A Jar of Confidence

I was watching an ad this morning that had Isabella Rossellini, with only a hint of makeup, talking about a face cream. Normally, when an ad pops up like that, i hit “skip” as soon as it lets me. But i adore Isabella, and what she was talking about really piqued my interest. There were no claims that it took years off her face. No percentages of improvement. It was her talking about how much she loved the stuff because it felt luxurious. Because she loved the scent. Because it felt special. And then she made the comment, “(I don’t want) youth. I’ve had that. I’m done with that.” And she smiles and laughs.

Oh, how i wish i could attain that level of security in myself.

It’s not so much that i want youth. There are so many experiences i never want to go through again. So many years of confusion and self-doubt. And then the years of growth, facing the parts of myself that i didn’t like and needed to change. (Not that all that work is complete yet…) I would rather spend a week getting daily root canals than go through all that again! But there are definitely things i don’t like about getting older.

Ok, ok…. You knew that already.

It made me feel so good to see Isabella – a woman who, in spite of being widely considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, was dropped from a campaign because of her age – talking about it in a positive way. Granted, she doesn’t look her age. She looks MY age, even tho the has 10 years on me. But even that means she has some wrinkles and sags… And she is stunning anyway.

It sounds trite, but i really think it has to do with her infectious laugh. And her sexy voice. And the way she projects herself. She is comfortable in her own skin. Aware of both her age and her own inner beauty. All things that you wouldn’t expect to sell a face cream. But it works.

Because after watching that ad, i actually left the house for the day in nothing but mascara and lip gloss. (Yes, and clothes. Sheesh.) If i had to estimate the last time that happened, i’d say it was no more recent than the previous presidential administration. But i figured, if Isabella – who certainly has a beauty mystique to maintain – can go confidently minimalist, i should be able to as well. I mean, it’s not like i have a cosmetic contract or reputation to maintain. So i left the majority of my makeup routine behind, and didn’t even add any extra cleavage to distract from it. I went out, ran my errands, and came home to a day of spring yard work without any penalty for skipping the color corrector or eyeliner.

I feel like i got away with streaking naked thru the park.

Yes, you could say that if the ad had really worked, i’d have run right out and bought that face cream. And i might have, if i didn’t already have more face creams, serums, and treatments than your average department store. I have creams with precious oils, serums without any oils, and bottles with vitamins and antioxidants and essences of the Amazonian rain forest. I’ve got a treatment whose selling point is that it is made with real Irish peat moss. I’ve got scientific breakthroughs that smell like Dow Chemical, and all-natural creations that smell like a goat’s ass. And in spite of all that, i still never leave the house without spackle and Bond-O.

I’ve spent enough years and dollars accumulating my skin care arsenal to know that no cream is going to bring a miracle, even Isabella’s.

But i still think it’s a successful ad. It will draw in women who are sick of the bullshit thrown at us by other companies that promise, if we use their products, we will wake up looking like Cindy Crawford. As she once famously said, even she doesn’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford. So we know the claims are false. In spite of the fact that we sometimes (far too often) fall victim to wishful thinking, women aren’t stupid. If there was a lotion that would carve away the years, it would have been invented by now, and we’d all know about it. So the refreshing bit of honesty that sometimes a cream is good just because it makes you feel decadent might just be a game changer for the company. Maybe even the skin care market. The basic ingredients of a decent face cream don’t change much from brand to brand, so pick the one that makes you feel special.

My therapist once told me that your brain and body respond when you do something for them. Exercise, eating right, getting sleep – definitely. But also occasionally treating yourself to something extra yummy. Sleeping in on a Saturday morning. Things that are good for your soul. Your body responds positively. I think this ad feeds into that theory. Don’t buy it for a bunch of claims that can be made about nearly any moisturizer. Buy it because you like the feel of it, the scent, the fact that it makes you feel special.

Your body will likely respond to the honesty more than it responds to ridiculous claims.

As for me and my toiletry addiction, i won’t be buying the cream – I have too many already. But i will be buying the premise. And if i gain half of her sexy self-assuredness, i will be more than happy with the results. I’m sure i won’t be successful every day, but even if i manage it half the time, it’s an improvement. Maybe not to the lines on my forehead, but definitely to my psyche.

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