Our Willowberry Age Without Apology Insta Live Series is held bi-weekly on our Instagram page. These live chats with expert guests are designed to help you navigate age with confidence and style. Here are the highlights of our recent chat with 80 year old artist and blogger, Sandra Sallin.
Sandra Sallin is an artist who, eight years ago at the age of 72, started writing an award-winning blog covering all the good things in life: art, books, cooking, family, travel, style. Sandra is a former TV commercial actress, married to a film director and living in LA. A self-confessed collector of ‘way too many lipsticks’, she is passionate about beauty but not so keen on ‘anti-ageing’.
Here are the highlights from our warm and wise chat including why Sandra likes her grey hair, how staying curious is the secret to a full life and the million-dollar question: what’s the matter with old, anyway?
On not feeling your age
I have to remind myself that I’m a grown-up. I still think of myself as 30-35. In my head it doesn’t feel any different. Well, maybe my body is different: I can’t do some of the things I used to be able to do like hike 18 miles, but other than that? It’s just a number and I’m thrilled to be here.
You are never too old to have new experiences
My son is the one who has kept saying ‘Mother, you need a YouTube channel, you need to do Instagram Lives’. My son even bought me a ring light to encourage me so one day I said ‘OK, I’m going to do it’. And a whole world opened up to me. I adore it. I’ve met really wonderful people. There’s a saying my husband uses: he’s always encouraging me to keep my hand open for things to fall into it. As opposed to keeping it closed. With that kind of an attitude all sorts of things open up. I’m saying yes to all sorts of crazy things! It’s taken me outside my world.
Appreciating yourself at every age
Something I’d like to tell you all: you are young! You are beautiful the way you are now. You have no idea that all of those things that you are criticising yourself for, in 5 or 10 years you are going to look back and think, ‘What was I thinking?!’. Because truly, you don’t realise how young you are and how beautiful you are. I never felt I was beautiful but I can look back now and see photographs and think ‘Ah! That was me?!’. I didn’t know!
The life-enhancing power of lipstick
I think I’m attractive on a good day with plenty of make-up. I think it really helps if women learn how to put make-up on well. I see a definite difference before I have lipstick on and after. Without lipstick I look kind of meh. It really does add a brightness.
Sandra Sallin’s skincare habits
I have always taken good care of my skin. I've always been interested in skincare, even as a teenager. I have worn SPF for gazillions of years. I love keeping my skin moisturised and protected. I know that my wrinkles aren’t going to go away. I’ve got them. I love using hyaluronic acid and moisturisers. I’m pretty gentle with my skin because it is sensitive. I don’t like it feeling red and irritated, so I don’t do anything harsh.
Wrinkles are a fact of life
I was walking into Barneys in San Francisco because I was looking for a lipstick and a saleswoman comes up to me and says, ‘Oh my goodness, I have the best eye cream for you. You must try it.' And she was going on and on about the lines around my eyes. I said, ‘You know what? I’m 75’. She just said, ‘Oh. OK.’. I was really annoyed. I have been smiling so, yes, I have got lines.
If people want to have fillers that’s ok, but I am afraid of not recognising myself. I’m afraid of not liking the way I look.
Sandra's top beauty tip
I don’t put any highlighter up high on my cheekbones, near the eyes, because I have so many lines there and it just accentuates the lines, so I put it right on the apples of the cheeks so that it looks like I have shiny, youthful cheeks!
How technology can keep you relevant
I think it really helps to be curious, to read a lot, to stay relevant, to know what’s going on. The thing that keeps me so relevant is the computer. It’s Instagram, it’s TikTok, it’s Facebook. Yes, I am on way too many things but I know what’s happening and I think that keeps me young. I’m a very curious person so I find out about something and then I have to dig into it and find out more and more and that really helps with ageing.
Beauty brands are making a mistake by ignoring the older woman
Most brands are missing a whole group of women that need help and don’t want to ‘anti-age’ but want to look better at whatever age they are. What I don’t understand is that there is this whole world of baby boomers who are just asking for help. We have money to spend and we are simply ignored. I think they are missing a real trick. I mean, is it the teenagers who spend that much money?
The way beauty brands should be talking to older women
Speak to older women. Talk about having your skin feel good, as opposed to anti-age. Educate women. I have friends who walk into Sephora and look around and say, ‘I don’t know what to do’. Women don’t always know about hyaluronic acid or vitamin A. Educate them. Help women make their skin better and make it the best it can be. Give women an education to buy something that will help skin feel good, because that will make it look good.
What's the matter with old?
For 30-year-olds to worry about turning 40? Or 40-year-olds to worry about turning 50? Guys! You are fabulous at the age you are. And why is it terrible, you know, ‘if you have grey hair you are going to look older’. What’s wrong with older?! When I went grey I had to buck everybody because they were saying, ‘You’re going to look old’. I like the way grey hair works with my skin and I like the softness of grey hair. I’m not saying it’s right for everybody but I just don’t get what’s the matter with old?!
How to Age Without Apology
Curiosity. Reading. Keep on being interested in the world and what is going on, every aspect of it. Be it palaeontology, make-up, whatever it is, just be involved.
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