The Love Goddess: Brighten Up

Simple ways to jump-start your self-love …

Editor’s Note: Who is the wisest of them all? Who is more dedicated to your pleasure than anyone on earth? Who can help you when you’re going online for the first time to find love; or when your lover’s children hate you; or when you want to strangle your husband? Why, the Love Goddess, of course. She promises nothing less than celestial wisdom, heavenly sex, divine dating. Read on …

Jane came to me two months ago, fragile and beleaguered, just after the end of a grueling divorce. She didn’t want love help, she wanted self-love help. Her skin was blotchy and broken out, her weight high; her self-esteem shot. Her deeply held notions about the importance of aging naturally had become, she said, “a cosmic joke,” and she felt that her present appearance wouldn’t translate well in the lawless, Darwinian world of Dating Again. So we decided, before she began thinking about going on the net (where she felt she’d be “competing for the same men as my step-daughter”) to cherry-pick from the available ways to brighten her up a bit. Her three caveats were: no going under the knife; no grand diets and lifestyle changes; and no spending potloads of money. 

So the simple jump-start for Jane and maybe for you, too:    

A visit to the dentist for teeth-whitening. In-office takes two hours. Take-home whitening takes two weeks. Either is great.

Getting more water simply by adding one big glass in the morning before you even begin to think. Just go get it when you wake up, or keep it by your bedside and get it down. Sneak in another big glass midday.

Taking fish oils and other oils, like olive oil, which do good things for your heart, your skin, your entire system. Lubrication is one of the names of this game.

More magnesium. It’s the ingredient that makes oysters and pumpkin seeds considered aphrodisiacs. Many nutritionists believe magnesium (which may be in your calcium tablets already) is as important as calcium for your bones. Magnesium also offsets the constipation some women experience when they take the recommended dose of calcium; when they’re not paying attention to their diets; when they’re not drinking enough water.

Only you know best by now how your body reacts to what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat. So, Dater’s Choice as to what to cut back on and what exercise to add. (Jane liked to walk and she craved meat, so she added more lean meats and eggs to her diet — she has no cholesterol issues — and dropped the frequent pizzas she’d been eating during the last horrific three months.)

Decide what disturbs you most when you look in the mirror and grapple with it. Rejuvenation comes in many shapes and sizes. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, while surgical procedures are down a whopping 70 percent in this economy, filler services — by which they mean injectables, peels and laser procedures — are up an even more whopping 300 percent. That’s because new fillers are better, techniques more sophisticated and practitioners more experienced. I took my Connecticut client to Lisa Topham, R.N., P.C. in Norwalk, CT, because Lisa’s been doing what she does for 23 years, and because I knew from other women that she is gifted, low-key in her approach and that she refuses to do procedures she feels are either wrong for the client or just wrong in her own estimation.

She gave Jane a light chemical peel, removed the furrowed brow with three painless injections of Botox and delicately lifted the “puppet” lines from her nose to her mouth with what’s now called the “liquid face lift.” This is the newest method of adding needed volume to faces and lessening (in this case) the depth of the nasolabial lines by using filler — hyaluronic acid, aka Restylane, Perlane and Juvederm — not just in the lines (the old way) but above them. It’s a nonsurgical lift, a kind of “revolumizing” she’s after (a volume that New York dermatologist Patricia Wexler says starts waning in the 40s). Lisa says that with the new, semi-permanent fillers — her favorite being Restylane but also Sculptra, a poly-L-lactic-acid filler that requires three separate treatments — ”we can give back more of the face’s original volume by restoring some of the contours it once had.” It’s a kind of buttressing, over which your own tissue then can drape naturally. The downtime depends on how many places the filler is used but is minimal — a couple of days of using heavy makeup on any places that might bruise. And the Restylane, Lisa said, would last at least 18 months (Sculptra, up to four years).

Don’t just moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Many doctors and estheticians would have given my client rich moisturizers. But Topham wanted her to continue exfoliating her skin, and so gave her products (she likes Obagi’s) that contain Retin-A and hydroquinone. “If you’re not removing dead skin first, slathering on moisturizer — no matter how good it is — “is like putting glue on dead skin.” Hence Jane’s mysterious breakouts and blotchiness.

Jane was told she would peel for a while with the new program, but that she could control how fast the action was, and further, that in three weeks she’d have fresher, glowier skin.

In three weeks, Jane was up and running, her skin moist and clear, her body four pounds lighter (without dieting) and her sense of herself altered enough that she found herself smiling brightly (and whitely) to the world. She had spent roughly $2,000 — not a breeze for her, but less than the weekend spa visit she’d been contemplating before we spoke.

I know that self-esteem isn’t found in a needle. But I also know how many women feel lost when it comes to how to look less exhausted. And in a world where a glowing woman telegraphs triumph rather than defeat, a little modern wizardry can sometimes be just what the Goddess ordered.

Darling earth girls, I will continue to give my honest thoughts on ways to jump-start your self-love life as well as your love life, and hope you’ll let me know your desires and your thoughts.

Like all savvy goddesses, the Love Goddess has her own blog, which you can visit by clicking here.

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