I’ve reached an age and stage of maternity where most of my
friends are doing something to preserve their looks, be it working out with a
personal trainer or getting their leg veins zapped. It’s easy, for those of us
who have no plans to go under the knife (or laser) to feel high and mighty
about our “natural” looks but when I think about it more carefully I realize I’m
not exactly a natural woman. Here are the ways I change my appearance—and the
ways I still won’t (at least, for the time being):
I do exercise 5 or 6 days a week and I would be lying if I
said it was purely for the endorphins. I prefer the way I look if I’m in
shape—but it’s really more about how I feel, because it’s not like I work out
for three hours a day and I don’t always eat in a manner that complements the
work I do. At certain times of the year—or month—my abs are covered up by a
wine-induced layer of fat, but when I know there is a swimsuit situation arising, I will curb my boozing and carb-eating as needed.
I’m not religious about it—I won’t put on makeup to go to the pool or take my
son to preschool if I’m just going to exercise and shower right after, but otherwise,
if I’m going to be out and about, yes, some mascara, concealer and blush makes me feel a
little more like an attractive person. We can't all look as good as Alicia Keys does sans cosmetics.
For nearly 10 years now I’ve applied a retinoid at night because a
dermatologist friend (everybody should have a dermatologist friend!) told me
how effective it is both at slowing the onset of wrinkles and for fighting
acne. I like Atralin a lot more than Retin-A, which made my
skin red and painful and peel off in an embarrassing manner. Does Atralin work well?
It’s hard to say, since this is the only face I’ve got. I am happy that acne isn't too much of a problem for me, but moreover, I’ve received some
compliments on my complexion and isn’t that all you can ask for?
But on top of that, isn’t contouring just… drawing
a face on top of your face?
First, I'm not interested enough in contouring to take the time to learn how
to do it properly. I'm just too impatient to spend a lot of time watching
instructional YouTube beauty videos and working on the technique, which seems like it involves a fair amount of practice in order to avoid looking like The Mask. But on top of that, isn’t contouring just… drawing
a face on top of your face? Yes, I know you could probably say the same about
blush and concealer but I argue that playing up your assets and playing down
your flaws is a lot different than using colors to try to alter the look of your bone structure.
I'll hit a standard Instagram filter now and then just to play something up
(if I got my hair colored, for instance, I want it to pop in a picture) but I don’t understand
using software magic to make yourself look younger or thinner or anything-er
than you already are. If you look that bad in a photo, then maybe just don’t
post the photo of yourself. Otherwise, not only will other people know what you
really look like, you do, too, and
what’s the point?
Some of my friends have decided to go under the knife (or
needle) to fix their veins, lines, or boobs. I don’t see that in my future
anytime soon for a few reasons—the most practical being that it’s expensive and
so if I had an extra $500 or $1000 at this point I’d rather spend it on a trip
or a great bag or meal or something like that—something that doesn't hurt. Additionally, I have a type of
resignation about my body that I find handy. As long as I treat myself
reasonably well and don’t spend too much time looking closely in the mirror, I
think I’m overall… fine.
Not great, but fine.
What’s useful about that mentality
is that I don’t think, “If only my boobs were two inches higher…” or “If only
my forehead wrinkle weren’t there…” The general fine-ness helps me from
spot-critiquing. Of course, stay tuned. I’m only 37 and absolutely reserve the
right to go back on this current mentality as the mood strikes me or as
cosmetic technology becomes less painful and more cost-efficient.
what you see is what you get. More or less.