Beauty tips for older ladies

Cartoon. Old woman applying makeup with a trowel. Beauty tips for older ladies.

Beauty tips are redundant for women in their 80s and 90s. Most of us haven’t got the eyesight or the patience to use 40 products and 12 steps just to disguise our faces. Please stop telling me how to look young. That is not how I want to spend my bonus years, my 80s and 90s.

Beauty tips for older ladies

Turn down the lights. There!
That’s the way. Wash your face.
Put lipstick on:
the one that stays.

Then remember how it funnels
into a delta of cracks and gunnels
around your mouth
by the end of the day.

Dab something around the edges
and hope for the best.
Ignore the spaces where
your eyebrows used to be.

Hack off a few stray hairs
and don your glasses. There!
No one will notice, let alone care.
They’ll look at your glasses instead.

You’re done! That’s that.
You look alive, not dead.
You can smile, you can see
so put on your purple hat.

You know who you are.
You know what you know.
The skin is just for fun
so off you go.

Rachel McAlpine

Beauty tips for older ladies” is a joke title, obviously.

Ladies“? As gawky schoolgirls in class-free, 1950s New Zealand, we were told to sit, eat, walk and talk like “ladies”, whatever they were. “Lady” has always been a weird label outside of England. Nowadays when someone calls me “young lady” I cringe, I wince, I want to bop them on the head!

How about those beauty tips, though? Google  “beauty tips for older women” and up come “About 513,000,000 results.” I think they’re mostly serious, too. It’s wonderful, isn’t it?  Millions of well-meaning people trying to make us comply with their concept of beautiful. So kind! Thank you! They want us to look — wait for it — young! (By “older” they mean 50+, and today, that’s not old. A 50-year-old skin can still carry a smoky eye. Hey, you there in your 50s or 60s, you look bloody marvellous! Don’t change a thing.)

Well, I’m not young, which is pretty darned obvious. No amount of makeup feathered on by the world’s leading beauty gurus is going to make people say, “Look at that young woman!” And I don’t give a stuff. So I thought I’d share my beauty tips, all two of them. Of course the cartoon represents me using my two beauty tips.

  1. Wear lipstick — I do, but you don’t have to! Just that I like a splash of colour on the plain grey plain of my old face. There are pitfalls, though… literally.
  2. Wear glasses. Behind the glasses are carpet bags, weepy tear ducts, turned-out rims, eyelids that are creased and soft and droopy, and whites that are streaked with red. That’s OK too. I’m happy to pay the price for still being alive at nearly 80. It looks a bit weird, but to a Kiwi, old women who have had all the surgery look a bit weird too. (I’m just being honest here: if I lived in a different country, I’d be the odd one out.)


28 thoughts on “Beauty tips for older ladies

  1. Sadje says:

    Wonderful poem.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      So glad you like it.

      1. Sadje says:

        In a couple of decades I will need it. 😜

  2. alison41 says:

    Hear hear.

  3. Cathy Cade says:

    Isn’t it a relief though, not to have to bother.
    When i worked, I used to think I’d never go out without mascara, but it’s SO GOOD to be able to rub my eyes when they itch and not worry about smudges.
    I’m with you on wearing specs: I avoid having my photo taken without them now – they hide the fact that my eyes seem to be getting smaller as I age.
    Nice poem.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thanks Cathy. You made me smile!

  4. puppy1952 says:

    If you were fabulous in your twenties – you’re even more fabulous now – because you’ve been practising for so long! It’s got nothing to do with make up and beauty routines – it’s to do with who you are!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Very true. I’m sad that so many young people are unaware of their beauty. By adulating beauty, we stoke the fire of insecurity.

  5. anne leueen says:

    When I was s kid the optometrist told me that having one short sighted eye and one normal eye would be great when I got old as the short sighted eye would be able to read and the long sighted eye would still see distances. i thought he was kidding but he was right. So I do not have to wear glasses to read now that I am old. I wear mascara and most days sun screen on my face. I enjoyed your poem and the tips!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      How excellent that the prophesy has come to pass. Oh, and sunscreen is crucial,for sure.

  6. myrak says:

    You are beautiful dear Rachel. My kind of beautiful. Your smile and energy radiate warmth and good energy. Having known you for 50 years…. I know!!!Myra x

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Dear Myra! That is a long time, isn’t it? You were one of those beautiful girls I taught who never quit being beautiful.

  7. I gave up the last vestiges of makeup (lipstick, and later mascara) decades ago. I love the natural beauty that pours off a woman of any age who washes her face and hair, brushes her teeth and heads out the door. Clean is all it takes! So yeah, I have a lot of wrinkles, and my eyes have all but disappeared. Meanwhile, my nose and ears got bigger! Thank heavens I started out with a small nose. Smile a lot. That’s the only beauty secret any body needs, man, woman, even a child. Smiles do wonders for the face. Thank you for writing this. I’m glad to find it.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I love the beauty tip of smiling! You are so right.

  8. Margy says:

    How much happier would women be if we didn’t have a beauty industry, and women simply loved the skin they are in!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Self decoration is a deeply lodged urge. But the industry is pretty excessive now.

  9. iidorun says:

    I thought beauty tips for older women would be redundant because older women are already so beautiful!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Wow. We are really seeing some alternative viewpoints here today!

      1. iidorun says:

        I can’t wait until I’ve reached the grand old age of not caring what other people think…😁😉

      2. Rachel McAlpine says:

        Better start practising now…😉

  10. I simply adored this, the poem and the rest of the post.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I’m so glad! Please feel free to share them anywhere.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    You would fit right in in New England. Fortunately makeup is very optional here, grey hair is abundant and wrinkles are evidence of life lived.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That’s good news. I have visited New England but at the time I was wrinkle free and I had eyelashes.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Join the club!

  12. Wendy says:

    Wonderful! One of the perks of fading eyesight (and smallish light bulbs in the bathroom) – not being able to see the wreckage. 🙂

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      So true.

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