Feel like letting yourself go? Have you felt like letting yourself go, especially after turning some “magic age”, like 50 or 60? And what does that mean, to “let ourselves go” anyway?
During the long, long pandemic, many of us have lightened up on our beauty routines. I went for nine months using just warm water to wash my hair (it looked the same, really) and foregoing any face makeup except for lipstick. Leg shaving? No, I felt no need. I often wore the same clothes two days in a row. I gave up manicures and pedicures, and still haven’t gotten back to those little luxuries.
Some of us gained pandemic pounds, and I did buy the peanut butter Oreos. I only gained a pound or two because I am a light eater and a generally not into food. But I shifted my usually healthy diet to more muffins, Ben and Jerry’s, baked ziti, and white wine.
With tongue in cheek, Danya Evans writes:
“When a woman concedes to letting herself go, she rings the death knell of her valued contributions to society. Letting yourself go by putting on weight, not wearing makeup, eating buttered Pop Tarts, deciding to wear clothes that are fit for comfort instead of style, is the equivalent of saying the morally accepted standards of beauty and presentability do not apply to you.”-Dayna Evans, The Cut
Cultural restraints and marketing indoctrinations push women to conform to a set of standards about our appearance. We fall in line, to avoid criticism or even worse – losing our “good woman” card. We’re expected to be well-groomed, reasonably slim, tastefully made up and socially acceptable.
No offense to being socially acceptable; I am in favor of it, for men and women. But we can choose to modify old and constraining ways to do it. I have had thoughts about what I want to carry forward from my pandemic-inspired “letting go”:
I now wash my hair with a bar shampoo twice a week, and that’s it. I let it air dry, put a bit of cream on the fuzzy ends, and I’m good. My hair is salt and pepper by nature, and I’ll sometimes add a color wash to it for fun, Like this Roux Fanci-Full rinse.
I’ve cut my wardrobe back to things I love to wear and don’t mind wearing on repeat. My clothes are always clean and fresh, and I look modern, but not like a dedicated fashionista.
My daily makeup is more focused on simple skin care. Moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning, add Retin-A at night, and a few enhancements (see my recent post). A little mascara, concealer, blush and lipstick if I’m going out in public.
I worry less these days, having lived through a homely year, about what others may think about my age, or my relative attractiveness. I am just where I am supposed to be, a slightly-old Not Dead Yet woman at peace with herself.
Please share if you’ve had any thoughts about what it means to “let go of yourself” and if the pandemic has affected those ideas.
“The life of a woman is one of great and perpetual constraint. Why else would Spanx have been invented if it weren’t?”–Dayna Evans, The Cut
Stay fab, xo
Wear what you love, always. Here are some goodies to browse: