‘Does she or doesn’t she?’ has a new meaning

You may be too young, but do you remember Clairol’s famous “Does or doesn’t she?” advertising campaign? Shirley Polykoff created the suggestive slogan in 1956. She was her company’s only woman copy writer and she became an advertising legend.

 
In 1950, only about seven percent of women admitted to dyeing their hair. Six years after the launch of “Does she or doesn’t she?” Clairol’s sales increased by more than 400 percent. 
 
I have childhood memories of that commercial. It ran for years and featured a lovely, natural-looking – often blond – mother and her adorable children. The voice-over asked the iconic question as her handsome husband embraced her. This happy beautiful woman seemed to have it all.
 
It is interesting that a large number of women say that they colour their hair to express their personalities, not just to hide signs of aging.  Clairol’s recent “Global Impact Survey” showed that 88 percent of women feel their hair has an effect on their confidence. Even more tellingly, most women admitted to colouring their hair to feel better about themselves.
 
Dr. Steven DayanIt is obvious there is no stigma attached to hair colour today. That’s why I was interested in a survey done by IF Marketing, using data collected by Chicago-based facial plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Dayan. He was interested in the link between hair colour and Botox, so in the IF study, 70 percent of the women surveyed both coloured their hair and used cosmetic Botox.
 
I called Dr. Dayan to find out more about his interest in the connection between the early evolution of hair colour and the current evolution of Botox and similar cosmetic products.
 
Dr. Dayan found that before the 1960s, women were very unlikely to admit to dyeing their hair. They shared their secret only with their hairdresser. Dr. Dayan wanted to know whether Botox was becoming a “choice … the same way that hair colour is today”. He told me that he thought that cosmetic injections were becoming as acceptable as hair colour.
 
Dr. Dayan’s survey found that 69 percent of women who receive Botox also dye their hair, while in the general population, 75 percent of American women dye their hair. What this means, he told me, is that “contrary to popular conception, a Botox user is not more concerned with image than the average American woman.”
 
Dr. Dayan told me that the average Botox he treats is 30 to 40 years old, but that older women use it too. He explained he administers a combination of Botox and fillers, depending on what he is trying to accomplish. And he usually concentrates on the area of the eyes, “because when you meet a person you look at their eyes.”
 
He also told me it’s affordable. I agree. While Botox injections can start at $200, depending on the patient and doctor, a jar of department store anti-aging cream can easily cost the same — or even more.
 
What troubles me is how polarizing the issue has become. Some women today – except for those in the entertainment or fashion industries – are as likely to whisper “does she or doesn’t she” about Botox and other cosmetic injections. Some are so rude, they’ll cross-examine you: “Do you or don’t you use Botox?”
 
A recent article in a woman’s glossy said two high-profile women in the entertainment industry look wax-like because of their “cosmetic producers”. I disagreed. But to me and their legions of fans, they both look fabulous and natural. To confuse things further, a different article in the same magazine the month before extolled these same procedures. Is it any wonder women are confused?
 
I don’t understand why anyone cares what anyone else does, unless they feel threatened. I have no patience with women who complain that other women "raise the bar too high" by looking too good or too young. It’s nonsense! If you don’t feel good about how you look, fix it. Don’t complain about how someone else looks. 
 
I have never understood the nasty remarks some women – and men — make about women who look fabulous after 40. They say things such as “she must use Botox” in sneering tones. Who cares why or how a person looks fabulous – just enjoy the view. I know women in both camps who look fabulous – those who use injections and those who don’t.
 
Many women actually like Botox and dermafillers. In a survey of 175 women, the Great Neck-based anti-aging medical center MesoBoutique found that 80 percent of women aged 30 and up want to look younger, but only 36.5 percent would consider having a facelift. Fifty-five percent are interested in non-surgical procedures such as Botox and microdermabrasion.
 
Why the secrecy? According to the Daily Mail Reporter 72 percent of women keep cosmetic procedures such as Botox secret and have even asked for “subtler changes” to look more natural.
 
I think there are two reasons women don’t discuss using Botox or other procedures. I think the nasty comments about women who are "overly-Botoxed and wax-like” sting, even when they are not true. No one wants to be target of this type of meanness and teasing. Secondly, I think most women who care about their appearance prefer to maintain a mystique. They may not hide their fitness routines, but they don’t publicly dwell on the details of their diet or other regimes either. They’ll probably be happy to share beauty secrets with a close friend, but don’t expect an expose – it isn’t sexy or dignified at any age. They colour their hair subtly, dress timelessly, and look fabulous.
 
You may well ask: does she or does she? But you can be sure of only one thing: she will have the good manners not to ask you.
 
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