Valley Boomers want affordable self-care

Donna Vanderlaan, right, swears by the services at Amazing Lash Studio.(Photos by Pablo Robles)

By Carrie Snider

While we can’t stop our bodies from aging, there are many things Phoenix men and women ages 50 and older can do to look and feel better.

It seems like there is always a new product or procedure to try. Plastic surgery, facials, Botox, hair styles—the list goes on.

According to local beauty experts, Boomers tend to gravitate toward two main things: to look refreshed and not spend a lot of money.

Those who are 50 and older definitely do not want to look like they’ve “had work done.” In fact, many Baby Boomers are focusing on that one thing about themselves they want to improve, and Phoenix-area professionals can revitalize those spots.

Here are a few things that older men and women are doing:

Croton Oil Peel

While plastic surgery is an option to help improve the look of the face, many Baby Boomers don’t want something that drastic or expensive.

That was definitely the case with Sue Griffin, who at age 69 is still working and wants to look her best. She was searching for something to help her improve her overall look, but didn’t want to do anything drastic.

She heard about a new procedure called a Croton Oil Peel from Dr. Andrew Wolin, of Wolin Plastic Surgery Center in Scottsdale. A Croton Oil Peel is a modified phenol peel that is deeper.

As part of the natural aging process, our bodies produce less and less collagen, and the result is thinner, frailer skin. The Croton Oil Peel stimulates collagen production, which then helps the skin to look younger by smoothing it, reducing wrinkles, reducing age spots, etc.

“It really helps to improve the quality of the skin,” Wolin says.

He pointed out, however, it’s very important to have an experienced physician do the peel because the procedure is tailored to each individual and it takes skill.

The procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes, and the patient is put under local anesthesia. The big commitment comes with the after care, because the skin should not be exposed to the sun for about two weeks.

“For me, it surpassed my expectations,” Griffin says. “Especially around my lip and jowl areas, the wrinkles are greatly diminished. I am happier smiling at others during my workday and feel invigorated.”

Eyelash extensions

Not everyone may think lashes can make you look younger, but seeing is believing. Margie Bahm, owner of Amazing Lash Studio in Peoria/Lake Pleasant says she sees a lot of older clients who don’t want to spend a lot of money but want to improve their looks. Eyelash extensions are quick, easy, and don’t cost a lot.

“People want that instant gratification,” she says.

There are several options for eyelash extensions, including style, length and fullness. Some people come in to get eyelash extensions for a particular event, such as a wedding, but others want them as their everyday look to look refreshed.

“Ninety percent of my clients don’t want to wear mascara, and they don’t have to with eyelash extensions,” Bahm says.

Eyelash extensions give just enough oomph to your look that the change is noticeable, but it’s not overly dramatic. They typically last two to four weeks, depending on how the client cares for them.

Donna Vanderlaan, 56, has been seeing Bahm at Amazing Lash Studio since it opened in August 2018.

“I want eyelashes because it feels good,” Vanderlaan says. “The experience is great. A few people have said, what are you using to look so good? I think it’s the lashes.”

The visit takes about an hour, and Vanderlaan loves it because she takes a little nap during it. When she walks out the door, her lashes have a lot more length and volume.

Hormone therapy

Sometimes a treatment on the outside of the body isn’t what is needed. That’s why Sarah Quinn at Arcadia Wellness Center, takes a whole-person approach.

She offers many types of treatments, but one thing she likes to focus on his hormone balance—to help the body from the inside out.

“We really want to help get those hormones optimized.”

Clients come in with different symptoms that many experience as they age, such as lack of energy, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, etc. She starts by asking questions and doing bloodwork. Then she can work with them on hormone therapy that will help boost their energy and get them feeling and looking better.

“It’s really important that I listen to them, and then we can make a plan together.” Getting more energy and sleep can definitely help boomers look and feel better.

Botox and fillers

Men and women are interested in treating the wrinkles on forehead, crow’s feet, and treating the “11s” that make someone look mad or upset, according to Carmen Rayis, with Affiliated Dermatology, which has eight locations in the Valley.

Botox is a good option for that.

For those looking to treat downturned corners of the mouth and lifting sagging skin, fillers can be placed in the cheeks and lips.

“Nonsurgical enhancement is attractive because patients are sometimes worried about surgery,” Rayis says.

“From a price point fillers and Botox can be reasonable, considering their alternatives.”

And Botox and fillers aren’t just for faces anymore. In fact, they are used to improve the look of sagging, wrinkly earlobes and even improve the look of your hands.

“Dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvederm can be injected in sagging earlobes that have been stretched out from earrings or wrinkled from sun exposure,” Rayis explains.

A few years ago, Radiesse became the first FDA-approved filler for the back of the hands. Then Restylane recently received its approval last year.

“Since its approval, a buzz was created for a treatment that can make your hands appear youthful,” Rayis says. “Hyaluronic acid gel filler is placed under the skin of the back of the hands to replace volume. The hands look less ‘skinny’ and the veins become less prominent.”

Nicole Morrison decided to get fillers in her hands, and Rayis did the procedure for her several months ago.

“It is like they took 10 years off of them,” Morrison said. “I can look down proudly now and see hands that really represent how I feel inside. My skin is getting thinner and this has plumped them up. Less wrinkles.”

Laser treatments

There are many tools and treatments people can try at home, but as Dr. Maggie Husami of Mesa Derma Health Skin & Laser explains, to get real, lasting results it’s best to seek out the help of a professional.

“For real transformation of aging skin, it is important to use treatments that create change deep in the cellular level, addressing the root of the issue,” she says.

Clients who come into their clinic wanting a more youthful look to their skin have several different options.

“We always recommend starting with lasers, as lasers restore the youthful texture, tone and tightness of skin by rebuilding collagen beneath the surface. Popular laser treatments are ActiveFX, Featherlite, ResurFX and Exilis Ultra.

“If tone is a concern, we recommend IPL Photofacials, which eliminates brown and red spots, and it is mostly used on the face, neck, chest and hands.”

What’s nice about these procedures, she adds, is they are minimally invasive and offer quick results.


Felicia Taghizadeh, the director of operations for Arizona Facial Plastics, says many of their clients feel young and vibrant, so they want the outside to match the insides.

“Getting older is an ongoing process. We aren’t anti-aging, we are about reimagining what the aging process looks like,” she says. “We call it Reimaging. We want our patients to see progress, and know that we are with them on their journey.”

Her husband, Dr. Farhan Taghizadeh, is a world-renowned expert in facial aesthetics and has performed more than 4,000 facelifts.

“Our program is unique in that we utilize platelet-rich-plasma therapies to enhance results and speed the healing process. During our process, we draw the patient’s own blood and spin it down to create a highly concentrated plasma full of growth factors and healing agents. Dr. Taghizadeh then uses this serum during the facelift to minimize bruising, speed recovery and practically eliminate scarring.”

Hair style and color

Mane Attraction Salon owner Kendall Ong said 60 to 70 percent of its clientele is over 50 years old. When clients come to the salon, they are looking more youthful yet natural style they can maintain at home.

Ong said lately, many clients want shorter, defined haircuts, and rather than coloring their hair, some clients are embracing their naturally gray color.

Sharron Seal has been coming to Mane Attraction Salon in the Biltmore area for over 10 years, seeing Kendall and his wife, Beate. When Seal started coming to the salon, she had thick, long, straight hair.

“Over the first few years Kendall gently shortened my hair little by little and allowed the natural curl to appear. Now my hair is layered and shoulder length full of natural curl. Kendall has created a hair style for me that is youthful, pretty and extremely easy to manage. Beate works her magic with hair coloring and has colored my hair with bright blond highlights and lots of shine.

Seal lives in Beverly Hills, California, but travels to Phoenix frequently and always makes sure to see Ong to keep her hair looking great.

“My hair cut still looks good after a couple months. Other haircuts I’ve had locally have lasted less than a month before my hair becomes unruly and difficult to manage.”