A Fresh New Look

Not long ago, I gazed at my reflection in a full-length mirror. I’d lost more than 40 pounds the previous year and had kept them off for six months. I’d invested in a new wardrobe. I had to—I didn’t have a thing to wear. Literally. But my face and hair hadn’t kept up with the changes. Time for a fresh new look!

You may not be surprised to learn that with a bit of computer trickery, you can get a good idea of what you would look like with various changes. First, you choose the shape of your face—oval, round, pointy. Then features—high forehead, square chin, full lips, wide-spaced eyes, cute little button nose (always wanted one of those). Once you’ve selected all the pieces, you have something that looks like your image. Then you can fancy yourself in various hairstyles.

I started with one similar to the way my hair looked at that moment. I whisked it away and plunked on another style, one I could use if I let my hair grow for several months. Lots I could do with it—loose and flowy, old-fashioned bun, frisky pony tail, classic French braid. I clicked on each style, liking them all. But that would take half a year. And I’d heard that no woman over 60 should have shoulder-length hair lest someone take her for homeless.

Maybe short was the way to go. I tried a few styles till I found one I really liked.

Now for the color. I’d always wondered how I’d look as a redhead. Any idea how many shades of red are available these days? To name a few: Vixen. Auburn Haze, Light My Fire Red. None of them really suited me. I decided to stick with my grayish blond. Or is it blondish gray?

I printed the result and made an appointment with my hairstylist.

Next, I decided a complete makeup analysis would determine if I was using the proper moisturizers, foundation, eye makeup, lip colors—the works. I tried lotions and potions, powders, blushes—all in the name of beauty and not looking my age. Of course, the cosmetics technician (no one answers to the term “sales clerk” anymore) expected me to buy $500 worth of products that would produce “the look.” My budget couldn’t handle that all at once, so I opted for the most important items and pledged to purchase the rest later. I walked out of the store not sure I could afford this fresh new look. But I felt as glamorous as a movie star (to be honest, an elderly character actress) with smoky eye shadow, highlighted cheekbones and bright fuchsia lip gloss.

Beautifully made-up, I walked into the hair salon where for 20 years I’d gone once a month for a haircut and style. My trusted stylist Tara backed up two steps. “Wow! Look at you! Are you going to a party?”

Ready to assume my new hairdo, I handed her the print out.

Tara took the paper and shook her head. “This will never do. Your hair doesn’t grow that way. Too wavy in the back. Your natural part goes to the right.”

“But this is what I want.”

She frowned, grabbed a hairstyle book I’d seen in the shop for two decades. “Look through these photos and tell me what you think comes closest to your computer image.”

Disappointed that all the hours I’d spent on the computer were for naught, I leafed through the options. No. No. No. No. Maybe. Yes! I pointed. “This one.”

Half an hour later, I strode confidently to my car, spirits lifted by my complete makeover.

At home, my cats took one look and ran away.

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