This article was originally posting in Better After 50.
I am getting a tad outraged by the investment I have been making in my personal upkeep. I know it's my choice -- honestly, it's my decision to augment my "natural" beauty -- so why do I feel trapped in this vicious cycle of hair and body?
Well let's just say that past 50 years of age, the tide of time has caught me in its ebb and flow and rather than look like a worn torn beached whale, I have chosen to emulate beach glass -- shiny, fresh, reflecting light, smooth and timeless. This is turning out to be a tough metaphor to maintain.
Not to mention the beach glass imagery is costing a bundle.
First of all let me define the areas of focus (like you don't know already): Hair, Skin, Nails, and Nutrition -- that's for starters. I'm not talking clothing (more on that later).
Youth for me meant EASE -- leaving the house with wet hair, walking around in my jogging clothes, diving in the ocean and collapsing on the sand under the full sun without a worry. Ease, unfortunately, has become a thing of the past. This week alone, my maintenance bill was a bundle:
Manicure -- $12 plus $3 tip
Pedicure -- $25 plus $5 tip
Hair color -- $260 (don't ask, plus parking $36) (NYC favorite salon, favorite colorist)
Waxing -- $60
Creams & Cosmetics refills -- $100
Grand Total= $465 (Obscene)
I didn't even get a haircut. Nor had I indulged in a yoga class or a round of golf.
So I thought I'd look at this battlefield and try to make peace with my outflow of time and money and take charge of the war zone.
The grays are coming -- the grays are coming! Should I welcome them in? Well I'm a dirty blond and frankly that sexy silver 50 look isn't happening for me. I have tried to let the infiltration of grays in but alas, the Brillo, SOS pad met me mid-root. So alas, I will die a blond sniffing chemicals and wedded to my salon chair writing sky-high checks for the "process." At least I only have to do this four times a year.
The mani-pedi ritual -- I gave myself two months off to see if could break this habit. I failed. Unfortunately, the way I beat nail biting was with manicures and more than two weeks without a manicure and I am back eating my cuticles for breakfast. And then there's the foot issue. I am a runner and biker. It turns out nail maintenance is super important, not just a quick clip but heels and toe calluses need to be removed. So, to be realistic (I swear I am!) and to keep up my fitness routine (even more important post-50), I need my pedi entrapment. Seriously.
Now to skin. I am embracing CVS. My Nana had the best skin ever, right up until 94 years of age. Her secret: Elizabeth Arden style do it yourself face massages using Ponds Cold Cream. And, just like Nana, I love Ponds. It also helped me cut my skin cream investment in half. Success feels good. Except that now I have to go to the dermatologist for all that "natural" beach life I have indulged in. Ka-CHING. -- Special sun blocks and regular check-in visits are de rigueur and there's no getting around it.
Waxing -- This is not an inverse relationship. Hair removal drives the cost up. My girlfriends and I just had a 24-hour overnight and a big topic as we sat poolside was bikini waxing. Turns out our generation of BA50s has been learning a thing or two from our kids. I took a poll amongst the five women and it's safe to say -- less is more. The bikini waxing investment has increased as has the surface area being removed.
Nutrition. It costs to eat well. Everyone knows it's easier to throw a steak on the grill and open a bag of chips. But fresh fruit, salads and veggie concoctions take time and energy and organic is expensive. My visits to the local farmers market and Whole Foods have increased my food bill substantially. If I can afford it, I am not ready to give this up. Plus, I feel better knowing I'm putting better quality energy into my body.
In the end -- and despite the time suck (hair care can be two hours plus!) -- I have to admit I look and feel better knowing my maintenance regime matters -- and makes a difference in my overall attitude. Do I wish it could all be done with the swift ease of a magic wand? You betcha! And do I wish it could all be a tad cheaper? Yes. But if there's one thing I know from being a BA50: There's no price tag for feeling good. Plus, now when I go outside with my hair wet from the shower and head to the beach, I know for one, my gray isn't showing, my nails look great, and my mind is clear. That is, until my next session's litany of appointments.
Read more from BetterAfter50.com:
Why You Should Never, Ever Tell The Truth In Tennis
Makeup Over 50: Tips, Tricks and Product Recommendations
Spring Fashion For The Over 50 Woman