Cosmetic enhancements; how much is too much?

I consider myself a capable professional and mom who has at least half a brain (after I’ve had lots of morning coffee, that is!). But I also enjoy manicures, highlights, facials, skin-treatments and wearing make-up. I also revel in exercising and feeling good in my clothes and at times, wearing killer high-heels despite my bunions.

Cosmetic enhancements; how much is too much?

Cher © Tinseltown

Age is an attitude, sure, but it unquestionably deteriorates your eyesight and the skin around your neck. And a few other things too …

In my fifties, I kneel down daily in gratitude for my stamina, for being in shape and not looking too run down so far. Also, I have young kids, and I need to be youthful, in body and spirit, for them! I kiss the tube of tretinoin that keeps my skin looking supple! Would I look the same if I hadn’t been using this on and off for the past ten years? As a beauty editor, I also get to test the latest anti-aging creams and some actually seem to soften the passage of time. So, I’m grateful for my looks today but, will I feel the same in 10 or 20 years?

The same way that I color my hair and do my nails, I don’t rule out a little bit of cosmetic improvement. But, how much is too much?

Cosmetic procedures gone wrong
When I saw pictures of Mary Tyler Moore on Mail Online, a few years ago I was aghast.

Tyler Moore was a looker in her youth. In her seventies, you would expect her to look older, of course, but unfortunately she looked worse than old after her procedures. She was downright scary to look at. And yet, she denied having had plastic surgery and blamed tripping over her dog for her uneven too-plumped up cheeks and her tight skin that made her look like she was standing in a wind-tunnel. Now, in my opinion, that is not dignified ageing. It’s cosmetic surgery gone wrong.

In 2009, Time magazine published an article about the late Joan Rivers, who did not hide her addiction to plastic surgery. The article deals with her book about her life, told through plastic surgery interventions. So, she was open about it. But she still looked pretty scary.

Actress Meg Ryan reportedly had a facelift in her very early forties, plus lip augmentation and a few more fix-ups that are often speculated about in the gossip magazines. She did not need a facelift shortly after turning forty, anymore than she needs further surgery now.

Also read: Let´s put an end to the aging wars

Cosmetic enhancements; how much is too much?

Christy Brinkley © Helga Esteb

Cosmetic enhancements done right
Then there are others such as model Christie Brinkley who seems to have the best plastic surgeon. She looks eerily similar to herself in her 30’s, but she is 60. The before and after photos on the Huffington Post of her surgeries, both look pretty good. But of course, any other 60-year- old does not –by the laws of nature and ageing- look the same now as she did at 36. And yet, I commend her and her surgeon for not looking freakish. However, she also sets a really high standard for “regular” women.

Plastic surgery addicts
Cher, nearing 70, is no knitting-booties grandma. She has admitted to undergoing plastic surgery many times during her life. And yet, in a 2010 article on Mail Online, the star was caught using tape to tighten her neck. Didn’t all those facelifts do the trick? I actually love Cher and her style, but – do I want to look like her at 70? I don’t know. How much would that cost?   

What are we regular women to do?
I aspire to age gracefully. I don’t expect to look 40 at 60, and even less so at 70. But I also don’t want to look worn down and old on the outside if I feel young and vibrant on the inside.

I suppose the trick for those of us who do not make a living off of our appearance, is to go for a more demure look.

A man once told me the best cosmetic enhancement a woman could go for is one that makes you perhaps wonder whether she did or didn’t have something done, because she looks so good! Not distorted, not freakish, not like she is 20 years younger. Just herself, but well-rested and youthful. What do you think?

Lorraine C. Ladish

Bilingual and bicultural Latina editor, writer, speaker, online influencer, yogini and mom. Founder of Viva Fifty! Published author of 18 books. Her most recent book Your Best Age was released by HarperCollins in September of 2017.