It has surprised me how much I found I wanted to say about beauty products I have owned and loved. Here is the second half of my musings – you can find the first half here. In that post I covered eyeliners (amongst other things) and tried out Mac’s Liquidlast Liner. It was so good at being waterproof I have to confess that the following morning the eyeliner was still there and looking pretty sharp. So I left it. Is that bad? It still looked good the following morning but I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, no, I really can’t keep wearing the same eyeliner from three days ago; so scrubbed it off with a specialist eye make-up remover oil. That did the trick. I wonder how long I could have just kept it on?
The aim of these posts was to share the products I keep buying. I buy different brands all the time but I wanted to focus on the ones I keep going back to. The next recommendation is a hand cream I have been using for at least five years. I can’t find out when it was first produced but I’m pretty sure I have used it since it first came out. It is the only hand cream I buy: Aveda Hand Relief. My husband loves asking for it at the counter heh heh.
It annoys me how often I forget to put this on because it makes a huge difference. Hands don’t look wonderful over 45 and this cream seems to go some way towards making them look significantly smoother and plumper. It also does wonders for nails. It has a lovely, thick and creamy texture with a citrusy smell. I adore it because it sinks in straight away without feeling too greasy afterwards. This is a real plus as I hate watery hand creams and loathe the ones that leave your hands with a nasty film for ages.
Sticking with Aveda, I have been using their shampoo and conditioner for coloured hair for years. It’s pretty expensive but I tend to buy the litre bottles which last for ages. (Although my son has recently acquired a taste for it and keeps filching it from my bathroom – the swine – so it’s been running out more quickly than usual.)
Being 45+ my hair isn’t great. I envy anyone who has managed to keep their hair looking good over 40. No matter what I do I can’t make my hair look nice unless I have a professional blow dry and add hair pieces. I have been growing it for fifteen years and it’s only just past jaw length. If it gets a sniff of rain, fog, mist or any kind of dampness it immediately droops into a straggly nest of limp, kinky frizz. It’s also much thinner than it was. This is a great sadness of my life. The thinning and limpness is the reason why you see women in their 50’s with massive bouffant ‘dos. Unfortunately, I can feel myself following them down that pouffey route but can’t seem to find an alternative.
So it isn’t so much that the Aveda transforms my hair, it’s just that it gets my hair closer to decent than any other shampoo and conditioner I have used. In fact now if I use any other range I get a sore, itchy scalp. The Aveda one seems particularly good at stopping build up and the conditioner doesn’t drag your hair down. It also seems to help my colour last longer. I used to love their madder root shampoo and conditioner as it’s such a deep red it would look like you’ve murdered someone in the shower – which is always fun – but my husband put a stop to that so I stick to the Colour Conserve range.
Another misery of ageing is what happens to the skin on your body. Jilly Cooper described it perfectly: ‘my body skin looks OK but goes into tiny pleats when squeezed, which is admittedly not a lot these days.’ Pleats. Not a good look in clothes, let alone body skin. Anyway, the one cream which seems to tackle horrendous pleating is this…
Liz Earle’s Superskin Body Cream. It’s brilliant. Some people don’t like the smell – I think it’s the neroli? – I really like it. However, at around £35 a bottle I can’t really justify buying it regularly. I slather it on so thickly 200ml lasts about three goes. If I was a millionaire I’d roll around in buckets of the stuff. Alas I am not, so this is very much for high days and holidays.
For every day use I have recently bought my third tub of this body butter from Marks and Spencer’s.
It’s delicious and comes in a variety of different flavours. I have tried the coconut which was nice, but I prefer the cocoa bean which smells heavenly. Rich and buttery, it slathers on nicely and hangs around keeping your skin feeling plump and soft. Not as good as the Liz Earle but a pretty good substitute.
I am also on my third tube of this…
When I cannot be arsed to primp about with foundations – I have about four in my make-up box and have no loyalty to any one foundation – I whack this stuff on. Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue: nice and light but still manages to even out my complexion and give it a bit of a glow. It also has an odd seaweedy-seaside smell which I really like. I have had more compliments on my skin wearing this than any other foundation/tinted moisturiser I have tried. Three of my friends have gone out and bought it, as has my mother.
I love a good, hot bath but can’t have them too often as it dries my skin dreadfully. Every single bubble bath I have used makes it worse. The only bath product I buy over and over again (I get my mum to gift it to me every Christmas) is Jo Malone’s Bath Oil. Specifically Amber and Lavender. Gorgeous scent and genuinely leaves your skin silky and moisturised not matter how long or hot you like your bath.
I should add I had a bath at my mother-in-law’s house over Christmas and she gave me a bottle of this.
I’d heard of it before – from when my grandma used to ease her aching bones into a bath of Fenjal – but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. My skin felt really nice afterwards.
Finally hair. Specifically face and neck hair. And I’m not talking about eyebrow or ‘tache hair. Any woman over 45 will know exactly what I’m talking about. Another joy of middle-age is the thick, wiry hairs that sprout from the most awful places without warning. Sorry, youngsters but you need to prepare yourself – it happens to us all.
Every woman over 45 needs a decent pair of tweezers. Preferably about five of them. I was going to take a picture of one of my pairs. I have at least 20 tweezers. However, I can’t find a single one of the fuckers. I have no idea where they are; probably down the back of the sofas. I had to get a pic from the internet instead. These is the company you want: Tweezerman.
Don’t bother with any other brand of tweezer. You need them to be precise and strong. I prefer the slanted tip. If you go cheap then you will find they stop working within a week because the ends stop meeting together. Also, don’t ever let your children use them to get out a splinter as it ruins them. (Little tip, the tweezers you get with a Swiss Army pen knife are excellent for removing splinters.)
The cool thing about Tweezerman is that they have a free sharpening service. You can send off your tweezers and get them back good as new for nothing. Four times I have gathered up all my old tweezers and put them in an envelope. Not once have I ever got around to actually posting the damn things. However, I assume they do a good job. I trust Tweezerman.
I hope you have enjoyed my little foray into the world of beauty. That’s pretty much all I have to pass on to you. If I think of anything else I’ll do another post. If you have any good recommendations – particularly for horrid, middle-aged hair – please comment below.
PS – not a beauty product, but if you want your house to smell deliciously gorgeous (without that horrid air freshener plasticy stink) try the Heyland and Whittle reed diffuser in Orange Spice. This is probably my 20th bottle.
PPS Just stumbled across this blog post from lookfabulousforever.com which has some brilliant ideas for older faces