Community Small Talk

Feeling 16 again

It was almost as much fun as a sleepover.

Recently I looked at my face in the mirror. After gasping and feeling a bit faint, I decided it was time for some big-girl makeup.

I have a longtime friend, who has always worn full, but tasteful, makeup, every day, rain or shine, in the garden or at the gala.  I immediately called her and we planned a trip to the make-up counters of Newport Beach. Of course, a nice lunch was part of the deal, and it turned into a mini-spa day.

About an hour before dashing out the door, I realized some research would be wise, so I first typed in “industrial-strength spackle for sad, saggy, blotchy old broads,” but oddly, that didn’t show much. So I stopped feeling sorry for myself and looked up “face foundation for over-60.” There is a boatload of information out there, as we boomers refuse to grow up or older.

I narrowed the choices down to about four brands, and we began hitting the big department stores. My friend indulged me as we stopped at the nearest store and tried one brand, with a lovely, but very, very young salesgirl.

After wasting time there, my wise friend suggested we head straight for Neimann’s Chanel counter, where they know her by first name. As luck would have it, her favorite saleswoman was on duty and the party started right then. Simone was a smart, funny and experienced make-up artist, with an accent that let me pretend I was in a Paris fashion house. And did I mention she was about my age?

I told her more than anyone should have to know about my beauty routine, my skin type, my age, my fashion style, and such. She and my friend compared notes and she then went straight to what I needed and matched it perfectly. I couldn’t stop giggling.  I felt 16 again and was a sucker for all the personal attention. Fortunately, Rene is a woman of honor and only sold me what I knew I would use.

I walked into the sunshine feeling quite presentable, and I even had eyebrows, for a change. It was fascinating what can be done with a little tint and a little brush, in the right hands.

I now continue to hone my skills each morning. My 10,000-times magnifying mirror is a harsh mistress. I think I’m managing, but keep waiting for someone to ask if I’m feeling poorly, or am going to clown college.

But if no one notices your makeup, you know you are doing it right. The lesson from the fancy-schmancy John Robert Powers beauty course my mother sent me to at age 13, still rings in my ears. “We don’t make up. We make down … now sit up straight and cross your ankles.”

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who hopes to look 10 years younger, but will settle for five. Contact her at