It’s Official – I’m Old

Today is my birthday, and I’ve come to the unsettling yet inevitable conclusion that I’m getting old. It happens to all of us. But I’m more concerned about it than usual because (gasp) I’m starting to look my age.

In past years, I took more than a little pride in looking about 5 to 8 years younger than my age, at least that’s what other people thought. I’ve used eye cream since I was 21, as a preventative measure, and it paid off. For someone in her mid-Forties, I have no crow’s feet, and only a few tiny lines under my eyes. I have virtually no wrinkles on my forehead either, a blessing that I attribute to the fact that I’ve worn bangs my entire life. My bangs acted as a barrier against the sun, I rationalize. Yes, for many years I coasted through life secure in the knowledge that I looked younger than my age.

But all that changed this past year. The good news is that my skin, once acne-prone and oily (another possible reason why I have few lines in my face) stopped breaking out. The bad news is that it suddenly became dehydrated. I can’t wear powder foundation anymore because it makes my face look chalky and emphasizes fine lines. My eyelids look crepey when I wear powder eyeshadow. Although I don’t have the “elevens” between my eyes, I do have the “one” (which, thankfully, my bangs hide). I developed those little lines above my upper lip, and wearing lipstick accentuates them. I’ve also noticed marionette lines (also known as nasal labial folds). In a panic at my seemingly sudden loss of elasticity, I’ve turned to certain products to hydrate my skin – products that, until now, I thought of as “old lady” products.

My first step was to stop using foaming cleansers and switch to heavy cream cleansers. I discovered Jergen’s All Purpose Face Cream ($5 for 15 oz.). You get a huge tub of it for $5 (and Wal-Mart has a two-pack for $6). The Jergen’s isn’t quite cold cream. It contains all of the ingredients of cold cream with a few extra ingredients thrown in. It’s pink and it smells floral, but I like it. I also use a little as moisturizer in a pinch.

I’ve been following the Jergen’s cream with Revlon’s Eterna “27” Moisture Cream with Progenitin ($16.99). The Eterna 27 is so thick with mineral oil, petrolatum, and beeswax (three ingredients that many people avoid but which I’ve reconciled myself to using) that it keeps my face moisturized for a long time. Unfortunately another thing that lasts a long time is the fragrance – a heavy, cloying fragrance that stinks to high heaven and screams “old lady.” I can tolerate most fragrances in products, but this is the first product with a fragrance that I have to struggle to put up with. It’s smokey and sweet, like an overwhelming incense. It makes me think “What cosmetic chemist decided that this fragrance was a good idea?”

French Eterna 27 ad from 1962.

Both the Jergens and the Eterna 27 have been around for decades. Every review I read for them extolls their virtues and evokes memories of grandmothers using it years ago. Grandmothers who, I should point out, apparently had remarkable skin and looked years younger than their true age.

I also noticed, just in the past few months, that I’m starting to go gray. Sure, we all have the occasional white hair or two. But now I can see my hair is starting to come in gray at the roots in a few places. It’s only a matter of time before I have to reach for the hair dye.

And for all you Blondie fans out there (though I wouldn’t recommend taking their advice):

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3 Comments on “It’s Official – I’m Old”

  1. If you could see me right now, you would see the look of someone very shocked. You look absolutely phenomenal for your age. I all of a sudden feel the urge to start using eye cream.

  2. Oops, wasn’t finished.

    I thought you were so much younger – I am blown away! Good for you!


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