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Judi Freedman

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Ageless Beauty Tips from the Late Helen Gurley Brown

Posted: 09/05/2012 7:35 pm

I ordered a copy of The Late Show -- A Semiwild but Practical Survival Plan for Women Over 50 in tribute to the late Helen Gurley Brown, who passed away this month. I figured since she lived to 90 and was the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine for umpteen years, I could learn a thing or two about graceful aging from this all-time queen of beauty.

Oh, dear Helen of Cosmo, fairest one of all, what can a boomer girl do to continue to look beautiful during her life after 50?

- Mirrors: On the subject of mirrors, Helen says, "you have to treat them like alligators: Don't surprise them." She says that "you should have two types of mirrors at home -- a friendly [one] to stay cheerful with... and a brightly lit magnifying mirror for putting on makeup. After you finish with the magnifying mirror and look in an ordinary-size one, you look tiny and great." (Wow, I already practice these tips. I do have a magnifying mirror that I use for my makeup and I do have a very large mirror that I look in afterwards.)

- Makeup: Helen says that "foundation, eyeliner, lip pencil and blush are almost as fundamental as teeth." She says that "this is not the time to hang up our brushes and look as bare as Mother H.'s cupboard." (I do use eyeliner and blush. But Helen, I stopped using a foundation and instead have started using a tinted moisturizer with SPF. You wrote this book in 1993, likely before there were tinted moisturizers on the market, so I hope I'm still okay.)

Skin: Helen advises to "cleanse and moisturize with a Retin-A formula for night-time." (My dermatologist recommends the same. Uh oh, I ran out of my ROC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum, better get back to Ulta and buy some more soon.)

Hair: I read Helen's tips for skimpy hair, as I do have thinning hair, especially around my forehead. Helen recommends shampooing three times a week. She says that "a tiny buildup of debris" makes hair fluffier. She also encourages boomer girls to blow dry their hair instead of air drying. And Helen encourages to never, ever brush thin hair. (Helen, I am going to throw out my hairbrushes right now.)

Cosmetic Surgery: Helen says that "between 40 and 55 is the ideal age for a facelift." She says that "many women have nose jobs in their 50′s too." (Ooh, I'm inching up on the top part of that age group. I'm too scared to have a facelift, but I've always disliked my nose. Ooh, ooh, ooh, dare I get a nose job? No, no, no.)

Some of Helen's famous friends shared their beauty advice in the book, too:

Lauren Hutton says: "Always sleep on your back. Wrinkles melt right down." (I've always slept on my back, so why do I have so many wrinkles on my face?)

Ali MacGraw takes "10 minutes a day to meditate with crushed green papaya on her face." (Hmm, hmm, and who recently wrote a blog post about the benefits of papaya? That would be moi. Be sure to read my papaya post if you haven't already.)

Gloria Vanderbilt "drinks water all day long to keep her weight down." (Know wonder she is so skinny. Where is my water bottle?)

Phyllis McGuire suggests boomer girls "put warm wet tea bags on their eyes for puffiness." (Should I use my chamomile tea bags? Will they make my eyes sleepy, too?)

Betsy Bloomingdale advises "to never leave home without mascara." (I use my Cover Girl Mascara everyday, except on the weekends when I'm lazy.)

Dina Merrill's beauty tip is the best. Dina says "my beauty secret is to fall in love! I truly believe if you love someone and are happy in all aspects of your life -- work, friends, health -- you look and feel younger." Of course Helen had a quip for this one, she said "you have to forgive anybody in love for giving slightly cliche, touching recommendations." However, Helen wanted to know if Dina's beau had a brother?

Dear Helen, thanks for all the ageless beauty tips for women over 50. I'm sure heaven is a more beautiful place now that you're there.

 

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