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Today’s culture is obsessed with youth and physical beauty. We monitor our crow’s-feet and the vertical eleven lines that etch themselves in-between our eyebrows as well as the marionette lines that sometimes look like they’ve been chiseled from our nose to our chin. We fret about whether our lips and our brows are full enough and whether our teeth are too yellow. But when we go back and look at women who didn’t have Botox and fillers, when facelifts weren’t as common, do we hold them to our same standards? 

What is today’s definition of beauty?

I’m thinking in particular about Audrey Hepburn, the beauty who almost 70 years after we first saw her continues to capture our hearts. Even when she was in her 60’s, we thought she was beautiful, but she was more than beautiful and elegant. She had a generosity of spirit, and it was there for all to see along with her crow’s-feet and the bags under her eyes. The older Audrey had a beauty and an authenticity that can’t be duplicated by a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. 

When we think about all the things that made Audrey beautiful, the phrase “Beauty is as beauty does” comes to mind. It’s who we are, not what we look like that makes us truly beautiful. We can have all of the physical beauty in the world, but if we’re spiteful and unpleasant, physical beauty is worthless. True beauty comes from being passionate and curious about life, a refusal to give up, a sense of empathy and generosity. 

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Happy girls are the prettiest girls,” but that’s not to say she didn’t have a beauty routine.

• Audrey understood the importance of drinking water and staying well hydrated, and she ate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

• She applied moisturizers and oils to her skin. Her favorite moisturizer was fresh, Greek yogurt which she left on her face for 30 minutes, then washed it off. The lactic acid in the yogurt acted as an exfoliant while it hydrated her skin. 

• Every morning and evening she washed her face with soap and water. Today most of us would be horrified to use soap on our faces, because it strips our skin of the natural oils that help keep our skin supple and young-looking.

Sometimes I think about trying Botox, but I fear it won’t turn out well: I’ll be one of the small percentage who windups with permanent forehead droop. And then there’s the fact that I’m allergic to so many things. I was in the room when a woman had a bad allergic reaction to Botox. In a blink she lost the color in her face, and she complained of feeling bad. A few seconds later she passed out and collapsed on the floor. Her reaction was rare, but with my allergy history, it scared me to death.

Next week I’ll be sharing all of my favorite skin care products. Actually I think I’m inching my way toward a Before and After makeup video. Eeek!

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  1. Wonderful, I agree whole heartedly , leave your face and neck alone. I have only used a 15 / 30 sun protection n my fact usually using Olay from when I was young! I wash my face without soap each evening, I don’t wear tinted foundation or powder.
    We are all different, stick to what is good for your.
    Love xxxxxx

    • Audrey Hepburn had a timeless beauty and loveliness that radiated from the inside. What a precious treasure. You are also beautiful, Brenda, and don’t need botox! I can’t wait to hear your beauty secrets and your recommendations. Now in my mid-60’s I’ve acquired a few wrinkles so am curious about what to do. I’m still in awe of, and grateful for, the razor recommendation! Ha! Thanks for sharing those tidbits in a supportive way. It’s so refreshing to be with supportive, helpful women. Looking forward to your post!

      • Dearest Beckye! You make me laugh! My beauty secrets! LOL! Let’s not call them that. They’re long favorite great products that have been helping me hold my own. Glad you liked the razor suggestion! I’m amazed at how many professional closeup photos of celebs I see who’s face is covered in peach fuzz. They need to change makeup artists and photographers! Yes, what are we here for if not to be sharing, supportive girlfriends. I know a woman who would rather walk across hot coals than give anyone her recipe for chicken fried steak and cherry ice cream. That’s sad. xoxox, Brenda

    • Hi Darling Jo! I’m with you about no tinted sunscreen. I’d rather have the coverage of a light foundation with an SPF or maybe they’re the same thing. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish. xoxox, Brenda

  2. My mother washed her face with Ivory soap and water, morning and night. She applied an inexpensive face cream before bed and upon rising. At 81 she was still beautiful with skin of a 70 year old. Still beautiful in my mind. Perhaps, all the toners, serums, creams are not doing us any favours. All the massaging may be causing more wrinkles. We are a generation searching for the our youth.
    Beauty does radiate from within. A smile goes a long way in making your face light up and lift up.

    • Joanna, if your mother had great skin, I’m guessing you’ve inherited that as well. I so agree with you about massaging and derma rolling our skin. When I watch Trinnie London videos, she’s pretty rough with her skin and pulls and tugs at her face and eyes when applying makeup. That can’t be good, can it? xoxox, Brenda

      • I’ve watched her videos through a recommendation from another blogger. Personally, I think her taste in clothing is over the top and tasteless but then, I don’t live in a high fashion area such as London. I think we need to be gentle with our facial skin and less is more when it comes to topicals. Drink lots of water, apply sunscreen when outdoors, let us skin breathe…A d, we don’t need to wear makeup every day. Most days I wear mascara only. I have my brows waxed & tinted (blonde) so I have brows all the time.
        Thank you for bringing this topic up. We need to acknowledge that growing old is privilege not enjoyed by all.

  3. Audrey Hepburn was always beautiful and looked like herself as she aged. I’m 77 and have my original face and neck – untouched by Botox, cosmetic surgery or even a facial. I merely look like an older version of myself. Why do women find that so awful? I use two products: CereVe AM and PM, purchased at CVS. I once read if one single cream did everything it stated we would only need that one cream instead of 1000 versions. Brenda, you’re an inspiration – don’t change a thing.

    • Thank you, Lynn!! I appreciate that. Aging is natural and too many women–and men–look odd when they try to turn back the clock. I’ve often wondered why cosmetic companies don’t put everything in one jar, then it occurred to me they would be missing out on sales from multiple products. Also, there may be something to the order in which you apply them, like the serum first, then the cream. At some point my eyes want to glaze over when I’m combing through the ingredients and instructions, trying to see which product is right for me. xoxox, Brenda

    • Joanna, You’re right about TrinnyWoodall. She lives a very different life from most of us. She has reason to be high profile and glam. No makeup days are very important because our skin can breathe and soak up moisturizers and serums instead of makeup. Love this idea for healthy skin. Brenda

  4. Audrey has always been the authentic beauty I’ve tried to emulate. Such grace!
    I try not to judge. I have never chosen to use a scalpel or a needle, or a laser to alter my aging look. I’m lucky with dna:) I think. At 73 I am grateful! Thank you so much for sharing this and cannot wait for your list of potions.

      • Great topic, Brenda! I’ve never had “good” skin and at 67 I’m still chasing it. It would help if I tossed the 10x mirror telescoped over the bathroom vanity. My grandmother used Pond’s cold cream and had lovely skin. I can still smell that and Noxzema and the original Mary Kay cleansing balm that my mother used. Yes, please treat us to a before and after video.

        • Hi Dear Terry! I can still smell the Noxema! Funny the sensory smells we retain that conjure up memories. A video in a couple of weeks. Be careful what you wish for! Just sayin’.

  5. Hi there

    I always find it interesting on blogs when women talk about their skin care products/routines etc. Mainly because I don’t have a routine or favourite products. When I finished reading the above I just remembered I haven’t washed my face in a couple of days! I’m serious. The only time my face gets “cleaned” with anything other than water is when I have worked in the garden. I do not wash it on a daily basis. I live in a damp climate so that may help with not needing a moisturizer. On occasion I have tried a moisturizer but haven’t really noticed any difference in skin texture etc. I do use a sunscreen – Clairns. My mother had beautiful skin and put noxema on it every night. On occasion over the decades I have gone for a facial – the technicians are surprised that I don’t have a routine and complement me on my skin. I say it’s genetics. Now that I’m in my 70s – people say you’re 70/70+ – you con’t look it! Overall people do need to look after themselves – physically – mentally – and emotionally. We need to be kind/considerate and continue to have a zest/joy for life/living as the years pass.

    • Well said, Rosemarie! We need to look out for our whole self and we need to be kind, considerate and have a zest and joy for life! Noxema!!! Wow! That’s a name out of the past. I can still imagine it’s distinctive smell. Obviously you have inherited your mother’s great skin. If I don’t cleanse my face on a daily basis I get whiteheads. I do miss getting a facial since Covid began, but my guru has closed her business because of Covid. It was one of my two luxuries in life. Good for you for using sunscreen! I haven’t used Clairns, but I love their foundation! Thanks for leaving your thoughtful message. Please drop by, again! Brenda

  6. Okay! I want to see the video of your before and after. I always learn so much from you, so I know there will be lots of tidbits in there. Patiently awaiting in Tulsa.

  7. Audrey was one of a kind. What she did right: stayed slim (maybe too thin when she was over 50); she stopped following fads wrt hairstyles; for clothing in daily life she stuck to classic lines, avoided patterns (other than stripes). However, she smoked cigarettes (some indications are she was a heavy smoker) and ultimately died from a type of colon cancer at 63.

    • Hi Lisa, You’re not crazy about patterns either! I find them too busy. My eye see the clothes, not the woman. Smoking isn’t good for any of us. I would like to have seen the 70 and 80 year old Audrey. I’m sure we could have learned things from her at that age. xoxox, Brenda

  8. I am a native Arizonan. You can tell because I have no wrinkles. People who are from here never go out in the sun without a hat, long sleeves and sunscreen. LOL

    • I believe that, Marilynn! I used to be out in the sun a lot and starting in my 20’s I did the same thing. I do believe it’s helped my skin over the years although I’m not sure I want to see what it looks like under the dermatologist’s blue light. xoxox, B

    • I love what you wrote about true beauty. Audrey Hepburn was beautiful inside and out. Standards have changed, yet true beauty remains.

  9. This post reminded me of a post I saw recently on IG of Martha Stewart’s “new face.” The comments were all raving about how great she looked. But I’d not have recognized her if the post had not been labelled. I look after my skin, but I have a horror of too much intervention. When would it stop? Ackk. That first Botox shot is the top of a slippery slope, in my opinion.
    I wrote a blog post a few years ago about the idea of “having work done.” As “research” I approached my husband who was weeding our garden and said,” What would you say if I said I wanted to have a little plastic surgery? Just something small.” He raised his head in surprise and replied, “Well, the first thing I’d say is ‘why would you?'” Why indeed? I’m not sure why we are so afraid to look like ourselves. I mean I have crow’s feet and lines between my eyes, and a newly sagging chin… and I still think… why would I?

    • Such great points, Sue, and bravo to your husband. I’ve always like him! For me it’s not so much about where would I stop. It’s what if I don’t like my new eyes, but I’m stuck with them. There’s no undoing plastic surgery. I think my self-esteem would take an even bigger hit than if I’d left my face alone. Then there’s Botox and fillers. A woman I’ve had lunch with and follow on Instagram has had “work done,” and like Martha Stewart, I wouldn’t have recognized her if her name hadn’t been attached to the post. Staying youthful looking is more important than staying youthful in mind, body and spirit. xoxox, Brenda

  10. There was no one like Audrey. Couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a once-beautiful movie star with that swollen, rubbery face from too much work. It screams fear and insecurities about aging, which is never pretty. Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

    • It’s harder for some of us than others, this growing old thing, especially for those in the public eye. Thanks for reading, Laurie, and leaving me a note. I appreciate you!! xoxo, Brenda

  11. hank you for sharing this. We visited our daughter last weekend and took some photos. I’m 39.5 years older than my daughter, so it’s always a high contrast to appear in photos with her. My identity isn’t tied up in my looks as much as it is with other aspects of my life, but it’s still knocks the wind out of me to see how time has marched across my face. I need to do some meditation (even through writing…on my blog…and reference you!) about accepting changes and then focusing on what I can address: skin routine, a little make up (although mask wearing and wearing glasses makes me wonder if make up matters with all the accessories on my face these days). Thank you for finding that quote from Hepburn. She truly was a beauty, inside and out.

    • Karen, Being photographed with your younger daughter is bound to be a reminder that you’re getting older, but don’t let that throw you. You’re still here, and you look great! You referenced me? How sweet. Thank you. Some days I take your “why bother” one step further when I go out. Dark sunglasses. Those AND a mask? No one sees anything! xoxox, Brenda

  12. You do not need anything done to your skin, other than your normal cleaning and moisturizing routine. Audrey Hepburn was beautiful, inside and out. Personally I think the inside beauty is far more important. xoxo Donna

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