You can’t turn back the clock, but you can help your natural beauty shine brighter, no matter how many candles are on your cake this year. Jane Carstens reports.
The expression ‘anti-ageing’ is not one that Cindy Lüken, CEO of Lük Beautifood, embraces. “It sends the wrong message and is very negative. We need to reframe the conversation about ageing and beauty and talk about the positive effects of natural beauty at any age that encompass a positive mindset, regular exercise, eating well, and using natural products.”
D-I-Y lotions and potions
There are many natural oils, plants and foods that you can tailor to your particular needs. Try these simple recipes from Lük Beautifood (www.lukbeautifood.com).
Green goddess intense moisture mask: Combine 1 tablespoon of organic plain yoghurt with a tablespoon of mashed avocado and a teaspoon of organic runny honey. Apply to your face, leave for 10-20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water and pat your face dry. Lüken says this mask works because the lactic acid in yoghurt dissolves dead skin cells and tightens pores, plus the fats in the avocado replenish the skin’s natural moisture barrier and the honey attracts and retains moisture.”
Hydrating hair mask: Combine 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (more if your hair is long) with 1 tablespoon of mashed banana and 2 tablespoons of mashed avocado. Apply to the ends of damp hair and leave for 20-40 minutes. Rinse with warm water. “This works because the fatty acids in coconut oil bind to the protein in the hair, providing protection from breakage and a moisture seal. The fatty acids, proteins and vitamins in avocado help hair growth and add lustre and shine,” explains Lüken.
Give ice therapy a go
When you want to preserve food, you freeze it. It seems the same principle works with skin. Simply rub an ice cube wrapped in a cotton cloth or towel across your clean, make-up-free face and neck morning and night. Ice therapy is good for acne and pimples, blemishes, toning, reducing inflammation, and stimulating blood flow, which all rejuvenate skin. Ramp it up and try frozen milk cubes around your eyes, or boost the ice cube’s clout by adding pureed cucumber.
Brush up on nutrition
Understanding how different nutrients support skin is important.“For example, vitamin C can prevent skin damage and reduce the ageing effects of chemicals, cigarette smoke, sun damage and inflammation, while calcium helps tired skin revitalise itself,” explains Lüken.
Examine your make-up
You might be a whiz at reading ingredient lists on food products, but do you apply the same scrutiny to your make-up? Ingredients differ between brands but there are some basic ingredients most companies use. For example, lipsticks usually contain wax, pigment and oil (such as petroleum). Mascaras typically contain iron oxide, triethanolamine (an emulsifier that allows the mascara to stick to lashes), waxes, polymers, and a preservative. Foundations are based on moisturisers, colourants and fillers. Harsh chemicals in many products can work against your skin’s heath in the long run. Choose natural products instead.
Watch your AGEs
Nutritionist Karen Fischer, founder of Skin Friend (www.skinfriend.com.au) and author of Younger Skin in 28 Days and The Healthy Skin Diet, says the best weapon against ageing skin is your fork. “Eating skin-friendly foods supplies skin with the nutrients it needs to produce new collagen and fight AGEs,” she explains. “AGEs stands for advanced glycation end products, and these contribute to the human equivalent of corrosion and rust in our body. Some sources of AGEs include sugar, alcohol, takeaway and fast food, and charred foods such as burnt toast and barbequed steak. These foods attack collagen and contribute to organ, blood vessel and tissue damage.”
Your face contains more than 40 muscles that become tired and lose tone as you age. Facial massage can help, and unlike a back massage, you can do this for yourself. Choose a natural oil (olive or coconut oil are good choices) and then use your fingers to smooth it over acupressure points to detoxify, boost circulation, smooth fine lines, and alleviate muscle tension. Target your forehead, between and across your eyebrows, along the line between your nostril and the hollow right beside the ear (hint: follow the line under your check bone), and along the jawline up to just below the ear.
Get your beauty sleep
Dr Carmel Harrington, sleep researcher and author of The Sleep Diet and The Complete Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep, says research indicates that new skin cells grow faster during sleep. “When we sleep our bodies take the chance to rest, repair and restore. Sleeplessness cuts the body’s crucial repair time short, and this can wreak havoc on your skin,” she explains. “Use a hydrating product at night to maintain the skin’s hydration throughout the sleeping period leaving it plumped in the morning. But remember, if the body doesn’t get sufficient sleep even skincare products can only go so far.”
Top foods to fight AGEs
Purple salad leaves
Black sesame seeds
Yellow curry powder (turmeric, cumin, ginger)
Lemons and limes