Which of these women spent 41,000 to look this good – and which spent nothing Five over-40s and the very different prices they paid to feel beautiful



14:22 GMT, 9 August 2012

Yvonne Baum from Oxford, has had nothing done

Yvonne Baum from Oxford, has had nothing done

Every woman wants to hold back the ravages of time. But many are prepared to go to extreme — and expensive — measures to keep their allure. Here, we talk to five over-40s with very different approaches to staying youthful.


Yvonne Baum, 46, a former music teacher from Oxford, explains why she has never had cosmetic surgery. She says:

My youthful glow is the result of a lot of time and effort. But I truly think I look better now than I did 15 years ago. I’ve never had plastic surgery but I do have a good grooming regime.

Like so many women, I gave up on my beauty regime when I became a mother but I’ve picked it up with a vengenace now.

From living in London and having my hair done religiously, spending 30 a month, I let myself go at 28 when I met my husband Martin and moved to our four-bedroom family home in Oxford.

I gave up work for four years when my sons were young — Campbell is 17 now and Dominic is 14 — and all our income went on the house and saving up for public school education.

I put on a stone and slobbed about in baggy T-shirts, wearing just a quick slick of 10 Boots No 7 moisturiser.

I even cut my own hair. But when I reached 40, I began to feel like I’d lost my identity. Going back to work full-time as a music teacher gave me an excuse to make an effort again, so I joined a gym, toned up and bought a new size 10 wardrobe to keep me motivated.

I started to spend up to hundreds of pounds a month on designer clothes and Jimmy Choo shoes.

Today, I spend 45 a month on my hair, 58 on my nails and 45 on facials. I have my teeth whitened which costs around 30 and have cut back on hearty meals. I was never a big drinker, but I avoid alcohol altogether.

When my weight dropped to 9st 7lb a couple of years ago, I decided to pay 300 for a professional photo shoot for a bit of fun. When I posted the pictures on Facebook, friends told me I looked amazing. Martin, 45, is very happy with this new lease of life I’m enjoying.

But the best thing is I’ve now given up teaching to become a commercial model and actress. I’ve been photographed for adverts and I’ve got a part in an independent film out next year. My investment in my appearance has definitely been worth it for a new career I love.

Linda Blay from Buckinghamshire had a non-surgical facelift

Linda Blay from Buckinghamshire had a non-surgical facelift

LINDA: 2,500

Linda Blay, 44, a lawyer from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, is married with one daughter. She spent 2,540 on a non-surgical facelift 18 months ago, which used a combination of Botox and dermal fillers, to combat premature ageing. She says:

I might be a wife and mother, but I still deserve to feel good about myself. Having my face done is an extravagance — but my only one.

I buy my make-up in Boots, clothes in M&S and dine out only occasionally. Even though I work hard as a lawyer, I found it difficult to justify spending money on myself to begin with. But the results have changed my life and I’m finally content with how I look.

My drawn cheeks and hollow eyes haunted me as I reached my forties. Then, in 2010, I lost a stone which made it far more noticeable despite the fact I don’t drink or smoke and haven’t sunbathed much. People starting saying I looked tired which made me feel dreadful.

The final straw came when getting ready for a Christmas ball in 2010. I was 42. As I stood before the mirror, in a beautiful full-length dress with my make-up on, all I felt was sadness.

Other people my age didn’t look as wrinkled and tired. Why me Standing there I looked like a woman of 65. I refused to go to the ball.

The next month, searching for a solution, I found the Cosmetic Skin Clinic and decided it was worth a try.

I had some light Botox in my forehead. It wasn’t instantly noticeable, but after four successive treatments, I’ve seen a real difference.

The filler in my cheeks made the biggest change — looking in the mirror was a real wow moment. I’ve since had treatment to my nose-to-mouth lines, lower face and lips, but everything is so subtle that people barely notice unless I show them old pictures.

When I dress up now, I don’t just focus on my face. There is upkeep — the Botox has to be topped up every three to four months, and the filler every year or so, at an annual cost of about 1,200. But to me it’s worth every penny.

TRACEY: 5,000
Tracey Sen from Somerset had a breast augmentation

Tracey Sen from Somerset had a breast augmentation

Tracey Sen, 44, a full-time mother from Wincanton, Somerset, lives with her restaurant-owner husband Mefut, 31, and sons David, 23, Christopher, 20, and Aydin, four. Last December, she had 4,995 breast implants with MYA Cosmetic Surgery that took her from a 32B to a 32E. She says:

It’s hard to describe the elation I felt when I appeared on the beach in Turkey this summer in a green frilly bikini.

At the end of last year I had breast implants — but no one noticed. They cost six times as much as the entire week’s holiday, but the self-confidence they have given me is priceless.

My small breasts have always been an issue for me. When I was a teenager, I was so envious of my older sister’s large breasts, I would wear gel bras to give mine a boost. Then my chest shrank after each of my three pregnancies.

Even though Mefut would reassure me that I looked fine, I could barely bring myself to look at my drooping breasts, especially after Aydin was born when I was 40.

I’d always thought about breast surgery, but was never in the financial position for it to be a possibility.

Then, last year, I sold my children’s clothing business to spend more time at home and actually had enough for the 1,400 deposit.

After a consultation, I opted for natural teardrop implants, which go underneath the muscle. They cost 1,000 more than the basic ones, but I wanted perfection.

When I came round after the operation, I felt great. For the first time, I felt in proportion. My husband was relieved I hadn’t had bigger implants — he thinks the ones I have are just right.

I’ll still be paying 95 a month for my breasts for another three years, which I put aside from the weekly allowance my husband gives me.

But I’ve never felt so confident. Now when the sun shines, I can’t wait to get on my strappy tops and actually have a chest to fill them out.

JILL: 20,000

Jill Jones, 49, owns a construction company in Morpeth, Northumberland, with her husband Kevin, 49. She has two children Mark, 32, and Carley, 27, and three grandchildren. Since 2002, she has spent 20,000 on weight-loss procedures. She says:

Jill Jones from Northumberland had a gastric band and tummy tuck

Jill Jones from Northumberland had a gastric band and tummy tuck

If you’d been among the crowds at the Glastonbury festival last year, you might have hardly noticed the slim, smiling woman in a tutu and wellies.

And you certainly wouldn’t have guessed that, just a few years before, that woman weighed 15st 9lb and barely got out of her pyjamas.

That woman is me. And although it eventually cost 20,000 to shift the weight for good, it’s given me my life back.

A hysterectomy when I was 30 —after cancerous cells were found — prompted my problems. I was prescribed HRT to stop early menopause, but weight gain is a side effect. Over the next decade, I went from a size 10 to an 18.

I tried diets and personal trainers but nothing kept the weight off. In desperation, I went to a plastic surgeon and, at 39, spent 10,000 on liposuction, a tummy tuck, and a thigh and bum lift.

The results were phenomenal — I was instantly a size 12 and had a flat tummy. But my happiness was short-lived. The fat started to return after a few months. /08/09/article-2185616-1473EDFA000005DC-793_306x828.jpg” width=”306″ height=”828″ alt=”Robyn Smith from London had work on both her face and body” class=”blkBorder” />

Robyn Smith from London had work on both her face and body

ROBYN: 41,000

Robyn Smith, 54, a beauty and sports therapist from London, is single and lives with her daughter Frances, 17. Since 1999, she has had 41,000-worth of surgery on her face, neck and breasts by Dr Yannis Alexandrides of 111 Harley Street. She says:

Over the past 13 years, I’ve had lasers, a chin augmentation, fat injections to my face, a neck lift and breast implants.

It sounds like a lot, but it wasn’t all in one go — whenever there’s something I’m unhappy with, I change it.

I see it as a good investment and I don’t spend much on anything else. I’m a simple jeans and T-shirt sort of woman and I spend more on my daughter than myself.

It was an unexpected allergic reaction to a sample of self-tanning face cream in 1999 that started my relationship with surgery. My face swelled to twice its normal size, and my eyes were almost swollen shut.

When it finally subsided, the skin around my eyes had been stretched so much it was left loose and wrinkled.

I’d aged 10 years in a few days. I’d always looked after my face, using Clarins skincare and eating organic food, so I was distraught.

Desperate to get my face back, I discovered Dr Alexandrides and agreed to try a CO2 laser treatment which cost around 4,000. I paid by credit card, a loan from my then-partner and used some savings.

The laser was used all over my face to remove the top layers of skin. The after-care was gruesome. Every four hours for a week, I had to wipe peroxide over my raw face to stop it scabbing. My face sizzled. But the results were unbelievable. The skin around my eyes was much tighter, plus my fine lines and visible pores were gone. It gave me such a boost, it was definitely worth the money.

It was another five years until I went back, allowing me the chance to save up again. I had a chin implant to improve my profile, and fat injections to plump up my gaunt face. Two years on, I went back for a neck lift and breast implants to take me to a 34D, and I regularly have Botox to reduce frown lines.

I can earn up to 37,000-a-year, depending on how business is — I’m a self-employed therapist — but my daughter has never had to do without because of my surgery.

I’m content with how I look now, but I wouldn’t rule out more treatments in the future. I’m single, so hopefully down the line there may be a chance for love. And I don’t want to look too old if it does come along.