What Beauty Is at 42
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. This month we speak to Binu Hallan, a 42-year-old homemaker who lives in Mumbai.
THE SWADDLE: Are you beautiful?
Binu Hallan: I think so. I know I am very presentable because everyone’s told me so.
THE SWADDLE: Do you look your age?
BH: I feel like I look younger and I like it. I’m used to people telling me that I don’t look my age and that I don’t look like I’m a mother of two children.
THE SWADDLE: What’s your favorite aspect of your physical appearance? Why?
BH: I don’t think there’s anything in particular. I think all of me makes me presentable.
THE SWADDLE: How much time per week do you spend on grooming and/or cosmetic/appearance?
BH: I guess hardly an hour a week.
THE SWADDLE: How do you feel if you don’t get to devote that time as usual?
BH: I don’t do anything much besides making my hair, putting on some lipstick and kohl on a regular basis. So I don’t have a problem if I don’t get too much time to groom or get ready. I like everything to be quick, so I’m ready within 10 minutes for any occasion.
THE SWADDLE: Is part of your beauty routine inherited from woman/en in your family? If yes, who and how has she influenced you?
BH: Not really. My mother relied heavily on using home remedies for grooming. For instance, milk baths or applying curd in her hair for softness, making face packs from fruit and vegetable peels that were mixed with rosewater. But I don’t have that kind of time or patience to do everything on my own. So, I get all my regular grooming done in salons. It relaxes me because someone else does it.
THE SWADDLE: Was there a time in your life that you felt most beautiful? Or is it now?
BH: In my teens and early 20s. I feel like everyone looks their best that time.
THE SWADDLE: Outside of your appearance (clothes and make-up) what has the greatest influence on how you feel about your beauty?
BH: I think it’s my communication skills. It makes me feel confident, and when confidence shows on your face, you look beautiful automatically.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. As told to Anubhuti Matta.