That was my favourite tv show when it was on. All those seemingly ugly people turning into models in just one day, after just one procedure that apparently took no down time. Hollywood at its finest.
I’m vain. Not so much when I was younger, more elastic and naturally collagen-filled. Now, though, I’m VAIN. Not in a high maintenance, skincare routine kind of way. I’m actually despicably lazy. I want something yesterday. I cannot bear waiting for something to start working. I hate looking saggy and worn.
I blame it on my age…and moving to live in the US. Americans do vanity and grooming on a level that may seem ridiculous to some, like me when I first got here…but I’ve been bitten by the bug. Well and truly stung on my wrinkled and droopy parts.
So, this post is about cosmetic enhancements.
People are still talking about Renee Zellwegger’s ‘work’. She appeared in public last week looking like a different person. Not the usual ‘filler and Botox’ clone though. She looked like the antithesis of Hollywood Beauty. Like a NORMAL person. Oh My Gaaaaaahd (Hollywood voice). Who knows what she did or didn’t have done; she says she’s happy in her skin and frankly, it’s none of Joe Public’s business. Unfortunately, when one is in public – be that through showbiz or more commonly through Instagram or Facebook, one is open, it seems, to the judgement of strangers. Oh, joy.
We colour our hair, put on primer and foundation, contour our cheekbones with rouge — all to improve ourselves. There’s bugger all ‘au naturel’ about that. So what is so different when one chooses to have their forehead wrinkles botoxed or the deep lines around the mouth filled? Nada.
Nobody screams at a woman or man with dyed hair. “CHEMICALS ON THEIR HEAD THAT CAN SEEP INTO THEIR BRAIN?? WHAT A VAIN IDIOT!” Yet, admit to Botox or the like, and WHAM. Judgemental snarks rain in like fire-laden arrows from every direction.
Haven’t we all looked at our face moisturizer or cup of coffee and silently wished “If only you could rid me of the grey hairs, wrinkles, under eye circles and extra fat pockets..”
Talking of social media, who DOESN’T gently filter their face?! I certainly do. Good god, I say make the most of technology. Crop out the spare tyre or chicken thighs = acceptable. Fade out the red eye = expected. Soften the wrinkles with a filter = put the judgy pants on.
I say we should all stop the cosmetic enhancement shaming. It’s so hypocritical. Sadly it seems to be mostly women shaming other women. Go, Sisterhood. Yeah, right.
I’ve had Botox twice. The first time, I told myself a) it’s preventative b) it’s on special offer c) I hate my forehead to the point of distraction.
I had TWELVE injections and was told to keep my head upright for the next four hours. If not, there was a risk of looking like a Sharpei dog. There followed the most stressful four hours of my life. Try living a regular life without any bending down. I sneezed and panicked that the Botox had shot downwards into the wrong places. I went down the stairs on my bum. No lying down in case the Botox goes backwards into my ears. Ridiculousness. There was no Sharpei dog face (thank god) but my eyebrows arched up and gave me a Malificent look. Without the cheekbones. Not cool. The Husband was a bit freaked out “You don’t look like you, eeeewwwww.” I couldn’t move a muscle above my eyebrows. I know that’s the point but it was bloody awful.
The second time (yes, I went to a different dermo after a lot of research and speaking to women with good Botox), I had FOUR injections. Slight difference from twelve… I told myself a) I hate my forehead, stop whingeing and fix it or b) never again use my face to emote expression, ie be Chinese c) wear a fringe til the day you die. I did try options b) and c) but finally, option a) won. Maintaining a fringe is a whole new job in and of itself.
I could move my forehead 50% – enough to look natural. That’s key. However, the deep wrinkles were gone. The job was so fab that The Husband didn’t notice I’d had it done.
I also had filler. Just the once. A different dermo again. It didn’t make any difference. The swelling on days 1 and 2 was hellish but the final effect was unnoticeable. Pfffft. Oh well, now I know, and the urge to give it a try has been sated.
I’ve recently started having my hair coloured professionally. The nights of L’Oreal and the bathroom sink are officially over. I’m a grown-up now. The “I’m going to go gray naturally” lasted a good few years, until my mother suggested I colour my hair this past summer. When a woman who’s spent years telling me not to dye my hair suddenly harps on endlessly about doing it…it was time.
Despite the rumours, I’ve never wanted to be a blonde. I’d look like a freak. Only runway models in a Margiela show can pull off the Blonde Oriental look. I just want ‘healthy’ looking hair. Some women are lucky enough to escape the grays, but not me. If they’d grown in one swathe, making a Cruella de Vil statement, that would have been rather wonderful. Instead, my grays like to flounder all over my head, lending me a Miss Haversham barnet. I now pray to the goddess Michelle and the god Oribe.
The other thing about American Grooming is the way they suck you in… The dermatologist offices are all ‘designed’ and spa-like. Walk in and immediately feel like you’re born to be beautiful. Or at least in the right place to be made so. I went in for laser tattoo removal and came out wanting a full body transformation. Shallow and perfect target audience? Me? Apparently so.
One tiny burst vein on the tip of my nose – a red blob that no makeup could cover. A 2-second zap of the laser and it was gone. Forever.
Fraxel treatments to even out post-pregnancy melasma and lessen acne scarring. Yes, please. Some pain is worth it.
A massive, painful spot on chin, the day before an event. One injection of cortisone and adíos to the teenage angst (and adult acne) memories that used to send me under the duvet and forty layers of foundation for days.
If I see someone who looks amazing but probably has had some help along the way, I silently applaud them. If they share that they’ve had bits and pieces done, I loudly applaud them and hope they’ll share their black book deets with me. If you’ve stumbled onto something that makes you feel fantastic, whatever that may be, why not share it with your friends? That’s Sisterhood. (I’m talking about anything, not just cosmetic stuff by the way.)
There’s NO shame in cosmetic enhancements, any more than there is in having your grays covered, putting a hairbrush through your hair or wearing Spanx.
The saying goes “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”.
Well, I say that if you’re the first person to see yourself each day (Hello Bathroom Mirror), then you’re the Beholder.