1. Be Kinder to Your Hair
Washing hair twice – saves on washing as frequently and so having to blow dry as often, saving your hair from drying out so much (plus that time factor too in the morning).
I always wondered why there was that “rinse and repeat” instruction on the back of shampoo, but I have discovered that washing twice gets me cleaner hair for longer, which means less blow drying and styling. Now that’s a win in my book.
Beauty Tip: Wash twice and wash less frequently.
2. Don’t Forget Your Neck
Yes we’re all told to moisturise our faces, but nobody mentioned keeping on going down your neck to your decolletage. Now I’m the proud owner of a younger looking face with an older looking neck. I wish I’d been moisturising my neck along with my face for all these years!
Beauty Tip: Moisturise your face, neck and decolletage each day.
3. There’s No Such Thing as a Safe Tan
When I was young it was all about getting a dark tan. Tan’s were desired and we were told that a tan protected you from the sun. In fact, a tan does protect you, as much as an SPF 2 protects you (so not much), and a tan results from skin cells in trauma trying to protect themselves from the sun. And sun burn makes your skin cells self-destruct trying to protect you. But if you get too much sun, then your body can’t keep up and skin cancers form from those damaged cells.
Sunscreen is your best friend, both to stop wrinkling and skin cancer. Did you know that 80% of skin aging is from sun damage.
It’s a myth that those with darker skin can’t get burnt. They too need sunscreen.
Learn to love your paler skin. The love of a tan is cultural.
FYI: Spray tans and bronzers only work on warm skins as they are all too “golden” and look fake on cool complexions.
Beauty Tip: Sunscreen on chest, face and neck hands and arms every day before makeup.
4. Improve Your Skin with Exercise
Regular exercise helps your skin to look good. How does this work?
Exercise increases blood flow. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients around your body, and removes waste products including free radicals. Increasing blood flow by exercising regularly will help flush cellular debris out of the system, cleaning your skin from the inside.
Plus, regular exercise reduces stress, and reducing stress can improve skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
Beauty Tip: Take a 30 minute walk at least 4 days a week (if not more).
5. Be Gentle To Your Skin
Harsh scrubs with scratchy edges don’t just exfoliate, they can also do damage to your skin. Scrubs made with ingredients like walnut shells, apricot kernels, ground seeds all have irregular and sharp edges that can tear the skin.
Instead look for gentler options such as using baking soda mixed with your cream cleanser if you want to exfoliate.
Beauty Tip: Make your own exfoliant from a teaspoon of baking soda and a dollop of a cream cleanser like Cetaphil.
6. Plant Based Products Are Not Necessarily More Gentle
Witch Hazel can be an irritant, as is menthol (yes it smells nice but can aggravate your skin) along with cinnamon. Lavender and chamomile too can become irritating and cause allergic reactions for some. The list of natural plant based ingredients (citrus oil, tea tree oil) is long, and there are many that may not react well with your skin.
Poison Ivy? That’s a plant and we all know it’s also irritating to our skin! So claiming “plant based” really doesn’t mean “non-irritating” to the skin.
Just because it comes from a plant or is organic, doesn’t mean it’s not a chemical (yes, everything is made from chemicals, water is a chemical).
It’s often the yummy “natural” fragrances in products that are irritants! So in fact it’s better to go for a product without a lovely smell!
Want to know what’s in cosmetics? What’s good and what’s bad? There are some good resources out there including:
Beauty Tip: Get to know your ingredients, the good and the bad, what to use and what to avoid, check out this list.
7. Eyebrows are the Frame For Your Eyes
Eyebrows really do provide a frame for your eyes. As we age, our eyebrows get shorter and lighten. If you’ve plucked your eyebrows lots, they may also stop growing back and look sparse.
You want your eyebrows to look clean, so plucking out those stray hairs that grow too low helps to give your eyes a lifted look, then filling in anything that is more sparse also helps to really make your eyebrows a frame for your eyes.
I’ve made a short video to show you how I do my eyebrows each day.
Make an eyebrow pencil and/or powder part of your daily brow routine. Don’t make them too dark and overly painted on if you want a more natural look. Choose a shade or two lighter than your hair colour (unless you’re already very blonde). If you are blonde, go one to two shades darker, no more.
Beauty Tip: Wash and old mascara brush and use it to groom your brows after applying brow pencil or powder for a more natural look.
Notice how my face changes in the video tutorial when only one eyebrow? It makes one side of my face almost look droopy!
Here are some different eyebrow products you could try:
What are your beauty tips that you wish you’d known decades ago?
Hi Imogen, I have enjoyed your eyebrow video – I have grey hair and don’t want blonde or brown eyebrows as my colouring has become cooler. There is a shortage of grey mascara and grey brow powder out there, so I look for non metallic grey eye shadow to use as brow filler. I wish there was more choice for us grey haired ones who want cool grey. I love all your advice,
To Margaret, Hello, I too have done the grey journey. Have you tried either Revlon, Blonde retractable eye pencil, or (surprise) Maybelline Blonde retractable eye pencil? Find they’re not overly coloured, especially when I use the other side of the pencils to brush brows so they look more ‘natural’. Then I set them with brush on eyebrow gel… As Imogene writes, as one ages, those eyebrows really help frame the face.
Try Clinique’s brow powder in gray. It’s a classic!
#2 is very important to get the word out about!
When I was in my early 20s, I recall distinctly, as in the date and place, when I noticed an older acquaintance’s drooping, wrinkled, and tanned neck and decolletage. She was a freelance photojournalist who spent a lot of time outdoors. From that day forward I always moisturized my face and neck and do feel it has paid off these many years (decades) later.
Thank you for the interesting tips Imogen!
Adding to your point about including the neck and decolletage when tending to our faces, it is also important to include the back of the hands! Whatever I do on my face and neck, I also do on the back of my hands – and its quick – I just add a bid extra product to the back of my hand and rub the two backs of my hands together to distribute the product, it only takes a few seconds. One often see beautiful actresses with beautiful young faces and then it looks like she borrowed her grandma’s hands. (I don’t want to embarrass them by telling you who they are, but look in their photos, you’ll see it.)
Oh YES, glorious baking soda scrub! I love it! Apparently some of the well-known Ford-models regularly use baking soda as a “microderm-abrasion”* to maintain their beautiful complexion. (*Use it with only a little water and scrub well.) In my 30’s I developed some very ugly pigmentation patches on my skin and after I regularly started using the baking soda scrub cum microderm-abrasion, it totally broke up those pigmentation patches to the point where I now have a fairly even complexion. And the bonus is that even when we travel it is easy to buy baking soda in almost any other country as well. Oh, and I use baking soda also as a full body scrub every time I shower – the luxurious feeling of a super-soft and clean feeling skin all over – it is quite an addictive feeling I would say!
Thank you for the eyebrow video Imogen – many great tips in there!
Baking soda for the win!
I’d still be careful about using it on the face, as its low pH can interfere with the skin’s naturally slightly acidic pH, so at least give it time to recover by not using the scrub too often.
But I swear by baking soda as a deodorant! It’s the only one that really “works” for me (…yes, I’m a stinker.), it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals or clog your pores (lookin’ at ya, aluminium chlorohydrate), is scent-free, and, as you say, readily available in any supermarket anywhere at a fraction of the price of commercial deodorants – they don’t even come close.
The only potential downside to the magic white powder is risking some rather suspicious looks by TSA agents when travelling…
I’ve not tried it as deoderant – doesn’t it leave lots of white marks on your clothes? How do you get it to stick?
I haven’t had any issues with visible white marks – unlike with anti-perspirants which I had lost several dear garments to due to permanent white stains.
I use it by first wetting my under-arms and then dipping my damp fingers in (or rather laying my fingertips over) my baking soda container (NOT the same as the one I use in the kitchen, just to clarify that, haha!), and rubbing it in. Any excess can be dusted off with a towel.
My husband and I do this (as does my mother) and it definitely works for us. Also that is what both my friend and I used as our only deodorant while backpacking through Siberia three summers ago (so our access to actual showers was, ahem, sporadic at best), and can confirm I never as much as caught an unpleasant whiff off her person, and she claims the same for me.
So I can only recommend everyone to try it and see how you like it. At least you’ll know you’re not using any potentially harmful aluminium-based, pore-clogging stuff.
Good luck, and let us know how it goes! 😉
Cetaphil and baking soda has been my go-to wash for a couple of years now; I only wish I had discovered it sooner! When we lived in Spain, I came to understand the power of the brow and a strong lip. Some days it’s all you need!
hi, thanks for sharing this precious information I really enjoyed the eyebrow video. keep it up
There is this Italian lady who works in biotechnology, Beatrice Mautino, who debunks many myths about cosmetic products from the inside of the industry. She basically wants women to stop being duped by marketing campaigns, I think it’s worth having a look on her YouTube videos (lately she’s had them translated into English). In answer to your question as to “what I wish I knew sooner”, Imogen… Many thanks for your very insightful and intelligent posts, I love your blog.
Thanks for the tip – I’ll look her up (I did read a lot of stuff by Paula Begoun who does similar things and is a chemist)
Beauty is in the skin! Take care of it, oil it, clean it, scrub it, perfume it, and put on your best clothes, even if there is no special occasion, and you’ll feel like a queen.