I want to look better, not younger


I love beauty magazines. They’ve always been my go-to source to learn about the latest fashion and products. I slowly flip each page and stop to take a close look at the advertising. The beautiful women in them, they are so perfect! Flawless skin, beautifully shaped lips, and alluring eyes, thick and glossy hair. I’ve never really envied them. I simply admire their beauty. And I’ve always paid good attention to what is it they’re selling, what new invention is out there. I don’t believe 100% what they’re promising, but for the most part, I think they help me or any women look more beautiful.

As everyone else, with age, I’ve evolved what I read. The cheerful teen magazines came first, they were always there to help with first dates, choosing latest lip glosses and, of course, all those “personality tests” to help me find out whether my very best friend would, in fact, be my BFF.

Later came the more spiced-up magazines, we all know their names, that would accompany me through every new relationship, every hurtful breakout and everything in between. They’d advise me on how to get the “hottest” looks and flattest abs. They shared every celebrity’s secret beauty tip. Then came the parenting and cooking and perfect-home era.  Even in those days when I barely found time to read anything with words in them, I skimmed through my favorite beauty magazines in search for the latest in beauty – how to get rid of stretch marks from pregnancy or how to pick the best shampoo for my changing hormones.

I’m 53 now. A successful career and I great family is on my list of proud achievements. And I still love a beauty magazine. I’m picking up different ones today. I love to read about real women stories; about places to explore around the world and the latest summer book recommendations. And as always, I look for the latest in beauty and fashion. But, different from my young years, I’m no longer fascinated by the amazing women shown in its pages; and I’m more skeptical about what products promise.

That’s expected, with age comes wisdom and experience, and a bit of skepticism. But beyond that, I just find it harder to relate. These women are too young and too perfect.  And what’s worse, every product or advice promises the same thing: To make me look younger.

I figure the usual “10 ways to achieve flawless, younger looking skin” or “the best youth-boosting hair products ever” must be directed to me.

After all, I am “old” and they are promising a “cure” for this.  I get that we wouldn’t mind a little lifting of our eyes and firming of the neck. But, why is it that the industry’s only standard of beauty is youthfulness? I’m not obsessed with my age. I’m just striving to look my best; to enhance my beauty and make me feel confident. Because I like myself at this age. I feel attractive and full of life, and I don’t want to look like my younger self. I want to look better, not younger.