The invisible woman

“I have become invisible” my 50 something year old girlfriend announced in a deflated voice, “completely, utterly, invisible”.

Something happens to a woman when she goes through menopause, and I am not talking about the hot flushes, the forgetfulness, the lack of energy, the burgeoning waistline – it’s the fact, that she becomes invisible.

Men don’t become invisible as they age, but women do. As soon as we lose our hormones, we tend to lose much of our femininity.

I have watched girlfriends who used to be head turners, men walk into poles staring beauties – morph into creatures of an unknown sex.

We also do become slightly annoying when we dig around in our handbags completely distressed looking for our purses that we could have sworn were in our bags when we left home, whilst the cue at the checkout becomes longer and longer behind us.

We see the eyes rolling skywards when due to our worsening night blindness, reversing the car without a reverse camera in the fading light makes us reverse ever so slowly so as not to add another ding to the car.

Between hot flushes, forgetfulness and exhaustion, just getting work done becomes progressively harder and harder to do.

All of the time and effort put into our skins throughout all of our lives seem like it was a complete waste of time, as we still look haggard and old more often than not.

For many women the solution to our restoring their fading beauty is to get facelifts and fillers etc – but it doesn’t make them look prettier, just worked on unless they hit the jackpot and find a cosmetic surgeon who actually knows how to do a subtle job of it.

But so many don’t.

Menopause is something all women will go through – just as we all have to go through puberty.

But for pubescent teenagers at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel – this too shall pass. And if they eat well, and take care of their skins, it shall pass sooner than later!

For the menopausal woman – there is nothing that can be bought off the shelf that really works – because as therapists we know – that a cream cannot turn back the hands of time, even if the marketing department of another cosmetic company tells you it can.

It hit me really hard as to how invisible the menopausal and post-menopausal woman is, when frequently published nutritionist friend of mine who has written multiple books on having healthy babies, brought a book to her publisher on menopausal health and was told that it would not sell.

How incredibly naïve was that publisher?

The baby boomers and older X Geners are all going though, or have passed through menopause.

They control most of the money in the world. Have more money to spend, and want to spend it on themselves for a change.

This market is ripe for the plucking for smart and caring beauty therapist.

I say caring, as these women have not come down with the last shower of rain. They may not be able to find their car keys (which are next to them on the counter) but some of them have, and still run successful if not powerful businesses, or are the upper management in their company.

Many of these late 40s through to late 50s women have spent most of their lives financing their children and their mortgages. The problem is, one day they wake up and look in the mirror to find that a truck must have run over them.

Because they are time poor thanks to work, being constantly tired, and sometimes still have teenage kids around the house, they want fast results and are happy to pay for them. The problem is, they usually then turn to plastic surgery as they so yearn to look pretty again.

Or they go to the hairdresser and dye their hair purple, red, green or blue ………. yup – that works – people definitely will look at you – but for all of the wrong reasons!

And that is the secret in how to take care of these clients. To remember, that all they want, is to be pretty again – no necessarily younger looking but pretty.

The best part is, if you get it right, you will have a client for life – as well as all of their friends and their daughters.

The problem is that when these girls turn up looking like train wrecks at a salon, there is no time taken to actually discuss a plan of attack to help them look attractive again.

As a therapist, my first goal is to find out what it is that they want treated – not what they want done. What I mean by that is, I ask them what results they want – do they want to look more lifted, more toned, smoother, even skinned – or basically younger or their prettiest.

If you ask what they want done, you will get a “I would like a peel or microdermabrasion or a light therapy treatment” – basically they will tell you what they think they want done, because it is something they have read about in a magazine, or heard from one of their friends, and it does not allow you to recommend the correct treatment(s).

Also find out how large or limited their budget is – this is not easy – but explain that it gives you an idea of the best plan of attack.

If you are a young therapist, do not say things like “I love this mask, every time I use it, it makes my skin glow” as your client will just look at you and think “stupid girl, she doesn’t know what she is talking about” and you will instantly loose her, as she is not going to get the same results from that mask that you are.

Your client needs to leave feel pretty, or feeling that she has taken a step towards beauty. I know this is hard to achieve when you have just given them a hairstyle which looks like a cocky thanks to your amazing head massage, but I recommend adding extra things to the facial which will give them instant results.

I wax their faces for free as part of their facial – sometimes I get them to come in 24 hours before to have their waxing done if I am doing a peel. Unfortunately, with menopause comes facial hair growth which just makes a woman feel ghastly ugly.

I always sell in eyelash and brow tinting at a discounted price so they walk out with tinted lashes and brows – this gives them an instant facelift.

If your client is on a tight budget, and her facial is a one-off treatment, make it work – make sure you get some major results from it – but most importantly, make sure that the experience is a major pamper session.

If the treatment is a voucher, do not dismiss this client as a one-off wonder who most probably will not return just because she cannot afford the treatment – she has friends! And although she cannot afford it normally, make sure she feels as if she has regained some of her beauty before she leaves.

Menopause affects the whole body – not just the face, so recommend body treatments for slimming and toning – more so the later. The onset of batwing arms and sagging everything else is soul destroying.

If your client is about to be a mother of the bride or groom, this is often where you just need to step in and really recommend body treatments or at least body creams and scrubs to help her look her very best.

I see so many mothers of the bride and groom who have bought sleeveless dresses which are all lace and fitted, and the skin on their arms is dry and pigmented and loose. They have been really good and exercised dieted and had their facials – but no one has recommended body care. It always shows in the photos.

Depending on how well your clients are excepting menopause or not, and or how well they are coping with or not coping at all, will also depend on if you recommend them visiting a menopause clinic for bio identical hormone therapy or not.

Bioidentical hormones are not HRT, but a more natural hormone replacement therapy which will help women feel better, as well as lose weight, and improve the way they respond to facial treatments or not. If you have a client who is just not coping with all of the menopause symptoms – this is a perfect path for her – she will find a new lease of life.

I know as a young therapist, I was always keen to get the best results for my clients, but I never could understand how my clients felt. I even have to admit thinking to myself that I would never let myself age that badly!

But today as a post-menopausal woman I get it, I am one of those women trying to work out what happened to my figure and my face, and although I have always looked well after both, I cannot get over how much harder it is once you are hormone free!

We live in a youth obsessed society, even with beautiful stars such as Helen Mirren and Julianne Moore carving the road to aging gracefully and being seen as still beautiful.

Even with modelling agencies screaming out for good looking mature age models as other industries outside of the beauty industry (not including plastic surgeons – they have known this for a long time!) have caught on where the money is. And they know, no Baby Boomer will want to buy something a Millennial Model is promoting.

We are an aging population, with men and women living well into their 90s, this means that out of 70 years of spending money or beauty, based on most girls starting spending at 20 and finishing at 90, more money will be spent by women post menopause than pre-menopause.

Just because the 80 and 90 year olds are not spending money at this moment in time, do not for one minute believe that the next generations won’t.

The Baby Boomers and older X Geners want to age disgracefully, not gracefully. They intend to live long and well, and go out with a bang – not fade away into oblivion as our parents did and are before us.

With that information in mind – isn’t it time that beauty therapists start making girls like my friend, feel less invisible?

Let us remove the words ‘faded beauty’ from our language, and change it to ‘mature beauty’ for example?

Contact Yvette van Schie at

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