The invisible woman

“I have become invisible” my 50 something-year-old girlfriend announced in a deflated voice, “completely, utterly, invisible”.

Something happens to a woman when she goes through menopause, and I am not talking about the hot flushes, the forgetfulness, the lack of energy, the burgeoning waistline – it’s the fact, that she becomes invisible.

Men don’t become invisible as they age, but women do. As soon as we lose our hormones, we tend to lose much of our femininity.

I have watched girlfriends who used to be head turners, men walk into poles staring beauties – morph into unrecognizable asexual creatures.

We also do become slightly annoying when we dig around in our handbags completely distressed looking for our purses that we could have sworn were in our bags when we left home, whilst the cue at the checkout becomes longer and longer behind us.

We see the eyes rolling skywards when due to our worsening night blindness, reversing the car without a reverse camera in the fading light makes us reverse ever so slowly so as not to add another ding………

Between hot flushes, forgetfulness, and exhaustion, just getting work done becomes progressively harder and harder to do.

All of the time and effort put into our skins throughout all of our lives seem like it was a complete waste of time, as we still look haggard and old more often than not.

For many women the solution to our restoring our fading beauty is to get facelifts and fillers etc,  – but it doesn’t make us look prettier, just “worked on” unless we hit the jackpot and find a cosmetic surgeon who actually knows how to do a subtle job of it.

But so many don’t.

Menopause is something all women will go through – just as we all have to go through puberty.

But for pubescent teenagers at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel – this too shall pass. And if they eat well, and take care of their skins, it shall pass sooner than later!

For the menopausal woman, however – there is nothing that can be bought off the shelf that really works – a cream cannot turn back the hands of time, even if the marketing department of a cosmetic company tells you it can.

It hit me really hard as to how invisible the menopausal and post-menopausal woman is, when frequently published nutritionist friend of mine who has written multiple books on having healthy babies, brought a book to her publisher on menopausal health and was told that it would not sell.

How incredibly naïve was that publisher?

The baby boomers and older Gen Xers are all going through, or have passed through menopause.

They control most of the money in the world. Have more money to spend, and, want to spend it on themselves for a change.

But in so saying – these women have not come down with the last shower of rain. They may not be able to find their car keys (which are next to them on the counter) but some of them have, and still run successful if not powerful businesses, or are the upper management in their company.

Many of these late 40s through to late 50s women have spent most of their lives financing their children and their mortgages. The problem is, one day they wake up and look in the mirror to find that a truck must have run over them.

Because they are time poor thanks to work, being constantly tired, and sometimes still have teenage kids – or even small kids around the house, they want fast results and are happy to pay for them. The problem is, they usually then turn to plastic surgery as they so yearn to look pretty again.

Or they go to the hairdresser and dye their hair purple, red, green or blue ………. yup – that works – people definitely will look at you – but for all of the wrong reasons!

The question is – how to become pretty again?

The problem is – when we turn up at a salon looking and feeling like a train wreck, the bouncy young thing behind the counter starts recommending so many different treatments that it blows our minds. Let alone makes us ask – does she really want to help me or is she seeing me as a way to finance her mortgage?

When I practiced as a beauty therapist, my first goal was to find out what it was that they wanted to have treated – not what they wanted to have done. What I mean by that is, I used to ask them what results they wanted – do they want to look more lifted, more toned, smoother, even skinned – or basically younger or their prettiest.

If a therapist asks you what treatment you would like – tell them what results you are after, and ask them to explain how they intend to achieve that. Do not be afraid to ask why they are choosing to do what they want to do.

Also be honest about your budget so the therapist can work with you to your budget.

If your therapist does not understand that you wish to feel pretty, or you are not feeling that she is thinking about taking you a step closer towards beauty. Walk away – and speak to someone else.

If your budget is tight and facial treatments are out of the question – at least get your face professionally waxed – brows tinted and lashes tinted.

Start on a good skincare routine – not of your own making – but from a salon – again – speak to a therapist who honestly cares – ideally someone closer to your age group, who looks great.

Menopause effects the whole body – not just the face, so I recommend body treatments for slimming and toning – more so the later. The onset of batwing arms and sagging everything else is soul destroying.

If your budget does not allow for these – at least exfoliate your body twice weekly (add a teaspoon of coffee to the scrub– it helps stimulate circulation, therefore, helping with fat loss and cellulite) and moisturize twice daily along with your face.

I see so many mothers’s of the bride and groom who have bought sleeveless dresses which are all lace and fitted, and the skin on their arms is dry and pigmented and loose. They have been really good and exercised, dieted and had their facials – but no one has recommended body care. It always shows in the photos.

Depending on how well you are excepting menopause or not, and or how well you are coping with or not coping at all, will also depend on if you visit a menopause clinic for bioidentical hormone therapy or not.

Bioidentical hormones are not HRT, but a more natural hormone replacement therapy which will help you feel better, as well as loose weight, and improve the way you respond to facial treatments or not. They can improve your hot flushes at the very least – but if you are lucky – they can give you a new lease of life.

I know as a young therapist, I was always keen to get the best results for my clients, but I never could understand how my clients felt. I even have to admit thinking to myself that I would never let myself age that badly!

But today as a post-menopausal woman I get it, I am one of those women trying to work out what happened to my figure and my face, and although I have always looked well after both, I cannot get over how much harder it is once you are hormone free!

We live in a youth-obsessed society, even with beautiful stars such as Helen Mirren and Julianne Moore carving the road to aging gracefully and being seen as still beautiful.

Even with modeling agencies screaming out for good looking mature age models as other industries outside of the beauty industry (not including plastic surgeons – they have known this for a long time!) have caught on to where the money is. And they know, no Baby Boomer will want to buy something a Millennial Model is promoting.

We are an aging population, with men and women living well into their 90s, this means that out of 70 years of spending money or beauty, based on most girls starting spending at 20 and finishing at 90, more money will be spent by women post menopause than pre-menopause.

The Baby Boomers and older X Geners want to age disgracefully, not gracefully. They intend to live long, well, and go out with a bang – not fade away into oblivion as our parents did and are before us.

Some older X Geners still have young children during menopause – one of my girlfriends who is one of these – calls herself a dinosaur mum, and has had small children ask her children if she is their grandma.

So what steps can we take to age disgracefully and still look as young as we feel?

First and most important is accepting that there are only so many hours in the day where you will actually be productive. At 30 years old – I would jump out of bed, walk or do yoga for 45 minutes, take care of my child, hang out washing, get dressed and go to work – in the afternoon, washing would come in, dinner cooked, everything prepared for the next day, child put to bed and then after one hour of downtime, off to bed I would go.

Today, at 6 am I struggle to work out where my head is until I have had a coffee or two. 45 minutes of exercise just does not cut it anymore if I am to keep in some sort of shape – I have to go hard for at least one hour!

So I have bought a larger washing machine so that I do not need to do as many loads of washing and have accepted that some weeks depending on my work commitments, the folding and ironing are just going to pile up on a spare couch – so be it, I have prioritized my exercise and healthy meals over an organised life.

I have stopped punishing myself for not being super busy and energetic – I accept it, and also have accepted that there are only so many things I can do in a day or week – so now I prioritize things more efficiently – not pushing myself so hard means I do not look as tired as I used to.

It is not a bad thing if you eat take away a few times per week – or buy some pre-made meals – it is healthier than a bottle of wine with cheese and crackers because you are just too tired to cook!

Once you start accepting that there is only so much you can do in a day – and I know for most women this is the hardest part, you can start making time for your exercise, diet and skincare routine.

If you cannot get anything else happening the way you want it to, at least start by making time to exercise – even if it is standing on a vibration plate with ½ kilo weights in your hands doing arm exercises – you MUST keep your muscle mass up. The more muscle you have the more fat you will burn, and the stronger you will feel. You will stand tall, move with grace, be able to carry things and you will have more energy. I walk carrying ½ kilo weights, and it makes a massive amount of difference to my whole body. Do start gently so you do not injure yourself though!

I learned from a stunning looking mature aged model that exercise 6 days a week is paramount to keeping anything which looks like a great figure – and weights mixed with cardio is the only way to go. She is right – after a week of this style of exercise, I noticed a dramatic change the shape of my body – I looked as if I had one, I did not look so much like a large soft lump of cottage cheese……..

When purchasing skincare, ask the therapist for a time friendly routine. By this I mean, choose a cleanser and facial scrub you can use in the shower, face masks which can double as deep hydrating night creams. Choose body lotions which are also firming and toning not just hydrating.

Keep your carb intake down and protein intake up. Carbs cause your moods to fluctuate with your sugar highs and lows – you do not need anymore mood swings than you are already having!

Even if not vegan or vegetarian – natural plant proteins are so much better for you than animal proteins – easier to digest, and better for your skin.

Ensure your diet is alkaline – by this I mean eat plenty of greens and have at least one green smoothie containing Spirulina and collagen daily. Spirulina is an amazing source of protein, omegas and vitamins and minerals. Add collagen to the smoothie to keep your skin smooth and to assist with aches and pains, and a scoop of reds powder for an amazing boost of energy and detoxification.

Drink plenty of filtered water. A client once told me that she saw her hot flushes as a reminder to drink a glass of water – wise woman.

Add 10 mls of chlorophyll to a glass of water once a day – this helps flush toxins out the liver. By keeping your liver working efficiently, you will find that you suffer from fewer hot flushes.

A good vitamin B tablet goes a long way, as well as magnesium and zinc.

Personally, my favourite anti-ageing treatment for the skin is light therapy. The reason I like light therapy treatments is because it stimulates your skin to work efficiently. Follow this by a non-surgical face lift treatment ideally done once weekly and your face will return to where it is meant to be.

If you are short of money which I often am – a Light Stim machine used for a few minutes daily will really help your skin a lot. This light treatment machine helps stimulate collagen production, over time, the results are nearly as good as a salon light treatment. It is not cheap – but makes for a great birthday or Christmas present!

I think it is time that we remove the words ‘faded beauty’ from our language, and change it to ‘mature beauty’ for a start.

If you enjoyed this blog post – please follow me! x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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