What Beauty is at 66
The final installment in a series exploring self-image and aging.
Skin Deep is a five-part series in which The Swaddle explores how women’s self-image, ideas about and efforts toward beauty change with age. Each month we will feature the responses of a woman from a different decade of life. In this final installment, we speak to Savitri Agarwal, a 66-year-old homemaker who lives in Mumbai.
The Swaddle: Are you beautiful?
Savitri Agarwal: I was told that I was the most beautiful of all sisters. That always made me think I am beautiful. When people compliment me saying I look my age, or not older than I actually am, it feels great.
The Swaddle: Do you look your age?
SA: Yes, certainly. Sometimes, I may look younger, too, because of the way I dress up, or when I color my hair.
The Swaddle: What’s your favorite aspect of your physical appearance? Why?
SA: My skin. I’ve always had great skin, smooth and flawless. I’ve never had any issues with it like pimples, blackheads or breakouts.
The Swaddle: How much time per week do you spend on grooming and/or cosmetic/appearance?
SA: At least four to five hours a week. I’m regular with pedicures and manicures and retouching my roots. I oil my hair and get a full-body oil massage every week. And, I never leave the house without putting on some lipstick.
The Swaddle: How do you feel if you don’t get to devote that time as usual?
SA: There’s no way I won’t get time for it because I don’t have anything else to do. My children are away, there’s hardly any work to be finished at home. So, I spend time on myself, and you’d often find me reading beauty magazines or watching YouTube videos on how to make face packs, remedies for hair fall.
The Swaddle: Is part of your beauty routine inherited from woman/en in your family? If yes, who and how has she influenced you?
SA: Yes. My mother was a beautiful woman, and I’ve done everything to be like her in terms of my appearance. From the products she used, to applying only homemade and chemical-free mixtures on my hair and skin, and eating very healthy. I think that’s the reason I’ve never had breakouts and I have very good hair compared to other women my age.
The Swaddle: Was there a time in your life that you felt most beautiful? Or is it now?
SA: I still feel beautiful. I miss my youth, though. Only for the energy and exuberance that showed on my face then.
The Swaddle: Outside of your appearance (clothes and make-up) what has the greatest influence on how you feel about your beauty?
SA: Appreciation from everyone around. It makes me feel loved, pampered. I love it when my grandchildren call me beautiful, when my granddaughter asks me for tips on beauty.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. As told to Anubhuti Matta.