Friday, July 25, 2014

Finding 50 and Fabulous....on skin care....

Well, you know I've always been torn on the skin care issue.

I'm an Aussie so I've done my time in the sun. We used to literally bake ourselves in the midday sun with Reef Oil slathered generously all over to achieve the deepest tan we could in the 70s.

I've made oatmeal masks and toned with water and honey in my teens.

I've made treatments from egg white and avocado and almond meal and rice flour and other things that belong in baking and salads.

Now I'm over 50 and thanks to a Mum who was fascinated with beauty products and skin care, I've always looked after my skin, and it's paid off. It's just that my modes and methods have varied according to whim, fashion and budget.

Yes, this is me. A long way from perfect, but not bad for someone nearly 55.

In my skin caring lifetime, I've used Clinique, Estee Lauder, Ella Bache`, Shiseido, Simplicite`, Avon, Yves Rocher (my first French range!), Loreal, Nutrimetics, Nu-skin, Mary Kay, Dermalogica, Elizabeth Arden, a Guthy-Renker one that was effective, but I don't recall the name of it and getting it in the mail after I'd run out, really annoyed me.

Some others were locally produced or home made even, and I've even tried the oil cleansing method, Vaseline as moisturiser, Macadamia Oil, Jojoba Oil and Sweet Almond Oil all either straight up or in home made products.

So I think I'm well qualified to make a judgement call.

Look, all these things work. Some of them work better than others, and any of them are better than doing nothing at all, obviously.

But frankly, and I'm going to absolutely go against the anti-marketing, anti-beauty flow here, the high end products just do a better job. I'm a bit tired of hearing that it's all rumour and innuendo when it comes to 'good' beauty products.

Yes, yes I know. The 'you're paying for the packaging and the advertising and it's all Voo Doo' crowd will lampoon me for sure.

But here's the thing. I've come to realise as I grow older, that the one thing I have to wear day in, day out, is my skin. Not just my face but all of my skin. I want it to look good. I want it to look smooth and polished. I want to not have to wear makeup at all or at least minimal makeup to look good.

You can't buy new skin. And a new handbag or pair of killer shoes, does nothing for your complexion. Botox is NOT the answer. It's about making the most of what you already have.

So it's about priorities really, isn't it.

My priority these days is well cared for skin. No ifs, buts or maybes. That is where my me-money goes. Mum would be proud ;0)

I find myself in a somewhat enviable position of late. The Musician Husband and I are seriously contemplating a new business venture, and part of this will mean sourcing lovely beauty products.

So I've contacted a few well known and a couple of lesser known brands, outlined our ideas, and asked for some information. Well the information all comes with lovely samples, doesn't it. So I've been having a ball.

At this point I've narrowed it down to two French lines, one more organic and one that claims marine extracts.

Both are so effective that I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't got free samples to play with....hehehehe!

My forehead is smooth and velvety, some little blemishes I had have simply dissolved, my skintone is even and clear, and I saw a friend yesterday who declared that I looked 'fresh', and asked sotto voce, if I'd had 'work'. Hell no to that!

Here's what I think.

If you're on a budget, and who isn't from time to time, then you can do worse then cleanse with Dove Soap or Ponds Cold Cream, and moisturise with a generic neutral cream or oil. THAT really is better than nothing.

Personally, I've tried all of the supermarket brands at least once, and I'd rather use the Dove soap and my homemade organic serum in preference to a supermarket brand. If we're talking voodoo, then this is the price bracket that I believe suffers from 'inferior product in pricey packaging'. I've never had results that were any better than the most basic, from a Loreal, Olay or Nivea product. Sorry. Maybe it's just me.

I've heard from a good friend who manages dual careers as a teacher and an Avon representative, and who has insanely beautiful skin, that Avon have some incredible new products that are equal to many of the high end brands, so perhaps if you're looking for results, but not the label and accompanying price tag, then good old Avon is worth a looky see.

The best results I've ever had were from Dermalogica, Clinique (in my younger days), and the two which I now have the luxury of holding in my hands to preview.

One brand is Phyt's. A well known brand in France, lesser known here in Australia. Gorgeous products, simple packaging, eco-friendly.

The other is Thalgo. Marine essences and other goodies swirling together to give skin a real boost.

I can't decide. But certainly both ranges are amongst the best I've ever used.

So what's your skin care solution, how much do you spend, how often do you indulge in additional treatments or visits to a Spa, and what do you think works best?

And if you had the choice of Thalgo or Phyts or another brand (perhaps locally produced), which would you choose?

Do let me know.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

How badly do you want it....fifty and fabulous and the stylish walker...

This post should be called 'why are exercise clothes ugly and why are we expected to look frumpy when we're exercising'.
When I was young I looked different than I do now.
I was slender, let's just leave it at that.
It was a long time ago.
Strangely back then, I lamented not having a fuller bustline.
Well, now I have the fuller bustline, and I'm not happy with the rest of me.
Honestly, we are never happy are we. My Mum used to say 'Be careful what you wish for'.
She was right.
So I'm failing this whole fifty and fabulous thing big time. Oh I've got the hair happening, and the skin care regime, and the whole French outlook on moisturising top to toe and never leaving the house looking less than the best I can be. But body
I started blogging about how badly I wanted to lose weight a while back, and then I've drifted back to my evil ways.
Just one wine, just one sliver of cake, just one, just one, just one. Trouble is, all those ones, add up to thousands of naughty little calories.
So, this time I'm serious. No. Really I am.
I'm cutting back, stepping up, leaving my naughty 'just one' habits behind.
First step is to exercise EVERY day. I've been giving myself weekends off. Well, this is just plain daft as the weekends are when the calorific consumption is off the scale. Pardon the pun.
So I'm dragging my baggy butt out of bed at 6:30 every morning and just walking for 30 minutes. I really am not cut out for the whole sweaty, heaving, unattractive setup.
I can't even wear 'exercise gear'. I've tried, really I have. But I think getting in to the exercise gear is actually the worst part. It's all so ugly and it clings where it shouldn't and just makes you feel terrible and frumpy. Where oh where is the attractive exercise gear for the person who really NEEDS to exercise? Forget that label stuff that exhorts you to 'Do or Die' and 'Just Do It' or that claims that 'Chocolate makes me go faster'. Well it doesn't. Chocolate just makes me go fatter. Maybe it was a typo. S and T are next to one another in the alphabet. Maybe someone just made an error.
I now walk in my Moda tapered trousers with the nice little slimming seam down the front of the leg. I top them with a polo shirt in a flattering colour, and as it's a bit nippy in my part of the world, I also take a silk scarf. Not the Hermes....quelle` horror! Just a nice wispy thing I bought on eBay.
I refuse to wear 'gym shoes' or 'runners' or whatever you want to call them. They're ugly and heavy and a trial to get on and off, and you have to wear *cringe* socks with them. Socks are for wearing in front of the TV at night. Ladies of a certain age, do NOT wear socks. Or this one doesn't anyway.
So here's my list of must haves for the stylish walker. Coz let's face it, we're walking, not running. No sweat, red faces here.
1. A polo shirt in a flattering colour.
2. Neat, attractive, lightweight cushioned walking shoes. My choice is these metallic CC resort moccasins.
3. Flattering pants. I can't abide bike pants, or yoga pants, or cargo pants and track suit pants send me screaming from the room. I wear neat, slim fitting (but not tight!) cropped capri pants in Summer and ankle length tailored pants in Winter, both in a good quality breathable fabric.
4. Ballet Pink silk scarf....well that's my favourite colour. Yours doesn't have to be Ballet Pink. I do however highly recommend the wispy silk kind. They drape beautifully, don't add bulk, yet are surprisingly warm, and give a softer look around the more mature face.
5. Finally, I put my hair in a pony tail and put a jaunty ribbon on it. Many beauty specialists suggest that a high ponytail is like instant botox. It just lifts the face and gives you such a clean and chic look.
Chic when exercising? Of course! Why ever not?
And guess what? I've discovered that I like exercise when I can look nice doing it. Am I mad? I've realised after all this time, that the reason I didn't like exercising was because it required wearing ugly clothes, even uglier shoes, no makeup and a hat that squashes my hair.
No more, I say!
Vive` the stylish walker. The woman who cares how she looks even when she's sweating. Oh, sorry. GLOWING. Mum always said, 'men sweat, women glow'.
So I'm taking my glowing, groomed, metallic shoed self off for a walk now. That old me is many a long walk away, but for some reason, I think I can do it this time.
See you soon.