Beauty advice to pass down the generations.
In your younger years, it’s all about your P’s. Sun protection, breakout prevention, and well, getting your provisional license.
In your twenties (particularly the ones inching towards the big 3-0) prevention goes into overdrive as you notice your skin beginning to bear the brunt of any late-night shenanigans – puffiness around the eyes, dark circles, dehydration lines and pores that threaten an impending grand-opening. This is when you attempt to overcompensate by making good lifestyle choices (cue, yoga) and over-slathering the good stuff – sometimes resulting in adult acne, your skin’s angry protest to those vitamin-rich creams.
No matter what your stage is in life, heed the advice of Sarah Stacey, author of the Anti-ageing Beauty Bible. Her skin care advice is excellent – if you follow it, you’ll be crease free for longer.
Massage your skin while cleansing
Stacey says the best way to use your cleanser of choice is to take your time with a facial massage. “Ideally, use a pressure-point massage, making firm, small circular movements starting at chin-level and working up the cheeks to the eye zone, then shifting along the jaw-bone towards the ears, mid-cheek, cheekbones. Then the same on your forehead.
“Sweep your fingers more gently around the eyes in a circular but outwards direction. [This will] work wonders for melting-makeup, improving circulation and decongesting the skin.”
When in doubt, learn from the French: “a Frenchwoman who explained that in France, it’s not unusual to spend ten minutes on cleansing. We award ourselves Brownie Points if we manage two, but really, the longer you knead your face with your fingertips the more it will reward you for it.”
Stacey suggests removing the cleanser with a muslin cloth soaked in warm to hot water, then rinse.
Another secret of the French, facial oils are emerging as the way to care your skin by delivering pure botanicals deeply into the epidermis.
“Once the exclusive preserve of Frenchwomen, who learned early on how powerfully skin-caring facial oils can be,” says Stacey. “A few drops is all it takes. While they’re sometimes expensive (because of the cost of concentrated botanicals in the blends), a bottle of facial oil typically lasts for much longer than a jar of cream. Only use as much as your skin needs: usually three or four drops is enough,” she advises.
The best on the market can contain a blend of active oils including rose hip, macadamia, kukui, jojoba, grapeseed, sandalwood and vitamin E.
Even those with oily skin can benefit from certain facial oils, which ironically can assist in balancing the skin. And good news to those who demand certified organic products – there are many facial oils that get the tick of approval, which means no hidden chemical nasties.
Nourish your neck
They say the way to gauge a woman’s age is by their neck and hands. “The reality is that the skin is much thinner on the neck than on our faces, and thus more easily damaged. (And we do tend to overlook it.) So no more neglect – just lavish it with loving care,” says Stacey.
“One of the key issues with the neck is crepeiness, as the skin of the neck has relatively few oil glands and without moisture and lipids, it can start to look papery super-fast. Get into the habit of applying everything you put on your face right down to the bra-line. At the same time, sweep any body lotion up to your chin, so it gets twice the nourishment. Your neck and chest should be part of your ‘cleansing zone’, but avoid using a scrub on the neck, although a muslin cloth (used with your cleanser) is fine.”
Avoid wearing perfume in the sun, “Many a woman’s list of neck woes includes pigmented areas on either side of the neck. Certain fragrance ingredients – generally citrus derived – contain psoralens, components which over-stimulate the pigment-producing cells. This produces localized brown patches that look like a streak of brown pigment rather like a raindrop running down a window pane.” The solution? “If you want to enjoy a summer fragrance in the sun, try spritzing it on your clothing rather than your skin.”
Another reason to pull on your yoga pants and do the downward-facing dog: “one of the key reasons women develop ‘turkey neck’, double chins and those ‘necklace rings’ on the neck is because underlying muscles are weak. [Yoga is] fantastic for strengthening the neck and the jaw and [there are] seventy-something yoga devotees who have sharp jaw-lines and smooth swan-like necks.”
Sarah Stacey, along with Josephine Fairley, has co-author many books, including “The Ultimate Naturals Bible” and The Anti-ageing Beauty Bible – Everything you need to look and feel gorgeous for ever. – Emily Veness
Top photo taken from Aleera’s Flickr photostream.