I always feel slightly annoyed after reading Vogue. It’s that combination of ads for shoes, jewellery and bags with narry a price-tag on the page, plus the fashion shoots for the monied and not particularly fastidious (as in, a rabbit fur coat to order, seriously? over a £2090 silk-lame dress, what!) which leaves me with the feeling that I’ve just taken a perilous overdose of sickly candy-floss.
But it’s the over-excited advice on the Voguebeauty pages that makes my jaw drop. Take the October Vogue’s opinion piece on face peeling. Apparently, once an alarming prospect, it is now an essential part of the skin care routine. Really? Well, not at £800 a time it isn’t.
I’m sure you know that peeling is a type of facial that clears dead cells from the face usually with a dissolving-acid component. It can be done at a cheaper rate in salons at around £90 and these days doesn’t have to leave you with that red, raw looking face – although note, it can.
To me peeling sounds so very excessive. People, and this is a message to women of all ages, we don’t have to listen to these breathless not-even-old-but-just-approaching-middle-age journalists who are trying to sell us abrasive (and sometimes invasive) and crucially, exceedingly expensive treatments for our ageing faces.
Because for me, there’s something about accepting the reality of my ageing that I find almost empowering. For instance, when I reach 70, I’m not going to say ’70 the new 50′ or whatever that expression is! No I’ll say this is 70, this how we baby boomers are and aren’t we proud! Mind you, I say ‘almost’ as sometimes I look in the mirror and go, oh dear! But, on the other hand, there’s quite a lot that can be done that will help the quality of our skin as it ages.
Here are five things we can do that won’t cost the earth – like paying £800 to make your face sore *rolls eyes & sighs*.
- An ordinary facial that suits your skin type
Why not have a professional facial in a beauty salon once in a while? There are facials for every skin type and there will be one that is just right for you. They cost from £30-£60 (there are more expensive ones but I am not advocating those) and I consider having my skin looked at and treated by experts every six months or so a good use of my money.
- Cleansing, exfoliating and the hot flannel trick
When I was younger I used to think moisturising would fend off those lines. I now know that wrinkles appear whatever you do and to a certain extent, yes, of course moisturising is a good thing. But cleansing and exfoliation is the key to good skin as we age. Clearing those excess skin cells will lighten and brighten your skin and never mind those lines – that’s you!!
My beauty routine is to cleanse my face morning and evening with an inexpensive crème cleanser. It’s difficult in the evening, though, to be sure that every last bit of make-up is gone so my trick is to take a rough face flannel (I have a pile of cheap, white flannels to hand) and soak the flannel in hot water and then cover my face with it. When the heat dissipates I repeat the action rubbing my face at the same time (not over hard rubbing, btw) until there is no evidence of any make-up, including eye makeup. I got this heated flannel trick from Sali Hughes and it’s been excellent for my mild blepharitis as well. The flannel is then discarded after one day. On top of this, every two weeks or so, I use an exfoliating crème after the evening cleanse. All this takes time (and I’ve written about this before) but I would never, ever, not do this routine – it’s as important to me as cleaning my teeth.
- Get good make-up advice
I’m not going to give you any advice about make-up – each to their own, as some people have always worn make-up and some not. But don’t ever say I can’t wear make-up because of my age – oh no, no and no again! What I do advocate is get some advice on what to wear on your face. And it won’t necessarily be found on the make-up and beauty counter in those large department stores. Rather, go on the internet, and particularly try Tricia Cusden’s YouTube tutorials on make-up and the older woman. These tutorials are excellent, as are her products. I also rate the aforementioned Sali Hughes, who is the Guardian beauty correspondent. As you can see from her website she’s just published a book and for me it was a good read and one to keep as a reference for the future.
I cannot emphasise this enough. Don’t pluck your eyebrows. This is because eyebrows define and frame your face. Forget a surgical facelift – your eyebrows alone will lift your face. If possible, let them grow long and bushy and then get them professionally dyed and tidied. If they’re a bit sparse either use a gel to help them grow again or see Tricia Cusden’s advice on eyebrows and the older woman.
- Gel nail varnish
Nails are a kind of skin so I’m including this here! I’ve got old looking hands with thin age-spotted skin plus crumbling fragile nails. And yes, I know it must be a calcium thing but as I’m already on calcium supplements I can’t take any more. The nails peel and split, particularly in the winter, when, if I’m not careful, my nails go below the quick, which is horrible. But hey, I‘ve found an answer – gel nail varnish.
Gel varnish is applied in a salon and costs around £30 but, wonder of wonders, the varnish lasts for 3-5 weeks and as far as I’m concerned, has changed my nails from being an utter disaster zone to having, near enough, rather long nails – wow! The reason is that as well as looking great, the gel varnish protects the nail, so my nails now grow beyond the quick and they haven’t looked this good for years.
In all of the above I’m recommending things that worked for me, so exercise caution and common-sense, and only use products and treatments that suit you and that you’re happy with. But do let me know what tricks you use to improve the quality of your skin.
With love, Penny, The frugal fashion shopper