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IN GREAT COMPANY

How do you age well, Cheryl Kramer Kaye?

Having a community is key to navigating this life journey feeling backed and buoyed, so Phenology asked amazing women who weren’t born yesterday to share their MO.



“I'm not going down without a fight!”

Cheryl Kramer Kaye is true inspiration for finding beauty in aging. After spending 25 years as a beauty editor for women’s magazines, she pivoted to video and TV (her secret desire all along) where she could really let her sunny, funny personality shine; Witness for yourself on her recently launched channel on Talk Shop Live called Beauty In Bed. She lives with her 12-year-old twin boys, husband and pandemic puppy in New York, and at 52, has decided not to age gracefully. “I'm not going down without a fight!” she insists. “I strongly believe that there's no "right" way to age. Letting your hair go gray? Good for you! Lifting your tits and tucking your tummy? Rock and roll! To me, a true feminist supports the choices other women make for themselves.” Discover how Cheryl is taking it all in stride.

Glamour shot of Cheryl.

If you could create a neon sign about aging, it’d say…. Better late than never!

When did you first realize you were hitting menopause? I was on the pill for most of my adult life—until my gyno told me that I should go off it at 50 to see where things stood, menopause-wise. Post-pill, my periods continued to be quite regular until one month, I was late. Like 10 days late. I peed on a stick—negative, of course. And while I was very, very relieved that I wasn’t pregnant, I was a little bummed that it meant that I was probably in perimenopause.

Do you have a funny menopause moment? One of my best friends came to stay over for a few nights this fall. My husband slept in the guest room and she slept in my room so we could catch up. I woke up in the middle of the night, damp from sweat, and thought, “Oh! This must be what night sweats are like!” In the morning, my friend said, “I think I had night sweats for the first time last night.” Which is when we both realized that the radiator had kicked in overnight!

On the flip side, a time you wanted to cry…or punch a wall? There have been days when my boobs have been so tender that it’s painful. It feels like I’m 12 and going through puberty again, but at least then, I ended up with a perky set of C-cups. By the time this is all over, I’ll be scooping my Fs off the floor.

Best wellness habit you’ve picked up? Was I supposed to pick up a wellness habit? I forget to pick things up all the time.

Talk to us about confidence now vs the before times. I’ve never lacked confidence, but now it comes from a place of experience rather than fearlessness.

How are you kind to yourself? It’s been a little harder during the pandemic, but I never deprive myself of a massage. I don’t need fancy spa (not that I mind the champagne they offer at La Prairie at the Ritz-Carlton), but I’m happy to go to the local Qi Gong spa where they beat the crap out of me for $48 an hour.

What’s your bedtime routine? I have crappy sleep hygiene: I snack late at night, go to bed at a different time every night, and fall asleep with my fingers on my laptop keyboard. I’m also 100% a night owl—I’m sometimes still awake when everyone else is waking up. I used to take Ambien to try to go to bed at a “normal” time, but I read too many studies about its adverse effects long-term. Then I found that just a nibble of melatonin, .5mg, is the perfect little nudge I need to fall asleep. And once I’m asleep, I’m a freaking champion.

How do you maximize your morning? I sleep through it! I have never been a morning person and the older I get, the more nocturnal I become.

Skincare: what’s working for you right now? Welcome to my wheelhouse! As a beauty editor for 25 years, I’m a true believer that consistent skincare can make a big difference. Mornings are pretty simple: I wash with a foaming cleanser, like MDSolarSciences WashAway, which is oil-based, so it won’t leave my face dry and tight. Then I’ll apply a face oil; I’m loving Augustinus Bader The Face Oil, which, to me, smells faintly of coffee, and makes me feel like I’m waking myself up! Then I always apply a moisturizer with SPF30 or higher (these days it’s Olay Mineral Suncreen SPF 30). Throughout the day, if I’ve been masked up, I’ll spritz on twenty/twenty Easy On the Eyes. It’s a mist with hypochlorous acid, an antibacterial. The formula was designed to prevent eye infections, but it’s also great on skin for warding off maskne.This is about to get embarrassingly long, but my nighttime routine is to cleanse again, then make my serum “cocktail.” There’s always a retinol in there, plus something hydrating to buffer any dryness the retinol might cause. Right now it’s Obagi SuzanObagiMD Retivance, Heraux Anti-Inflammaging Serum, plus Pili Ani Ageless Concentrate. I use an eye cream (ISDIN Vital Eyes) and neck cream (Payot Suprême Jeunesse). And I top it all off with a hydrating night cream, like Tula Beauty Sleep or SeeMe Beauty Sweet Dreams. Twice a week I give myself an at-home glycolic peel with Sobel Skin Rx 30% Glycolic Peel Concentrate for a quick radiance boost. And last, but certainly not least, I get lots of little tweaks at the dermatologist, emphasis on little. I don’t want anyone to see my face and ask what I’ve had done, but I always want to share what works! I’ve had Botox, fillers, lasers, peels, microneedling, and energy therapies at every imaginable wavelength. I haven’t yet gone under the knife, but never say never.

As a woman who wasn’t born yesterday, what’s your best girlfriend advice? It comes from my high school sex ed teacher, Mrs. Tarshis, who was 60-something, white-haired, and utterly unafraid of what a roomful of horny teenagers would throw at her. We were allowed to ask any question, and she would answer. One student asked, “How old are you when you stop having sex?” Mrs. Tarshis’ answer stays with me to this day, when it’s more important than ever: “You can do it until you stop doing it,” she said. My advice is to never stop doing it.

What Cheryl Kramer Kaye is Loving Right Now

Silk pillowcases. I’d often heard that silk pillowcases are good for your skin (the smooth surface means you don’t smush your face as much). After trying one, I bought four more! Beauty benefits aside, I love how they’re soooo soft and they stay cool! My pick: Defenage 100% Natural Mulberry Silk Pillowcase

Talking Points Memo. I was a poli sci major in college and remain a political junkie. Sometimes I’ll go on a Twitter bender and nearly lose my mind. That’s when I log onto talkingpointsmemo.com, which offers news, analysis, and insights that restore my sanity (at least temporarily).

New York Times Spelling Bee. This online game is like an updated version of Boggle. I find it helps me switch off the busy parts of my brain as I focus on this one, not-at-all-important task. URL: https://www.nytimes.com/puzzles/spelling-bee

Men’s anti-perspirant (with aluminum). Pre-peri, I could get away with pretty much any anti-perspirant or deodorant and I’d smell fine. Now? I need the strong stuff! I was stealing my husband’s untill I finally just bought my own. My pick: Right Guard Sport Fresh Invisible Solid

Peanut butter. I’ve had half a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast (now with half a banana, rolled up like a hot dog in a peanut buttered bun) for my entire adult life. My son told me that he heard on TikTok that eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich adds 33 minutes to your life. So, I’m pretty much going to live forever.My pick: Skippy Super Chunk


Isabel Burton
Isabel Burton is an award-winning writer, editor and content strategist. She’s held senior editorial positions at Shape, Self, and Cosmopolitan, among other titles. Her work has appeared in a slew of national media brands covering all things lifestyle: Beauty, wellness, home décor, food, drink, love, lust, travel and more.

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