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what to do with wrinkly burnt face, bad teeth, bad hair?

(27 Posts)
kiritekanawa Thu 29-Jan-15 02:39:19

I feel generally crappy about my appearance, particularly when trying to get dressed up. Any advice much appreciated!

I'm 38, with a BMI of 22 (163cm, 58kg).

I have naturally red/blonde hair, blonde eyelashes and eyebrows; blue/white skin with lots of moles and freckles; light blue eyes. With this colouring, makeup always makes me look like I'm in drag - just looks awful.

I grew up in Australia, and live in NZ, and do a lot of sport, so have quite badly sun-damaged skin, with big forehead and eye wrinkles.

My hair is very thin and very fine, and tends to look bald at the back, unless it's held in a ponytail. But the ponytail always looks kind of wrong, and looks like an "Essex facelift" in photos because my hair is so thin. Short haircuts have always looked awful though - again, my hair is too thin. I think I might look better with grey hair - at the moment, thin, long, slightly curly hair on me looks like an old person in an inadequate wig.

My teeth aren't great, they're a bit crooked and two incisors are broken and grey. I can't get them capped because they'll probably just crumble to bits (and I can't afford it anyway).

Generally I feel ok about my appearance when covered in sweat and mud, red-faced, having just run up a mountain or something. I look much like anyone else in a pair of nylon shorts and a merino tshirt. I have the figure of a middle-aged runner, i.e. flat chest, muscly legs, with not much of a waist, but not actually particularly fat.

When trying to look good, I feel fat, awful, self-conscious. I always look terrible in photos from formal events. Makeup looks bad. No makeup looks bad. Hair always looks dreadful. Clothes never fit properly and always look unironed. Colours look wrong, black looks harsh. Grey tshirt and black pants kind of look OK but most of my wardrobe isn't grey or black. It's beginning to get me down that I always look so terrible.


BritabroadinAsia Thu 29-Jan-15 03:51:05

Hi - only answering really as I'm in a similar time zone, NOT because I have any expert advice... but here's a few thoughts:

First, your colouring sounds gorgeous! I wonder if the amount and type of make up you are applying (and not being accustomed to seeing yourself in it on a daily basis) is the problem?

Have you been using a black mascara? That might look heavy on blonde eyelashes, but maybe a brown one/other coloured one wouldn't be as harsh? And foundations can look ridiculously caked on if the formulation is for medium to full coverage, but you could try a lighter tinted moisturiser and there are products out there to camouflage redness - am reluctant to recommend what I know, as I'm not sure what is available in NZ. But the internet is your friend! There are some great make up artists out there who put tutorials online, and offer advice for different skin types and colouring.

My favourite is Lisa Eldridge, who does many videos on how to create different looks,which might be a good place to start. She has a whole series of how to select the right foundation videos, and others in her Basics videos, including 'no make up' looks... I appreciate that her colouring and yours are different, but you might well find inspiration, and she provides links to websites to source the products she uses. Don't be scared off by the full-face-of-slap type videos - one of my favourites of hers is her 'how to look presentable with a hangover' which is just about facing the world looking ok, not dolled up for a party.

I think you have hit the nail on the head with regard to colours, so it might be worth doing one of the finding your colours things as per House of Colour or Colour Me Beautiful (but doing it online for free!)

I have always been slightly skeptical, but do recognise that my skin does look a bit better when I wear the 'right' colours near my face. I found a site the other day that through process of elimination and matching your skin type to various celebrities would place you as a warm/ cool skin colour then further refine which 'season' you are and gave you colour choices that would enhance your skin tone. It's an American site
which quite honestly I found anything but (visuals are too busy, don't love a lot of the style advice) BUT she did have some good tips for assessing your body shape, face shape and of course, analysing the colours that suit you.

I think as far as clothes are concerned, again, finding advice on what suits your body shape (and I'm v jealous of your low BMI and athleticism) is key, because trust me, there will be clothes out there that can make you feel great.

As to hair - how about something mid length but with a side swept fringe to disguise your forehead, and layers to add volume? I think you aren't happy with your long hair as it is, but there are many options open to you to. I am in total ignorance of what a hairdresser would be able to do, but if you google something like 'best hairstyles for thin hair' you will see lots of ideas, and Pinterest is really helpful for inspiration, too.

Teeth - in all honesty, I think you need to ask a dentist what your best options are, but maybe present him/her with your budget and see what improvements they can make, or what they can recommend that you do at home (e.g. teeth whitening kits).

Sorry for long post, and rather vague ideas - I'm sure someone with similar colouring or more knowledge will come along with plenty of advice.

Good luck!

Eastpoint Thu 29-Jan-15 04:46:05

Cameron Diaz hair sounds similar to yours, would this sort of style work? Factor 50 at all times, tinted moisturiser rather than foundation so your freckles come through. Minimal concealer as it can look cakey on pale skin. Sort out the crooked teeth first if you have sufficient funds, lots of women seem to like Invisalign braces as they aren't fixed. Are you drinking enough when you aren't running? If you are always running on low hydration levels that can make your skin look worse. Also do you eat oily fish? Can you add some to your diet, it might help your skin.

violetbunny Thu 29-Jan-15 06:08:01

Hello, fellow kiwi here! A few thoughts from me:

Firstly, don't be too hard on yourself. I would love to have thinner hair and a more athletic figure! Many of us have insecurities so you are not alone.

Regarding your skin, having grown up in NZ I also suffer from sun damage, last year I had this lasered and it was the best thing ever as it removed most of the damage. There is a wide range of treatments available and some are much less expensive than others so it's worth looking into if your skin is a concern.

Have you ever had a proper makeup consultation before? You might find that going for a professional makeover will make a big difference in refreshing your look. I've had quite a few over the years and would recommend Bobbi Brown as the staff are well trained and great at creating natural looks. Not sure if you're in Auckland but the BB staff at Smith & Caugheys Newmarket are lovely. The cost is free or minimal depending where you book.

Lastly, have you thought of getting your colours done? A friend of mine had hers done and always looks great, even when wearing quite basic outfits. If you understand what colours and styles work for you, in the long run you can save money if you're can avoid buying pieces that don't suit.

Hope that helps

kiritekanawa Thu 29-Jan-15 08:33:53

Many thanks for the ideas, all.

BritAbroad - many thanks - will follow up with hairdresser, dentist, and sorting out my cupboard so the grey and blue stuff comes to hand rather than the black or red stuff (blue and grey probably looks good near my face; black is a bit harsh near my face; I do have to accept that I am now too old to wear my old favourite dusty-red clothes, which looked OK until a few years ago but now make me look like a ghost).

Britabroad and Eastpoint - my hair is too thin to do layers, or even to sweep across my forehead (then there'd be a bald bit on the front of my head) unfortunately. But maybe finding a hairdresser might help.

Eastpoint - I definitely drink enough (pints and pints of water), and eat oily fish probably more than is recommended. But will reinvestigate tinted moisturizer. I think the one i have is also sunscreen, and that tends ot look ghost-like in photos.

Violetbunny, no I'm the other end of the country but might just plan to nip to somewhere anonymous where noone will recognize me (Welly or Auckland) and then spend a day getting advice on makeup and clothes. I went to the Clinique counter in a department store in Australia when i got married, but the woman basically just said patronizingly "well yes dear, I can see you don't wear makeup very often. I wouldn't put too much on on the day". So i put on some brown mascara and some tinted moisturizer and that was it. It didn't look very good.

re lasering - was that having laser removal of moles? or wrinkles? THink I'd need a whole-body laser to remove a lifetime of dysplastic moles and wrinkles...

violetbunny Thu 29-Jan-15 09:05:08

Hi Kiri,

Sorry to hear about your poor experience at the Clinique counter, that's appalling. I've also had poor to average service from them in the past. Different counters seem to have different levels of training requirements for staff (even if they are owned by the same company), MAC and Bobbi Brown seem to only hire trained artists so are generally a safer bet. Bobbi would be my choice for a more natural look though.

Re the lasering, it was to remove pigmentation and freckles caused by sun damage. Many beauty clinics offer IPL or laser treatments, price can vary enormously depending on the size of area treated and method so do shop around. If you'd prefer an in home treatment, I also use an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) lotion and retinol lotion from Paula's Choice Australia which help with wrinkles and sun damage. Will post a link to the online store if I can find one.

violetbunny Thu 29-Jan-15 09:07:56

AHA lotion:

Retinol lotion (this is strong!! So only use every few days until your skin gets used to it)

Eastpoint Thu 29-Jan-15 09:11:57

I've just had IPL done on my face to remove thread veins - too much time outside & genetic predisposition. It looks good so far but the healing takes about 2 weeks I think - a week in & I still have visible marks. (Will pm but not post!)

BritabroadinAsia Thu 29-Jan-15 11:45:20

How rude of the Clinique counter woman....Would definitely recommend Bobbi Brown and Mac counters in a department store, as violetbunny has said. Sounds like a consultation with someone who really knows what they are talking about would be helpful. Do you have independent make up artists who work in department stores in Auckland/Wellington? I saw a great girl in my local (UK) department store who wasn't affiliated to any brand; I had to pay for the time - effectively a make up lesson - but then 'recouped' the money on buying the products she had used.

I find that if I am wearing make up I can get away with wearing the colours I love but don't look quite right next to my skin. I think tracking down a good blusher (Bobbi Brown would be great for this)would help - its something I find that makes a big difference when I'm looking pasty.

Really hope this time is a much better experience for you.

kiritekanawa Thu 29-Jan-15 19:58:51

hi again - thanks for the info. Will have a look at makeup counters (I think the Clinique woman was just having an off day - and perhaps didn't know what to say when faced with someone evidently in late 30s who didn't have a clue about makeup), and lotions and lasering stuff (though I think I probably need a dermatologist with a knife rather than someone with a laser). A vastly cheaper alternative to retinol creams is ungvita, if one can cope with the smell and the feeling of being covered in goo. I used to put it on my face and hands - should start again - it definitely works.


BallroomWithNoBalls Thu 29-Jan-15 22:39:39

Just one tip from me - dry shampoo! I have fine hair and know exactly what you mean about thin face / ponytail disappearing grin squoosh lots around the edge and roots of your hair with head upside down, throw head back, wait a minute or so for the oils to be absorbed by the powder and hen shake your hands vigorously through your hair. Then loosely stick hair in a high ponytail or loop bun. Instant volume I promise. Your hair doesn't even have to be dirty for this to work. This plus an absolute modicum of makeup (a very light properly colour matched foundation, some blusher and eyebrow definition) turns me from ghost to human.

MsBojangles Fri 30-Jan-15 15:25:53

Have a look at warm spring palettes, your colouring sounds a lot like mine and wearing the right kind of shades, especially near my face, really bring me to life.

Moniker1 Fri 30-Jan-15 15:38:15

Blusher, tooth bleach, eyelash and brow dye. Don't think should cover your freckles.

Smokeyrobinson Fri 30-Jan-15 18:49:09

Hallo Kiri so sorry you're feeling down about your looks. I'm very impressed by your athletic body and commitment to outdoor exercise (sadly I'm a lazy, sofa loving, fatty). Also your colouring sounds very pretty.

Lots of fab tips have been suggested already - mine would be definitely have a make-up consultation and invest in tinted moisturiser, brown mascara and natural lip gloss. Also I swear by well groomed brows as this always gives a polished look. The suggestion about going to the dentist with a set budget is brilliant! As you can target each problem then save up for the next treatment.

I really do empathise with you about your thinning hair as I too am suffering with this - I've got very dark hair, its thinning right at the front & very noticeable. It's so upsetting and does knock my confidence. I'm going to try supplements together with Aveda Invati products to see if this can be improved. For skin care I'd recommend Liz Earl products which I think you may be able to get online in NZ. Good luck! Do let us know how you get on.

kiritekanawa Mon 02-Feb-15 06:21:44

Hi all - thanks again for all the advice. Definitely need it. Someone took photos at a running race on Saturday, and I looked terrible even there - surrounded by other people dressed the same way - it was pouring and my hair was very wet, and I look balding and fat - moon-faced - surrounded by lithe athletic types, most of whom can run faster than me. Looking at photos of other people, I notice their nice smile, their nice eyes, etc - I just can't do that looking at photos of myself.

Ballroom - do you have any recommendations re: brand of dry shampoo? I have never used anything other than totally conventional shampoo and conditioner, so wouldn't know where to start...

Smokey - any recommendations on what to do with eyebrows? Mine are completely unplucked, untamed - not that they really need it massively, but I'd like to have them looking subtly neatened (rather than plucked to extinction and drawn back on).

BritabroadinAsia Mon 02-Feb-15 09:05:55

Hi again Kiri

I am so impressed that you are out there running in the rain - your fitness, commitment and persistence are admirable. Honestly, no one looks good exercising (frankly, if they do, they aren't working hard enough... have you seen the UK This Girl Can advert on You Tube?). Please don't be so tough on yourself - you are fit, strong and healthy. As a life long shirker, believe me, it's much easier to fix the cosmetic stuff than be really committed to an exercise regime.

I won't leap in with dry shampoo recommendations, as I'm much darker than you but would recommend having your brows done professionally to start with, then subsequently you can follow the shape that the beautician creates. Does the particular department store you mentioned wrt make up have a brow bar? If not, most beauty therapists will offer this - you can either be waxed, plucked or threaded....(written down, that looks like some kind of medieval torture!). Apparently threading is best, but I'm not sure it makes much difference? Make up can also be used on brows to add definition (again, not much experience of this as have dark hair), and the transformative effect of well-shaped brows does have a great impact on your face as they seem to really 'frame' your features.

Have you had any joy yet with make up or dentist appointments?

burnishedsilver Mon 02-Feb-15 09:10:57

It would take very little to make you look stunning.

Eyelash and eye brow tint.
Tooth whitening.
Decent haircut.
Look after your skin.

burnishedsilver Mon 02-Feb-15 09:12:13

And eyebrow threading.

ihave2naughtydogs Mon 02-Feb-15 09:25:49

Because your hair is fine, use shampoo and conditoners for fine hair. The dove oxygen shampoo and souffle are really good.I Would agree with other posters about shaping eyebrows and tinting eyelashes /eyebrows

LeoandBoosmum Mon 02-Feb-15 18:04:34

I think a trip to a makeup counter might help. You can outline your concerns and ask for a subtle make over? Dior, believe it or not, are great for this...did my mum. Some lipsticks and glosses can make your teeth look whiter and brighter, and apparently, Pearl Drops is pretty good and was recently in one of those pound stores - can't recall name - for a pound, if you have access. Your colouring sounds gorgeous tbh.
Might a short hair cut (that's spiky-ish with texture using product) make a difference? Also, having two or more colours in your hair - variations on the same shade - can help create the illusion of volume and body (but it has to be a professional job, I'd say, to look good).

You sound in great shape... I bet we'd all have a different opinion from you if we saw you!

chocnomorechoc Mon 02-Feb-15 18:22:44

I would probably try to sort out the teeth first if that is possible/affordable.

blacktreaclecat Mon 02-Feb-15 18:28:25

Re: teeth I would look into having hygienist cleaning, tooth whitening and composite (white filling) buildups. Fairly non invasive and can make a big difference

blacktreaclecat Mon 02-Feb-15 18:29:09

And avoid pearl drops, it's very abrasive

LammilyDoll Mon 02-Feb-15 20:01:40

Kiri, have you ever had your hormone levels checked out? I was wondering if your thinning hair could be related to a hormone deficiency, or maybe a nutritional problem. Could you get a medical check-up, perhaps?

kiritekanawa Mon 02-Feb-15 20:24:23

Britabroad - tee hee - thanks for the vote of confidence - if one didn't run in the rain here, one would never go running - this end of NZ is like far northern Scotland!

Haven't been to a makeup counter yet. Need to find an excuse to hop on a plane and get to a big city with reasonably large department stores - there are two tiny ones here, and they are full of my former students/ my DH's students & colleagues/ our friends and I'd just be too embarrassed to be sitting there repeatedly saying "hi!" to all and sundry.

However, I've seen a doctor and hormone levels are completely fine by anyone's definition (I know about the differences in opinion re TSH levels in the UK vs the US vs other countries).
I've made a dentist appointment - to get teeth cleaned and ask about cosmetic improvements.
I am looking up beauticians to sort out the eyebrows - though that might have to wait for the big city trip as well.

And I have sorted out the bathroom cabinet - filled with stuff left over from our decade in the UK - and found (among 8 half-used deodorants, 22!!! tubes of sunscreen, 4 moisturizers, unfathomable quantities of soap, shampoo and toothpaste...) the Clinique tinted moisturizer, brown mascara, eyeshadow & blush (and they all seem to still work - the blush is 15 years old) - so that's a start at least.

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