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5 weird things about beauty that make me glad to be ‘old’

Perfectly toned bodies, topped up with fake tan and barely draped in more than a few inches of cloth, cut a dash on bleached sand. Just beyond the stark greyness of a low sea wall, they gather - much like wild animals around a watering hole in the deepest reaches of a parched desert. But they aren’t here out of necessity; it’s all part of a never-ending display of something none of us can escape - the oh-so beautiful youth.

Decades past my prime, and clad in oodles of loose-fitting cotton, I stand out for all the wrong reasons. And it’s not just when I visit the beach. This is a world that covets immaturity and is quick to dismiss the fragilities that come with age. The slipping and sliding body, etched with the ravages of time, is par for the course. None of us can avoid it. 

Am I bitter? Hell, no! Which brings me to… the weird things about beauty that make me glad to be 'old'.

A weird intepretation of ageless beauty

Everyone reaches a time in their life when a seething resentment of youth bubbles away beneath a veneer of outer serenity. I think my indignation towards pretty young things peaked in my late forties. Thereafter, I was on an upward journey that took me first to acceptance and then marched on to a completely unexpected place - peace.

That’s right, I’m at peace with not just my ever-advancing years but also how I look. I accept crow’s feet. I accept I can pinch more than an inch around my waistline. I accept that I can't walk in high heels. I even accept I’d clear a stretch of paradise in less than a second if I dropped a towel to reveal a lily-white 50-something in a stringy bikini. Bottom line, I accept me for me.

You see, with maturity comes the strangest benefits - and not all of them are obvious to everyone. 

Here are the 5 weird things about beauty that currently make me feel grateful (yes, grateful) to be middle-aged.

A weird thing about beauty? Wisdom trumps youth

It’s easy to feel inferior or irrelevant around younger people. This is especially true in the workplace. You may feel reluctant to contribute to a conversation about beauty. You may worry that your opinion won’t resonate or that you will be judged on not what you have to say but the peach fuzz that you forgot to trim that morning. I’ve been there, and this is what I’ve learned.

Listen. What are you hearing? 

Embarrassed middle aged woman

In the context of conversations about beauty products, I often find that young women are nowhere near as clued up as I imagine they’d be. That doesn’t mean to say they are in the least bit interested in tapping into my knowledge. But it does give me a certain sense of satisfaction that at least I know what I’m talking about. 

Not that long ago, I suffered a moment of utter mortification. It was so mortifying that, had I let it, it could have stunned my self-esteem into non-existence. I rose above that moment by recognising the positives in my behaviour and countering the negatives. 

I was at work when a conversation turned to makeup. Oh, my favourite topic! My mouth was on steroids as I blurted out my current go-to brands, the YouTube channels I love and, of course, I couldn’t help but mention that I review products on my own makeup and skincare website. Beauty is, after all, my greatest passion - in spite of my age. Over-enthusiasm really did get the better of me. It was one of those moments that I immediately regretted and wished I could take back. Silly old fool.

Beyond feeling I’d let far too much tumble off my tongue in a space of time that would have been better reserved for a single sentence, I picked up on something. Or I thought I did. One of the girls in the conversation showed an interest in buying PLouise products and expressed an inkling of pigmentation levels in Jeffree Star eyeshadows, but wasn’t 100 percent sure. So, what did I do to make an even bigger fool of myself? 

I went home that night and pored over my vast eyeshadow collection. I plucked out a double-decker PLouise palette (If The Crown Fits) and packed it neatly in a bag along with Jeffree Star’s Gothic Beach, plus Metamorphic, Reckless Romance and Smoky palettes by Beauty Bay. I topped the bag up with two Natasha Denona dupes from Temu and set the bag aside to take to work the next day.

I thought I could show the girl just how good PLouise palettes are and what you get for your money, which is a lot. I also thought I’d encourage her to compare pigmentation levels in eyeshadow from different price brackets, because Beauty Bay, for me, delivers on both quality and price. Then there was the introduction to duochromes. As well as being a fun way to spend a few minutes of our break time, I considered it an opportunity to help her save money on her next eyeshadow purchase. And, of course, it would bridge the gulf of years between us. I intended to give her one of the palettes.

Well… I shouldn’t have bothered. She didn’t want to see what I’d brought in. The palettes stayed in the bag on a shelf in the cloakroom and came home with me unseen. I cried when I got in. Stupid, old woman!

I wondered if she thought, because I mentioned I had an online presence, that I was trying to sell her something. Or if my motor-mouth the day before had left her with the impression that I’m an out-and-out nutter. It really did make me feel ghastly.

Shocked weird woman

In the end, I told myself this: you were being kind; you are an eyeshadow collector and could have helped her make savvy buying choices in the future. 

The whole episode lost me a few minutes’ sleep, but it lost her more. 

So, wisdom is the winner here. I can afford to let smugness wipe out a feeling of overwhelming embarrassment.

There’s no style like your own style

Here’s another weird thing… What goes around comes around, and beauty trends are exactly like fashion. What was trending 20 years ago and a definite no-no last year could be the biggest thing on the catwalk for this summer. I’ve reached the stage of not caring what’s in and what’s not.

I’m confident enough to create my own styles. For example, I am a true fan of gradient eyeshadow looks and I’m also an advocate for blusher. I’ll wear these styles till the cows come home. Sometimes I’ll be ‘in’, at other times I’ll just be the ol’ fuddy-duddy the date on my birth certificate suggests. I don’t care.

Confidence is everything in beauty and, if you’ve got that, you can carry off any look. The great thing about confidence is that it can grow with age. We don’t have to impress anyone except ourselves. Think about that. The sense of not caring about what everyone else thinks is truly liberating. 

Confident middle aged woman

Not too trendy to cover up in the sun

Ignore beauty gurus who try to tell you that deviant cells, not the sun, cause the most damage to our face. Ultraviolet light is the biggest threat to the skin.

And here's the weird thing, as you age you appreciate that fact. Brimmed hats, long-sleeve tops and copious amounts of factor 50 sunscreen are the order of the day. I may not look ‘cool’ for an hour a day, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll survive even the hottest temperatures without so much as a single red patch.

I’ve been nudged along quite a bit with sunscreen. That’s due to having had radiotherapy. I can’t expose a swathe of skin to the sun because of it, but I’m definitely clued up on what will protect me.

Imagine all those beautiful young women, strutting their stuff on the beach… They will only find out in 10 or 20 years’ time that showing off for a few days way back when ruined their looks!

Embracing beauty enhancements

I’m not an advocate of invasive beauty procedures. You won’t find me with fat lips, plumped beyond my nose with Botox. But… I do wear a hair topper! It adds to my appearance by bulking out the fringe. The parting looks real and it brings a touch of youth to any hairstyle. Right now, I’ve got my hair tied in a high ponytail and I’m wearing the prettiest headband. Without a topper, I probably wouldn’t get away with it. 

I never thought I’d buy into wigs, of any description. I remember one of my friend’s mum’s hanging her numerous hair pieces on the washing line when I was a teenager. It wasn’t something I ever envisaged doing myself one day. And, of course, I don’t. It’s a quick blow-dry job whenever I wash mine. Nobody, not even my daughter, has noticed I’m wearing one - such is the sophistication of today’s colour matches. 

Another thing I swear by is exfoliation. I even submit to a monthly, at home face peel. If you want truly translucent, glowing skin, that’s the way to go. Trust me.

I would add that I wear a false boob… However, in spite of having had a mastectomy, I actually don’t. Well, maybe, on very special occasions. I find a floaty top over figure-hugging jeans conceals my ‘disability’ quite nicely. 

A middle aged woman with a hairpiece

Finally, I look after my beauty products

Gone are the days of chucking everything into a bag and leaving their condition to chance. I love my beauty collection - and I look after it.

Setting aside time to arrange my palettes and keep skincare products in the right environment is a pleasure, not a chore. As well as making everything super quick to find, they last much longer too.

I’ve coped with ageing by adapting. I accept I’m not a beauty queen. Having said that, I’m not an old rag bag either.

Weird things can happen when you reach a certain age - and they aren’t all bad!

About the author: Belinda Bennett is a former regional journalist and newspaper editor. She is a makeup and skincare fanatic and always keen to try what's new.

Beauty blogger Belinda Bennett


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