When she was younger, Mabel Yingling used to treat herself now and then to a facial at the Hochschild-Kohn beauty salon in Baltimore.
"I felt like I owed it to myself," said Yingling, 71, of Furnace Hills.I just don't bother any more. I just stick to my Estee Lauder make-up."
She hadn't had a facial in years until last week, when she and fellow members of the Finksburg Senior Center got free treatments from the 11th-graders in the cosmetology department at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center.
A salon facial costs about $20 in Carroll County and sometimes as much as $50 in bigger cities.
But bygoing to beauty schools and the vo-tech center, seniors can afford pampering even without the salary of a screen goddess.
The vo-tech center has special prices for seniors, who are among their most loyalclients, said instructor Janet Kelbaugh. Some treatments cost littlemore than the proverbial "two bits" of the old barbershop rhyme.
A facial costs $2.50, a manicure is 50 cents. Senior citizens get a discount on perms -- $6 instead of the regular $9 price -- and on a cut, wash and set -- a mere $1.50.
After her facial last week, Yingling was glowing, with the old surface cells of her skin sloughed off by a mint-scented clay mask.
Before venturing back outside the salon, she re-applied her Estee Lauder Polished Performance foundation and finished it off with a sheer, pinkish tint, Clinique's Colour Rub.
The effect is smooth and glowing, complemented by the frosty pewter highlights in Yingling's dark hair.
While the old saying about "age before beauty" implies the two can't walk hand in hand, many Carroll seniors find they can enhance their maturing skin and graying hair instead of fretting over it.
Beverly Jordan, a hair stylist at Headquarters at 140 Shopping Village, said few of her older clients totally cover their gray with hair coloring.
"Usually it's not to cover the gray -- it's to bring it out," said Jordan, 47.
"I have acouple of ladies who like a 'white mink' color. It brings out the whiteness and gets rid of the yellow," Jordan said. Another client likes a silvery charcoal color.
"Highlighting can be more-natural looking," Jordan said. "I had one woman in here yesterday who wanted golden blond through the gray. It looked very natural."
Jordan said the old "blue-hair" look is usually caused when women use a store-bought rinse and put it on too heavily.
"It used to be years ago you'd see a lot of it. Now you don't see that so much," she said.
Whatever kind of coloring an older woman chooses, Jordan passionately advises against going darker than her natural color.
"It draws the faceout and makes you look 10 years older," she warned. The darker colorpales the skin, draws attention to lines and makes for an overall "hard" effect that she said would look like someone on The Block.
For a professional facial and make-up advice, seniors also can go to many area salons. Headquarters charges $20 for a "hydrating" (moisturizing) facial, said licensed skin analyst Faydean Shaffer, also known as "Snookie" to most of her clients.
Shaffer, 44, has a few senior citizen clients. She said that while most aging skin is dry, some women continue to have oily skin even as they get older.
For them, she said, she recommends water-based foundations instead of those made with oil.
The muted mauve eye shadow worn by Harriet Van der Meulen, another member of the Finksburg Senior Center, is an example of the kind of make-up Shaffer recommends for older women.
"Even at a younger age, I liked subdued colors," said Van der Meulen, 63, of Reisterstown. "It has to look natural, rather than painted on."
Shaffer said heavy make-up just accentuates lines and aging, and gives a "tough, leathered look." But she said older women need foundations thatprovide light coverage and powder blushes that won't clog pores and will last through the day.
"No. 1 is you don't overdo," Shaffer said. Too much eye shadow on a drooping eyelid will only draw attentionto it, she said.
"Definitely stay away from pearls and anything with a sheen. It will accentuate that alligator look," she said. "Staywith flat, matte, neutral shades."
Lip-lining pencils also will help keep lipstick from bleeding into the tiny wrinkles that run perpendicular to the lip, Shaffer said.
Along with heavy foundations, Van der Meulen has long forsaken the baby oil and iodine concoction popular among sunbathers in the 1960s. Now, she uses a sunscreen when she's out playing golf or riding the mower.
"I use a No. 15 (sunscreen), and I still get a tan," she said.
Shaffer said most moisturizers and foundations now come with some sunscreen in them, which is enough for just being out and about. But she recommends that women useextra protection if they're going to the beach or spending a lot of time in the sun.
For clients of all ages, Shaffer said, diet and at least mild exercise are just as important as good skin products anda consistent regimen of cleansing and moisturizing.
"It's very important to drink as much water as possible" to help the skin eliminate impurities, she said. "With exercise, it's the same thing. As you move, it makes your glands work better and adds more color to your face and just makes you look healthier and feel better.
"And if you feel good, it makes you look better on the outside, too."