This past Saturday, I found myself discussing (surprise, surprise) beauty and aging with some girlfriends, one of whom is turning thirty in a few days. I asked this friend (who also happens to be getting married in one month) if she is feeling any particular sense of dread at departing from her twenties, to which she answered, "Nah, I had my big aging freak-out at twenty-seven." I then listened as three or four of us around that table all confessed to having felt that sense of dread and panic at around twenty-seven. At age twenty-seven, we decided --because you are no longer in your flawless hyper-sexy mid-twenties-- you become more critical of your physical appearance and health. I remember this experience: staring into my mirror, noticing that I just didn't look quite the same as I used to. The shape of my eyes was changing. The corners of my mouth seemed deeper somehow? Even the texture of my skin began to change, as I found myself dealing with both fine lines and adult acne (no one prepares you for that!). At age twenty-seven, then, I swore that I'd get Botox injections for my thirtieth birthday. As twenty-eight came and went, then twenty-nine, my focus on fillers never faltered-- I even considered hosting a "Botox party" for close friends once the big 3-0 came upon me. Something inside me was vainly reassured by the threshold of turning thirty; I could start "having work done" as we ladies politely call it here in the South, and return to the flawless skin of my youth.
But during those key years leading up to thirty, Darcy and I began writing and creating Hello Luvvy. We grew an audience of thousands of women who were looking for truth, confidence, and transparency. As I've written about here before, the mission of HL has never been about demonstrating perfection, but rather about exploring the beauty of the REAL experience of being a woman in the bizarre and honestly terrifying world we live in today; this mission is especially important to me as the beauty editor. So as my thirtieth birthday came and went, I pushed back the urge to make good on all of my Botox boasting. The following summer was my wedding. I was married two days before my thirty-first birthday, and if there was ever a time when I was tempted by the short-term effects of injectable fillers, this was it. In the months leading up to my big day, I took extra good care of my skin: I used serums and creams and exfoliators and masks. But the stubborn "fine lines" from the second paragraph? Those have now evolved into deeper wrinkles across my forehead and in between my eyebrows. The time for my much anticipated Botox treatment was surely upon me, so I reached out to my friend and esthetician, Annie Rateliff, for further advice. Her "advice" was just a resounding "NO." And her reason blew my tiny little mind. Apparently, using fillers and injectables like Botox can actually cause more harm than good when used at this age. Because Botox is a poisonous neurotoxin, the muscles of the face can atrophy after treatment, leaving the skin looking even droopier (aka, "older") once the treatment wears off. So in other words, get one filler treatment and you're stuck with getting them for the rest of your life. This revelation astounded me. While I guess celebrities can afford to spend the time and money on filler upkeep, it became very obvious to me that this treatment is not at all worth it at thirty-one, especially to someone who prides herself on facilitating a discussion about real beauty and confidence.
These days, my concealer settles into the lines under and around my eyes. If I use too much cream highlighter, that too forms harsh lines across the apples of my cheeks where my crows feet have begun to take root. I have fine lines, stray hairs, and the occasional pimple. I have broken blood vessels, dry patches of skin, and delicately sagging eyelids. Aging is already embarrassing enough for women without broadcasting one's aging face across the internet for all to see; but I'd also like to think there's something sacred in sharing the art of aging with the women around you. Much like the conversation at the top of this article, which inspired this very post, the photos and articles I publish for you here at HL are my sincere attempt at untangling the very loaded knot that is aging for women in America.
Being a thirty-one-year-old beauty blogger is both a blessing and a curse: a curse because many of you have seen my face without makeup, and a blessing because exposing myself in that way has allowed me to become so incredibly comfortable in my aging skin. And I'm not ruling out all plastic surgery #forevernomatterwhat. But for now, I have to stop and thank Darcy, Melinda, and every woman out there who supports us, for giving me the platform and the confidence to share my interests and my insecurities. That makes me feel really flawless.