Who Am I Without My Wrinkles?

Wow, when you remove all my wrinkles and expression lines I look scary. Sort of like a plastic version of who I might have looked like 40 years ago! But still not really me because I never had waxy looking skin.

I had some new headshots taken a couple of weeks ago. It was past time for new ones. Every photo I use now is a selfie or a group shot I’ve cut the rest of the group out of. I’ve been told that is fatal in the world of head-shots.

My last professional headshots are so old and scary, I don’t even recognize myself. Right before I had them taken, I’d gone in for a light body wave and come out with a perm!

Jennifer Connolly
vintage head-shot from years ago


And YES, that’s the last time I will ever have a body wave put in my hair.

Visions of me suffering through Mom’s kindly inflicted home perms still dance in my head. Do you remember those Toni perms? I would sit at the kitchen table, clamping a towel over my face, in a futile attempt to avoid the noxious fumes. The results were never flattering :)Why…I wonder, was baby fine, poker-straight hair unacceptable in the ’60s?

But I digress.

I’d asked the photographer to leave my wrinkles alone but if I had a big red spot somewhere obvious…go ahead and blur it out.

She tried some new software on a picture she sent for approval and it freaked me out! I need my expression lines! I can tolerate my chipped front tooth…although I’m getting that puppy fixed soon. I look weird with no crows feet, no smile lines, and no rings around my neck. It was bizarre.

Perhaps it was the sudden loss of character vs the gentle improvements I’m getting from drinking more water, wearing sunscreen, using Retin-A, and great skin products. There are a few more things I use on my skin…but that’s for another post!

It reminds me of the time I cared for my Mom after she had her facelift.  She loved how she looked when the bandages came off and the staples came out. I thought she looked like a strange version of Linda Evans.

I remember she looked unusual for about a year. Then I don’t know if her face “settled” or I got used to seeing her look the new way. She looked terrific… but different.

Upshot…I’m not thrilled and joyous about my wrinkles but I am also not comfortable seeing them totally wiped off my face. I haven’t decided if I’ll ever have a nip or tuck done on my wrinkles, but to obliterate all expression is scary

Have you ever had a photo of yourself photoshopped? How’d you like it?






  1. Oh yes, I did perms in my twenties, and thirties too! Then in my forties I blew my hair out straight. The funny thing is I have a natural wave in my hair. For the last 7 years or so I have just let it mostly air dry and then use a diffuser on it. I get way more compliments on it now and it’s so easy.

    I could never do any nips or tucks…maybe some light peels or something but nothing invasive. I think what cures me from even contemplating it is seeing all these celebrities that look like hell from too much plastic surgery. Even my sister had work done and she looks different now.


    1. I’ll bet your sister is happy with her new look. I have a girlfriend with “Trout” lips, cheeky implamts and enough filler to sink a ship, and yet she thinks she look fabulous. Each to her own. I see many disasters but I think the good ones we don’t notice!!
      Lucky you…having wave in your hair!!! Isn’t it funny how long it takes us to appreciate what we have:))? Thanks for sharing Linda.

  2. You know, even though I now know how to totally photoshop wrinkles out of a photo, I wouldn’t do it for my own. Because, eventually, someone who saw the photo would meet you and the look of confusion on their face would tell all! Kind of like in online dating when someone clearly lies about their age. For now, I am at peace with my wrinkles. The belly fat is another story…

  3. You brought back a lot of memories with this one…I use to give my mother perms…I can almost smell the stuff now! I began working on a video and was appalled when I saw myself…in my head, I am not that wrinkled….but the camera says otherwise. But, I would not want to look like one of the Real Housewives, so some how must learn to cope with the Real ME. I need to get a new head shot, but I think I need to avoid Photoshop and embrace who I am. I have been surprised at how many people say to me when they meet me OH YOU LOOK JUST LIKE YOUR BLOG! Does that mean a lot of bloggers don’t? I better keep looking real and avoid the touch ups. All of this was good food for thought.

  4. What would we be without out wrinkles, laugh lines, scars, freckles, etc? I cannot imagine my face without them, it is what makes me me. Then again my income does not depend on my looks…

    I love this post and all of the comments!

  5. I think you look even better now. Those blank, youthful faces are so uninteresting. It’s always all about the eyes. Movie actors are always told that the camera will focus on the expression in their eyes more so than body language.

    I can’t speak to the whole home permanent thing, since I have always had naturally curly hair.

    The last time I had professional headshots done was in 2006 for my website. I had may hair dresser blow out my hair, and I did my own make-up. I asked him specifically NOT to “fix” anything, as I wanted to look “real” and totally myself. He did, however, remove a shadow on my neck in one shot caused by my hair, which I agreed to. If you look closely on one of them, you can see a scar on my arm, which I told him NOT to take out.

    All the pictures on my blog are pretty much cell phone shots that somebody else took, and the only thing I have done w/a few of the darker ones was to lighten them, which is really quick and easy to do. Beyond that, I’m clueless about “fixing” photos.

    I long ago made the decision not to have any cosmetic surgery or plumpers or fillers. I have had so much surgery in my life out of necessity, that the thought of going through all that for something not necessary does not thrill me.

    Talk soon, my friend.

    Cheers, M-T

  6. While I haven’t had a professional head shot done – I did have my daughter who is such a good photographer take some pictures a few years. She tried color and black & white. Did a really good job. You look so cute in straight or curly hair. I smiled to see you posted on this topic the same day my purple clover piece on face wrinkles and the effects of gravity published. It’s been on both our minds apparently.

  7. I am due to have a new head shot quite soon. I certainly want to keep my laugh lines etc. but may consider having a little photoshopping on my teeth. I have had them straightened but have two that are longer than the rest and can look dracula like in photos.

  8. I haven’t tried Photoshop yet but I wouldn’t mind a little “tweaking” of my wrinkles in my next head shot or in reality. I do agree that to “erase” all signs of a long life would be a bit scary looking. We have all seen those women! But hey, if they are happy with their appearance, who am I to judge.

    btw – Those Toni home perms were still going strong in the 70’s.

    1. I hope Toni has been banned by now. Lord knows what we were doing to our lungs!
      As I said, I’m not ruling out a nip and tuck myself, but it would be subtle, so as not to scare myself

    1. Thanks so much. These are old photo’s.
      Great observation Nora. Subtle is best for any type of cosmetic intervention. Actual or photographic.

  9. You look fabulous just the way you are. You take fabulous photos. There is a blogger I won’t go into details. She’s around fifty. I always thought she was beautiful. But she waschasing some kind of nervanna perfection. So she had botox, then injectables and then…She was no longer beautiful to me. She was perfection, not a line, but the personality in her face was gone.

    1. Thanks Sandra. I should post a few of the goofy ones I’ve been trying to take with my tripod and remote!! Hilarious and pathetic at the same time.
      Great talking to you today. I look forward to meeting you!!

  10. Hello there

    I’d love to hear more about your future tooth adventure. (I couldn’t see a problem with your teeth, and certainly couldn’t see a chip).


    1. Hi Deb,
      These are my old photos. The new ones show two chipped front teeth that I did in my sleep during a horrifically stressful time. It happened while I was my brother-in-law’s patient advocate as he navigated and lost his battle with cancer.
      They need to be capped…not a cheap proposition. I’m saving

  11. I agree with you. I had a professional photo done for a magazine bio and it was photoshopped. The result was the look of someone who couldn’t possibly have the experience represented in the article. I don’t like my wrinkles but I didn’t like looking like I didn’t have the appropriate worry lines that goes with the career journey.

    1. Very good point Anna! I do look at author’s photo’s and if they look frighteningly young for the topic, I’m sceptical.

  12. I’ve never had a photo photoshopped but now I’m curious. Mostly I’m good with my wrinkles except the ones around my mouth. I smoked years and years ago, and I think that is really deadly for the lips. It might sound funny, but I think some women, and men, wear their wrinkles better than others. Perhaps it’s mainly attitude? Great post.


    1. Some women do wear them better. Perhaps Coco Chanel was correct when she said we earn the face we get as an older woman. I also smoked for years and have the damage to show for it. Smiling helps, but the damage is still there.

  13. This post came at a perfect time for me! I own a small indie natural cosmetic company and I am working on adding some lovely faces to my website. However, authenticity is important to me. I will only showcase real women, wearing our brand, and NO photoshopping. I have just sent the untouched photos of our models to my graphic artist to put an image together with the products, and she took the liberty (I know, it’s her job) to touch up the photo of the model – changing her skin tone, texture and removing minor blemishes and birthmarks, even adding more makeup. Not at all what I wanted! I want the real deal; complexion flaws and all to represent all women and all our beautiful imperfections on my website. It was challenging to communicate this, but we are getting there. Thanks for the affirmation I am doing the right thing, in the face of lots of doubters.

    1. You are doing the right thing. showing a product on a real face allows us to relate and it gives the company more credibility, in my opinion. “Anti-aging” products shown on 20 year olds, simply insults my intelligence.

  14. I have the same baby fine hair and remember the 70’s perms. What a nightmare! So happy we have better products and choices now.

    As for the wrinkles, the most shocking pics are the selfies I take from below the neck. Ouch!!!

    Great post, thank you!

    XO Kimberly

    1. I’ve learned selfies must always be taken from above. Looking up tightens the neck, taken from below and I’m one big jowl. Scary stuff.

  15. I’ve never been photoshopped, I rarely even pose for the camera I’m very uncomfortable in front of it. I don’t have static wrinkles yet, mum didn’t get any till mid 50’s, we are saggers. I’ll be able to swing my jowls over my shoulders soon like a scarf which is handy.

    1. You make me laugh out loud Tabs. You’re so gorgeous and so is your Mum! I do notice you’re a bit camera shy but when you do step in front of it, we are all bowled over. xo

  16. I’m with you……I’m not a fan of my wrinkles and blotchy skin – but I earned everyone of them!! Also not a fan of a “tight” face either. Sometimes I do a double-take when walking by a mirror – is that really me??? I don’t feel that old! But on the other hand – grateful that I am alive, healthy and here to see what life is going to throw my way! So for me it’s a double edged sword! Damn those wrinkles – but Thank You God for getting me here!

    1. We did earn each and every one of them. For several, I can even name the experience that deepened the crease! Blotchy is my middle name lately and I’m determined to get that under control. Stay tuned.

  17. Jennifer I agree , I like the way I look, smile lines and all.
    It makes us who we are!! Embrace ourselves in all of our glory and quirks!
    The Arts by Karena
    A New Gallery in Town!

  18. Beautiful photos! I thought this was you now with a new do. You haven’t aged!! So let’s see the new pics! Okay first let me say that I had many a Toni perm and the last one was the day before high school started Aug 1980. I kept telling my mom the fumes were bugging me and it was too hot.. Last thing I remember I passed out and whacked my head on the tub- explains a LOT!
    I agree 500% about erasing your lines!! Why would someone want to? Those who do end up with a slightly putty looking featured face..I do not want to look like that! Wrinkles are earned and beauty marks in my opinion!!
    Great posts lately Jennifer! Xxoo Kim

    1. Oh my god Kim. Passed out!! You win the worst Toni perm story. Poor you!!
      Thanks for the compliment. My posts seem to have a life of their own lately. I’m loving to hear all your opinions and comments. I love the feel of a community forum where we share and discuss issues.
      xoxo Lunch next week!

  19. I have never been photo shopped, but I can imagine it to be disconcerting. I have decided to leave my face to God and cosmetics, the rest be damned. I am very sorry when I see no laugh lines on someone’s face. The obsession with looking 20 may be understandable when one is in the entertainment industry, but I honestly wonder when I see women my age obsessing over themselves. It’s not healthy to think you look awful. The one thing men have over us is that for some reason, they seem immune to a lot of this and there is much more self-acceptance. I am working hard to just love me as me, without feeling I need to do much more than just naturally sparkle! 🙂 Your lines are beautiful, as are you! I would miss them!

    1. Thanks Wendy. And you do sparkle!! I think this youth obsessed society is doing women a grave disservice and I worry about the message young girls are getting.
      Don’t get me wrong, I want to look as vital, refreshed and vibrant as I can, but never younger. That has never been my goal.

  20. I recently had publicity photographs taken, and when they Photoshopped my image, they replaced the missing tip of my nose! I’ve had a small divot on the tip of my nose for years, and while it doesn’t meet “standards” of beauty, it’s MY NOSE!!! Don’t be messing with it… We’re more than sufficiently beautiful without having someone remove all of your unique character, right?

    1. Oh my goodness Janice! That’s awful and hilarious at the same time. These are the things which make us look distinctive!! I’m always curious about how women feel when they have nose jobs or chin implants. Things that dramatically alter what they were born with vs facelift etc!

  21. Gosh I have not had a professional photo taken since the children were toddlers! So no photoshopping as that was before the technology existed!
    I do remember Toni perms….same thing, towel, kitchen table fumes etc…yuck!
    I had an Afro perm in the late 1970’s and I will never do that again either!

    Looking forward to your skincare post….my skin is changing a lot now that I have hit the 60 mark.

    1. Oh the things we did in the name of beauty! My skin is changing a lot so my routines are changing. I’m also trying some things out of the ordinary that I have high hopes for. I’ll keep you posted.

  22. Hello darling friend, You look fabulous-I always love to see that beautiful smile. I know what you mean about the ‘laugh lines’. We’ve earned them and grown into them, getting rid of them doesn’t look real for this stage in life. I have never done head shots but it’s definitely time. I did post a swimsuit photo from our Mexico trip (how is that for authentic?;). It is what it is in our 50’s right? I think happiness overrides wrinkles any day. Excellent post!
    xx, Heather

    1. Welcome home!! You’re bathing suit picture was fab!! Bravo to you. Happiness does override wrinkles and the alternative isn’t a good one. Lets talk soon!

  23. As they say, we earned every wrinkle and should be proud of them. Well, I’m not proud but I’ve made peace with them. Because I know that’s a sign I’m aging, and I’d rather be aging than it’s tragic alternative! You look beautiful, and you’re really rockin’ in in some of the photos on your sidebar in those shirts. Now if only I could wear them the way you do. Awesome! I wish we chatted more at BAMC15!

    Excellent post.

    1. Thanks so much. I wish we’d chatted more at BAM too Cathy! I’ve been told Vaseline on the lens is a subtle way to lesson wrinkles without obliteration. I’m not trying it though because I’d probably wreck my camera.

  24. I’ve done some photo-shopping, but not of my face. I’ve photo-shopped out pimples on someone else, and yes, I did photo-shop some bulges out of a bathing suit pic. (several years ago – I’m accustomed to those rolls now.) I’m with you, I like the expression lines.

    1. Bulges are one thing, expression another. Bravo for even knowing how to use photoshop! It’s above my pay grade and skill level.

  25. Oh I remember those home perms! I used to come out with an afro. You and I have the same hair it sounds like. I’m naturally al blond as well.

    I’m quite skilled in PS but I haven’t done a full-on blur everything away photo. I *wish* I could get rid of some things like the line that is starting to form around my neck and the wrinkles that are appearing on my forehead, but in real life. I figure though my bangs are covering it for now. I guess I will have bangs the rest of my life. LOL

    I’ve seen lots of blogger photos where I know immediately that they have been Photoshopped. You should never be able to tell a photo has been altered. They look ridiculous. That said, I wouldn’t be having a blogger meet-up if I’d been hiding behind fake images of myself that had all been severely altered because I’d be too scared to show my real self to anyone. I’d be living a lie.

    I used to think I could get an eye lift but after my horrible hospital experience 2 years ago where I almost didn’t make it through I’d be hard pressed to ever want to make the decision to volunteer to go back to anything even near a hospital.

    I’d have loved to have seen your Photoshopped image that you found so alarming.


    1. I didn’t pay for the image so I can’t share it. Trust me, waxy, plastic sort of dead, looking. You’re a blonde?? You have such gorgeous red hair!! Wonders never cease. Looking forward to meeting you in Vancouver!!

  26. NO!
    I would NEVER fuss around with PHOTOSHOP.Heck do YOU think I would be able to figure it out anyway!Not for me.
    DO share your NEW Headshots!
    I remember when YOU NEVER SHOWED yourself!!Do you recall when you were up in Canada and had a hat and a profile shot you shared?I can and I tried so hard to figure out who you were and what YOU looked like!How many years ago was that?My guess is four…………….can that BE?!!

  27. Great post Jennifer. Us more mature ladies lose something about ourselves with our faces are stretched too tight and smooth. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with that ‘person’ in the mirror. History taught me that I would eventually get jowls like my maternal grandmother and mother. Well..hello, they’ve arrived!!

    We all have worked hard to get where we are today and I for one must not forget that. It’s all part of our journey.

    BTW…yes I still have those perm nightmares!!! You however, perm or not, looked beautiful!

    1. Thanks Deborah! These are the old photos. I’ve got my Granny’s neck wattle but have avoided her mustache so far. Passing mirrors isn’t too bad because my eyesight is going. It’s those damn magnifying mirrors and yes I need them bcause my eyes are going 🙂 Catch 22!

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