped wearing on-the-face makeup and went through the hormones of birthing and breastfeeding two children. Pro tip: if you suffer from acne, clear it up through the one weird trick of pregnancy and breastfeeding! Side effects include: you now have children. Congratulations!

In all seriousness, I’m happy my acne’s gone as it did plague me from age 13 to age 34, which seems like an excessively long time for acne to plague a person…

Result: I agree, acne stinks! It’s interesting to look at old photos of my acne-covered skin and realize how lucky I am to no longer have it. It’s funny how quickly I forgot how much I hated that acne.

→As soon my acne disappeared, I started focusing on a different issue: burgeoning wrinkles… If I allow myself to go down that road, I’ll never be content with my appearance. I will always find something else to worry about or dislike.

Then I Said:

I decreased the amount of time I spend getting ready each day and slowly, I eliminated beauty products and regimens from my life. As each new routine fell by the wayside, an interesting thing happened: I began to like myself more. Gone was the self-inflicted misery of pinching fat and scanning my skin for breakouts. It was replaced by a newfound sense of confidence, pride, and integrity about who I am as a person–and notably, I’ve discovered I’m not a problematic bag of cosmetic issues.

…..and with both kids in 2019!

Ok yeah, I mostly agree with this. In terms of decreasing my getting-ready time, I think it would be more accurate to say I’ve done a U graph of getting ready. A lopsided U, which quite closely follows the outline of:

Pre-Frugalwoods Hedonistic heyday→Lean Frugalwoods→Maintenance Phase Frugalwoods

Hedonistic Heyday (the spendy years): included an extensive beauty/getting ready regimen. Everything was done. All the makeup. Nails, hairspray, perfume. Name a chemical; I was putting it on myself.

Lean Frugalwoods (the uber frugal years): nothing at all, expect maybe some mascara. No nails, no hair products, hair cuts done by my husband, no new clothes, not showering daily in order to save water and soap.

Current Frugalwoods Maintenance Phase: happy middle ground! I feel like I’ve settled at a sustainable middle spot, but I’m also not deluded into thinking this’ll never change. That’s what being almost 40 has taught me: whenever I think something’s set for life, it changes. I’m a lot more comfortable with uncertainty now that I’ve proven my ability to adapt and flex.

Here’s my current beauty regimen:

  • Haircuts at an expensive salon every 3-5 months to maintain my pixie:
    • I have my stylist cut it pretty short to allow more time between cuts.
    • I did, however, go too far last year when I had her shave the back of my head. While this enabled me to go 7 months before my next cut, I didn’t like the buzz–it looks so cute on other people, but just wasn’t for me.
  • Nice hair products used daily (unless we’re skiing):
    • Benefit of short hair: I use very little each day!
  • Eye makeup: if I’m going to see people on screen or in real life (unless we’re skiing):
    • To combat my Justin Bieber look
  • Weekly: tweeze and trim wild eyebrows myself
  • Clothes: jewelry, a dress, a cardigan and leggings (unless we’re skiing):


  • Paint my own nails (maybe quarterly?)
  • Wear on-the-face makeup (maybe twice a year)
  • Buy new clothes (varies; I’d say probably quarterly)

And Now, A Section on Criticizing One’s Own Self

Back in 2015 I wrote:

It was actually Mr. Frugalwoods who took me to task about my habit of self-berating mirror-gazing. He pointed out that when I criticize my figure, I’m projecting negativity onto everyone around me.

Me and my girls in 2019

This remains one of the best interventions by my husband to date. If other people can hear you, you’re not just criticizing yourself or “talking to yourself.” You’re amplifying society’s objectifications and judgements for everyone around you. I am super proud of myself that I’ve stopped criticizing my body, my appearance, my clothes. Out loud, at least. The internal monologue could always use more work. But at the very least, I’m grateful I’m able to project and model confidence for my daughters.

The Next Section is titled: “Focus on Health, Not Superficiality”

I can see what I was trying to do in this section but it comes across kinda preachy:

Rather than wasting time on efforts that yield no intrinsic dividends (like wearing makeup or blow drying my hair), my focus has shifted to substantive, nourishing, and enriching activities. The quest of health became my outlet for how I think about my body and how I perceive myself.

So much of my self-worth was wrapped up in the frivolity of my appearance and once I set that aside, I had a wealth of energy to pour into more fulfilling and meaningful pursuits. Hence, I’m not advocating total disavowal of caring for oneself, rather, I now concentrate on things that make me feel good–not just on things that make me look good.

I invested this displaced energy into eating healthy foods and exercising. I added muscle, I lost fat. I take my vitamins. Funny how that works–as soon as I stopped exerting my attention towards the superficial, I started doing better things for my body.

Hiking with the girls in 2020

This tone rubs me the wrong way. Yes, I agree that exercise/movement is good, but I seem to be implying that you have to give up worrying about your external appearance in order to be healthier, which I don’t agree with. A person can love to wear make-up AND enjoy doing nourishing things. I think I oversimplified the complicated relationship we all have with our bodies and our appearances. But, it’s hard to unpack and metabolize all of that nuance when you’re in the middle of figuring it out for yourself. I don’t think I could’ve written this any differently eight years ago. I was in the early stages of this life transformation and I had to swing from one extreme to the other. I was a pendulum waiting to find its center.

Sadly, I think I was 100% correct in the section titled: “Marketers Want Women To Feel Badly About Themselves”

It begins in adolescence with acne and migrates all the way to wrinkles and grey hair. In this way, manufacturers keep women as rapt consumers for their entire adults lives.

My edit now would be to add “women and women-identifying people and also just all people everywhere.” I don’t disagree with this and it’s still something I think about a lot.

But then I ruined it by saying:

I don’t need to spend money in order to feel good about myself or to be beautiful.

I understand the root of what I was trying to say, but I think this is an oversimplification. I appreciate that I was divorcing myself from the consumer carousel of beauty products, but again, there was a middle ground I hadn’t yet explored.

Do I need to spend $1,000 a month on skincare products to feel beautiful? No. Do I choose to spend $82 on a haircut several times a year to feel beautiful? Absolutely.

Halloween 2022

Ok actually, I said it pretty well a few paragraphs later:

I think it’s possible to strike a balance between disavowing our consumer culture’s constant stream of negativity towards women’s bodies and a complete absence of caring for one’s appearance.

Ok, not bad, old me. That’s pretty good!

Isn’t this, like, a super frivolous thing to write about?

Yes and also no. Like it or not (I mostly not like it), we’re all swimming in culture-infested waters. We’re all subject to a pursuit of perfection sold to us every day. And despite thinking about it, writing about it and re-writing about it, I still get caught obsessing about my appearance. I recently bought a ring light so I’d look better on video calls. I’m not immune to these societal expectations and pressures. I don’t think it’ll ever be possible for me to completely ignore “beauty” in all its forms, but I don’t think I want to, either.

Acknowledging that I can’t ever fully “solve” this is probably the best, most honest thing I can do for myself. I seemed to think I had to completely resolve my feelings around it back in 2015; as evidenced by my writing:

I’m a much happier and more secure person now that I’ve dismissed the almighty import of outward appearance in my life.

I think I’ve decreased its importance in my life. But dismissed? I don’t think that’ll ever be possible for me. Then I doubled down and said:

 I really don’t care if people judge me.

I think it’d be more accurate to say “I don’t care as much when people judge me. Although it still hurts because I have feelings am not, in fact, an automaton or a boulder.”

Present Day: What I Struggle With Now

Lunch date with my littlest Littlewoods

I would like to tell you that I’ve never thought about getting botox, but that would be a lie. I haven’t gotten it and I likely won’t, but every time I hear from a contemporary that they’re getting it (most recently Nora McInerny from Terrible, Thanks For Asking who is exactly the same age as me), I’m like, “damn, is that what we’re all doing as we glide into our 40s???” It’s hard to not wonder if I’m missing out by not doing it.

I’ve also entered a perpetual tug of war between my retinol wrinkle-prevention cream and my generic walmart moisturizer. If I use the retinol stuff too much, my skin gets dry and red. Then I declare I’m never using it again and I go back to my moisturizer. A week later, I notice all the wrinkles around my eyes and dig the retinol cream out of the back of the cabinet. Sooooo, yeah…

Is there anything WRONG with my wrinkles? Do they make me a BAD person? Do they make me UNATTRACTIVE? I’d say no to all of those, but then again, I am a woman in this society and I do think about what other people think about me and my wrinkles. Probably they don’t even think about my wrinkles at all. But maybe they do???????? Probably you’re now all thinking about them.

As I noted above, I used to follow this same obsessive process around my acne. So I’ve swapped acne for wrinkles.

The difference is in how I feel about it. I don’t intensely worry about my wrinkles the way I did my acne.

Perhaps what I’ve done is turn down the volume on my inner beauty critic. That voice is still there, but I’m a lot better at shutting it up. I don’t have the bandwidth to care as much as I used to and that feels like progress.

→Over the years, I’ve tried to focus more on what I’m doing as opposed to what I look like.

Appearance will always be a thought bubble in my life, but I feel more confident and content at 39 than I did at 31.

This nine-year retrospective project won’t neatly resolve the issues I wrote about in the past, but it does help me interrogate my beliefs and how they’ve–hopefully–evolved over the years. After all, if we don’t change our minds about stuff over time, we’re probably not expanding our experiences, thoughts and perceptions.

 How have your thoughts on beauty standards and appearance changed? What other Frugalwoods topics would like me to revisit?

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  1. My kids have told me that they like my wrinkles because they can tell that they’re from smiling. They also think the (ever increasing) gray in my hair looks silver and pretty. I still have my own hang ups, but I keep those comments in mind when I’m feeling insecure.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful and open writing, as always! Here are two thoughts from age 47:
      1) Getting your hair professionally colored adds a significant expense. If you decide to do it. I never dyed my hair, not for fun as a teen, not ever. But it’s very dark and as it got grayer around my face I’ve started highlighting it to blend the grays. (It works! And it’s fun to have that range of shades, “sun-kissed” look I never had with dark hair.) But whew—expensive. But I value having it done well and professionally.
      2) About wrinkles—I read an essay by a woman writer (don’t remember who) where she was agonizing about trying botox on her forehead. And someone advised her: Try bangs instead. 😉 With your lovely short hairstyle, you’re set! (Not around the eyes I guess, but still.) Looks great!

  2. Solid self reflection on this one. I remember reading this when you posted it and thinking about how frivolous makeup felt to me and how I never wanted to waste time with it. I still only wear it a couple times a year.

    I love exercising for myself and my own mental health. You have to do the things you love.

  3. If you are looking for a makeup recommendation, I have loved Alima Pure for over a decade and gotten many friends into it. It has natural ingredients, covers well, feels light on the skin, and because it is a powder it keeps for years without becoming a weird texture or irritating like liquid makeup. I also only wear makeup a few times a year, so I use the same jar for years and years.

    If you end up trying botox, start slow. Getting it on the one area that bothers you the most feels very different from the whole upper face (which many doctors push you to do).

    I remember when you first wrote this article, and it really helped me change the way I looked at my beauty routine.

  4. I love this series. I feel like my household went through the self inflicted lean years right alongside you and we’re also trying to find the center of the pendulum after two kids from a much stronger financial situation. Looking forward to reading the rest of the articles!

  5. I remember reading that right when you wrote it. I’m 67 now, and have been, like you, a naturally good looking person. But now, as age advances, I’m having to watch that slowly slip away. And like you, the best I can do is deal with society’s expectations from a middle ground outlook. Of course it’s much much much easier for men. But it’s still a thing. And this has helped me think it through on a deeper level. Thank you.

  6. At 60, I am vain , always have been. I do a weird mix of diy, like just for men beard dye for my eyebrows, homemade body scrub and body butter and soap, self mixed of oils for my skin and a yearly rond of fillers at a very good and extremely expensive dermatologist. Looking old is fine by me, looking haggard doesn’t. It’s a balance of self respect, quest for recognition and society expectations. I think we all play the game one way or the other, for the Uber crusty doing great around they own community to the Hollywood housewives shine girls. We see each other and need to be seen.

    1. Great comment; “Looking old is fine by me, looking haggard doesn’t. It’s a balance of self respect, quest for recognition and society expectations”.

  7. It’s not just the products- it’s their impact. Trying to find eco friendly and zero waste is my current goal for most products. People should do what they need to do to feel good. 4 hrs a week of exercise is recommended to reduce cancer risk so exercise is vital !

  8. I remember the original. Interesting topic.
    I’ve actually gone through similar phases but am now back at the ‘doing quite a lot’ point. Which for me is a basic face of make up pretty much every day, plus extra for going out. Hair cut and highlighted every other month. I’ve doing a lot of self reflection to come to the conclusion that I like doing these things for me, and that it’s not about mirror scrutiny. I feel more confident when I’ve put a bit of effort in. I have a lot of health problems and I like feeling better about my body.
    Re botox – I’m a Dr and so am trained to do it…. just started having it myself. For me it’s not about the wrinkles; I like the feel of being less frowny!

    1. My VERY not-appearance-obsessed husband is strongly considering a bit of targeted botox to rid himself of the deep, lightning jag crevasse frown line that has been on his forehead, between his eyes for years and years. He’s tall, dark (and handsome!) with dark, thick brows, so the perpetual rage-frown line makes him look… annoyed. I think if he did it, he’d be thrilled!

  9. Amazing post! I’ve personally found that my need to live up to societal expectations was tied to my job. When I left my job, I also stopped coloring my hair and wearing makeup.

    1. I recently talked to a surgeon who said botox and fillers exploded since everyone looked at themselves allday on screen during covid Zoommeetings

  10. Realizing the danger of chemicals in cosmetics has put a full stop to any desire of mine to put anything on or near my body – cosmetics, air fresheners, makeup, etc. I see so many people getting cancer in our society, and I’m convinced it’s because of all the chemicals in our food, cosmetics, and most other products. So I’d rather be healthy than look spectacular. Plus I’m too lazy to spend 2 hours painting my nails or blow-drying my hair, or applying makeup. I’d rather be reading a book, gardening, or walking at my favorite place on earth- Walden Pond. It doesn’t hurt that my husband doesn’t care if I look my natural self, or have a ton of makeup on.

    I like Liz’s experience of dropping the makeup and getting her confidence back, but for me it was exactly the opposite – I gained my self-confidence first, and then dropped the makeup. I don’t want to impress people with how I look, but with who I truly am as a person (without being fake), and what value and knowledge I bring to their lives. So far it has worked. But as Liz said, it’s easier when you are white, self-employed, heterosexual, etc.

  11. Vitamin E oil is the best! Super sensitive skin here, 1 drop all you need. A $6 bottle from drug store will last me a year. Stay feeling beautiful 😀
    Thank you for sharing your truth and inspiring me.

  12. I’m reading this at the beauty salon waiting for my toe nails to dry! At 67, a pedicure is ‘my thing’. Not facials, hair colour, daily make up, blow dries, massage. It’s all about finding what gives you pleasure and this will be different for everyone. I don’t think society judges me on the colour of my toe nails!

  13. After the Twiggy look of painted on eyelashs and short hair, i wore no makeup until my 30’s (probably special occasions). I used tosay 5 minutes made a big difference in my 30’s, then 15 in my 40’s, and now I’m not going to tell you how long it takes to look ‘natural’!

    Also, with very fair skin and white hair, I need a touch of eyeliner so my eyes show up, especially in photos. I like lipstick for added color.

    My mom had those blue eyes you can see from across the room, English capillaries close to the surface for a bit of pink on her cheeks, and looked great in her white hair and just red lipstick. Envy!

    I remember reading that article and I think you are a bit hard on yourself. We can be kind to our previous self while still embracing growth. Hugs to you then and now…..

  14. Like so many women, I was raised from a very early age (my grandma put me into the “Little Miss Tulsa” contest when I was about 4) to believe that my looks were the most important thing about me. That attitude continued through my 40s (ugh). But gradually, as my body aged (and grew!!!), I began to run to the grocery store without full makeup, and even occasionally skipped a day washing my hair. In my 50s and 60s I continued gradually eliminating things like weekly manicures, daily or twice daily showers, and foundation (moved to tinted moisturizer). In my late 60s I had my under-eye bags removed, not out of vanity, but because I looked absolutely exhausted but wasn’t the least bit tired (and I worked in a situation where everyone was much younger; my boss was 30!!!). And last year, at 70, I got permanent brow and eyeliner tattoos. So it’s a mixed bag. I no longer color my hair, and I only wear makeup for social situations. I’m 71, and I’m healthy (although overweight), and most of all, I’m happy with myself, my life, and my great good fortune. I agree that looks matter, but they matter so very much less than we think.

    1. Also! We generally look – objectively – much better than we think we do, to that outside world. We imagine we’re so huge that the ground shakes when we walk, but every now and then a reality check reminds us that we’re *maybe* just a few lbs more than would be strictly ideal (just an example). We’re our own harshest critics and have a very distorted, hyper-critical view ingrained. I think of people I know who could objectively be called a dress size or two above where they could be and I do NOT think they’re ”very” overweight, nor do I think they’re unattractive. They look great, same as they always have!

  15. This was a thought-provoking piece. I’ve prided myself in never having fillers, botox or expensive creams. I am 57 and I only know one peer in real life who also hasn’t. But here’s the rub, I am prideful about it. I am looking to eliminate self-pride, so there is always a battle to wage!

    My grandmother (8 kids, numerous grandchildren) had zero wrinkles when she died in her 60s. She used Crisco daily on her face as a frugal face cream.

    I feel better wearing make up but don’t wear a lot: foundation, eyebrow pencil, mascara and lipstick. I purchase No 5 cosmetics for a reasonable price at Walgreens. Since it’s made in the UK, their chemical standards are at a much higher level.

    1. I thought my grandmother was the only person who used Crisco as a face cream!!! She, too, died with an amazingly unwrinkled face. One time she tried to get even more frugal and used some of the bacon grease she collected in a can on top of the stove…she abandoned that because the dog kept trying to leap up and lick her face.

  16. At 67, the wrinkles don’t bother me, it’s the sagging skin. My face has changed shape from oval to rectangle because my jaw line is steadily moving down, and it sometimes surprises me to see the “wrong” face in the mirror.

    I wear a mineral powder makeup that is vegan, safe, naturally made, and uses sustainable methods. It’s light and I like the way it looks and feels, so I’m not dropping makeup. But for those who go without it, I’m happy to fully support your choice! I just have too much fun with makeup to give it up, myself.

    My mother had Bell’s palsy on the left side of her face, and her face never recovered – it drooped on that side for the rest of her life. People often looked at her face a few seconds longer than necessary. I had a co-worker who lived with horrible burn scars and the loss of most of one ear, and I saw people try to hide their shock when they first saw her. Another relative of mine permanently lost much of her beautiful hair. All that has changed my attitude about physical appearance. Yes, I like to look nice, but I am not going to get Botox and use hair dye and have a facelift or eyelift to fight looking older. I have a “normal” face and hair so a little makeup and a pro haircut every few months is all I need, and I’m very, very grateful for that!

  17. Wrinkles are largely a natural part of aging, while acne is a scarring, uncomfortable disease that should be treated by a professional if need be. I don’t think that spending money to treat a disease is vain.

  18. During covid I let my grey grow out. I’ll be 41 in July so only a bit older than you but I have been going grey since my 20s, I have maybe 20% grey total but 80% of it is around my face so when my hair is up I look 50+ but if I dye it I look younger 30s because I was blessed with few wrinkles. The struggle is real, but I have found that the older look has helped me spring ahead at work and it has earned me more respect. I do like to mess with people at Tractor Supply, they think I am elderly and ask if I need help and then lose their mind when I start throwing 50lb bags into my truck.

  19. Thanks for this reflection! It hits close to home, as I *still* am plagued by acne at 32. Wrinkles are starting to pop up too, and I wish I could have had one period of time enjoying my skin. That being said, I guess self love and acceptance are going to be my options!
    I am starting to get gray hair too, as are my friends. It is interesting to see who chooses to dye and who lets it go natural. I think living in a very physical and active community helps, because a lot of the women aren’t as focused on appearances. It is still an adjustment tho–for now, I’m not dyeing my hair and I hope I can continue to embrace the grays.
    Regarding botox-I actually do get it, and have to say I like it. My doctor is amazing and she goes “soft” with it, I still have wrinkles they just aren’t as deep. My biggest concern was my frown lines between my eyebrows, because I felt I looked angry with them. Now they aren’t as deep and I feel I look generally more relaxed. Totally a personal decision but if you find a doctor who is natural and light with their technique, botox can be amazing.
    PS You are surely setting an amazing example to your daughters, so nice work!
    PPS You look beautiful!

    1. I have a very pronounced frown line between my eyebrows. I’ve named her Celeste and I love her as she adds movement and expression to my face.

      The finer lines around my eyes receive no such love, and given time I’ll likely get rid of them.

      I call that balance!

  20. I, too, remember reading the original post years ago. One book I read recently that was very interesting to me was The Gospel of Wellness by Rina Raphael. Discussing the wellness industry and its impact on mainly women to the tune of trillions every year, and what does it really provide…you can find wellness without spending big bucks – are we being sold memberships to make us feel we belong in a certain group, is it products to make us feel we “made it” and fit in with others who can afford Goop stuff etc. A very well researched book that was eye opening for me on many fronts. My “wellness” costs are walking shoes, a notebook to journal, a park membership for the nature trails and Dr. teals eucalyptus bath salts – my $5 splurge. My husband and I alternate giving each other a massage most months and while neither of us is trained (he’s way better at it than I am), it sure is relaxing. We give each other haircuts and put the saved money into travel.

    Since we FIRE retired early, I have many more makeup-less days but I still do feel better about myself with a few products.

    I enjoyed reading your changing views on this topic and look forward to additional comments for different views!

  21. You made me LOL with the “young Justin Bieber” image! At 35 with two littles at home I simply don’t have time for makeup, but at times I do miss it. I have settled for applying a moisturizer with sunscreen at my desk in the morning…don’t ask me how old the tube of moisturizer is 😀

    It’s nice to hear another person my age admit they mentally flirt with the idea of Botox. I often think of just one *tiny* whittle area I would like it applied, but then I’m sure I could find another area that would benefit too and so on. I have considered Frownies as an non-chemical alternative. Thanks for the thoughtful reflection. I always appreciate your writing.

    1. Me neither. I work remotely and generally wear a solid ”nothing”, but have noticed that in strict truth, I absolutely do look much more ”awake” and nice with even just a little on. I have decent skin, but am very, very pale and sort of worn-out looking, so getting a very small bit of brow definition and a bit of coloured lip balm on my face makes a disproportionately big difference!

  22. Thank you for this amazing reflection! Pro tip for acne treatment without getting pregnant: Certain birth control pills help acne a lot!! Some progesterone compounds are less acne-provoking than others. Ask your doctor! I speak from personal experience, and I am a doctor!

    1. Also Spironolactone, which is in several BCPs but can be prescribed alone. ! It’s been a life changer for me, who struggled with acne for decades. Started taking it in my late 40s and still take it now at 54.

  23. Sigh, I’m close in age to you and contemplating Botox – I don’t mind getting smile lines around the eyes, but I have a horrid vertical frown line by my eyebrow that makes me look grumpy and it irritates me whenever I see it.

    1. I commented above about this, I’m the opposite of you. ‘Celeste’ can stay but the laughter lines are out!

  24. The bit about having to do what you have to to navigate society really resonated. I whittled it down to no makeup, trim my own hair, cut my nails short. But in my late 40s when I was suddenly doing job interviews – bought makeup and colored my hair (for the first time in my life!). There are times when first impressions are all important and you have to haul out the big guns. Very happily back to au natural:)

  25. I saw the trend of using Velcro rollers and decided to try it because the results looked great. I started doing my hair and I’ve noticed people are so much NICER to me! It’s insane. I started getting free stuff all the time (soda if I get takeout, extra free samples at beauty stores, free desert at restaurants, free drinks from bartenders). It’s bizarre.

  26. At 58 feeling healthy and authentic, going grey. Tired of $ on hair color and cultural expectations. The grey streaks are my first highlights I have ever had so kinda fun!!! I am fit and healthy, get outside every day,never had a pedi or a manucure. Working at feeling good in my own skin. Reflecting joy and aging gracefully.

  27. Hi! Since I’m the exact same age as you I have some thoughts on all this as well.

    First, the getting older and finding stuff that works is incredible. I like to think of my beauty routine as super low maintenance but also makes me feel like a hot fox. Lol.

    Things that work for me and that are cheap!

    Face lotion/sun block that’s tinted: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Perfector Tinted Facial Moisturizer and Retinol Treatment with Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen with Titanium Dioxid

    Tinted lip balm like the Burt’s bees stuff.

    Eye makeup- I finally discovered that the cheap stuff is fine for me and I don’t need to spend a ton of money on MAC makeup to get the job done.

    Not cheap: Now that I’m older and have money around, I got my eye brows microbladed (because I had basically murdered them in the 2000s) and I got Invisalign to fix my wonky bite (my parents paid for braces when I was a teen but teeth move even with retainers.) These 2 things have greatly improved my self-confidence and I feel like a hot fox for real.

    I also wear the same black pants (I have 2 pairs) and a different school sweater/t-shirt every day which makes getting ready for work a breeze! (I’m a teacher).

    As for hair, I am currently growing out my pixie cut. I got back and forth between short and long every couple of years and right now I just want to pull it up into a dang pony tail. I also am bored of going to the salon every 2 months to maintain the short hair.

    I look forward to discovering more things that work for me in the future but for now I’m pretty happy!

    1. This comment is so great! “Hot Fox” is my new go-to! 🤣.

      Please tell me more about the 2 pair of black pants for work. Thanks!

      1. These are the 2 pairs of pants I own that I wear every day. They’re super comfortable and make my butt look foxy.

        Yogipace, 5 Pockets, Women’s Straight Leg Yoga Pants Long Stretch Dress Pants Slim fit Workout Pants Travel Commute Work, 31″, Black, Medium


        Yogipace, Belt Loops, Women’s Petite/Regular/Tall Dress Pant Bootcut Yoga Work Pants Slacks Trousers Back Pockets Office Commute Travel, 31″,Black,Siz

        Go forth and be a hot fox!

  28. I just have to say that you look *A*M*A*Z*I*N*G* in a pixie cut! (I’ve also said goodbye to long hair, and I’ll never go back either.)

  29. Thank you for this update. I have been on a similar journey with acne, have seen improvements after having my first baby, and also recognize the ‘replacement’ of acne with some other beauty villain as I age—wrinkles for example. Age, experience, and growing self confidence have done wonders for identifying what I’m doing for myself versus what I’m doing due to cultural expectations.

  30. I really appreciate this post and your honest reflections as you look back. I remember reading the original back then and thinking that a lot of the comments came from a place of privilege, and from the position of someone who was married and worked from home and as a result, would have a much easier time letting go of make-up/living up to certain societal pressures. It was one of a few posts that really rubbed me the wrong way. Though this post is also a reminder for myself that there’s always a lot more going on than meets the eye and thus, it’s good to err on the side of giving people some grace.

    1. Good to know, thank you for sharing! And to clarify, I didn’t work from home in 2015 when I wrote the original post–I was still at my 9-5 white collar in-person office job.

  31. Embrace aging. It is a beautiful part of life, wrinkles and all. If we spent as much time positively influencing the world around us, as we do going to extremes with our appearance, imagine how much less stress we would have in your life. Don’t get sucked into the beauty myth, it has no bottom and leaves you more dissatisfied.

    1. In my opinion, the problem is not the beauty products themselves. It’s the idea of one standard of beauty. I use a natural/nude lipstick and maybe shade in my eyebrows a little. I have my first few gray hairs (am 35 years old), and I will not be dying my hair. I don’t feel like messing with dyes, nor anti-aging skincare products. That is my choice. Other women choose to dye their hair and wear more elaborate make-up, which is their choice. As long as they do it for *themselves* – and not to please society – it’s their business, not mine.

  32. Don’t use retinol every day! Try it every 3 days for 2 weeks, then do every 2 days for 2 weeks, and then you can try using it daily if you want. If your skin gets red, back it off again!

  33. Your post describing your experience with post-partum depression and anxiety was a game/life-changer for me and helped me name what I was experiencing and encouraged me to reach out for help. I’d love an update on your thoughts around caring for your mental health and what that looks like for you these days if you’re willing to share!

  34. I love this post and your laid back routine and perspective. I think that is super helpful! Sometimes a detox is so necessary.

  35. I stopped colouring my hair and wearing all makeup prior to the pandemic, when I was in my mid-forties. I thought it was a big deal at the time but it went mostly unnoticed. I wondered if it was maybe because I’m “invisible” now that I’m 50; nobody cares what middle-aged women look like?

    To play with this idea, I did a little experiment after painfully twisting my knee while shaving my legs. Wouldn’t it be nice to not fall over in the shower, and to live without razor burn and ingrown hairs? I thought, if nobody noticed my grey hair and bare face, maybe they wouldn’t notice my legs. So I grew out my lower leg hair for the first time in 38 years.

    NOT INVISIBLE after all. So it seems we can put away hair colour and makeup, but females MUST NOT HAVE BODY HAIR at any age. It’s been surprising to hear my own negative thoughts about it, which are worse than the side-eyes I’ve received (and it’s not even summer yet).

    I’ve very much enjoyed reading your beauty and fashion Manifestos, and I think you’re being too hard on yourself about your writing from nearly a decade ago. You have an authentic voice and that hasn’t changed over 9 years. I look forward to more Manifestos from you.

    1. Thank you! I go back and forth on shaving as well–some summers I don’t, other summers I do.

    2. Yeah. Not shaving my legs / underarms is a hard pass from me, and I have quite fair, fine hair generally, am not at all hirsute. But… no.

      Just no.

      Saying that, in summer, I maybe ”need” to shave once a week, so it’s not an onerous or endless cycle for me. I can imagine if a person felt they needed to shave 3-4 times each week or similar, it would be a burden and actually feel like a waste of time.

  36. I work in medical genetics with patients who have facial deformities, skeletal deformities, are very tall, very short etc. If you are lucky enough to be able to walk down the street, or sit in a waiting room, without someone staring or double taking, then you have it extremely lucky on life. Working with people who don’t have anonymity in their physical appearance is really grounding. It makes daily application of make up etc seem very unimportant.

  37. I really enjoyed this post, Liz. So insightful, it sounds if you are getting more wise as you age. I agree with most of what you have written in reflection of your column 9 years ago. I am aging gracefully at age 66. I, too, am a little afraid of the use of chemicals that have been banned in other countries. You got this lady, long before I did.

  38. I’m in the sad bag of people for whom having kids GAVE me acne. I’ve had eight babies and I still struggle with more hormonal acne than I ever had before babies, but now with rosacea and wrinkles too 🤣

    I feel you on the perpetual struggle between retinoids and moisture, SAME.

    Also I do think aging is so much about finding balance with our priorities and your update post reflects that 🙂

  39. Timely post for my life right some other women, I let my hair grow out naturally during covid and ended up with some fairly evenly distributed silver streaks throughout my hair. I wasn’t sure whether I would like it since the women in my family have always coloured their hair, but I actually didn’t mind it, I enjoyed not having to dye my hair and the color tone of my hair actually matched my face colouring, except then a bright white streak showed up at my temple — that I hated since it was just a large white patch (I know probably my societal double-standards talking since on a man it can look “distinguished”). While I was deciding whether I wanted to start dying my hair again, a client making small talk began asking about my plans for retirement (I’m 47 ??!!??). My hair was dyed again within 2 days. Societies expectations, norms and standards are real. I think that each person has to find a balance between the time and money that they wish to invest vs. which societal standards will influence their choices. While I dye my hair, I don’t apply hair or eye lashes extensions and I don’t worry about wearing the latest trends. My good friend doesn’t dye her hair (it’s fairly silver overall) but she loves lash extensions and gets botox and fillers. To me, it’s all about choice and what makes a person feel comfortable.

  40. My laugh lines are cool. My frown lines are not. I do get Botox but I go to a school that teaches RNs how to administer it. It’s a fraction of the normal price because I’m a human model and it’s a classroom setting with a teacher hovering over the student and me. For serums and lotions, I recommend watching the two guys on “Doctorly” on YouTube because they can tell you exactly what to use (brand, type) and often these are regular drugstore items. Saves money , for sure.

  41. I will preface this by saying I think you look fabulous with the pixie cut. But just wanted to put this suggestion out there for others with a femme look who are after a low maintenance haircut – depending on your hair texture, a super short bob cut can be pretty much as low maintenance as the pixie (dries fast, doesn’t need to be styled, etc) – without the Justin Bieber effect.

    I’m about to turn 35 and desperate to get botox (on my frown lines, and I have one droopy eye) but am terrified to ask my dr/derm! Internalised shame I guess?

  42. Pregnancy and breastfeeding did nothing for my acne. What finally eliminated 99% of it was two rounds of Accutane in my early 40s. I still get the occasional pimple and I am over 60.
    I’ve worked from home for the last 13+ years. Saves me the annoyance of shopping for work clothes and makeup, much less vehicle costs. Less electricity blow drying and curling my hair too.
    An interesting read the other day about Albolene – my grandmother always used it. Got prime space in her bathroom drawer (nothing was on the counter but soap).

  43. I have never worn makeup, probably because in my church when I was growing up none of the ladies used it (they do now! I’m the only one who doesn’t) & also associated it with the Biblical ‘painted Jezebel’… Think of all the time & money saved over so many years, plus it wouldn’t have been doing my skin any good. Funnily enough, it is non-church-going men who have commented – approvingly – over the years, whereas those who think I should be wearing it are women. Well, except for my husband (from a different church background) : at first he liked that I was ‘different’, then he wanted me to conform by using it. (I don’t think he has any idea what it costs – that may have changed his mind!) I don’t feel any different because of not wearing it, but then I’m not seeing myself compared with others, I suppose…

  44. I love your self reflection and at age 50, I have gone through the same roller coaster. Where I’ve landed today is pretty similar to your current routine: expensive hair cut and color every six months (color is balayage so it grows out gracefully), minimal makeup daily with products that feel incredible on my face, vitamins and hydration. During COVID I extended my 2 mile runs to 5, then 8 and before I knew it I was running half marathons and Monday will run Boston. Of all the things I’ve done to look and feel good, becoming a lean, mean running machine and feeling strong has done the most. I feel incredible and that is better than any haircut, makeup or spa day.

  45. Wow, 82.00 for a haircut? Not criticizing but this seems a lot for a frugal person. Just goes to show we all have priorities and if thats where you are willing to spend more ,why not. Its a cute cut and you can’t get a good haircut cheap.

  46. I’m 42. I look naturally young, so maybe I should not have set decisions on the matter….. BUT, I have decided a while ago that when I start going grey (I have a couple hair here and there at the moment but not much), I will embrace it. I admire older woman who look just so comfortable with their natural beauty and “”imperfections”” (gosh I hate that term!)! Same for wrinkles : getting older is a privilege, so I won’t try to hide it. No judgment here, I understand woman who do it. I’m just not someone who’s sensitive to what others think of me. And I happen to think that I have a pretty face, which helps.
    Also, as this is probably what helps me the most, I’ve been working with seniors for the past 15 years. So to me wrinkles, grey hair and saggy skin is all part of my day to day, it’s totally normal, I don’t even see it anymore.

    1. I forgot the make up and hairstyle!! The only makeup I use daily is eyebrowns fillers. Sometime lipstick. As for hair, I have thick curly hair, which I love, but they are hard to deal with so most of the time they end up in a bun. I never ever get them cut professionnally because when I did in the past it always ended up horrible, so I trim them myself. Again, my workplace does not focus on apparence, this helps.

  47. So much goodness here, I’m glad you revisited ‘your Self’ as your nine year anniversary post. A lot of us are reading and soaking up what could apply to us as we, too, revisit our Selves. At 60, I’ve had the injections but that was years ago, in my mid-forties. It wears off pretty fast and so does the so-called value for cost. FAST. In fact, after having Disport first then Botox in my face, once my muscles woke up, THEY began to involuntarily raise my eyebrows. Only one at a time, of course. It was hysterical and I watched it in the mirror a couple of times, but not so funny when dining with friends and suddenly one eyebrow would go WAY up. So even the wear-off events weren’t so flattering as the value for cost raised its own eyebrows.

    I intend to age as gracefully as possible without hurting myself doing it (those shots are extremely painful, even with anesthetic!) and not once has anyone complained about that: no one has said how hideous my face is since I haven’t done anything with it, and not even one comment about my wrinkles and sagging skin. In fact, I think the women who simply age naturally – but never give in to getting old – are those I want to hang out with and enjoy, whose company I intend to cultivate and appreciate because they are so real. We were all young once and we’ll all be older for awhile, so my intention is to embrace it with the same gusto I continue to embrace life with. You’re lovely and all those who think they’re doing themselves a favor with injections are also lovely…without the injections. I hope that someday all youth understands this and finally moves past the façade. Carry on with your amazing Self!

  48. I really appreciate that you are publicly taking time to reflect and share how your views have changed. I think that is a really important part of growing as a person, and too often overlooked.

    1. Agree with Carla! This is a wonderful, introspective post. I also LOLed for real at “Next We Enjoy Five Paragraphs on Acne.” Best. Subhead. Ever.

  49. I can’t remember what you call what you set up to make your donations through that is tax deductable. I am trying to help my daughter find deductions she can use for her remote project management business (she owed an astounding amount of money this year!!!!) and that advice might just help!!! Thanks for your fun blogs, love the advice, the knowledge and the humor.

  50. ITS ME!! YOU’RE WRITING TO ME!! Long time reader, not usually a commenter. I am a dermatologist so I enjoyed the acne part.

    I feel like Botox (and fillers) is the “exclusive pumping/breastfeeding/bottle feeding” issue of the decades after raising babies. Just like fed is best, what makes you feel good is best but just like no matter the choice with baby feeding, we will always want to explain themselves . For me? I’ve been ‘tox’n since my late 20s and am happy everytime I can’t furrow my brow. I legitimately think not being able to frown makes me a happier person. Yet I spend almost nothing on haircuts, nails, makeup or any skincare product except generic retinA and SPF.

      1. A plastic surgeon of my acquaintance, also a mother of 4 and most definitely in her late-late 40’s, looks nothing even a tiny bit approaching her actual age on account of these little tweaks. I’d say she hasn’t had actual surgery on her face, she looks natural and normal and like a mature, normal woman (an attractive one) of somewhat indeterminate age, which is exactly what I want! I want to be ”sort of maybe around 40? Maybe?) rather than that tragic, puffy-lipped, frozen-faced, implausible-hair-and-lashes look that seems to be so pervasive. I just want to look like the most fresh-faced version of an adult middle-aged woman in good health!


        The same woman wears very little makeup, no gel nails or anything like that, hair is casual, just looks like an attractive person and quite natural. THAT’S the holy grail!

  51. This is such a good post, I echo what the others have said! I turned 40 this year and have thought about these topics so much. Your thoughtful words come at a really good time and I find comfort in them. It is difficult, for me at this point, to find a balance for my desire to look good for myself and not conforming to societal beauty standards, though your post and reading so many amazing comments is very inspiring as I consider more ways to focus on beauty as an inside job.

    As I appreciate so many of the tips shared my other readers, I wanted to provide some of my own. My biggest priority is holistic health, so focusing on nutrition, hydration, sleep, movement, etc. is what I emphasize. Our skin is an organ after all :).

    I recently discovered Beautycounter products, which are high quality without a lot of chemicals. Their vitamin C serum is excellent. I also like Elta MD facial sunscreen (SPF 46) and Ilya make-up products (also natural, but great quality). Most weeks, I use a glycolic face mask (Andalou Naturals) and I get massages/pedis a few times a year to treat myself.

    I used Retin-A for decades and eventually weaned off it for prenatal planning. There’s a natural alternative called bakuchiol which you could also try if retinol is aggravating your skin, or like others recommended, just ease off a little and use a great moisturizer.

    Lastly, I started adding grass-fed collagen to my coffee, as we lose a lot of collagen as we age. Research is not definitive on its efficacy for restoring elasticity, but there are some good studies and it’s safe to consume. Regularly drinking bone broth is another idea (and tastes much better!)

  52. Just wanted to comment that I liked your writing style “then”, and it’s even better now! I really dislike reading my own old stuff, thinking I sounded so weird, pretentious, etc. so I get what you’re saying!
    I like my hair long and have always worn it long. In my twenties I grew it almost to my knees for a while! I can put it up when I need or want to in 30 seconds, or 1 minute if I’m being fancier. People think I’m younger than I am until I show my silver underneath layers of hair! Hair trims every 3 months for $40. Good old hot rollers for 5 minutes most days.
    I wear light makeup most days which includes sunscreen (important!) and takes 3-5 minutes to do it all. After suffering with some degree of acne for almost 30 years I finally felt like I deserved better and got that famous OTC system from the two female dermatologists- you know what I mean? Cleared up completely! And it has for many people I’ve told about it- cheaper than a dermatologist and prescriptions. Wish I had valued myself more sooner.
    You and your family are just lovely!

  53. While I’m 5 years behind you on the wrinkles, I hear my 35yo peers talk about starting botox and think about it as well. Like you, I will probably never get there… but agree that the only thing that’s certain is uncertainty so who knows! It almost feels as though the norm is for women to look younger than their age now. As a person planning to look exactly my age indefinitely, that’s only a little scary. What happens down the line when my peers are aging much more slowly than I am? These are superficial problems for another day though. Like you, I have small humans to chase!

  54. $82 for a haircut, going to the salon is expensive. I have a neighbor that goes every six weeks for a haircut and color and pays over $150. Crazy amounts that she spends. I have sensitive skin, so I went with doing henna for a couple years, then just let my hair go silver. I don’t wear makeup, but I do keep my hair long, as I feel it is part of my identity and my husband loves it long. I use shampoo and conditioner bars as they are not loaded with chemicals. I take a seat every other month to have him trim my hair. He also gives my two teen boys their haircuts every 3 weeks roughly. They both like their hair short but not buzzed. He has been doing them for about 12 years, so he has gotten a lot of practice cutting short hair. Three years ago when the shops were closed, a couple friends of mine were visiting and my best friend asked my husband to give her a trim, no big deal, he regularly does it for her. My other friend lamented that the mullet thing on her neck was bugging her and she asked if he could cut short hair. I pointed out that he gives my boys their haircuts and she said great, she wanted her hair cut short, like my older son’s hair. He got her caped and gave her a really short haircut as she requested. She was happy with the results and her husband who likes her hair short, commented that it looked great, better than what she usually gets at her salon. Some people just have a knack for cutting hair. I have seen some pretty wonky short haircuts that were done at the salon, so I can understand why you would want to stay with a stylist who you trust.

  55. I’ve been graying since my 20s (now late 30s) and it’s been a blessing in disguise. I used to get a lot of snide comments about looking too young to be a doctor, which have all dried up. I used to be very self-critical of random things in my appearance, but I recently came across some photos of myself from my early 20s and was like “Huh, I was kinda pretty, actually.” I don’t even remember why I thought I was plain. It’s made me feel better about the laugh lines and forehead creases I see in the mirror these days; in 10 years I’ll probably have forgotten about them.

    As it happens, I inject botox for dystonia and spasticity, and even with the smallest needle, it’s really painful! The skin around the eyes is thin and very sensitive. My patients keep getting it because otherwise they literally cannot open their eyelids, but I can’t fathom getting it done cosmetically. To each her own!

    Thank you also for acknowledging that beauty standards are culturally determined. I’m of Indian origin, and there is so much colorism in the community, to the extent that skin lightening creams are advertised everywhere, and matrimonial ads openly comment on “wheatish” complexion. It’s so jarring compared to the US!

  56. I actually came across your article of the beauty manifesto at a crossroads in my life. It was one of the articles that started me into rethinking spending and led to my husband and I living more frugal, and eventually allowed us to retire at 53. I stick somewhat close to the same regimen to date except I use concealer becauseI was blessed with dark circles, and for my special occasions I add Burts Bees to my cheeks and lips, and curl my eyelashes before adding mascara. Otherwise, my routine is very similar. I to believe the beauty industries tend to make girls and women feel bad about themselves causing anxiety and depression. We are all special in our own unique ways, and beautiful for it. Nothing else is needed 🙂

  57. Long time reader, first time commenter. I’m’ 65 years old. For the past several years I’ve colored my hair at home. I’ve never worn a lot of makeup, but enough to bring out my eyes. I’ve used anti wrinkle creams over the years with marginal results. I have been a dedicated sunscreen user. I draw a bright line at botox, fillers and cosmetic surgery. I understand that everyone has the right to undergo these procedures. It’s just not who I am. What if none of us felt this was necessary? It would make for a more even playing field in terms of acceptance of our physical appearance and acceptance of the appearance of others. I won’t lie, sometimes I wish I could allow myself to do this. But I know it just isn’t me or what I want to project out in this world. I generally want to accept my physical appearance as it is and focus on life pursuits that bring me joy and contentment. Lots of time spent on personal grooming isn’t it for me. I still think it boils down to a marketing ploy aimed particularly at women. Again, it’s a personal decision that each person has a right to make (if they can afford it – most people would consider this a luxury they cannot afford).

  58. I have run the gamut on the beauty issue. In the middle of covid I gave myself a buzz cut and stopped wearing makeup. My friends all thought I was dying of cancer and one very open and honest friend finally said so out loud, lol. We got a good laugh out if it. What precipitated that move included years of trying to get makeup to stay put (and failing), a round of accutane (OUCH), lasers, facials, $200 eye creams, going from dark brown to pale blonde (bad idea but temporarily fun until lazy me took over), and a caboodle + filled with makeup and shelves of expensive creams. I just decided to embrace what God gave me while giving the middle finger to a world I was angry at for shutting down.
    I have slowly grown my hair out. Ever so painfully slowly.
    I am embracing my God given hair color-med/dark brown with silver highlights. Free highlights are the best kind 😉
    I use face products made by a local herbalist that are not uber cheap but also not expensive, last a long time, are local(!) and honestly, my skin looks the best it’s ever been at 49.
    I wear a bit of cream makeup concealer and eye liner because, joy of joys, your eyes disappear as you age. <srsly not cool …
    I wear a bit of lip gloss or tinted lip balm to celebrate no more masks.
    My 13 year old says I don't look any different with or without makeup so I guess I'm not overdoing it, lol
    I have learned to accept whatever badges of honor my face is bestowed as I age.
    My eyes have not only disappeared, but have failed altogether and now I need to wear glasses. BUT glasses make my eyes look bigger and hide some of my lines! They also eliminate any cares about my eyebrows not being what they once were. I consider them my crutch-with-benefits 😉
    Overall, I think appearance matters but in an old fashioned way. Be clean. Wear neat clothes. Cover your bad self. Dress appropriate for the weather and the occasion. Brush your hair and keep it out of your food. Check your breath. Don’t wear scents that other people can smell unless they are sniffing you like JB. And respect your spouse’s wishes (at least try to compromise. I love you honey but I am not exposing myself to toxic chemicals because you like my hair a certain color. My husband wouldn’t say this but I have a friend whose husband has! ugh ).
    Beauty is complicated.

  59. Lol, I will have to reread this post and comments sometime. I completely agree with the conclusion that it depends on the culture you live in that defines how you think about your appearance and body. And the marketing machine in the US is very powerful. I recall when a marketing professor asigned us in the MBA program to read some marketing book by Seth Godin (I think that’s the name but not sure positive 100% as it was 20+ years ago). Boy, it put everything in a great perspective for me and helped me to build my wobbly stamina against the American BS advertising. I think I’ve done a great job that I must to change a bit such as begin using some of beauty products LOL. It becomes important as I approach 50.

    I have two questions.
    – I’ve seen retinol wrinkle-prevention cream at Costco and I’ve always wondered if it really works the way it says. I cannot trust to research on Google thanks to (paid) influencers all over. So, I’ll ask here: Do they really work and worth the expense? How long do I need to use it to notice a change? Finally, are they safe as far as a beauty product goes? My teenagers also say that wrinkes around eyes are fine because it means I smile, but maybe I frown more (well, I probably used to in the corporate setting before FIRE , LOL).

    – My teenage DD also has acne issues (I barely had because I cannot really recall it). What products can truly help with it or do you just need to resign and wait it disappears by itself like Mrs. F waiting until mid-30’s?

    Thank you!

  60. Face yoga!

    I follow Danielle Collins on YouTube and face yoga is awesome! I would call it more relaxing, wrinkle-fighting facial massage than yoga, but it works so call it whatever you must. It’s free to watch the videos, feels wonderful, and has totally worked for me.

    I’m 46 and I don’t wear any makeup ever, though I do tint my eyelashes every few months because my lashes are mostly blonde. My hair isn’t graying and I’ve never dyed it. The one thing that I truly worry about is the crepe-paper texture of my aunts’ skin, which I have totally inherited. So I’m devoted to moisturizer and face yoga.

  61. I’ve had Botox a handful of times and while most of the times I was happy with the results, it just took one time of having it go wrong and my right eyelid drooping for literally a month to convince me to never touch the stuff again. (It eventually goes away but wow was it scary AND embarrassing.)

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