20 Aug 2016

Fill In The Blanks: Let’s Talk Beauty

Fill In The Blanks, Let's Talk Beauty on vickiarcher.com

Let’s fill in the blanks and talk a little beauty.

It’s often hard to find quick and easy answers to questions like this but I do find it focuses the mind and if nothing else reminds us of certain things we either become lazy about or forget, especially when it comes to beauty.

Beauty is one of those individual quests; we all partake in it but each to our own. Some of us like to follow a complex routine; others keep it simple. One way is no more effective than another; beauty and how we work it is very much an individual approach.

These are my answers; I’d love to hear yours. xv

My favourite feature is — My hair.

Don’t ask me why but I have always liked having long hair and I have always spent time and energy on looking after my hair. The only time I had a very short haircut, unintentionally and one of those unhappy moments when a hairdresser does the opposite of what was requested, I was traumatised forever more.

My ultimate beauty icon is — An older woman.

There are too many beautiful women whom I admire and when I started thinking who “she” was I realised I could not choose one. Charlotte Rampling, Julie Christie, Diane von Furstenberg, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Linda Rodin, Ines de la Fressange, Catherine Deneuve; the list is endless.  I admire a face well lived and well loved.

Plastic surgery is —  Never say never.

Plastic surgery is an individual and personal choice. It would seem to me the true art of plastic surgery is knowing when to say stop, enough is enough; to each his own though.

Lipstick or lip-gloss — Lipstick.

I prefer a matte lip in most cases. Maybe this has something to do with age but I find the strength of pigment and lack of shine most flattering.

My signature hairstyle is — One length and mid shoulder.

My hair has become longer in the last few years to coincide with the natural grey colour. I prefer longer hair on me as it feels more feminine and adds softness to a “softer” face.

My top beauty tip is — Follow a skincare routine.

Cleansing is the one routine I never miss. It’s a twice a day ritual for me however tired or disinclined I may feel.

And perfume; our signature perfume makes everything better.

The 3 beauty products I can’t live without is — Cleanser, serum and moisturiser.

I can always splash cold water instead of toner but I can’t live without the other three.

Ageing is — the greatest privilege.

I am sure you know what I mean.

The best beauty advice I’ve ever received was — Never leave home without lipstick.

When there is no time for an elaborate make-up, a dash of lip colour can save the day.


My favourite beauty treat is — Massage.

What’s not to love?

images via instagram

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Mimi Gregor

Ooo.. A meme! Okay, here goes….

Favorite feature: My eyes. They are large and a grey-green-blue that is the color of the sea, with long lashes top and bottom.

Beauty icon: Audrey Hepburn. Individually, her parts would have spelled “gawky”, but put together in one package, they made her chic and individualistic.

Plastic surgery is…. No. Just no. I don’t do elective surgery. Too much can go wrong.

Lip stick. I don’t like the feel of gloss, or the way my hair gets caught in it and then gets greasy.

Signature hairstyle: Louise Brooks bob.

Top beauty tip: Avoid chemicals in food or in skin care as much as is possible. For some things, I know it’s unavoidable or impractical, but I think a lot of our health and beauty problems today are a result of chemical overload.

3 beauty products that are vital to me: Clarisonic brush, sunscreen. and clay (which I use to make a face mask).

Ageing is… not for sissies.

Best beauty advice I ever got: Always look presentable, because you never know. This is why I always wear a touch of makeup and presentable clothing. The one time you don’t is the time someone drops in or you have to rush out for some emergency.

Favorite beauty treat: A face mask I make at home. A half teaspoon each of clay (I use Multani Mati, a fuller’s earth that I purchase in an Indian grocery.), yogurt, milk, and honey. In fact, I’m sporting it right now. I leave it on for at least 20 minutes, and my skin looks radiant and poreless when I rinse it off.

Anita Rivera

Oh how I love our morning chats, Vicki!

I can say that my answers here coincide with yours. I did try to grow my hair out mid-length all school year last year, but just one week before school let out, I cut it off! Here’s why…I had the most amazing “chevelure” when I was younger. I wore it long and thick up until about 38. From that point on, I kept cutting it short for convenience sake; living in the colder regions of the USA made going out in the frosty mornings difficult to keep my thick, long hair manageable, so I cut it. Then this time around, I just couldn’t bear the thought of fussing with my hair, going out in Minnesota’s legendary, blustery cold mornings. BUT I agree that a soft, flowing, long train of hair is most appealing.

Skin and lips, you and I both take care of these areas first and foremost. Even when in a rush, I still make sure my lips are in a red matte finish. Lip gloss was my go-to trick during my teens, but a subtle suggestion now at this wonderful age is the best. Clean skin is number one. I think that the main attractions of youth (hair, skin) are the main areas of constant care for us as mature women. A fresh look can be obtained at any age with just the right amount of tint on the lips and yes, maybe in the hair! A great friend of mine has let her tresses go natural, and what she is sporting now is what she’s inherited from her beautiful mother: a head a pure white, gorgeous thick hair.

Enjoy the day. I so appreciate you dear Vicki, for your feature, for the quote (LOVE THE FONT you used on Instagram!) and have a relaxing, inspiring day! BISOUS BISOUS!

Taste of France

I also have longish hair–kind of an Isabelle Huppert non-style. I find my features have hardened rather than softened. But hair is no longer my best feature. All the same, I think too many women, when they go short, opt for styles that are a bit masculine, with bristly necklines. Hair can be short and practical, yet feminine.
As for plastic surgery, I prefer bangs.
I copy my mother as far as always wearing lipstick, but I am gravitating more toward pinks and browns than reds, which somehow seem too harsh. Nothing shiny.
The best beauty advice is stay out of the sun.
My favorite treat is a pedicure, done by someone else.

Mimi Gregor

I found myself nodding vigorously about the bangs! Instant youthifier. Also, I find myself shaking my head at women who go grey AND really short. Our features tend to masculinize as we get older, and THAT isn’t helping matters. Sometimes, after a certain age, I have trouble telling the sexes apart.

david terry

The Best Beauty Advice ever was written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo (yup….a presumably celibate priest) in the 16th century, in his Christmas letter to an Italian noblewoman under his pastoral care. The shortest and simplest version would be:

“Choose Joy”.

I had a small dinner party here last night to which I quite deliberately invited five, latter middle-aged, all-single-for-various-reasons women…..none of whom was ever a “Beauty” (at least not in the popular sense) ever in her life…… whom I’ve come to know only in the past two years (although, weirdly enough, one of them was, in former days, the Marketing Director who hired me as an illustrator for the Il Palio ads twenty years ago). They’ve all been friends for YEARS ( I call them “Il Posse di Cusatis”……which is the surname of the one who hired me years ago).

My point is…….I sat here much later, after the dinner, with my fairly-recently-widowed friend Bob, and I said “I love those women…..not a one of them is where she thought she’d be when she was 35…..but they don’t talk about that……..they’re just so HAPPY. I think they’re all gorgeous”.

So, choose Joy. I wouldn’t pretend to speak for all men,but I can promise you that at least two of us agreed last night that there’s nothing so attractive as a happy/content woman.

Juss’ sayin’……..

David Terry

Linda Boardman Kerr

My best, and sometimes worst, feature is my hair. It is quite thick, well past my shoulders, grey around the temples (silver?) and naturally curly. If the humidity is low it is beautiful, whether worn in a single braid, loose, or in a sleek chignon.
Beauty Icon? Someone French,(Juiette Binoche?) because I prefer the natural look over the overdone American one. With the huge exception of Linda Rodin. I am a fan.
Plastic surgery? If not overdone and you can afford it, go for it. I am about to spend $$ on braces and other dental work. Teeth are important to me.
I prefer lipstick (Chanel “Mademoiselle”). In winter I need a little gloss over it.
Signature hair style, a side “fishbone” braid, worn over my shoulder.
Beauty tip? Good posture! And SMILE. Both so effective and cheap!
Beauty products:..Sunscreen, Retinol, Eucerin moisturizer with hyalronic acid .
Ageing: Liberating in many ways, but also challenging and scary.
Best beauty advice: Again: POSTURE. Sunscreen, exercize and SMILE. The latter makes a huge difference.
Favorite beauty treat? A vacation. Barring that, a wonderful fragrance.


My favorite feature is — My hair (think Cher’s hair from Moonstruck) or my legs.

My ultimate beauty icon is — Carmen Dell’Orefice, Ines de la Fressange and Catherine Deneuve are my favorites.

Plastic surgery is — I’ve indulged in Botox and peels once quarterly, and find it a worthwhile investment. Haven’t tried fillers but wouldn’t rule it out.

Lipstick or lip-gloss — Lipstick. I prefer a satin lip in most cases, I find it more forgiving.

My signature hairstyle is — Reddish dark brown, medium length. I have curly hair, high cheekbones and narrow face, layers and medium length to add softness to my features.

My top beauty tip is — Follow a skincare routine, exercise daily and laugh often. I collect perfume; although I do have a signature scent, it’s fun to switch it up.

The five beauty products I can’t live without is — Cleanser (Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant), serum (Paula’s Choice C15% serum or Replenix BioRestorative Night Serum), retinol (Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol) and moisturizer (again, Paula’s Choice).

Aging is — a privilege.

The best beauty tip I’ve ever received was — Never leave home without applying sunscreen and lipstick.
My top beauty treat is — Massage.


Like Anita, it’s a treat to start my day with you Vicki. My favorite feature is my hair, it’s short, and I like it a little spiky once in awhile. I have so much hair, that if it was long it would just be ” too much” and short it is beyond easy. After washing, all it needs is a little styling with a hairdryer and it is styled and ready. A little dab of product, and really, it stays in style for days should it have to. A fabulous haircut is a must.

Style icon: also an older woman. Audrey Hebpburn. But also Meryl Streep, not just for how she looks, but how she is so professional, talented ( able to transform herself into any character) and not taken in by all the Hollywood fluff, she has remained grounded and knows what is her real life and what is her profession. She lives her life with as much privacy as she can, she is elegant, strong and accomplished.

Plastic surgery is: fine for other people. I am blessed by good skin, I stay out of the sun as much as possible here in California. The few trouble spots I have I use a miracle from Chanel that magically erase little wrinkles.

Beauty tip: eat well. Avoid sugar as much as possible, if you do eat sugar consume it wisely ( like in a fabulous piece of Belgian chocolate) and cleanse and moisturizer your skin. Morning and evening.

Always wear makeup, it not only makes me look and feel my best, it protects the skin. I seem to have a difficult time wearing red lips now, for me, a softer color works better for some reason. Red was my color when I was younger, these days softer shades are my favorite.

Three beauty products: Chanel fluid make up, Eyeliner, and brow pencil. Thank you for this, it’s inspiring to read what other women value and use to keep themselves beautiful, Vicki. Xoxo Lidy


favfeature…I am happy with my look
beauty icon…there are too many
Pl.Surg….if it is not overdone..yes
lipstick…colour depend on my mood
sign.hair…chin length bob
top tip…always cleansing, regular exfoliating and treat your lips well for many kisses
3 product….Cleanser, Serum, Moisturizer
aging..don’t think too much about…you can’t avoid though make the best of i
advice….learning by doing
best treatm….. 2 hand massage

Cathy C

Hello Vicki:
I hope everything is okay and that the trip to Australia was for fun and family. We are at an age where sudden trips across the world are typically due to an emergency ~ so I hope everyone is safe and healthy.
The only subject above I will comment on: Plastic Surgery…I know that there are haters out there, but four years ago I had a breast reduction – which included a lift and it was the best decision I have made in recent history. My clothes fit better, it was far easier to do many forms of exercise and for the first time in probably 30 years I was able to confidently wear a bathing suit top in public. Plastic Surgery is an extremely personal decison, but I have not had any regrets! I like that you are a never say never kind of gal.
Bon Weekend from Santa Barbara!


Dear Vicki,

I’ve been reading you for ages. You inspire me in more than one way, and I hope you don’t mind if I’m writing some answers in my broken English.

My favourite features are my stature and my feminity. I am petite, with very delicate features and silky hair, so of course my style icon is someone who is quite the opposite. I love the style of Ines de la Fressange, but I look much better with an Audry Hepburn style. I have a signature short blond bob.

I prefer lipsticks, especially natural shades. I also prefer simlicity in fashion, I would never wear anything vulgar or cheap looking.

I haven’t tried plastic surgery, aging is all right for me. I make my own night cream using quite expensive but excellent ingredients, and I use natural products in the morning, too.

My three basic beauty products: cleanser, moisturiser, mascara.

My beauty tips are: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink a lot of water, eat well, exercise a lot, find beauty in everything, and love yourself.

The best advice is from Oscar de la Renta: “Walk like you have three men walking behind you.”

Catherine Baudet

I agree with all your suggestions Vickie however the perfume one is a challenge. Whilst there is nothing more lovely than a faint sniff of something gorgeous on a woman, all too often perfume is overbearing and just plain offensive. It must depend on the brand and its freshness. I wish you could buy the sample sized bottles, as I have never ever used a whole bottle of anything. That way there is no worry about throwing them out after a few months and you can experiment with difference fragrances.
My other pet hate is foundation. I know people think it ‘finishes’ you, but seeing a layer of flesh coloured paste on skin is ugly. I think natural radiant skin is better unless of course the skin is discoloured or red. IPL can fix that.
To me the hair needs to be groomed and tidy. I don’t like lots of different colours, I think it needs to be ‘ minimalist’ rather than ‘ baroque’ especially on older women. Aesthetically smooth or gently waved is more harmonious with the skin. I love abundant glossy hair and do not like wiry untamed hair.
Lipstick is a must on all occasions. A deeper shade of your natural skin colour is best for a natural look, but the colour of lipstick depends on what you are wearing.


My darling granddaughters talked me into growing my hair – and now I’m so glad. Agree it’s so much softer on the face, softens a multitude of sins. Have never coloured so it’s entirely natural and healthy and thick. The strands of white –grey around my face (I have a central part and a longish fringe) are slowly increasing in number (top layers entirely cover them) but still there’s a lot of colour left in the rest. Go to the hairdresser each week for a hair treatment and shampoo/blowdry – it’s a real treat and I tell my hairdresser it’s my happiness therapy. She’s always so kind and makes me feel like royalty.
In addition to looking after hair – also look after skin (though regretfully sun-damaged from my teenage years on beach). Like you, a devotee of serums, moisturisers, cleansers – very dry skin so it’s essential. Agree with all about lipstick –essential too. Think too many continue to wear nude tones as they get older but then risk looking washed-out. As our faces age they need a little more warmth and colour. Sometimes I prefer matte but in summer sometimes a little gloss. Also believe in drinking lots of water and healthy food like fresh fruit and veggies. Hubby and I have very little grey hair for our ages – we think it must be all the fruit and natural yogurt we eat.
Returning to my old home town soon for an annual reunion with Faux Fuchsia and two other fabulous women (we met as a result of their blogs and a garden tour we went on – and have a reunion every year in a different Oz city). So I emailed some of my other old friends from uni days to meet up with them after the first reunion is over. One I’ve seen very little of in more recent times. She replied saying she had to warn me I’ll be shocked when I see her as she suddenly looks really old. Her friends have all been telling her they’re over the hill –and not as a joke. I was shocked and saddened by this. What a depressing attitude – as David Terry says – “chose joy”. Every day we wake up is a good day. Life needs to be celebrated – but we should have empathy and love for those who are struggling. Think women who are happy and at peace, despite the bad things that life brings to us all in the end, can spread sunshine around and work at encouraging those who are not. Once when I was going through a very hard time months after deaths of much loved family members, our wise son suggested I write a list at the end of every day of day of at least three good things that day, even just sunshine, or rain (for the garden) or a good coffee and be thankful for those. It helps. And we can all stretch out a hand to others who need this. Best wishes, Pamela

Sue Malizia

After started following your blog, Vicki, I began to realize it’s my time to finally start pampering myself starting with signing up for Barre workouts for days a week and monthly massages (which I just had today) and don’t know why I didn’t start years ago…it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself…besides starting to use my favorite beauty products by Lancome. I’m a very happy 60+, young at heart grandma. I’m just not daring enough to go grey quite yet though. But like you said, never say never. :-)


As I get older, which I agree is a privilege, I think inner beauty becomes more important. If you are happy inside it shows in your face, lines are more relaxed and there is a sparkle in the eyes.
Having said that you do need to look after your skin and I could not do without my Retinol serum, a miracle!
I would love to know how you deal with long haul travelling and jet lag.


Vickie…have learned so much from your blog. Thank you. Simply, for beauty at sixty, looking forty, (whoo hoo!) my advice is STAY OUT OF THE SUN! This is wisdom. Hair color; stopped coloring at the salon a few years ago when I noticed some thinning. I feel lucky that a spray, powder color by Bumble and Bumble matches my natural color. Just a little spray at the hairline does the trick. Make up, most days. Cleanser, very basic. I use a dermatologist recommended brand. The real shocker is that I use apple cider vinegar as a toner on my nose to keep pores small and clean. It works for me. Moisturizer…yes please, morning and night. Plastic surgery….not yet. Lipstick colors are soft. Hair, shoulder length and full, or up in the summer. Humidity and I are not friends. Biggest beauty tip….I am with David in his post, JOY! Life is too short to be grumpy. Smile all day. And pray for those who can’t at the moment. Thanks, Vickie.

Linda B

I’ll start by saying that I loved reading everyone’s responses so far. This has given me a lot of food for thought! Here is what I came up with.

My favorite feature is — this question was the hardest of all for me to answer, and in fact, is why I have been working up to participating in this wonderful conversation for several days! I have never been anything close to a conventional beauty, and sometimes still I hear the inner demons that tear down my self-confidence. So at first I reacted badly–what good feature do I even have? I’ve been trying to get out of that headspace. Having just turned 59 on Monday, I both appreciate and don’t want to spend a lot of time looking at all the ” life experience” that shows up on my face! All those laugh lines. . . well earned. So I’ve thought and thought. My answer for now is: my favorite feature is the complex green of my eyes.

My ultimate beauty icon is — I agree with many of the favorites mentioned, but also keep in mind my beautiful aunts and my mother, and my daughter.

Plastic surgery is — a choice for everyone to make, taking into account the potential risks. I don’t think I will ever do it myself, but there is a tiny chance I’ll change my mind some day!

Lipstick or lip-gloss — Lipstick! For everyday, rather neutral shades, but for dressing up, shades of red or sometimes dark pink.

My signature hairstyle is — I’ve had every length imaginable, but after doing a 10 year stint of super short hair, I have grown it out in the last year to around chin-length, and I love how my layered curls and waves look this way. Might be my favorite hairstyle ever. I rather like my light brown hair with its occasional shots of silver woven in.

My top beauty tip is — maintain good health practices–regular exercise, healthy eating, and at least trying to get enough sleep (the latter I find challenging in menopause)

The three beauty products I can’t live without are — eye serum by Laurel Whole Plant Organics; Rose Rejuvenation antioxidant rich face cream by Island Thyme; and Nars “Pigalle” lipstick

Aging is — whatever we choose to make of it!

The best beauty tip I’ve ever received was — beauty comes from inside

My top beauty treat is — shopping for beauty products with my best friend, even if it is by text and email as we live in different states now!

Mary Levy

Beauty at 52: Pilates, Retin A and sunscreen and teaching teenagers (they keep me young).


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