If you are a guy reading this you may want to skip this. Bobbi Brown is the founder of cosmetics and make up ( the brand is called Bobbi Brown) and her books are on the subject.
So far my make up bag has always been full of Bobbi Brown’s make up – I am a sucker for her eye shadows, blushes and lipsticks and lipgloss. I also have been using her brushes exclusively – although I tried Shu Uemura ‘s ones, which are excellent too, but don’t have the purpose of the brush written on the handle ( yes, Bobbi was clever on this one). Anyway – I like Chanel and Lancome stuff too, sometimes, especially Chanel’s nail varnishes and lipsticks and Lancome lipglosses. Mascaras are from Estee Lauder or Lancome – and I try new ones every year but always come back to these only. Now that I have presented my case, let’s move on to the book.
Mrs Brown has written a few books about make up already. I always liked them and enjoyed them. I found them useful, well documented, nice pictures and would buy the new ones without even bothering reading reviews about them. Now it turns out I read the ones about ” living beauty”. Mrs Brown was making the apology of aging gracefully, which got me all excited. Great, spot on, I thought. Should I keep my white hair or should I dye it? I hate the idea of a lifting but am not against blepharoplasty ( eyes lift). I don’t want to see my face elongating towards my breast but really hate the idea of getting under the knife for that. Help! I don’t want to be young forever but I don’t wish to look at myself in the morning thinking:” AArrgghh! And I have the rest of my life to spend with this on my shoulders!”. So Mrs Brown’s advices on using make up to remain fresh and presentable seemed to be the greatest gift of all for my birthday ( which was on the 25th of March by the way).
Now, where do I start to explain the extent of my deception? I said the pictures are great. Yes, they are. All the ladies pictures in this book look great, lovely, attractive, everything I’d like to be. But they all – without exception- have been retouched. I felt cheated. This is a book about aging, and you barely see a wrinkle. Bad start. Then I read the whole thing. And I felt worse. What is called – it appears- aging gracefully in the US is basically having everything and anything done to your face – except having a facelift. The book advises to use creams, have laser surfacing, micropeeling, botox…go on…and on…You have the picture. I was disappointed. And then came the crux of the book – the make up advice ( which is Mrs Brown forte). She took a bunch of women and offered them a full make over. They were certainly flawless. Their carnation became spotless, their cheeks gained some color and their eyes..well, their eyes were spent. The sparkle that was opening their eyes in the ” before” pictures had gone. Despite the wise use of eye shadows and eye liner, they all seemed to have lost what made them so special in the first place. I am sorry to say – I hated the photos. And form all of them, you had barely 2 or 3 women with grey or white hair. One of them looked stunning. Thank god, she wasn’t offered a make over and made me consider for the next 2 weeks the idea of letting my hair au naturel. Haven’t made up my mind yet.
So, well, I felt betrayed. These women were- no doubt about it- all beautiful. But they were as long as they were themselves. Of course there were a few exceptions – but it was a minority. This makes me ponder seriously of the advantage of getting old disgracefully. Except for making the make up & cosmetics company richer- and their investors- what’s the point?
The advantage of this book is that it made me re evalue my views of the whole question. It is never too late to question it.
I am looking forward to explore ” the other side”.

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