Facelifts at 50 are an ugly betrayal

Sandra Parsons, author of the following article, Facelifts at 50 are an ugly betrayal, reminds us that “the simple truth is that all you have to do to look younger is lose a bit of weight, do some exercise and colour your hair. All it takes is the courage to start — because once you’ve begun, you won’t want to stop.”

That’s exactly why I love facial exercise. The movements create a vibrant, younger looking face. Heavy jowls and pouches? There’s a facial exercise for that! Tired of seeing droopy eyelids that impair your ability to wear your favorite eyeliner and shadows? Try this Upper Eye Exercise. Every portion of your face and neck can benefit from isometric exercise. No funny faces, puckers, twists or contortions.

Facelifts at 50 are an ugly betrayal


Actress Frances Barber, who’s 54, says she’s saving up for a facelift.

She’s hardly unique. In certain parts of London, the faces of 50-something women are now so stretched you could practically trampoline your way along them from Chelsea to Mayfair.

They rarely admit they’ve succumbed to the siren call of cosmetic surgery simply because they want to look younger. Like Frances Barber, they claim it’s because they want to look ‘less tired’. But I, for one, am beginning to find this an extremely tiresome excuse.


Nip, tuck: Actress Frances Barber is saving up for a facelift

Whether they go for the full ‘wind-tunnel’ facelift, as Barber describes it, or take the less drastic route of Botox and fillers, the end result is the same: curiously blank faces and a pernicious message to younger women.

Ageing is so horrific, they seem to be saying, that the only way to survive it is by undergoing major surgery or injecting yourself with alien chemicals.

What’s sad is that anyone looking at photographs of Frances Barber would have to conclude that she truly doesn’t need a facelift.

She looks terrific just as she is, with a seductively knowing expression that hints at intelligence, mischief and a fascinating life story. Nor does her lack of cosmetic surgery seem to affect her career, as she’s about to appear as an alluring QC in the second series of the BBC1 primetime courtroom drama, Silk.

And yet, like so many other women her age, she feels so unhappy about ageing that she’d rather have an operation — involving a general anaesthetic, and a scalpel — than continue to make the best of what she’s got.

Before long she’ll be another unfeasibly young-looking celebrity who makes the rest of us feel we’re ageing too fast.


Under the scalpel: Many women feel so unhappy about ageing that they'd rather have an operation than make the best of what they've got

If you want to see what really ages women before their time, you’ve only to look at the photograph of Carrie Fisher in yesterday’s Mail.

She’s 55, just a year older than Barber, but if you were to put their photos side by side, you’d think she was the senior by a decade. That’s because she’s spent years drinking too much, smoking and taking drugs.

The simple truth is that all you have to do to look younger is lose a bit of weight, do some exercise and colour your hair. All it takes is the courage to start — because once you’ve begun, you won’t want to stop.

I give thanks for the slipped disc I suffered some years ago, because it prompted me to start doing pilates. The form I practice, which is quite dynamic and involves weights, has transformed not just my body but my life.

Now, at 50, I feel fitter and more energetic than I’ve ever done. Most important of all, I hope I’m demonstrating to my 16-year-old daughter that age is nothing to be feared.

You’ve only to look at Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith to see that it’s entirely possible to age naturally and still be both attractive and successful. As 66-year-old Charlotte Rampling, who’s steadfastly refused to have so much as an age spot removed, let alone a wrinkle, put it recently: ‘You do have to look at yourself in the mirror every day. You do as much as you can to make it OK, and off you go.’

article-2141537-11C078EF000005DC-514_468x286Growing old with grace: Kristin Scott Thomas is an example of a woman who proves that older age can be beautiful

If only more actresses were brave enough to follow her lead, we could put an end to the whole self-defeating cycle, and use the time and money saved to go out and have some fun.

Our daughters need to see that, despite our wrinkles and our years, we still have energy and vitality. After all, who wants a mother who looks like a permanently surprised 35-year-old?

Better by far to look like a healthy 50-year-old who’s not only lived — but has plenty of energy and enthusiasm left for what’s to come.

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