Introduction: "The Living Beauty Philosophy"
There's a certain amount of peace that comes from getting older. I realize this as I am entering my fifties (yikes!). After so many years of aspiring to unattainable ideals, I have finally learned to let go and relax. "Letting go" doesn't mean that I have stopped caring about my face, my hair, or my body. I still care, but I am more realistic about my expectations of myself. I am (finally) comfortable in my own skin -- and it is such a relief. Now my energy is focused on creating a new ideal, a new reality, and a new aspiration for myself -- and that is the essence of "Living Beauty."
I don't know why it's not OK to age. I think that a face without lines and planes is an expressionless face -- it's a face that lacks warmth and confidence. That's why I am dismayed at the number of women today who are altering their faces in an attempt to look younger. Visits to the plastic surgeon have become as commonplace as visits to the hair salon. I have to admit that there are some women who get nipped and tucked and actually look great. But I see many more who have been pulled so tight that they look completely artificial, and others who are so plumped up and frozen that they just look old. There's a very fine line between plastic surgery that looks good and plastic surgery that looks plain awful. When you go under the knife there's no guarantee of the results -- and no turning back.
Of course it's very easy to feel bad. Open any magazine and you're inundated by pictures of seemingly flawless girls who are barely 20 years old (and in some cases, as young as 14). Models older than 30 are a rarity. Television shows set in Los Angeles and New York glorify the lives of twentysomething characters. My advice? Don't compare yourself to these images of youthful perfection -- you'll always lose. It's human nature to compare, but at least do it in a realistic way, with women close to your age.
I know a woman in her forties who's an average beauty, but who carries herself with above-average confidence. I ran into her once during Fashion Week and started complaining about how hard it was for me to be in a business surrounded by teenage models. She laughed and told me that I was in the wrong industry. As a successful attorney for the Teamsters Union, she was surrounded by teamsters who thought she was "hot." She felt great about herself. There's another woman I know who is in her mid-sixties, but who says she still feels like a kid. She works as a music therapist at a senior citizens' home and is a few decades younger than many of the residents, who tell her she is stunning. So you see, beauty and age are relative.
Too many women of my generation feel bad about the fact that they're no longer young. These women have a laundry list of things they don't like about themselves -- wrinkles, baggy eyelids, a too-small upper lip…I could go on for days. These women are so caught up in the negative that they don't have any energy left to focus on the positive.
I believe there needs to be a fundamental change in the way we think about beauty. We can either fall into this cycle of self-loathing or we can empower ourselves with the knowledge to deal with the things that make us unhappy. I want to get rid of the stigma that surrounds aging. Aging (or getting older) should be seen as a process through which a woman can gain more vitality, strength, wisdom, and a new sense of her beauty. It really is an evolution. Today, there are many ways for women to be their best at any age. With knowledge, a strategy, and many lifestyle changes, women can be better at 40, 50, and 60 than they did 10, even 20 years ago.
No matter what your age, it's never too late to make a commitment to yourself. If you're feeling overwhelmed, I don't blame you. There are countless self-help books and experts today that claim to have a definitive answer to what will make you look and feel better. And there's no way to know for sure if their advice is right for you.
I don't claim to have all the answers. But what I can offer you are my own personally tested strategies and tips that have helped me look and feel my best over the years. In this book I will share the secrets I've learned from experts I trust -- dermatologists, hairdressers, trainers, nutritionists, stylists, doctors, and many more -- plus advice from dozens of amazing, beautiful women I admire.
I am still learning ways to better myself, and I hope to continue learning for the rest of my life. I hope your journey brings you to a better place both physically and emotionally. And I hope that this book helps you move through your life with more beauty, grace, and happiness.
From "Bobbi Brown Living Beauty" by Bobbi Brown with Marie Claire Katigbak-Sillick. Copyright 2007 by Bobbi Brown Evolution LLC. Used by arrangement with Springboard Press, an imprint of Warner Books, Inc. All rights reserved.