A glass of sherry in the evening

What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?

Ria, age 23

I lived with my family in a village in the countryside until 23. It was a few years after WW II in the 1950’s. I worked in a grocery shop and gave my wages to my dad to support the family. We had no luxury or beauty products. It was not available and was considered a waste to spend money on luxury.The first few years my clothes were hand-me-downs from my four older sisters, which my eldest sister altered.

I left the family home at 23 and moved to the city. I first lived with an aunt and uncle and later rented a room in a big house. At the beginning of the 60’s I had a bit more money to spend and sometimes bought lipstick, eyebrow-pencil and nail polish.

I stopped putting on lipstick after I married because my husband didn’t like it.

I liked shoes with heels (pumps), and I remember wearing a beautiful pair of red heels in  the 60’s.

When my daughter was born in 1970, I stopped working full-time. I worked part-time after a few years at home because I wanted to have my own money to feel independent

I visited a beautician for the first time  when I was 45. This was  a gift of a colleague (who was also beautician). She gave me a great beauty-tip: “Start the day with drinking a glass of lukewarm (boiled) water. It’s very good for your skin”. I started immediately and have never stopped.

I never used a lot of make-up…some face cream and always nail polish.  I colored my hair until my mid 60’s. It’s white now.  With clothes, I wear nothing special or fancy.

What does beauty mean to you now?

My aim is to get old in a healthy way…no plastic surgery or Botox for me.  I use the same make-up  products: face cream and nail polish.

The clothes I wear are casual during the week and on Sundays, more ladylike.

To keep fit, I swim, folk dance, cycle and walk. I eat healthy, vegetarian, fresh food. I enjoy my glass of sherry in the evening.

Why have your ideas about beauty changed over the years?

In my 20’s we had no money. Make-up was not available or seen as waste of money.   Now I think “Why?”    Nowadays we are bombarded with products and images in glossies, on TV, in the streets. It is totally different.  I am content and enjoy my life.

Ria, 78 – Holland


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