I have been thinking about my grandmothers lately, who were very different women in many ways, not least their approaches to beauty. Left is a photo of Grandma Gateau at her 90th birthday party, who died at the age of almost 93 in 2007. As you can see, she maintained a natural beauty into her tenth decade. To the right she’s pictured at around 40, when she was pregnant with my uncle.
She and my mother both maintained terrific skin by means of good genetics and the liberal application of Pond’s Cold Cream before showering. They’d just apply it as a makeup remover, tissue off, then remove the residue with a warm washcloth in the shower. That was it, no additional products.
If she ever wore much in the way of eye makeup, she gave that up in her later years because she had developed a teary eye, which would wash it away. For years she used Clinique Colour Rub, which was a liquid illuminating blush that I wish like crazy they’d bring back. It really was years ahead of its time, now that you can barely buy a blush that doesn’t contain some kind of shimmer or sparkle. The stuff turns up on eBay in its later incarnations, but I want the lovely pink she used to wear.
She also wore a nice rosy pink lipstick, generally nothing fancy, but she liked having that little bit of color on her face. I used to buy them for her three and four at a time at The Body Shop, and bring them when I went to visit. Just as my grandfather joked for approximately 25 years that he was getting too old to buy green bananas and expect to live long enough to eat them, Grandma would wonder if she’d ever manage to work through her stock. I think there was about one and a half left at the end.
All in all, a pretty wonderful natural beauty in old age role model to have.