Beauty lessons learned from my mother
As Mother’s Day draws close for another year, I find myself spending a lot of time thinking about my mum. There is something about selecting gifts and cards and making plans with my siblings for our mum that really inspires a bit of reflection.
There is so much to love about her, more than I can put into words. I have so much to be grateful for because of my mother and I am a better person because of her love, patience and wisdom. But I need to save all this for her card on Sunday so today I want to share the beauty lessons I’ve learned from my mother who is often described by family and friends as elegant, chic and sophisticated and I honestly couldn’t find three better words myself to epitomize her style.
Most little girls spend their days looking up to their mothers. We sneak into wardrobes and try on oversized high heels, don pearl necklaces and fancy furs just to feel a bit grown up. Me? I was in my mother’s bathroom cabinet. Smearing lipstick with gay abandon, slathering myself in (probably very expensive) face creams and spritzing myself with mum’s signature scent (Chanel Coco Mademoiselle FYI). You could say my beauty obsession started young, and I think my mum had something to do with it. When I look at my beauty habits now I notice many similarities with mum’s and so many things she taught me at a young age have stuck. So, thank you mum, for teaching me not only to navigate my way around the Clinique counter at David Jones, or for buying me my first blemish cream, but for helping me understand that beauty is more than just skin deep.
Sun protection, always
Mum and I are the fairest of them all when it comes to our family. Our English heritage has blessed us with fair, porcelain skin meaning we are much more prone to sunburn than some other skin types. I have many (fond?) memories of mum insisting I wear a rashie as a child, which I hated at the time but am now so grateful for as I have hardly any sun damage to report in my late twenties. Her advice on sun protection means I have never gone a day without SPF on my face and décolletage and keep a wide brimmed hat handy to keep away rays.
Keep it simple
Mum isn’t one for complicated skincare regimes. Sure, she’s got her staple splurge items (i.e. night cream), but generally believes that you can achieve great results with basic items such as cleanser, daily SPF and a good night cream. And judging by her skin and non-existent wrinkles it seems she’s onto a good thing.
A healthy diet is the only multivitamin you need
I have always been surrounded by a very no-nonsense approach to healthy living. There was no such thing as "good" or "bad" food and our family home was (and still is) full of nourishing, delicious meals. Mum never bought into the superfood trend and managed to raise three, healthy children on fresh fruit and vegetables, beautifully cooked with lean meat and fish. Not a kale chip in sight! In fact, I'd say any meal she has produced could be classified as a superfood.
We learnt that as long as you were getting enough vitamins and minerals from your daily fruit and vegetable intake, there was no need for a multivitamin (or expensive urine as she calls them!) - unless of course you were sick.
Vitamin A all the way
Having worked as a nurse for umpteen years, my mother has had experience working with a multitude of specialists, including skin specialists and dermatologists. One of the most valuable things she's ever brought home for me was a tube of pure retinol/Vitamin A, which helped form part of my treatment plan of some pretty nasty acne. Mum's bathroom cabinet doesn't boast a multitude of serums and skin boosters, but you can always find some good old Vitamin A in there.
Probably one of the biggest lessons for me over the years was learning not to pick my pimples. As a teenager I suffered from awful hormonal acne that has followed me into my twenties and whenever I raise my hand to touch a spot all I can hear is mum's voice, "Don't pick! You'll only make it worse". And she's right, it makes it much worse by spreading bacteria and helps create a lasting scar.