I was in at the Doctors flicking through the magazines as you do and I found myself reading an advertorial for a life-saving, youth-returning, new-to-the-market foundation type makeup. I paused and reflected. I am getting older and occasionally I catch a reflection of myself and think, "Who is that lady? Do I know her anymore?" I am changing. The texture of my skin ... the shape of my face ... lines are beginning to course across once flat spaces. I am ageing and I need to reconcile this fact and try to become comfortable with the 'new' me. However, back to the advert. I mused again and wondered if now was the time to start an 'enhancement' regime. I made a mental note to investigate the product.

Later that week, when I went to the chemist to pick up the prescription, I had a chat to the lovely wee, heavily made up, young store assistant about products suitable for the 'older' woman (including the one I had seen advertised) and I found myself completely bamboozled by the torrent of potions, salves, concoctions, tonics and face powders available. The wee lass brought me up to speed with cleansing routines, toning procedures, layering techniques and generally anything else she thought I (in my low self-esteem and ageing state) would buy. I was horrified – not at the overwhelming range of stuff – but at the prices! I did my usual back-out-politely move. I oohed and ahhed and nodded and agreed and said I would like to think about the options. I pocketed all of the pamphlets she had thrust at me and retired with my prescription.

I remembered my mother many, many moons ago commenting caustically on my teenagers 'plastered' face. There were two remarks she usually made ... You are pretty enough without makeup! ... and ... The best makeup is a smile! I could still hear her voice as clear as a bell and I smiled broadly into the window as I left the shop. The face lifted, the lines compressed upwards into a gleeful shape, the mouth flashed cheer and happiness and the reflection was pleasantly attractive. This made me smile more. My mother was right. To hell with the makeup.

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