Smart Beauty: Where do you draw the line?

Smart Beauty: Where do you draw the line?
Smart Beauty: Where do you draw the line?

As with everything else in life, being smart is about knowing what we can change and when we have to allow nature to take its course. Obviously, where you draw the line is something we have to decide for ourselves. And this poses a very interesting dilemma when it comes to cosmetic procedures. Where do you draw the line?

For me, nothing is more beautiful than nature itself. That being said - I do believe in the ability of the human hand to create a close semblance of what nature intended, or what appears in nature. I am nowhere near perfect by any means. I am flawed like we are all flawed. There are so many things I wish were different - (nose, breasts, butt, arms, abs or lack thereof… need I go on?) but I would not change my appearance, that’s where I draw the line.

What is smart beauty?
My approach to smart beauty is to enhance what I have and preserve the status quo of my flawed self. Preserving status quo, meaning anti-aging, is my chief concern and I don’t mean turning back time. I am in my 40s and I have done a good job of preserving myself with non-surgical procedures. (That is not to say I have any issues with surgical procedures – because I don’t… but I’ll address that in a minute).

Right now, I always use sunscreen - even when I’m indoors. When I am in the sun all day, I am constantly reapplying sunscreen and I always wear sunglasses and a hat. Eye cream is my best friend. I use it morning and night. I even add some in with my concealer for a smoother application and to get an extra dose. I do peels, oxygen facials, glycolic, acids - I’ve done Thermage, Venus Freeze, Botox and other injectables including Juvederm. These are things I do on a regular basis on top of my home regimen of countless creams and serums.

As a beauty blogger, I am exposed to a lot of treatments, so my own regular regimen is pretty extensive. But even in my 40s, I have the benefit of some youth left in me so these things still work. But, as I age, my eyes will sag and droop and when my noninvasive treatments no longer help me, I will definitely look to surgery. But my goal is not to look 20 or even 30. I want to look my age...just really good for my age. And that goes for when I’m 50, 60 and 70. I’ve decided that once I hit 80 I will enjoy the ride and let it all go down (we’ll see if I stick to that plan!).

My mom had her eyes lifted a few years ago. She was 70 at the time and her lids were closing down, causing her to lose peripheral vision and give the appearance of constant fatigue. She didn’t pull it all the way back up to her brows and attempt to reverse her age by 15-20 years, she did just enough so she looked like she did before her eyes started drooping. The rest of her face was unchanged but just that little bit made all the difference in the world. She became more youthful, not because she had tons of work done, but because she looked more alert and vibrant. To me, that is smart beauty. Going back to what was the natural form of you.

When it comes to surgery, being smart is the only choice
I considered a tummy tuck after I had my second daughter. I was horrified to look in the mirror because my stomach became some sort of alien creature. I had no idea the skin can crumple and wrinkle into so many folds the way mine did. My daughter was almost a year old and not only did it not go away, it seemed like it was getting worse.

I went for a consult and luckily I went to a reputable and conservative doctor who explained how extensive the procedure would be, and although I wouldn’t miss the 18 inches of flab from hip-to-hip, the thought of something so drastic when I can just opt for a one-piece and blind-fold myself in the bathroom, just didn’t seem worth it. Then he offered an alternative - Thermage. It was a one-time procedure using ultrasound waves that create enough heat to activate the collagen to renew itself that would take up to 6 months for the final results to show.

It was the perfect solution. The smart solution. This is a case when having the right information gave me the tools to make an informed decision. It was the smart beauty solution. And yes, it worked! Within 4 months, the skin on my lower abdomen became smooth. Of course, I didn’t get to lose the 18” of flab, but I was happy to go to the gym and do that on my own with much less pain.

I realize that I created a trap for myself in saying that my approach to smart beauty is about preserving nature rather than changing it. It’s one of those things you can’t define but you know it when you see it. Most importantly, it’s about making informed decisions after you have reached a point of clarity about exactly what you want to achieve.

About the Author

Kelly Cook is co-founder and editor of Snob Essentials. She began her career working for fashion designer Mark Eisen in New York. She went on to work in finance and internet start up business development. She and her partner, who both attended the University of Southern California, are known as the first professional bloggers in fashion. Having launched their blog, Bag Snob, nearly 9 years ago the two have become the go-to site for learning about the latest accessory and beauty trends for the season. And it’s not just their readers that are fans. Designers and makeup artists such as Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Victoria Beckham and Bobbi Brown all consider themselves to be huge fans, and supporters of this dynamic duo.