“At 50, everyone has the face he deserves,” wrote George Orwell in 1949. These were apparently the last words the Nineteen Eighty-Four author penned in his personal diary. He died just over six months later in 1950 at age 46, narrowly missing nature’s inevitable reward or punishment for a life well or ill lived.
Coco Chanel is credited with voicing a similar sentiment. “Nature gives you the face you have at 20. Life shapes the face you have at 30,” the fashion icon once said. “But at 50 you get the face you deserve.”
It seems like with all our advances in anti-aging procedures – from highly invasive facelifts to what are now casual-as-a-haircut Botox injections – perhaps we now have the option of escaping Time’s cruel hand. In the battle between Gravity and Vanity, the cosmetics industry definitely gives the impression that humans have finally manipulated and bridled science once and for all to work with us instead of against us… or at least for those of us who can afford the hefty price-tags involved with defying nature’s original intent. It turns out, though, that – even in a plastic-infused world – Orwell’s words still ring true, now that we’ve had enough years under our belt in the beauty world to see the longterm effects of plastic surgery, Botox, and filler. You can tell a lot a person — whether his or her wrinkles are puffed up with collagen or left to organically deepen and crease over time.
To be fair, I’ve definitely seen both men and women benefit from cosmetic enhancements. When done sparingly and by a well-trained professionals, modern anti-aging procedures can indeed take years off of a person’s face — I’ll gladly sign up for Botox injections at some point in my life. That said, I’ve also seen a lot of people overdo it – opting to subject their faces and bodies to any new “rejuvenating” fad that hits the market. The problem with their over-enthusiasm is that they end up wearing their anxieties about aging on both their metaphorical sleeves and quite literally on their faces.
I once interviewed a TV actress in her 50s who mentioned to me that she’d avoided Botox and surgery all together for career reasons. Having a face that aged naturally got her more regular work than other actors her age because, as it had turned out for her, with everyone else in Hollywood trying to look more youthful, there was actually a shortage of actors who looked like believable everyday 50-something year-olds. Her contemporaries looked too old to play 30-year-old leading ladies despite their lack of wrinkles, and too inflated with filler to play characters based on normal everyday people. I can’t help but wonder if this explains why there’s growing number of zombie-themed movies and TV shows out there today. Article continued below…
Maybe the zombie connection is a little far-fetched, but there’s definitely nothing natural about having a driver’s license that says you’re middle-aged despite having a face so jam-packed with Juvederm it rivals the Pillsbury Doughboy in plumpness. I know I’m still many years off from getting the face I apparently deserve, but I can already see the lines of it beginning to crease in the places where they’ll eventually leave their well-earned valleys of truth. I try to keep them at bay by using the best cutting-edge night creams and SPF-infused day creams on the market, and I definitely hate looking at photos of myself under harsh lighting. But at least when I do, the girl with the crow’s feet around her eyes looking back at me looks like she’s laughed and smiled a lot in the years she’s spent living. While I certainly will continue to do my best to keep those lines from deepening over the coming decades, I refuse to show my insecurities to the world be filling them in completely or going under a knife. After all, I’m proud of the face I know I will have eventually earned. It belongs to someone who used to be a fun-loving young girl once upon a time –who grew up to be a kind, warm-hearted person. And that, to me, is beautiful.
Do you think we get the face we deserve at 50? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.