October 30th, 2017
Who am I kidding this is a few years past 40 but who’s counting at this age? I have my share of “lovely” new findings about my body as it ages – tired-looking face, draping inner thighs, randomly placed hairs…the list goes on. I had a suspicion that I’m not alone, so I polled my friends to ask what they’ve noticed in their forties. Together, we share what 40 looks like. Those of you over 50 will be thinking, “Just you wait, you spring chicken!” And those of you under 40 will get a sneak peek at what the next decade has to offer. It’s a good thing that I am happily married because I would never get a date again with the little secrets I’m about to spill!
I found that everything started to fall apart at age 43. So let’s start from the top!
I dye my hair. I started going grey in my twenties. Back then, I was in no mood to embrace a silvery look, and I’m in no mood to do so now! But I will let you in on my most embarrassing secret…my hair colour is Garnier box number 73. The colour is not unlike how my natural hair colour was, but sadly my current ‘natural’ would be salt and pepper. I choose box dye (much to my stylist’s chagrin) because I can dye my hair in less than an hour at 6 AM or at midnight, on a Sunday evening if I choose, and I can cook, clean or work on my laptop while it’s setting and it costs me about fifteen bucks a month! I only dye the roots so that I have natural highlights from the sun throughout the length. I’m not saying this DIY approach is right for everyone, but it works for me!
I envy those youthful women my age who can pull off a Silver Fox look. I asked one friend why she does it. She says that she mostly decided to go “au naturel” because she was sick of all the time and money spent in the salon. I’m with you, sister! She has so little free time between work and kids that she resented sitting in the chair trying to dye her stubborn hair which would show a skunk stripe of grey within a few weeks – she estimated about 40 hours and over two thousand dollars spent annually on keeping her hair coloured. Her preference with that time and money? A vacation! Another friend says she is embracing her greys “sexy style.” Which is really what it all comes down to, right? If you feel good about yourself – who cares about your hair colour!
Let’s move on to the face. If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you’ll know I’ve started with Botox. It has been almost a year now and I really must say that I am in love. I love that I am not forming any new crow’s feet. I love that I can still move my face (because I don’t overdo it) and I love that I look less tired. Many of the women I polled mentioned their skin looking less vibrant in their forties. For this, I highly recommend a daily or weekly exfoliant. At The Waters, one of our favourite products of all time is Peeling Vegetal – a weekly exfoliant that brightens your complexion in a just few minutes. It’s seriously miraculous!
I have noticed that my facial hair has gotten a little fuzzier as I age. I choose not to wax my upper lip because I feel like the peach fuzz offers a sort of soft filter lens so that onlookers don’t see the wrinkles forming on my upper lip. That’s my priority – I’d rather look fuzzy than wrinkly! However, I must admit to getting duped by my chin hairs. I have one, light-coloured, almost transparent chin hair that grows right out of the bottom of my chin like the single hair of a Dr. Seuss character. It’s in a blind spot and cannot be seen by my eyes or in a mirror. It only seems to grow when I’m on trips with my best girlfriends. And, it seems to grow overnight. Or maybe it’s there all year long and only my best girlfriends have the courage to tell me it’s there. How many women over 40 does it take to change a light bulb? Not sure, but it takes about 3 to pull out my chin hair.
And, just my luck – I had a unibrow as a teenager, but now when the style is to have big, bushy brows, I have nary an eyebrow hair left. While the hair on my upper lip proliferates, the hairs above my eyes dwindle and fade. My daily make-up routine now includes about five minutes of brow shaping and painting. Thankfully there are dozens of new products out there for brows – from tinting (that can be done at The Waters) to Youngblood’s Brow Artiste Kit and so many more. Microblading is another option women are turning to, but I’m not quite ready for the permanence (or the pain) of tattooing.
Moving down the bod, I’ve noticed creping skin on my neck recently. This is when the skin just doesn’t look as taught as it once did. My only solution / prevention is twice daily cleansing and creaming to my neck and décolleté and don’t forget to always cover your whole neck with sunscreen. ALWAYS!
Many of my ladyfriends complain of a general softness around the middle that was once a little more firm – even on the skinny ones! We’re seeing some bra bulges in the back, some little rolls near the belt and NO MATTER WHAT WE DO, WE JUST CAN’T GET RID OF THEM ANYMORE! (It could be because we refuse to give up our wine!) Dr. Oz says that, after 40, your metabolism winds down about 5% every decade. Luckily, Women’s Health Magazine has some suggestions – watch your calories and turn to strength training. Building muscle helps keep your metabolism up. The Harvard School of Public Health says that people who lift weights put on less stuffing in the middle than those who focus mainly on cardio. So pump the iron to a slimmer, sleeker you!
Of course, we in our forties, all know the beauty of a good (and comfortable) bra, but maybe this isn’t the right forum to get into more private body parts. So let’s not discuss the bits and pieces that are dripping, drooping and otherwise falling towards the earth at astonishing rates. Without getting into the gory details, pelvic floor strength is a big issue for many. Have you tried jumping on a trampoline lately? Leaky bladders are a result of weaker muscles due to childbirth and/or aging and can be strengthened with proper physiotherapy. In the meantime, wear black when jumping or running.
And cellulite. I wish it was on the cheeks of every fashion model in every magazine so we could just stop feeling so bummed about it! (Do you see what I did there?) I have ripples and dimples and draping thighs and I must admit to having a tiny bit of self-loathing about it when I back my way towards a mirror, but then I remind myself to STOP BEING AN IDIOT! As long as you are healthy and fit, a few extra cute little dimples don’t matter.
Dare I talk about sex in our forties? No. I don’t dare, but I know someone who will. Kelly McDonnell-Arnold, Sexologist and Owner of Bliss Counselling ( www.bliss-therapy.org ) declares that forty is the new sexy! She says that as you age, you start saying goodbye to reservations and feel more comfortable in your own skin. When you’re more comfortable, letting go of inhibitions becomes much easier, so it’s prime time to be creative. She notes that women in their forties become better at articulating what they want in bed. They also know how to say, “no” now and don’t owe anyone an explanation. Mixed with that comfort and confidence, is the fact that hormonal surges are happening making women over 40 feel more amorous. Now is the perfect time to turn on your imagination, escape into some fantasies and turn up the volume on novelty.
This brings me to my main point – the point that was made unanimously by the women I polled. The older we get, the less we actually care about what other people think. Oh, the freedom of being over forty! Many of us feel happier about our appearance than ever before. We know it’s about who we are and not how we look that is important.
Our philosophy at The Waters is less about beauty and more about achieving or maintaining healthy vibrant skin along with gaining a feeling of relaxation and the balance that comes as a result of taking care of yourself. If you feel great on the inside, you’ll exude confidence and look great on the outside!
My wise friend, Dana Shortt, reminded me of an anonymous quote that sums it all up…
“Do not regret growing older. It’s a privilege denied to many.”