I’ve never been much for the beauty salon, preferring to spend my money and time on things I find more important – like travel.
I do regularly enjoy a good hairdresser cut, but avoid having any styling with excuses like – “I’m off for a swim” – that only works in summer, or – “I like to shampoo my hair after a cut” – works in all weathers. And that’s exactly what I do – go home, shampoo and style myself.
Truth is, hairdressers generally want to add height to my little head, and somehow, I end up with a style reminiscent of a 50’s beehive, no matter what instructions I give. Perhaps I’m too fussy. Perhaps the puffed up look suits me. I think not!
I plunged into the whole bridal beauty thing for my wedding – professional make-up artist, hairdresser, nails – the works. As a new bride, I thought I should indulge in this tradition. The result was simply not me. So, after assuring the expensive hairdresser, nail technician and make-up lady how delighted I was with their work, I rushed to the shower an hour before the ceremony and washed their efforts away – quickly doing my own make-up and hair. I think the painted fingernails survived the day, probably because dad was urging me to the wedding car!
I dyed my hair in my early ‘20’s. I looked young for my age – more like a 16 year old than a 22 year old. I’d just been appointed as a Parliamentary reporter covering the Tasmanian Senate, so I had a hairdresser scatter blonde tips through my hair, chasing a more sophisticated look. Lots of compliments at work, but I hated it and returned within a fortnight to dye back to my natural colour!
I have contemplated another go at the the dyeing process if I don’t like my natural grey look in old age. However, I wanted to observe the process of losing my brunette hair colour to grey. At 60, I expected this to happen within a few years. But at 70, the grey is still battling to take over the stubbornly hanging on brunette. Gaining ground, more obvious in some lights, but no complete victory in sight yet. It’s embarrassing at this age. I continually find myself saying ‘this is still me, haven’t dyed it”.
I also once succumbed to a perm to achieve an Afro look in an effort to look more ‘cool’ and trendy. Remember, this was the era of the 70’s hippy. I didn’t look cool or trendy – a skinny, tiny white girl with an Afro. Very uncool. It only lasted a few weeks, replaced with a very short hair chop.
When it comes to planning a big travel trip, I do indulge on a little upgrade work. At my age, it’s pretty well in the necessity basket!
I get my nails cut, shaped and polished. The polish chips off within a day – something to do with my body chemistry – but at least the nails look reasonably good for the trip.
I have a good shaping haircut some weeks before departure too – time to let it settle in. I leant a long time ago that short, easy to manage hair was the best for my travelling adventures.
The eyebrows get a little care – waxing to shape – and attention these days to the chin! I get this expertly done because once, in my single youth, I tried using a shaver to quickly trim my eyebrows ahead of a first date. Unfortunately, in my rush, I shaved half of one eyebrow off! I pencilled in the missing part, but became aware during the dinner date that the pencil outline had worn off. That boy kept looking at me very strangely throughout our meal, and never asked me out for a second date!
In Covid times, my rare beauty indulgences ahead of travel are gone. I don’t want to risk catching Covid at the last minute – torpedoing the travel plans. I’m definitely not risking a visit to the hairdressers or beauty salons, where here in Australia, few people are masking up these days. And let’s be truthful here – at 70, it’s a vain hope that professionals can do much to improve my look. So, I hibernate in the weeks leading up to the travel departure date, and my beauty routine is back to ‘Do it yourself’ – luckily something I am now well versed in.
Instead of a professional hair cut, I turn to the scissors and trimmer set, purchased during the height of the pandemic, to try to gently follow along the same lines set by the hairdresser months before. Saves money for travel and MJ – the hubby – says the outcome is ok. I can’t do the back of my hair, so I trust him to tackle that with the scissors! Call me brave. Call me desperate!
Luckily, the eyebrows are thin these days, and need little plucking to tidy up. Definitely, no shaver goes near them – learnt that lesson!
I try to neatly trim my own nails and plough a lot of hand cream into them. Not professional, but the best I can do. I don’t normally give my hands much attention, but I do have a big range of hand creams given to me on birthdays and at Xmas. Are friends and family trying to tell me something? I also steam my face – a routine recommended by my English grandmother – and I plough in creams in the hope they will soften the wrinkles. They don’t. But, I’m ever the optimistic soul.
There’s other travel preparations that never used to be considered when I travelled in the 70’s. Digital cameras need to be cleaned, batteries readied, extra camera lenses, cords and attachments into the luggage. Phone. Wifi thingo. iPad. Chargers. Don’t forget the chargers.
Back in the day, it was just my trusty Pentax with one lens and plenty of film rolls. Well, until I got into a little travel movie making. Then I was lugging both the Pentax and the Video 8!
Other things to consider now are ensuring my orthotics, walking shoes and socks are up to scratch! Knee supports! Covid kits! Spare specs. Medications. A lanyard to hang my mask from, around my neck, when I’m eating, and a neck cord for my glasses when I’m on a plane. I can see well up very close, and tend to take them off using my iPad.
Big mistake on my last big trip in 2019 – pre covid. My glasses went missing aboard Japan Airlines (JAL), prompting an intensive search by myself and a bevy of Japanese lady attendants, crawling around the floor of economy, checking under seats etc. I’d say this provided some inflight entertainment for other passengers, but there were a lot of annoyed looks. Could I have accidentally left my glasses on my used food tray, perhaps covered with a serviette, and whisked away unnoticed to the galley? A search there ensured, with no result.
The head attendant offered to search the galley trays again, and invited me to join in. Interesting exercise. The multitude of trays revealed a lot about the eating habits of flyers. But still no glasses. Luckily, I had my spares in my carry-on, and I gave the flight attendants my contact details in case the good ones were ever located. Honestly, at this point I had visions of Jodie Foster (Flight Plan), Liam Neeson (Non-Stop) or Harrison Ford (Air Force 1) crawling around hidden depths of the plane. Searching for my specs or hiding them? The joys of travel!
The wonderful staff at JAL continued their pursuit of my glasses after I departed the plane, finding that they had dropped behind a rack of food trays, not able to be detected until all the trays had been removed from the tray cabinet. They kindly returned them to me, still in fairly good shape. JAL, you are wonderful, and when I soon fly again with you, I promise to have my glasses firmly attached around my neck with my newly acquired neck cord.
PS: I’m going missing from my blog for a while – ATT – absent to travel. Preparations are in play ahead of new stories, new photos, new experiences.