We spend years studiously ignoring our mum’s advice … only to realise that she was probably actually right all along.
We did look ridiculous when we wore heels with cargo pants, we should never have gone out with that wanna-be-actor-guy called Warren, and yep, it really would have paid (literally) to listen more in economics class. Sigh.
Well, at least it’s not too late to heed some of her wise words of beauty wisdom …
Don’t Scowl! The Wind Will Turn …
Life seems like such a fun lark when there are many paths to take, and before your particular roadmap starts to etch itself out in the form of lines and wrinkles. When you’re young your skin, with its full-to-the-brim levels of collagen and elastin, always springs right back into smooth and supple shape, even after a lengthy bout of forehead-furrowing existential angst, or a day of face-grimacing hangover hell. These expression lines – the ones that signal worry or pain, or the creases around your eyes that indicate a smiley happiness – are called dynamic wrinkles. That is, they form when an expression is being made, before disappearing when said expression does. Until they don’t anymore … You see, over time, as the skin’s support network diminishes, the skin becomes less resilient. Static lines begin to set in, and dynamic ones linger for longer … and longer. What to do? You could try to smile less – but that wouldn’t be fun. Better to scowl only when necessary. Or if you’re pro-Botox, use that as a way avoid making such motions in the first place.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen!
If your Mum’s version of sunscreen was a thick coating of white zinc, it’s little surprise you probably came to turn your wrinkly red nose up at the thought of suncare. But she was onto something. Because nothing ages skin like unprotected sun exposure. Think lines, age spots, sagginess and roughness of texture. Fortunately, sunscreens are easier to wear these days – they’re lighter but they’re also more effective, mostly clocking in at an SPF of 50+. To get the most anti-ageing power from your suncare lotion, use it every day – yep, even winter, as the ever-present UVA rays trigger skin-ageing free radicals – and, for good measure, apply a double-dose to ensure you’re getting the promised SPF.
Wear a Signature Scent
A fragrance wardrobe is the more modern approach to wearing perfume these days – why wouldn’t it be, when there are so many gorgeous new scents continually hitting the beauty counters? But that’s not to totally discount mum’s monogamous fragrance relationship. It’s a more budget-friendly option, for one. But on a less pragmatic, and more romantic, note, a signature scent is an invisible yet effective way to brand yourself into someone’s psyche. Think about the lovely memories you have of your mum (or anyone else who is committed to a single scent) when you come across a similar smell to theirs. Just as you might own a particular hair style or fashion look, so too can a perfume mark you in a particularly powerful way, especially if you go for one of the old-school fragrances so many of our mums favour – such as Chanel No.5 or Robert Piguet Fracas. They’re sit-up-and-take-notice-of-me perfumes, and when you’re trying to make your way in this complex and competitive world, you need all the help you can get, right?
Don’t Pick Your Pimples!
Zits are bad enough, but then comes the aftermath – a mark that can hang around for months, until skin has turned over sufficiently for it to disappear. Technically called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), this spot is a melanin-triggering reaction to a skin injury, such as squeezing. Sure, it’s almost humanly impossible to resist picking at some pimples, but try to keep PIH in mind next time your staring down an angry pimple in the mirror. Better still, use exfoliating products regularly – to avoid pore build-up and blockages in the first place – as well as a spot treatment that also works to reduce residual marks, such as the reformulated La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Plus.
Your mum might have told you that spinach would make you strong, and carrots help you see in the dark, but what she should have added is that they contain high levels of carotene, which is a pre-cursor to vitamin A, a super-active vitamin in the skin that switches on collagen, tones down excessive oil activity and helps fight sun damage. In addition to these vibrant orange and green veggies, you should eat a rainbow of fresh foods, to reap the benefits of the widest number of antioxidants, which are again essential for long-term skin health.
Take Off Your Makeup!
It’s no newsflash that not removing your makeup before bed is considered The Ultimate Beauty Crime. But remember how your mum – and nanna before her – used to spend so long cleansing? True, cleansers back then weren’t as advanced and effective as ours are, but this extra time still pays off today, considering that many of us have more product on our faces, in the form of layers of skincare, suncare and mineral makeup. So take the time to cleanse your face once, and then again, making the most of the process to indulge in some good old-fashioned facial massage. You’ll get skin that’s both cleaner and smoother in one simple step.
Brush Your Hair!
You might have grown out of your messy-haired grunge stage, but it will still pay to start brushing your hair more. That’s because doing so is actually more about creating a healthy scalp than grooming hair. Use a natural-bristle brush – such as the classic Mason Pearson ones – and commit to a few minutes’ brush-time every morning or night. This will stimulate the scalp for a healthier follicle, as well as removing dirt, dust and any old product residue, making for a lighter, fresher look.
What beauty advice did your mum give you? Let us know in the comments below.