‘Oh! Do you mind pulling over here so I can grab a bottle of wine?’
The Uber driver pulled over and my mum dashed out of the car and into the bottle shop.
‘I’ll be two seconds!’ she called as she ducked through the doors.
1 minute later she called me to tell me she was in the queue and she’d be right out. My mum hates keeping people waiting and likes to give everyone the same information at least three times so I wasn’t surprised by her call. I laughed and said ‘It’s fine Mum, we’re still here. Calm down.’
The Uber driver chuckled and said ‘Your friend is very stressful!’
‘Yeah, she is! And she’s actually my mum.’
The Uber driver’s eyes widened and he said ‘Really? Is she your mum? She looks so young!’
I confirmed it was true, she is indeed my mother and yes she does look very young. To be fair, good genes play a large part in her youthful appearance but she has some good habits that have resulted in her looking like a 40-year-old when she’s actually 60. For a start, she’s a fanatical moisturiser, every morning and night. Not fancy moisturiser mind you, usually Oil of Ulan (now Oil of Olay) she grabs at the supermarket. She’s also never really worn makeup so she hasn’t prodded, poked and stretched her face daily trying to get her eyeliner straight or her concealer blended. For as long as I can remember, she’s worn nothing but tinted moisturiser and a swipe of lipgloss during the day, with the addition of mascara and a slightly fancier lipgloss in the evening. Aside from drinking lots of water, that’s her super simple routine and it’s worked wonders for her. Not looking old enough to be the mother of an adult woman when you’re old enough to have a pensioner card is a pretty ace result wouldn’t you say?
As admirable as I find this routine now, when I was a kid, watching my mother get ready was beyond boring. She’s always had this nun-like bathroom cabinet with her three products all lined up in a row like a prisoner who had her commissary privileges revoked. I longed for her drawers to be full of eyeshadow and skin potions but my mother’s couldn’t-be-bothered attitude towards makeup made sure she never delivered on this fantasy. This probably explains my childhood obsession with magazines. I adored them, they were always full of tips about products I’d never even heard of like primer, body powder and exfoliators. If we went to someone’s house and I was expected to amuse myself, the host would hand me a stack of old magazines and I’d be quiet for hours. As a result, I’ve tried and collected many beauty tips throughout my life and some of them have just stood the test of time.
I’ll leave the matte, flat foundation of the late 90s in the past but here’s a collection of my favourite tried and true beauty tips that are as relevant now as they were 30 years ago.
1. To open up and brighten your eyes, line the inner rim of your lower lash line with a nude eyeliner pencil.
2. Keep your eyebrows perfectly groomed with this technique. Brush them upwards towards your hairline, then smooth them in a line towards your temple.
3. Add a handful of sea salt to your shower gel or soap for a natural exfoliator for your skin.
4. De-puff your eyes with slices of cucumber or chilled, used chamomile tea bags. Pop them on for 10 minutes to give yourself a quick and easy mini eye lift.
5. For soft feet, rub them with baby oil before having a bath and let your feet soak in the water. After 20 mins, give them a good scrub with a pumice stone.
6. Be like Cleopatra and have a milk bath! Add half a cup of powdered milk to your bath to soften your skin.
7. Remember that your face ends at your boobs! Whatever you put on your face – sunscreen, moisturiser, serum – should also be applied to your chest.
8. NEVER go to sleep with your makeup on. If you think you’re in danger of doing this (maybe after a night out?) keep makeup wipes in your bedside table so you can quickly grab one and remove it all before you fall asleep.
9. Wear sunscreen every day. Every, single day.
10. Don’t ‘pump’ your mascara wand as this lets air and bacteria into the product, instead screw the wand all the way down and all the way back out again to get more product on your brush.
11. Buy a silk pillowcase to prevent those morning sleep wrinkles.
12. Don’t use mascara on your lower lashes. It makes your eyes look smaller and it increases the risk of ending up looking like a smudgey panda.
13. Use clear mascara to tame and shape your eyebrows.
14. Use your ring finger to apply make-up and moisturiser to your eye area, the skin is SUPER delicate in that area and your ring finger is your weakest finger so it’s likely to do the least amount of damage.
15. In summer, switch to a tinted moisturiser instead of foundation. Your makeup ends up sweating off your face anyway so you might as well go light.
16. Use shampoo on the roots of your hair, conditioner on the ends.
17. If you don’t already, use an eye cream before you go to bed. A quick dab around your eyes before bed can make the world of difference.
18. Trouble picking the right shade of foundation? Go to a proper make-up counter and speak to a professional. It’s slightly more expensive than shopping at chemists but it will prevent you from walking around with a face that’s a totally different colour to your body.
19. Buy a pinky nude lipstick for everyday wear. It lifts your whole face and makes you look fresh without having to wear a lot of makeup.
20. Camouflage hair roots by messing up your part. It’s much more obvious that you skipped your last colour if your hair is parted straight.
21. Take pictures of the kind of hair cut you want when you go to the hair dresser. They might not be able to re-create it exactly but it helps for them to have a point of reference.
22. Buy a hat you love and wear it every time you leave the house. There’s nothing more stylish than being sun smart.
23. Give yourself a fresh look simply by changing the part in your hair.
34. Don’t touch your own eyebrows. You can tweeze a stray hair here and there but leave the bulk of it to the professionals.
35. Use ivory or gold eyeshadow just along your upper lid to brighten up your eyes.
36. If you find black mascara a bit much, give brown a go. It’s softer and subtler if you prefer a more a natural make-up look.
37. Smile when you put on lipstick, it’s the only way to make sure you haven’t missed a spot.
38. Avoid spraying perfume on your chest or neck especially if you’re going out in the sun. Perfume attracts UV so it will age your skin over time and increase your risk of getting sunburnt and developing skin cancer.
39. If traditional perfume is too strong for you, try perfume oils. Most of them are natural and leave a subtle scent that’s not overpowering.
40. Wear nude nail polish, it goes with everything and no one notices when it starts to chip off.
41. Use hair conditioner to shave your legs, it makes the hair soft and your razor will glide over your legs.
42. Unless you absolutely have to, try not to wash your hair every day, it strips away the natural moisture so your hair will be in much better condition if you give it a break from daily washing.
43. If you’ve run out of makeup remover, just use coconut oil on a cotton ball.
44. Dry your hair with an old t-shirt instead of a towel to avoid frizz.
45. Don’t get a facial right before a big occasion, do it at least a week beforehand as facials can cause breakouts.
46. Concentrate on getting a decent night’s sleep every night, being well rested is one of the best things you can do for your skin.
47. Drink water. Eight glasses, evenly spread throughout the day. You can even download apps that remind you to drink water if you frequently forget.
48. Make your moisturiser season appropriate by keeping it in the fridge in summer and microwaving it for 5 seconds in winter. Tip: Only microwave the small portion of moisturiser you’re going to use that day, not the whole bottle.
49. If you’re an at home manicure gal, get a decent top coat. It will keep your polish lasting much longer.