By Gwen Dawkins
At 74, Sandi Kemps is active, beautiful and sexy –– taking style cues from dear friends, Sophia Loren, and dear old Dad.
How do you describe your style? Funky but classy. I try to balance my choice of clothes, shoes and jewelry with the fact that I’m a little more mature now –– especially when it comes to shoes. I still wear stilettos sometimes –– but I have to make sure they aren’t too high and scary to walk in. But I think I pull it off most of the time. LOL
How is it different from the “average” woman your age? Many women my age are much more conservative, wearing bagging clothes and “sensible shoes.” I can still wear shorter shorts, but I wear a top that is a little longer and half tucked-in, paired with either flat shoes, flip flops or shoes with a very small wedge. I like the ripped jeans trend, but the holes and tears in mine are not showing much skin. My skirts range in length from just above my knees to down to my ankles, but I never wear minis. My costume jewelry consists of big funky earrings and necklaces and lots of bangles. I do also like simple gold and sterling jewelry that I wear sparingly.
What is your beauty philosophy? Less is best. My makeup is minimal, but I put a lot of thought into it because I dońt have the smooth, wrinkle-free skin of yesteryear. As you mature, you need to be careful with foundation. If you get too heavy with it, it accentuates wrinkles. I wear light coverage just to smooth out my skin tone. Also, I try to match it with my own skin color and then use a little highlighting and bronzer. I spend 10 to 30 minutes max on applying makeup, depending on where I’m going. I use cream eyeshadow in darker browns and I also use eyeliner in dark brown or black –– and always three coats of mascara.
What is your morning routine like? Most days, I get up at 5:30 and walk three or more miles with two girlfriends. They are 10 and 20 years younger than me and inspired me –– in fact, one of their mothers is actually two weeks younger than I am. Starting my day with a walk really gets my energy going and it’s fun to exchange all the gossip we’ve learned in the past 24 hours. When I get home, I feed our dog Simon and have a smoothie in the back yard.
Do you have any nightly rituals? Every night I wash my face, apply moisturizer, brush my teeth, and put on lots of body lotion. I use Philosophy’s Pure Grace Body Lotion and Crepe Erase. The ritual makes me feel like I’m doing something positive for myself –– and consistency is more important the older you get. My husband Michael and I like to talk about how our days went and then I read. I love to read, especially courtroom drama, mysteries and some romance. I’ve read every James Patterson book ever printed.
What’s your skincare/beauty routine? I try to get a deep cleaning facial once a month, but now with Covid-19, that is put on hold. Otherwise, I wash my face with Dove Original Beauty Cream Bar Soap. I started using it about 15 years ago when I asked a friend how she kept her skin so beautiful. I really like that it cleans my skin without drying it out. Even at my age, I break out easily, but Dove seems to help minimize that. After cleansing, I moisturize with Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance on my face and AmLactin on my body, which contains Alpha-Hydroxy acid.
Have any drugstore must haves? Face wipes to take off my eye makeup and I also use them if I’m tired and want to go to bed faster. I often pick up Kirkland Facial Wipes from Costco. I also use Neutrogena Clear Face and Sun Bum from the drugstore for sun care.
“In my heart, I feel like I’m in my 20s but a lot smarter, wiser!”
What about special treatments? Besides facials, massages are relaxing and special for me. I go to my dermatologist twice a year and have spots removed as needed. Yuck! Once, I tried some filler injected into my upper lip. But for $1,000, I didn’t see much of a difference.
How do you spend your downtime? I love reading and puttering in the yard. We live on an acre and a half, so there’s lots to keep us busy. Besides walking, I snow ski in winter and golf year-round. Staying active is the key –– both physically and mentally. My husband and I enjoying having a glass of wine in the backyard, catching up with each other and then watching silly things on TV.
Do you feel your age? No. In my heart, I feel like I’m in my 20s but a lot smarter and wiser! I try to stay curious about new things. Micheal and I have an active life with golf, skiing, gardening, traveling and just hanging with friends and family. An example of me not acting my age: Our grandson had a birthday party with a bounce house. I was in there with all the kids. It feels good to forget your real age once in a while.
How have your views about beauty changed since you were 20? 30? 40? Well, first, I wish I didn’t get so much sun when I was younger. But as I’ve aged, I’ve learned and adapted to take better care of myself. With time, my teeth, hair, bones, and joints have become more of a focus. Exercise and getting my heart rate up is more important than ever. I give myself style points for making sure my clothes fit well. I don’t want bulges anywhere. I still wear tighter fitting bottoms, but no more tight, low-cut tops. I don’t think I will ever dress dowdy but I do know I’m not a teenager.
Anything else you’d like to add? I have been very fortunate in my life so far. Family and friends are so important to me and I love them very much. One of the keys to happiness and fulfillment is a devotion to the people you care about. And never forget your faith in the guy upstairs.
Sandi lives in Merced, California with her husband Michael and dog Simon.