02/14/2011 12:22 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Who Is That In The Mirror?

It seems to me that people are looking better longer than ever before. I really think this is because of the increased general awareness of diet, exercise and living a healthy lifestyle. I have been standing behind the chair of my salons in the middle of Manhattan and Beverly Hills for years, and I don't want to sound naive. I am totally aware of -- and have seen the results of -- almost every available cosmetic procedure to erase time. What can be done today is nothing short of a miracle. When done with proper restraint, the results are beautiful and undetectable. The key word is restraint.
There is nothing more unattractive than when your beauty efforts are obvious. This is especially true when you attempt to make yourself look different. The most effective beauty treatments are the ones that try to maintain your appearance. When you try to look twenty-something and you are facing forty, or when you want to change your look entirely, you are starting to tread in dangerous waters. I always suggest restorations and not renovations. Often when people cross the line, they don't look younger or better. They just look like they are in an altered state. I find it most peculiar when you can't tell if the person is old and looks young or young and looks old. This is usually the first step to looking a bit freakish. Hopefully you will realize your obsession with perpetual youth and beauty and your endless quest will dissipate before this occurs. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to repair overly done work. If you are lucky, you will have a true friend who will read you the riot act and force you to look in the mirror. With any luck, you will start to realize you are not looking believable.  This is a major red flag to stop or slow down your maintenance efforts. 

Going over the line isn't exclusive to plastic surgeons or dermatologists. It happens at hair salons all the time. How often do people make their hair a little lighter or brighter and look terrific? Often the reasoning is that if a little lighter or brighter is good, more would be better. This is often the wrong decision and can easily diminish a person's appearance. This can be true making the hair darker or curlier, or even changing the amount of skin bronzer one wears. The old adage "more is better" is often wrong in this case. Less is usually more. 

The good news is that hair color can usually be restored, cut hair always grows back, and makeup can easily be washed off. If you want to look chic or a bit like a tart, it's not a lifelong alteration. You can push the limits at your hair salon if you want to try to project a new image. A new haircut, hair color or lipstick can brighten any day. With today's beauty products, almost any look is achievable. Always remember: it is hardest for us to really see ourselves.
Good luck, use your discretion, and stay beautiful!

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