Happy, yes, but I haven't been well-rested in over two years. And the photo (originally) showed it. So I retouched all of the bags and wrinkles out of my eyes. I'd post the "before" shot, but really, I'm too vain. Trust me – it wasn't pretty.
At some point after Raines was born, I realized that I wasn't, in fact, 26 years old. I'm not sure how that happened, actually. When caught off guard, I still think I'm 26. It's my default forever age. I'll blame my mother – she successfully lied about her age for years. YEARS. To my Dad, even. The key, she says, is to make sure that you walk the fine line between making yourself sound younger while keeping the fake age high enough so people still think you look good.
I don't look 26. Really. I should know this by now. I'm well into my 30s, and maybe it's time to embrace that old cliche, "getting old gracefully".
Which means what, exactly? That I embrace my wrinkles, baggy eyes, and stop "forgetting" that I'm over 30?
New Plan: A War on Wrinkles. This plan will entail one part prevention, one part treatment, and one part denial. The denial part I can handle on my own. But the prevention and treatment part…I needed some help. And I needed it FAST. So I stuck Raines in the stroller, handed him a bag of popcorn, and ran into Nordstrom's. I found Tara, my very favorite Nordstrom's skin care specialist.
"You have 20 minutes" I told her. "To get rid of…THESE. And THESE. Your mission: make me look like a hot young mom." Tara nodded seriously.
According to Tara (and OK, to every dermatologist and skin care specialist), prevention is key. Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen on your face and neck every day is non-negotiable. Omitting this step is like asking for wrinkles. In the past, I had used Neutrogena's Ultra Dry Touch Sunscreen (but didn't love the texture) and Aveeno's Positively Ageless Sunscreen (but didn't love the smell). Both products are great inexpensive sunscreen options, but I wanted something a bit more luxurious. Something I didn't mind putting on my face everyday.
Tara recommended 3Lab's Perfect Sunblock SPF 55 PA+++, $55 for a large tube. It blocks both UVA and UVB rays, has a perfect non-greasy but not weird texture, is loaded with anti-oxidents (green tea, acai fruit, etc), as well as natural anti-inflammatories. And it doesn't smell. Or contain parabens. In short, I love it.
If money is tight, Tara says to spend your money where you'll get the biggest bang for your buck: on treatments. Treatments are not moisturizers. They are not toners, or exfoliators, or preps. Treatments are what you put on your face before your moisturizer, before your sunscreen. Treatments help get rid of wrinkles. Come to mama.
For a really good, all around anti-aging product that will help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, loss of elasticity, sagginess, redness, large pores, etc. Tara recommended Perricone MD's Cold Plasma, $150. It has a crazy amount of neuro-peptides and DMAE, which means that you won't see results instantly, but over the course of several weeks you should see improvement to your skin. And so far (3 weeks in), I have. This product is pricy, but, if I understand Tara correctly, spend your money on treatments and skimp on moisturizer. Moisture is cheap. High quality neuro-peptides are not.
Tara's favorite eye treatment, from among the vast array of products she had to pick from, was Osmotic's Eye Surgery, $68. This product you smear around your entire eye – including the lid. It contains tetra-peptides, and will help with wrinkles, dark circles, puffiness and crepey lids. You should see results in several weeks. And I am. My wrinkles are not gone, but they are much reduced.
If you can't see the wrinkles, they aren't there. So….don't look for them. Put on your treatment products, wear sunscreen, big sunglasses and dim the lights in the bathroom. And for those tell-tale photos…just do a little retouch. Most of your free photo-editing software will do the trick. Just zoom waaay in on your wrinkles, and go slowly. On my Mac, I use the "Retouch" function in iPhoto, which is free. My husband, however, swears by Aperture, $199. It's a cheaper version of Photoshop for Macs.
For a good list of photo-editing software, check out About's Top Digital Photo Software.
I will, eventually, lose this war on wrinkles. But until then, I'm 29.