What does it mean to embrace the passage of time – gently, holistically and positively? asks Eminé Rushton.
Ageing – as natural as breathing. So, why do we strive so very hard to stymie the passage of time? The Western take on ageing is rooted in fear. We worry that we’ll become less attractive, less relevant, less important. A multi-billion pound industry feeds on this deeply ingrained societal insecurity – promising ever-more innovative (and sometimes ludicrous) ways to stop the clock.
73-year-old Helen Mirren put it brilliantly when she said, “You only have two options in life: die young, or get old. There is nothing else.” It would seem that Mirren’s candour and common sense are steadily catching on.
“Traditional ways of marketing – specifically around age, gender and ethnicity – are becoming less relevant,” says Alexia Inge, co-founder of online beauty giant, Cult Beauty.
“There has been a slow move in focus away from eternal, youthful perfection to a spirit of positivity, confidence and psychological and emotional health.” Whereas the impossibly ironed-out face of a 50-something starlet might once have propelled those anti-ageing product sales, now we are savvier and increasingly cynical and, crucially, fewer and fewer of us want to look artificially ‘anti-aged’ in the first place.
As Inge explains, the beauty we most aspire to comes from within – a glow of good health and happiness; a twinkle in the eye. There is also a societal sea change happening all around us too. After generations of insecurity-preying advertising, women have savvied up and are ever more vociferously rejecting archaic, limiting and perfection-peddling beauty ideals.
Big brands themselves are now embracing the pro-ageing movement and across social media and glossy magazine covers, the woman of the moment is increasingly real, wise, strong and inspiring. So, if you’re feeling ready to embrace your age – whatever it is – here are some celebratory, soft and kind ways to boost your inner and outer glow, and embrace the skin that you are in.
“One of the biggest impacters on our outward appearance is nutrition ”
Feed skin from within
We have all heard it before, but one of the biggest impacters on our outward appearance and the vitality of our skin, is nutrition. From getting a diet rich in essential fatty acids (lovely, skin-restoring good fats, found readily in oily fish, chia seeds, egg yolks, avocado and flaxseed oil), to those naturally anti-ageing brightly coloured vegetables, red wine, darkest chocolate and good olive oil (rich in antioxidant polyphenols and phytonutrients, which, handily, help our body mop up those prematurely ageing free radicals from UV light, pollution and infrared-emitting devices), it makes good skin sense to eat a varied, delicious, natural diet.
Happy days for skin
I love Roald Dahl’s quote: “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” – because it’s true. Happiness is beautiful, and there is a scientific reason for this, too.
When we are happy, when we smile, when we laugh, we produce more serotonin. This happy hormone significantly reduces our cortisol levels.
“Elevated cortisol levels induce inflammation and suppress the immune system,” says dermatologist, Dr Jennifer Linder. “Inflamed cells are also prone to breaking down collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and strong.” Likewise, the love hormone, oxytocin, which we release when we are with family, friends and beloved pets, also curbs the cortisol cycle. As simple as it sounds, a life rich in laughter and love is naturally good for your skin.
Glow and go gently
When we run (particularly on hard surfaces) it is not only our joints that feel the impact – our faces, too, experience a lot of impact-induced movement, with the skin around our cheeks and jawline in particular, being subjected to significant ‘bounce’ (much like our breasts without a good sports bra), which, over time, can cause the elastin in the lower face to weaken.
If you love nothing more than to run, by all means do, of course, but if you’re keen to move in a more holistic way, you may want to choose a low intensity activity instead. Yoga, pilates and swimming are wonderful suppleness-supporting choices, with yoga also having been studied with regards skin health: specifically inversions (such as shoulder or head stands) being shown to boost circulation and promote more youthful, supple and radiant skin in the process.
Look to the East
In both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda age is viewed rather differently. In Ayurveda one is said to be in the prime of life until around 70 and in TCM, a woman’s golden age is during menopause – when she comes into the wholeness of her self and can embrace life to the absolute full because she is no longer defined by her reproductive system (from menstruation and pregnancy, through to child-bearing and breastfeeding). Likewise, in the East, beauty is celebrated all the more as you age; the wisdom behind the eyes, the laughter lines of a life heartily enjoyed.
Beauty rituals, too, are more focused on relaxation and enjoyment (a quick swipe over the face with a value cleansing wipe won’t cut it). Taking the time to care for ourselves is important. From salubrious baths with nourishing oils to massage treatments and holistic facials, self-care rituals such as these feed up the soul, and enhance our inner/outer glow, too.
Less is more beautiful
Our skin is incredible – a flourishing microbiome of good bacteria, acids and enzymes live upon the skin we are in. Holistic beauty protocols seek never to interfere with the skin’s natural balance, they support, bolster and strengthen, instead. Try paring your beauty routine back to a nourishing balm or cream cleanser, a hydrating and brightening serum and a replenishing face oil. Brilliant natural brands I trust include Josh Rosebrook, de Mamiel, MV Skincare, Lani Hair, Ra Oils, Balance Me and Neal’s Yard Remedies.
Pro-ageing natural skincare for radiant skin
Neal’s Yard Remedies launched their Age Well Revolution earlier this year to wide acclaim and their new adverts feature women between the ages of 45 and 80. The supporting Frankincense Intense range (certified organic) looks to strengthen ageing skin, while imparting glow, firmness and tone, and costs from £55 for the Eye Cream. nealsyardremedies.com
MV Organic Skincare Gentle Cream Cleanser, £39. With a camellia oil base, this nourishing oil-infused cleanser is wonderful for drier and delicate skins and deliciously aromatherapeutic too. cultbeauty.co.uk
Twelve Beauty Hyaluroil Lip Treatment, £28. This all-natural unctuous oil restores bio-lipidic balance to skin with encapsulated hyaluronic acid and leaves lips supple, glossy and healthy. twelvebeauty.com
Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum, £32. A wonderful combination of naturally brightening stabilised vitamin C and deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid, which has been receiving rave reviews since its launch, last month. balanceme.co.uk
By Sarah London Organic Facial Oil, £32. Purest certified organic oils of argan, pumpkin seed, apricot and sweet almond make this essential organic facial oil ideal for sensitive skins, and can be used day and night in lieu of face cream. bysarahlondon.com
Three holistic beauty books
Skin Delicious Recipes & the Ultimate Wellbeing Plan for Radiant Skin in 6 Weeks, by Liz Earle, £25. A vocal supporter of ageing naturally and well, Liz’s wonderful book (one of over 30 she’s written…) features holistic wellbeing advice, nourishing recipes and skincare tips aplenty, garnered from her decades of experience.
Perfect Skin, Unlocking the Secrets by Alexandra Soveral, £12.99. If we forgive the word ‘perfect’ in the title, the premise of Soveral’s book is a wholly holistic and natural approach to supporting the skin to age as well as it can. With massage, nutrition, wellbeing and skincare protocols throughout, it comes from the wise, wondrous hands of one of the world’s best holistic facialists.
Whole Beauty by Shiva Rose, £21.99. From the American founder of Shiva Rose beauty, comes an all-natural celebration of beauty, with an esoteric twist (sage smoke energy clearing) and a plethora of make-it-yourself beauty recipes for hair, body, skin and bath.
Avocados are one of many foods that can help your skin from within
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