Beauty fights dirty

Dining with a friend tonight in a busy West Hollywood restaurant. She makes the comment, “There’s lots of pretty women here but almost no good-looking men.” I took a wide sweep of the crowd (including a glance of myself in a large mirror) and had to agree. Among the fabulous hips and breasts and smooth skin and cheekbones there was scarcely a man who would seem to rate one of these slim and sexy creatures. Drab, ordinary, older with failing pates, the men in the room were like the plain walls on which great works of art are hung, there to support but not attract to attention whatsoever.

And it’s so meanly unfair for both genders.

I studied what it took for a woman to produce herself as the amazing desirable thing she may be: the makeup perfecting the skin, enlarging the eyes, filling the lips and concealing everything from small lines, to enlarged capillaries, to gaping pores and offending blotches of pigmentation. The cleverly built bras and underwires, cup fillers and cleavage makers, body shapers and breakthrough stretch materials, and nose-bleed heels that lend height and sexiness where a squat, flat-footed profile wouldn’t. Hair color to rid the hated gray, jewelry to restore the sparkle of youth threatening by the minute to abandon its host. Then there is the sheer cost and TIME devoted to a hopeless attempt to freeze an image.

Men aren’t so fortunate when it’s simply an evaluation of the packaging that’s publicly at stake. For men the game of raw attractiveness is more a matter of retention than enhancement. Women are quick to notice the color blending, the ludicrous styling techniques for reducing an ebb tide hairline, the preposterous muscles that make short men wider, not taller and, heaven forbid, the suicidal Faustian resort to ill-fitting toupees and Hair Club For Men. There is little they can do but make the most of what they have. And that’s where the shiny objects of success are offered when the gifts of nature disappoint.

But how would it do if “come as you are” was the rule of beauty? How would the room stack up in comparison if all that stylish construction had to be left at the door? Men and women simply show up with what they’ve got—no paint, tint, supports, stitches, or impossible placement of hair. What would we see?

I can tell you exactly what that would be: one empty room.


Douglas Preston

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

How to look 10-years younger in only 10-days! Nothing to buy!

It’s remarkable really. There I was at a beautiful Scottsdale resort after a day training a spa team, fully ready to relax and enjoy 2-hours and 3 glasses of wine by an outdoor fire pit on a warm, clear evening. This is a very old ritual as deeply established as coffee in the morning. But, when the server came I ordered the coffee instead, plus a glass of water. And that was it—I was and am done, just as I was with cigarettes 33-years ago, meat 31-years past and a couple of pleasurable but personally costly delights now about two decades behind me. No support groups, no steps, no trembling desire to reverse course. Just done. And in these 10 glorious days since saying goodbye to the vintage streams from Napa Valley and the Loire, suddenly I am hearing about how much younger I look, astonishingly so. Lines receded, puffiness flattened, color improved and not to mention the energy from longer sleep, mornings without regret, and body hydration restored. No laser or peptide could do as much in so little time, and those treatments don’t save you the money that an alcohol-free life does, particularly if your monkey is a pedigree, not a mutt.

Reading The Star Machine, by Jeanine Basinger, I saw the steady decline of the hard-living, harder drinking Errol Flynn—the beautiful and athletic actor turned flabby and sagging victim of everything Hollywood, dead and derided at 50. He was not beautiful at the end, but also not granted enough time to accomplish the Barrymore-esque damage that was slated on the production schedule. Finis.

Now, I do hope you realize that I am not a one-man temperance movement, nor recommending my approach to life for anyone still here and living theirs. I loved Cabernet, and Pinot Noir and Champagne as well as any other man or woman that drinks them does. Still, there was a season for that and then the fall arrived. Sometimes it’s better not to be “in like Flynn.”

We’re beautiful,

Douglas Preston

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Another dating site refugee… me

I knew it going in, writing that thick, unembellished bio, choosing the right photos from my files, casting myself like bait out into the sea of…love… The haul after 20-months of this: the searching, rejecting, rejections and a handful of regrettable “dates” was a net full of everything but what I and most others there signed up to find. A couple of life-long friends and the conviction that nature’s work in pairing people cannot be replicated by engineered romance. The mind and heart need time and repeat exposure to build the slow but certain realization that a suitable mate can be discovered beneath the costume of our fantasies and split-second coffee shop judgment.

I’ve been in love, truly in love, only twice: once with a young woman I accidentally met while briefly working in a gift shop a friend needed some help with, and the second time with a woman whose co-workers bought her a spa appointment and insisted that it be with me. No planning, no selling, no dreaded meetup, no subscription fee. Just nature doing what it does so well: turning the unexpected into the extraordinary.

So I leave and open the hours spent scrolling through a thousand deceptive thumbnails for a free swim in public waters. That’s where it will happen again, and I recommend it to you, too.

Beautiful you,


Posted in OMG, No! | 1 Comment

A thing of beauty

Professional estheticians are steadily alienating themselves from the idea of performing “fluff” or “pampering” facial treatments. And this is a great mistake. When you ask a facial client what they remember most about their time reclined in that little private room under the soothing hands of a skincare professional most of them will report the same thing: relaxation. Now, why is that after all of the washing and peeling and masking and pore extracting that went on in that hour or so of service?

It’s simple: people are massively stressed and unable to fix it on their own.

And what does all that stress do to the body? For one (and enough for one) it causes the adrenal gland to release elevated levels of the naughty hormone cortisol. In normal amounts this cortisol isn’t such a bad boy as it assists in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. But, pump it up a few notches and you have some nasty influences on your hands, things like suppressed T-cell production, reduced collagen replacement, diminished bone formation and internal inflammatory effects, these just for starters. Want to know why presidents turn grey so quickly after election? Cortisol, that’s why. Any president that didn’t lose his hair color in the first few years of office was sleeping on the job.

So, that “fluff” facial you had? If it got you to relax and rest, to lift the crush of the world on your poor little mind even for the better part of an hour, then you probably had more anti-aging benefit than any product or gadget could ever produce. Lowering that flood of cortisol is one of the most important things you can do to preserve your health, your memory and your remaining youth. When I see my clients float out of that room with eyes at half-mast and an angelic smile then I know something profound happened and that life seems all the better when someone remembers how good it used to feel to feel good. I can peel you to near bleeding but only a deep quieting of the mind can bring inner peace, and I don’t know of anyone who can’t use more of that.

By the way, to learn more about what I do in world of skincare please visit:

You’re beautiful,

Douglas Preston

Posted in Behind the facial room door | 2 Comments

Time it was and what a time it was, it was…

It goes like this:

…back then

…I used to

…we had

…years since

…in those days

…there was a time

…when I was young

…if I remember correctly

…I can’t do that anymore

…a long time ago

…it’s all in the past now

I’m closing down this computer and walking out into the sun. So should you…

…beautiful you,

Douglas Preston

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Oscars: Check your lipstick at the door?


The clothes: amazing! The jewelry: understated and elegant. The hair: from Veronica Lake to thrown in the lake. The makeup: where’s the lip color? Eyes to die for and then a dead mouth hanging below them. Even Kirk Douglas was refurbished for action better than some of the announcers and winners. I admit that a pale pink but natural mouth is more appealing than the ubiquitous LA grouper in open wound vermilion. Reese Witherspoon’s makeup was all wrong for her beautifully cute face. Her small round eyes needed enlarging with emphasis on the outsides. Her mouth was nowhere to be found. It was as if she marched out onstage with an earring missing or wearing comfortable shoes under that gown. I wanted to jump through the TV screen (you are shocked, of course, that I didn’t have a front row seat at Kodak) and paint her up right there. In fact, that might have made the whole event a little more interesting. At least Randy Newman’s goofy piano number permitted a convenient carrot cake break and a trip to the grass for Petey. Now, that’s not entertainment.

But, back to point. Lipstick is magic! Lipstick is glorious! Nothing is sexier on the rim of a cocktail glass or the tip of a white cigarette filter than those luscious ruby imprints (provided that the glass didn’t already have one when the bartender delivered your cosmo. You asked for it dirty, didn’t you?) “Barely there” isn’t an enhancement unless you’re 14-years old, still equipped with plenty of natural lip luster, and heading to your first dance. Sure, bright or deep color is a pain to keep up. Yes, it can smear the teeth or ruin a silk blouse or get a bad boy murdered. But, this is beauty, the thing that people bleed and suffer and plunge into debt to acquire or preserve! So, what’s a little Pantone panache in contrast to all that? Go for it and be beautiful, show-stopping, controversial, hot!

The boys and girls of Madison Avenue or Barney’s makeup counters are breathlessly awaiting your compliance 🙂 Not to mention, me.

You’re beautiful so be beautiful.

Douglas Preston

Posted in OMG, No! | 1 Comment

Beauty is where you least expect to find it

During my morning walk with Petey we encountered Freida Berger who asked about Pete’s age. She then cheerfully began to tell me about her life.

85, Romanian Jew, sent with her family to a concentration camp from which only she returned, speaks 8 languages, a teacher, financially comfortable, full of life and positive spirit. Asked for my friendship. She told me that she had been tattooed in the concentration camp, saying proudly, “I was prisoner 42,503 and my sister was 42,504.” Having never seen one of those infamous tattoos before I asked if I could. Freida pushed up her sleeve and revealed it to me, an evil mark that she would never dream to have removed. She told me about her travels, her accomplishments, her late husband, many friends and even hopes for the future. And she had a life-time membership to a health club which she was heading to when encountering Petey and me. Frieda said that she liked dogs but so many dogs in America were treated far better than many humans living here, and almost anyone living in Romania during her youth. She now spends her time cooking for and helping others in need, working every day toward that purpose. And she invited me to her home here in LA to see her little museum of her life and the world she’s lived in, one fascinating episode after another. “You see, there is always something of value available to you wherever you go and today it was meeting you!” Freida announced with a wide smile. “Hitler took away my family but he couldn’t take my mind!” Of course I will visit her. She said, “When you call you must remind me that you are the fine man with the handsome dog I met when I went for my workout or I might not remember you.”

This woman, now very late in age, weathered more tragedy and challenge in a single year of her life than I have in the sum of mine. And she is one of the most remarkable persons I’ve ever met.

If I ever complain about anything again I will think of Freida and get over it immediately. That is beauty.

And so are you,

Douglas Preston

Posted in Beauty is love | 2 Comments