Beauty Confessions Of A 56 Year Old

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Hello 56, who the hell let you in?

One minute you’re a dimple-cheeked forty something who could get away with being several years younger and the next you mistakenly press FaceTime and this scary apparition is peering down at you – all folded neck and chin and hooded eyes.

What can you do?  Few have the time, money or inclination to spend the next  20 years sealed inside a medi-spa or to be stretched and stitched by some weird-looking dude in Harley Street.  Here’s all I know about looking as good as you can, without being ridiculous.

Most expensive beauty unctions are a waste of money

Gill would agree, which is why she spends so much time weeding out the over-packaged rubbish. Only this week my husband brought me back a “collagen molecular spray” from Milan – he knows of my love for foreign pharmacies – which promised, as ever,  to be ‘anti-ageing’. Of course I’ll spray it around and am grateful for the thought, but it will not make one iota of difference to my skin.

A pot of coconut oil is mostly all you need

It’s the perfect cleanser and make-up remover and costs next-to-nothing.  Massage it into your face while in the bath, then thoroughly wipe off with a wet muslin cloth.  Naturally antibacterial,   it’s also a breath freshener,  body moisturiser,  scrub (just add salt or sugar) and an overnight hair treatment.  NB: Remember to seal the jar well and use a wooden spoon to extract the oil or it could go rancid. PS Do not eat. This stuff is 92% saturated fat.

A half decent moisturiser will do

All moisturisers fundamentally form a barrier on the skin to prevent moisture loss when exposed  to dry air or wind.  Which is why I often prefer more moisturising facial oils, my current companion  being an organic Argan oil for which I was recently royally fleeced in Marrakesh’s medina. In my VIP days,  Sisley moisturisers were a requirement, but nowadays I’ll reach for anything that’s affordable and begins with ‘organic’ or ‘bio’.

Serums can be seriously good

They’re the magic weapon in your beauty armoury.  GOW’s Niacinamide Serum is great for regulating sebum and costs the price of two fancy coffees (£9).  Change it up with  GOW’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum which seems to plump everything. Squirt on after toning (use pure rose water which costs about a fiver from your local chemist) and before moisturising.

Sun = wrinkles

Those with beautiful skin never, ever roast it.  I’ve been a hat and factor 50 wearer ever since a friend got skin cancer in her early 20s. Desist now and ensure your foundation/base/whatevs includes a high SPF.

Facial horticulture is a weekly must

Buy decent tweezers and a magnifying mirror with suction pads.  No-one wants to be that woman with errant waving follicles.

Invest major money in your hair and teeth

Either go au natural grey and channel a fabulous sharp haircut, or find a colourist you love. Shiny, swingy, perfectly tinted hair from Josh Wood is worth forgoing any amount of seasonal fashion fripperies. Ditto get those snaggly teeth sorted – no-one wants Tony Blair’s smile. Also keep up with the hygienist appointments as there’s a halitosis epidemic out there, and nothing screams ‘old’ more than sour breath. Also lightly bleach if you can be bothered. There’s lots of kissing years left.

Hands and necks are a dead giveaway

Do yours now look like they’ve been vacuum sealed with a Hoover nozzle – every blood vessel and sinew on show?  Sadly, zero can be done. Don’t bother with half gloves, a la Madonna and Karl Lagerfeld, but do consider soft turtlenecks or distracting jewellery, a la Anna Wintour.

Parmesan feet suck

I once heard a well-known magazine editor ridiculed for having crusty “Parmesan” heels on the front row. The horror!  It was enough to send me scurrying for my Margaret Dabbs Professional Foot File, which is truly brilliant.

No eyebrow shades of grey

They frame your face, so keep them on fleek. Save yourself the cost and humiliation of sitting in one of those eyebrow bars in Selfridges (where you are bound to see an old boyfriend), and buy yourself a Julienne eyelash and brow tint from the internet. Easy peasy.

Forget Botox and plastic surgery

Do like Anna Murphy in this brilliant read and get over trying to completely change your face – everyone’s used to it by now.  If anything,  get those brown spots zapped off – an unmottled complexion is a younger-looking one.

These pills really do pop

Not a fan of gobbling handfuls of pills but I believe entirely in these four: Turmeric that targets inflammation,  Vitamin D for bones and immunity, Ionicell for great hair and nails and Hyaluronic Acid High Strength because it actually plumps skin from within and it’s Shabir’s favourite.

Try smiling more

Your resting face looks increasingly worse as gravity takes its toll. Just saying.

And finally…

Ask for facials instead of gifts. No-one needs more stuff and they have the added benefit of letting your lie down undisturbed for a least one whole hour.

My go-to are both celeb magnets for a reason. Anastasia Achilleos is a genius who will even massage inside your mouth to get results, and Amanda Lacey’s complexion is a perfect advert for her plant-based range. Anyway I’ve known her since we were both truly young in Sydney in the 1980s, and as author Gertrude Stein once wisely said: “We are always the same age inside”.

Vogue – The Director’s Cut

Weekly Desk Drop by Jessica Diner

Director’s Cut, the monthly column in print from Vogue’s beauty and lifestyle director, Jessica Diner, now sees an additional weekly online outpost – a selection of the products landing on her desk that then make it home into her beauty cabinet or make-up bag.

    • GoW for VH Niacinamide Serum

      GoW (or Garden of Wisdom) is a brand from Arizona that is picking up traction here in the UK thanks to a collaboration with Victoria Health co-founder Shabir Daya MPharm. The range is made up of single-ingredient serums and oils (which is quite the skincare trend at the moment) and I love it for its simplicity and good quality ingredients. “It’s for all ages, skin types, tones and it’s affordable”, says Daya. “The aim was to keep it simple without having to use several serums in order to tackle one concern”. My favourite is this Niacinamide Serum – amazing at balancing oily skin and strengthening that all-important skin barrier. A new staple.

      GoW for VH Niacinamide Serum £9

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GOW – The Brand

Harper's Bazaar Logo

#TheBrand | Garden of Wisdom

Sophisticated serums at affordable prices, it’s no wonder this modest skincare brand boasts a cult following. Here’s what you need to know about GoW: By Bridget March

 

  • GOW Glycolic

    In our new regular feature #TheBrand, Bazaar’s digital beauty director looks into an exciting and efficacious brand taking the beauty industry by storm. First up is Garden of Wisdom, or GoW as it’s known by digital devotees.

    The Arizonian-based skincare brand is far from new, but its exclusive UK launch at Victoria Health means we can access it like never before. Shabir Daya, pharmacist and co-founder of Victoria Health, worked with the skincare experts that manufacture the brand to repackage and refine the formulations for our market. The results of which only launched last month but have already become firm favourites with industry insiders.

    Unlike most beauty brands causing a buzz, in GoW’s case it has nothing to do with clever marketing (digital or otherwise), or it’s Insta-presence – which, actually, it pretty much rejects. Their own website is pretty prehistoric. So how come the cult following?

Read More…

GOW – Causing A Frenzy

Lisa Armstrong: The word-of-mouth affordable beauty brand causing a frenzy in the industry

 

  • GOW Niacinamide

    Remember how excited we all got over science-savvy, budget-friendly The Ordinary? Well, Garden of Wisdom – or GOW as its blossoming herbaceous borders of fans have taken to calling it – is generating the same buzz.

    Like The Ordinary, GOW presents as honest value for money. We’re talking basic packaging and zero marketing. Each product has been formulated with just a few ingredients so that customers can build up an arsenal of potions to target their specific needs, rather than overloading with creams that keep replicating each other’s functions.

    It’s selling purely via word of mouth, which is working a treat because the products do their job without any fuss or silicones and without being tested on animals. Try the 100% Organic Cold-pressed Argan Oil, excellent for softening and protecting all skin types, the Vitamin C 23% Serum + Ferulic Acid, and the bestselling Niacinamide Serum, which regulates oil production, soothes and calms breakouts and encourages the body’s own collagen production. Many products have the ingredients’ strength on the front, the idea being that customers can make informed choices without being given silly promises. And they’re lovely to use, with pleasing textures. I particularly like the Hyaluronic Acid Serum, which is non-sticky and effective.
    Read More…

How To Beat Adult Acne

Lisa Armstrong: How to beat adult acne with this £9 super-serum

 

  • GOW Niacinamide

    Truly, the Lord giveth and taketh away. On the credit side, She has endowed women with the wherewithal to look better for longer and longer. But She has also promulgated widespread outbreaks of what is euphemistically called adult-onset acne (or as it referred to in common parlance, ‘Seriously?!’)

    Ironically, sometimes the very tools we use to boost our wellbeing are the culprits in the Great Zit Disaster. Too little oestrogen and too much testosterone can disrupt service, leading to eruptions more akin to cysts or boils than normal pimples. Adjusting your levels can result in immediate improvements – checking your HRT/bio-identical hormone or Pill prescription should be your first step.

    And then generally easing up. No squeezing – it’s not just the potential scarring, but the chain reaction beneath the skin that’s counterproductive…

    What Your Skin Says About you Read More…

Garden of Wisdom: The Affordable Skincare Brand That’s Huge On Reddit

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It’s so popular that it’s referred to by its acronym (GoW) and famed as a natural alternative to The Ordinary. Here’s what all the fuss is about, and why the UK launch offers up something different – by Anna Hunter

 

  • GOW Niacinamide

    Budget, ‘one note’ skincare looks to be setting the tone for sought-after beauty industry launches currently. While skincare sales were up by six per cent up across the board in 2017 according to the NPD Group, and continue to grow, it’s low cost, no frills, concentrated ingredient based ranges and brands that are having a particularly hot moment. From Beauty Pie’s ‘members club’ approach that allows you to tap into the likes of peptide rich serums and retinol spiked moisturisers from a fiver to the now cult status of The Ordinary, brands that capitalise on powerful actives and keep packaging, marketing and general frou frou to a minimum are, somewhat ironically, garnering a lot of public attention, whether from Kim Kardashian in the case of The Ordinary, or Reddit and global beauty forums worldwide with today’s case in point.

    Garden of Wisdom, or GoW to the brand’s global devotees, is by no means the new skincare company on the block. Founded by two skincare enthusiasts in Arizona over a decade ago, GoW’s USP is potent, cruelty-free, natural ingredients at thrifty price points, without common skincare additives such as alcohol, silicones or soya. While the packaging has recently been redesigned in line with GoW’s exclusive UK launch at Victoria Health, the aesthetic is basic to say the least, there’s no glossy Instagram presence and the brand’s website looks (and functions) like a tech relic from the mid 90s. So what’s all the fuss about? We asked Victoria Health co-founder and pharmacist, Shabir Daya, who worked with GoW to evolve formulations ready for the UK launch, what sets the brand’s offering apart from the crowd, and why it’s caused such a stir in Reddit threads. Read More…