The Importance of Hats for Sun Protection: The Brim of the Matter

We all know that a hat protects you from the sun, but

did you know for

every 1 inch of brim to your hat = a 10% lower risk of skin cancer to your face!

Ditch the baseball cap, look for brims that go all the way around the hat. Bonus many hats now offer added UPF protection, the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating system measures the UV protection provided by fabric.

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Siggi Bucket Boonie Cord Fishing Beach Cap Summer Sun Hat Wide Brim for Women UPF50+

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Simplicity Women’s Summer UPF 50+ Roll Up Floppy Beach Hat with Ribbon

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Coolibar UPF 50+ Men’s Shapeable Outback Sun Hat – Sun Protective

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Coolibar UPF 50+ Men’s Fairway Golf Hat – Sun Protective

Beauty Must Haves For September!

Charlotte Tilbury ‘Matte Revolution’

Luminous Modern-Matte Lipstick

in Bond Girl

The Laundress Delicate Wash, Lady

St Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan

Bobbi Brown Lip Color Shimmer Finish

in Twilight Shimmer

Dermaflage Worryless Starter Kit

Scar Coverage (Has learning curve, but really works

once you get the hang of it!)

Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers

Kiehl’s Original Musk

Beauty Bear Age Delay Pillow

T3 Source Showered Filter

TopShop Lip Ombre

Bodyglide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

Great for preventing blisters!

The 3 UVs

The 3 UVs(3)

 

 

Created by CT Esthetic, can be shared with credit to CT Esthetic with link to site

 

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Beauty is in the Sleep!

Sleep has a profound effect on our:

Appearance

Weight

Stress level

Mood

Memory & our well-being in general

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According to the National Sleep Foundation

Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders!

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There is no pill or treatment in the world that can help you relax, heal (mentally or physically), or affect your appearance as much as a good nights sleep!

—– A clinical trial commissioned by Estée Lauder and conducted by physician-scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center found that poor sleepers demonstrated increased signs of skin aging. In the study 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 – 49, with half of them falling into the poor quality sleep category. Researchers evaluated the women’s skin and conducted a variety of skin challenge tests including ones involving UV light exposure. The classification was made on the basis of average duration of sleep and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a standard questionnaire-based assessment of sleep quality.

Dr. Elma Baron

This is a screenshot of a polysomnographic record (30 seconds) representing Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. EEG highlighted by red box. Eye movements highlighted by red line.

 

The Sleep Cycle

Characterized by two states—REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM.

Non-REM sleep has three stages, ranging from drowsiness to deep sleep.

  • Stage 1 – occurs mostly in the beginning of sleep, with slow eye movement. Alpha waves disappear and the theta wave appears. People aroused from this stage often believe that they have been fully awake.
  • Stage 2 – no eye movement occurs, and dreaming is very rare. The sleeper is easily awakened.
  • Stage 3 –  is deep sleep, slow-wave sleep (SWS).  Dreaming is more common in this stage than in other stages of NREM sleep though not as common as in REM sleep. The content of SWS dreams tends to be disconnected, less vivid, and less memorable than those that occur during REM sleep. is made up of the deepest stage of NREM, and is often referred to as deep sleep.

REM sleep (classified into two categories: tonic and phasic) is where dreams occur, breathing and heart rate increase and become irregular, muscles relax and the eyes move back and forth. Criteria for REM sleep includes rapid eye movement, low muscle tone and a rapid, low-voltage EEG.

REM sleep typically occupies 20–25% of total sleep, about 90–120 minutes of a night’s sleep. REM sleep normally occurs close to morning. During a night of sleep, one usually experiences about four or five periods of REM sleep; they are quite short at the beginning of the night and longer toward the end. Many animals and some people tend to wake, or experience a period of very light sleep, for a short time immediately after a bout of REM. The relative amount of REM sleep varies considerably with age. A newborn baby spends more than 80% of total sleep time in REM. During REM, the activity of the brain’s neurons is quite similar to that during waking hours; for this reason, the REM-sleep stage may be called paradoxical sleep.

REM sleep is physiologically different from the other phases of sleep, which are collectively referred to as non-REM sleep (NREM sleep). Subjects’ vividly recalled dreams mostly occur during REM sleep.

Just a few of the  ways Sleep deprivation can effect the way you look:

  • Aching muscles
  • Periorbital puffiness, commonly known as “bags under eyes”
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Obesity –  people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours. There is a link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite; less than six hours of sleep is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin. Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Erythema (redness)
  • Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) increased
  • Sallow skin
  • Fine lines
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Hyper-pigmentation
  • Decreased ability to heal especially from sun damage
  • Your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
  • Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone. When we’re young, human growth hormone promotes growth. As we age, it helps increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones.

The National Sleep Foundation identifies several warning signs that a driver is dangerously fatigued, including:

rolling down the window

turning up the radio

trouble keeping eyes open

head-nodding

drifting out of the lane

daydreaming.

At particular risk are lone drivers between midnight and 6 am.

Age group Recommended amount of sleep
Infants 9-10 hours at night, plus 3 or more hours of naps
Toddlers 9-10 hours at night, plus 2-3 hours of naps
School-age children 9-11 hours
Adults 7-8 hours

Table Via Mayo Clinic

Why Sunscreen Prevents Photoaging!

Woman With Sunscream
Remember all those times we told you to wear sunscreen every single day to prevent aging? We have even more research showing that you should slather up often. A recent study done in Australia has confirmed what studies on mice and dermatologists have been saying for years: Using sunscreen daily stops photoaging. And here’s a spoiler: If you’re using sunscreen, but not using it daily and reapplying after a few hours or after swimming or heavy sweating, you’re doing your skin a disservice. The best effects are seen with those who use sunscreen every single day and reapply often.

The Study: Daily Sunscreen vs. Discretionary Use

This study demonstrates that applying sunscreen every day is more effective than applying it only when it seems appropriate.The study had 900 white participants who were younger than 55-years-old. One group was randomly assigned to apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more to their head, neck, arms, and hands in the morning after washing, after spending several hours outside, or after sweating heavily. Another group was asked to use sunscreen at their discretion. Across both groups participants were also randomly assigned either 30 mg beta-carotene or a placebo pill (Annals of International Medicine). This amounted to four groups: regular sunscreen use with beta-carotene, regular sunscreen use with a placebo, discretionary sunscreen use with beta-carotene, and discretionary use with a placebo. The study took place between 1992 and 1996, and lasted a total of four-and-a-half years. Researchers took impressions of the participants’ skin at the beginning and end of the study, and had these impressions assessed by researchers who were not aware of who was using sunscreen or taking beta-carotene. These assessors gave a score from 0 to 6, with 0 being smooth, elastic skin with absolutely no photoaging, and 6 being wrinkled, inelastic skin with severe photoaging.

The Results: Daily Sunscreen Can Prevent Photoaging!

Those who used sunscreen every day with frequent reapplications looked younger after 4.5 years than those who used sunscreen at their discretion.

Those who used sunscreen every day with frequent reapplications looked younger after 4.5 years than those who used sunscreen at their discretion.

In the beginning, both groups had a median of 4. By the end of the study, the group who used sunscreen every day still had a median of 4, while a group who used sunscreen at their discretion had a median of 5. The group using sunscreen daily had 24% less aging than the group using sunscreen at their discretion. Researchers saw no difference between the beta-carotene supplement and placebo groups. And it’s worthwhile to note that neither group had bad habits in the sun, notes Dr. Barbara A. Gilchrist, dermatology professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and editor of The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, in this New York Times article. This merely illustrates the difference between groups who use sunscreen every single day, and those who use it at their discretion — but all of them use sunscreen. Some of the studies limitations were that about one-third of participants did not have molds taken at the beginning and end, the study did not investigate the effects on individuals over 55-years-old, and the study only looked at the effects of daily or discretionary sunscreen use light-skinned people, and the study was too small to be confident in the results on beta-carotene.

Which Sunscreen Should You Use?

Believe it or not: Up to 90% of visible aging comes from damage from UV exposure. This is particularly true in the case of premature aging.  As the study above indicates, the best protection from aging is sunscreen; but what’s the best sunscreen to use? Overall, I prefer physical-mineral sunscreens, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (which physically stop the rays) over organic-chemical sunscreens like avobenzone and oxybenzone (which absorb UV rays and convert them into a less harmful form of energy). Both offer excellent levels of protection, but there are several reasons why physical-mineral sunscreens might be a better choice overall. Organic-chemical sunscreens are less photostable than physical-mineral sunscreens, and because of this, are more likely to cause irritation (Chemical Research in Toxicology). And organic-chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin more than physical-mineral sunscreens, which are too large to penetrate the past the stratum corneum (Journal of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Science, Toxicological Science). [Read More: Are Inorganic Sunscreens Better than Organic Ones?] And zinc oxide is a better physical blocker than titanium dioxide by virtue of having more broad-spectrum protection. There are two kinds of UV rays: UVA (aging) rays and UVB (burning) rays. Both block UVB rays, but zinc oxide blocks more UVA rays than titanium dioxide (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology). Here are some sunscreens that are either completely physical-mineral or a mix of physical-mineral and organic-chemical, along with the percentages of active ingredients in each, with high amounts of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Remember, the addition of an antioxidant serum, like our Vitamin CE Caffeic Serum, has been proven to help boost the effectiveness of sunscreen (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).Bottom LineIf you haven’t been wearing sunscreen every single day and reapplying it often, now is the time to start. This recent research study proves what past studies, dermatologists, and FutureDerm has been saying for years: Daily use of sunscreen will keep you looking younger longer, and will help prevent skin cancer. Thinking of sunscreen application like brushing your teeth, something you do regularly, can make a huge difference in your skin in the long run.

Via Future Derm

Something You Wish Your Mother Told You! Neck & Decollete: Don’t Forget About Taking Care of Them!

Start early in caring for your neck & decollete!

A big mistake that women make is focusing solely on their face and forgetting about caring for their neck and decolletage!

This leads to wrinkles and sagging that could have been prevented!

I recommend that whatever you do to your face; whether it be cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, applying sunblock, microdermabrasion, chemical peels et cetera that you include you neck and decollete too!

It only takes an additional minute or two more in your skin care routine and will make all the difference later on in life!

You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy a cream specifically for your neck and decollete, if you start early in caring for those body parts.

Revision Skin Care Nectifirm

I do love Nectifirm if you are looking to buy a cream specific for the neck and decollete.

Face Yoga Exercises!

CT Esthetic-

I personally question anything having to do with the face that has to do with repetitive movement are we just creating wrinkles in different places? Such as sucking on a straw, smoking a cigarette, squinting from the sun. Yes, we are stretching and strengthening the numerous muscles of the face that I can definitely agree upon when doing facial exercises or facial yoga.  To me the jury is still out on whether or not facial exercises or yoga works.  I do believe that facial massage is fabulous!!!

I will let you decide for yourself!

By ANNA PURSGLOVE  Via Daily Mail

We know the ‘lotus’ and the ‘downward-facing dog’ – but there’s a new set of yoga poses in town. Could you manage ‘the owl’? How about ‘the puffer fish’?

Face yoga is the beauty trend of the moment. Fans say it can smooth wrinkles, firm jawlines and create a healthy glow, as well as easing eye strain and headaches.

Fresh-faced stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston are said to use it as a weapon in their anti-ageing armoury.

Owl: Make two 'C' shapes with the fingers round the eyes, then relax the forehead and open the eyes wide. Repeat three times then hold for ten seconds.
Owl: Make two ‘C’ shapes with the fingers round the eyes, then relax the forehead and open the eyes wide. Repeat three times then hold for ten seconds
The V: Make a 'V' sign by positioning fingers at each end of the eyebrows and create a powerful squint. Relax and repeat six more times. Finish by squeezing eyes shut for ten seconds. Relax
The V: Make a ‘V’ sign by positioning fingers at each end of the eyebrows and create a powerful squint. Relax and repeat six more times. Finish by squeezing eyes shut for ten seconds. Relax
Circle the eyes: Place index fingers at the edge of eyebrows. Tap gently round eyes following the arc of the eyebrows and continue under the eyes. Repeat the opposite way. Stroke outwards under the eyes from the nose four times
Circle the eyes: Place index fingers at the edge of eyebrows. Tap gently round eyes following the arc of the eyebrows and continue under the eyes. Repeat the opposite way. Stroke outwards under the eyes from the nose four times
Puffer Fish: Puff out cheeks and make mouth as small as possible. Gently tap cheeks with hands for 30 seconds
Puffer Fish: Puff out cheeks and make mouth as small as possible. Gently tap cheeks with hands for 30 seconds.

The UK’s foremost ‘face yoga’ practitioner is Danielle Collins – and Julia Anastasiou is her first UK ‘face yoga Super Trainer’. For £65 an hour, Julia will teach you a 20-minute programme that she says can change your face for ever.

The exercises are designed to be carried out six times a week and, she claims, can yield results in only seven days. Devotees say it can knock up to five years off your face – and that it’s better than Botox.

The 18 separate facial poses can be done either in one sitting or manageable chunks. I might, for example, have time for a ‘tongue twister’ while sitting in traffic, but leave the more challenging ‘giraffe’ for the privacy of my own bathroom.

The Giraffe: Tilt the head back while stroking the neck. Bring the head down. Repeat twice, then jut lower lip, place fingers on collarbone and point chin upwards, pulling corners of mouth down. Hold for four deep breaths
The Giraffe: Tilt the head back while stroking the neck. Bring the head down. Repeat twice, then jut lower lip, place fingers on collarbone and point chin upwards, pulling corners of mouth down. Hold for four deep breaths
Hamster Cheeks: Puff out cheeks and purse lips. Transfer air from cheek to cheek for 30 seconds
Hamster Cheeks: Puff out cheeks and purse lips. Transfer air from cheek to cheek for 30 seconds

The theory is that the skin is tightened as the facial muscles are toned through specific movements.

This also encourages the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin elastic and gives it a plump, youthful feel.

Julia believes face yoga is growing in popularity because of the risks associated with Botox and fillers, and the fear of puffiness which can be caused by these treatments.

‘Face yoga will give you the perkiness you might associate with cosmetic procedures, but it won’t stop you looking like you,’ she says.

Other yoga aficionados, however, are sceptical. James Muthana, founder of yoga instruction company YogaAt.com, says it lacks ‘the breathing elements or the sense of  presence and greater awareness which you get with yoga’.

So can face yoga give me an ‘all-natural face lift’?

Jaw Toner: Gently pinch along jawline three times towards the ears. Place the thumbs on the bottom of the jawline. Drag them along the jaw away from each other three times, removing them when you reach the ears
Jaw Toner: Gently pinch along jawline three times towards the ears. Place the thumbs on the bottom of the jawline. Drag them along the jaw away from each other three times, removing them when you reach the ears
Kiss the Sky: Tilt head back and kiss ten times (actually make a kissing sound). Relax, take a deep breath then exhale as though blowing a kiss in front of you. Relax and repeat twice more
Kiss the Sky: Tilt head back and kiss ten times (actually make a kissing sound). Relax, take a deep breath then exhale as though blowing a kiss in front of you. Relax and repeat twice more
Relaxation: Gently tap fingertips all over the face, then rub palms until they become warm and cup them over closed eyes. Take deep breaths and relax all facial muscles. Take a deep breath to finish
Relaxation: Gently tap fingertips all over the face, then rub palms until they become warm and cup them over closed eyes. Take deep breaths and relax all facial muscles. Take a deep breath to finish

Before we begin, Julia points out that although you’re using your fingers like gym weights to push down your muscles, you have to be gentle, as the skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body.
Also, most of the 57 muscles in the face and neck are small and don’t need to be yanked too much to see a result.

We start with ‘the owl’ – one of the hardest exercises. While making two ‘c’ shapes with my fingers around my eyes, I must relax my forehead and open my eyes wide.

I find myself either squinting to smooth my forehead or wrinkling my forehead to raise my eyes.

We move on to ‘flirty eyes’. While covering my teeth with my lips, I form my mouth into an ‘O’ shape. Then I am told to place my index fingers horizontally under my eyes.

In this position, I am told to flutter my upper eyelids and lashes. For 30 seconds. I have rarely felt this ridiculous.

There are a few exercises in the 18-step programme that I’m sure I remember my grandmother doing: pinching the apples of the cheeks or along the jawline towards your ears (‘rosy cheeks’ and ‘jaw toner’).

I make it to the final relaxation step: gently tap your fingers all over your face, then finish with a deep breath.

Do I feel younger and more invigorated? I’m certainly flushed – but that may be because I haven’t been so embarrassed in a while.

So can facial contortions stop the ageing process? I’ll have to get back to you on that in a few years.

A week of practice hasn’t made a visible difference to my skin.

Meanwhile, if you spot women blowing kisses to heaven, or grimacing like mad hatters in their cars, then you’ll know face yoga has reached your neighbourhood.

faceyogalondon.co.uk

Hayflick Limit Theory of Aging – Life Extension Technology!

Exfoliation brightens the complexion, refines the texture of the skin, minimizes pores and fine lines and promotes circulation for better cellular nutrition. Exfoliation is a good thing. We all know, however, too much of a good thing is not a good thing at all. Deep, frequent exfoliation (microdermabrasion, AHA peels, etc.) that works hard at removing more than its share of cell debris stimulates excessive cell division. That is not a good thing and should be avoided. Seriously. Moderation is the key to a healthy skin care program. But, there is something else . . .

The Hayflick Limit is worthy of serious consideration. During the early 1960s, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead theorized that since human cells are finite there is only so much cell life and division to go around. Cells can only divide a certain number of times before the division stops and they become senescent (old, sluggish, dying). Senescent cells are dysfunctional, slow, enlarged, interfere with younger cells, and build up the pigment responsible for age spots. The skin of older people has approximately 33% times the senescent cells, and as a result, their skin is more fragile, blotchy and wrinkled.

Aging is a fact of life. It can be graceful or it can be dreadful. The choice, as with most things, is up to each individual. There is a visible need to reduce the rate of cell division to live longer. The bigger question is what on earth can be done about the Hayflick Limit? Avoid excessive exfoliation. Eat properly. Understand the profound health benefits of antioxidants. Maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise. Minimize stress. Use appropriate skin care. Be careful about UV exposure. Live a moderate lifestyle.

The Hayflict Limit is directly connected to the shortening of the telomeres. Telomerase is an enzyme that offers restoration and health to the telomeres. This is exciting life extension technology. Is it time to catch the youth train? Not quite, but the train is definitely on the track.

Tribolium castaneum telomerase catalytic subunit, TERT, bound to an RNA-DNA hairpin designed to resemble the putative RNA-templating region and telomeric DNA

Changes to your Hair and Nails when Aging!

Your hair and nails function to protect your body. They also keep the temperature of your body steady. Another important function of the hair and nails is to help you (sense) feel things.

As you age, your hair and nails begin to change.

Hair Changes and Their Effects

Hair color change. This is one of the clearest signs of aging. Hair color is due to a pigment calledmelanin, which is produced by hair follicles. These are structures in the skin that make and grow hair. With aging, the follicle makes less melanin. Graying often begins in the 30s.

Scalp hair often starts graying usually at the temples and extends to the top of the scalp. Hair color becomes lighter, eventually turning white.

Body and facial hair also turn gray, but usually later than scalp hair. Hair in the armpit, chest, and pubic area may gray less or not at all.

Graying is determined by your genes. Gray hair tends to occur earlier in Caucasians and later in Asians. Nutritional supplements, vitamins, and other products will not stop or decrease the rate of graying.

Hair thickness change. Hair is made of many protein strands. A single hair has a normal life between 2 and 6 years. That hair then falls out and is replaced with a new hair. How much hair you have on your body and head is also determined by your genes.

With aging nearly everyone has some hair loss with aging. The rate of hair growth also slows.

Hair strands become smaller and have less pigment. So the thick, coarse hair of a young adult eventually becomes thin, fine, light-colored hair. Many hair follicles stop producing new hairs.

Men may start showing signs of baldness by the time they are 30 years old. Many men are nearly bald by age 60. A type of baldness related to the male hormone testosterone is called male-pattern baldness. Hair may be lost at the temples or at the top of the head.

Women can develop a similar type of baldness as they age. This is called female-pattern baldness. Hair becomes less dense and the scalp may become visible.

As you age, your body and facial hair are also lost. But hairs that remain may become coarser. Women may lose body hair. Facial hair may get coarser, especially on the chin and around the lips. Men may grow longer and coarser eyebrow, ear, and nose hair.

Contact your health care provider if you have sudden loss of hair. This can be a symptom of a health problem.

Nail Changes and Their Effects

Your nails also change with aging. They grow more slowly and may become dull and brittle. They may become yellowed and opaque.

Nails, especially toenails, may become hard and thick. Ingrown toenails may be more common. The tips of the fingernails may fragment.

Lengthwise ridges may develop in the fingernails and toenails.

Check with your health care provider if your nails develop pits, ridges, lines, changed shape, or other changes. These can be related to iron deficiency, kidney disease, and nutritional deficiencies.

iStock_000020754846_Small

References

Habif TP, ed. Hair diseasesClinical Dermatology. 5th ed.St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 24.

Habif TP, ed. Nail diseases. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed.St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 25.

Minaker KL. Common clinical sequelae of aging. In: Goldman L,Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 24.

Tosti A. Diseases of hair and nails. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed.Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 450.

Via Medline Plus

Disclaimer: 
While I’ve attempted to use 

credible sources for information, 

this is not intended to be a 

substitute for professional

medical advice or treatment. 

If there is a disparity between 

the information presented 

within this blog and the advice 

given by your medical professional, 

please follow the medical professional’s 

advice as he/she will know you 

and your medical circumstances.

My Fountain of Youth!

Ponce de Leon and The Fountain of Youth

Ponce de Leon and The Fountain of Youth

 

I read this blog post on Amblin and Ramblin and thought here’s a woman who has real beauty where it counts on the inside with her glowing self confidence to be herself!

_________________________

Ponce de Leon thought, upon arriving in St. Augustine, Florida, that he had discovered the “Fountain of Youth”. Senor de Leon would undoubtedly be shocked to discover that Florida has become NOT the place to maintain one’s youth but, instead and for many, the final destination before the grave. It’s a veritable “hot spot” for The Grim Reaper! Why should he haul that heavy scythe all over creation when he can knock off, in a manner of speaking, most of his “to-do” list with a short jaunt to sunny Florida? I have no personal experience with The GR myself, but one would think that, having made his career in the business of death throughout the whole history of humankind, he would appreciate the kind of one-stop shopping and increased productivity that a place like Florida would afforded him.

I have been giving this whole idea of a more youthful appearance a great deal of thought lately. I have been toying with the idea of disposing of the boxes of hair dye that are currently taking up space in my closet. These boxes are my own version of “The Fountain of Youth”. You didn’t really think I was going to write about Ponce de Leon and The Grim Reaper, did you?

I’ve been graying since my twenties. It’s hereditary. My father had a full head of gray hair by the time he was forty. He likes to blame it on having four daughters, but we know better now. Studies have shown that gray hair, like baldness, hirsuteness, and most other physical (and mental) characteristics, are marked on our DNA. In other words, many of us are just plain doomed by our faulty genetics.

No one wants to be “marked” as old at the age of twenty-five. And, let’s be honest, gray hair is synonymous with old age. Nothing, and I mean nothing, screams “you’re aging!” quite like gray hair. Unlike losing one’s hair or having so much body hair that one could be mistaken in the dark for a Sasquatch, those of us who suffer from premature graying can just throw a box of hair dye into our shopping carts and painlessly (unless you get it in your eye!) and fairly quickly, solve the problem. I suppose, put in perspective, those of us whose afflictions can be solved with a six-dollar box of hair dye have it relatively easy.

At some point, usually by the time we reach our forties, graying ceases to be “premature” and gives way to just plain graying. Our friends and coworkers catch up to those of us who have suffered long and, usually, in silence. I knew this was the case when, beginning a few years ago, I could not run into one of my cohorts in the grocery store, the drug store, or, even the local Target, without spying the box of hair dye in their shopping cart. If I looked closely, (and I did!) I could almost always find it — usually hidden amongst other necessities like eggs, anti-perspirant, or that cute pair of trendy flats! (Why they thought they needed to engage in shopping cart subterfuge, I’ll never know.)

Sure, there are always a few women who don’t buy into covering up their graying locks. These women, generally speaking, tend to fall into two categories. They are either the bland and dowdy types who shop for the few cosmetics that they carelessly apply (only on special occasions!) at the dollar store (even I don’t buy make-up at the dollar store!) or they are the environmentally-conscious health food nuts who wouldn’t dream of putting chemicals on their heads (so close to their brains!). Either way, they’re not “my peeps”. These women are definitely NOT the ones with the leopard-print flats in their Target cart. More likely, they’re hiding things like support hose or flax seed oil in those bright red baskets. I’m no statistician, but I would, based on my own vast experience, go out on a limb and make the claim that these fortyish hair dye eschewing/support hose wearing/flax seed ingesting consumers are the exception, not the rule!

Lately, though, I have been thinking more and more about joining them. No. I haven’t taken up granola-crunching, but I did, just recently, begin a flax seed regimen (because of my dry eyes!). You won’t find me shopping for outdated Maybelline at the dollar store anytime soon and I think I’ll hold off on the support hose, at least for a few more years, but it may be time to throw in the towel where the hair dye is concerned. It’s become, quite frankly, a very time, energy, and money sucking battle with the bottle — one that I am, by the way, losing. (Already having lost one battle with the bottle, I simply may not have it in me to lose another!)

Part of the reason I haven’t, thus far, just done it already is because I am, and I’m not ashamed to admit this, vain. I don’t want to look older than I already am. I don’t consider forty-seven to be all that old, but it’s not all that young either. While I certainly understand that age is relative, I also work in a very youthful environment. At the end of a long shift I have a tendency to grow tired and lose my patience. On some level we all do, regardless of our ages, but my fear is that IF I stop dying my hair I will be perceived NOT just as fatigued and exasperated, but as old and cranky. I’m not saying that I’m NOT old and cranky. I’m saying that I don’t want OTHER people, YOUNGER people (who, by the way, I can still run circles around) to perceive me as such.

The other decision that I must make, IF I decide to stop dyeing my hair, is whether to dye my whole prodigious head of hair gray or to cut off the rather large and very long portion of my hair that is still brownish (as a result of various bottles of Miss Clairol, L’Oreal, or whatever brand was on sale). I know that the “ombre” look is “in”, but the gray on the top, brown on the bottom variation that I am currently sporting is more “two-tone” than it is “ombre”. I love Pepe LePew as much as the next gal. I do not, however, want to LOOK like him. (Nor would I want to smell like him, but that’s a whole other subject!) In order to avoid this — the looking like Pepe, NOT the smelling like Pepe — I must choose between two styles: The Jamie Leigh Curtis or The Emmylou Harris.

Jamie Leigh manages her style because she has such fine bone structure and because, let’s face it, she’s thin. Thin, successful actresses can wear almost any hairstyle. Emmylou pulls it off because she’s a musician. Those musicians can get away with almost anything. Also, she’s got the aging hippie thing going on. That doesn’t hurt. I am neither thin nor successful. I’m not Hollywood royalty, nor am I a world-renowned singer-songwriter. While I like to think of myself as a free spirit, it’s safe to say that no one would ever describe me as a hippie (or, come to think of it, hip).

Me! Or, Pepe --- you decide!

Ambling and Rambling!! Or, Pepe — you decide!

 

Jamie Leigh --- look at that chin! I'd kill for that chin!

Jamie Leigh — look at that chin! I’d kill for that chin!

 

Emmylou --- she's not dowdy at all!

Emmylou — she’s not dowdy at all!

So, it’s a dilemma. To dye or not to dye. To cut or not to cut. Maybe I should just move to Florida now. I could shave my head and invest in a couple of wigs. Because I don’t even want to get into with you what tropic-like humidity does to my hair. I know. I know. Florida is not “technically” the tropics, but still — two words spring to mind: Roseanne Roseannadanna.

My hair + humidity = Roseanne Roseannadanna

My hair + humidity = Roseanne Roseannadanna

photo credits:
The Fountain of Youth
Emmylou
Jamie Leigh
Roseanne Roseannadanna

 

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