I have two friends who are in their early fifties. Most people are surprised when they learn their age because they look at least 10 years younger.
One of my friends has invested heavily in her youthful looks by choosing the most expensive anti-ageing creams, following a strict low-fat diet and spending a lot of time at the gym. The other friend has invested heavily in anti-ageing treatments to alter the ageing process. She started with Botox a decade ago and has progressed to fillers and the odd surgical procedure when required.
I have always said that I would prefer to age gracefully. But what does that even mean? My friends are confident and vibrant and that keeps them feeling youthful. Why should they have to look their age if they don't feel it?
A couple of years ago I launched an anti-ageing website for Independent Digital Media. The site developed a strong core following fast. There seemed to be a lot of interest in retaining a youthful appearance at almost any price. Women in our office, younger and older, were keen to try and review products and procedures. There was never a shortage of willing participants.
I gravitated towards the lighter end of the anti-ageing scale. I was always enthusiastic about trying the latest anti-ageing creams but reluctant to raise my hand for Botox or any of the cosmeceuticals. That is where I have drawn the line.
For a long time I convinced myself I was happy to let nature take its course. But the reality is that I apply pricey Prevage products to my face every day and night and I dye my hair to erase the greys as often as I need to. In fact, the most recent application was last weekend. I celebrated a birthday last week and that coincided with the discovery of half a head of grey hair. I am determined not to go grey until I really need to. In my opinion that's no time soon.
So far from ageing gracefully, I am in fact actively removing the evidence of age. I may not be doing it with a needle or knife but I do shock my sons from time to time by spending large amounts of time behind a wrinkle-defying face mask or with my hair piled high on top of my head, completely covered by thick anti-grey foam.
Most women I have spoken to about their appetite for embracing the ageing process have said they would do anything to not look older than they absolutely have to. These days a quick cosmetic procedure can be less of a disruption to your day than dyeing your hair or getting a facial.
I have always said never to the knife but my friend who has been there has cautioned me against taking such an absolute stand. Her view is that my view will change with each significant birthday. I have three years to change my mind.
Do you use anti-ageing creams or procedures to retain your youthful looks? If not, would you?