Ruth Griffin: Bright young things - the ultimate guide to teenage beauty and skincare
My sisters and I were not allowed to wear make-up or cut our hair until we were 16. At the time, I didn't understand my parents' rationale in insisting on this. Now, as a parent myself, with a tonne of life experience behind me, I see what they were trying to instil in us.
I remember my father repeating ad nauseam, "Brains before beauty, girls." He and my mother were trying to get us focus more intently on our inner strength, rather than obsessing over our outer selves. I am extremely grateful to them now because, even speaking as a former model, I've never purely defined myself by how I look.
Every generation looks at the next and thinks the younger ones have it easier - but I don't. I suspect the younger generation face a lot of pressures that simply didn't exist when I was a teenager.
As quite a reserved person, I think I would struggle with the seemingly very extrovert online world. Today's teenagers (sometimes described rather disparagingly as the 'selfie generation') have an arsenal of beauty products and online resources available, which has its advantages and drawbacks. They are groomed to perfection, but maybe there is too much of an emphasis on looks?
Wearing make-up can certainly help you to feel good about yourself and boost your confidence - and properly looking after your skin in your teenage years will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
There are many products and ranges developed especially for teenagers, some of which I recommend on these pages. However, I were to give today's teenagers any words of wisdom, only a few of them would be to do with appearance.
My advice is to be kind in life. Be honest. Be brave. Be curious. Be helpful. Work hard. Travel. Keep reading. Unplug. Keep an open mind and open heart. Speak your mind. Wear SPF. Don't over-pluck your brows. Make mistakes. If you want to try that black lipstick or dye your hair green - go for it! And always have fun.
photo: naomi gaffey
6 of the Best: Teen Make-up Lines
This contour powder comes in 12 different shades (apply with the Inglot 3 P brush) and a matte finish. The pigment level is high so use sparingly. Lovely when used as an eye shadow also. Inglot HD Sculpting Contour Powder, €10.
Catrice is an inexpensive but good quality make-up brand that's proving to be a big hit with teens. (I have a few of their nail varnishes and highlighters and really rate the brand myself!) Try their brow shadow Catrice Eyebrow Kit, €4.50, Penneys and pharmacies nationwide.
Every eye shadow colour you'll ever need is in this palette. All the tones are natural and quite subtle so perfect if you're more into a natural make-up vibe.
L'Oreal La Palette Nude (in beige), €21.99, Boots
MAC make-up has a huge teen following with MAC Give Me Sun Bronzer, €30, and Extreme Dimension Mascara, €25, being some of the top teen sellers.
Rimmel London make-up was voted by Teen Vogue to be one of the top five brands for teenagers. Check out their InstaFlawless Skin Perfector Tint, €8.99 - it can be worn on its own or under foundation for selfie-perfect skin.
This one-stop shop for face, lips and cheeks is a budget-friendly, gorgeous and practical teen make-up option. Benefit Rockitude Lip and Cheek Tint, €35.
The exact cause of acne is unknown, but hormones called androgens can play a part. Androgens rise during puberty, enlarging the skin’s oil glands and creating more sebum. Excess sebum can break down cellular walls in your pores, causing bacteria to grow.
Some studies indicate that a susceptibility to acne could also be genetic and stress-related.
Acne is the most common form of skin condition, with 80pc of 11- to 30-year-olds experiencing it at some stage. It can appear on the face, neck, chest and back. Girls most commonly are affected by acne in the ages from 14-17, and boys from the ages of 16-19.
If acne or troubled skin persists, it is recommended to make an appointment to see a GP or dermatologist in order to address the skin issue as early as possible, before any pock marks or scarring of the skin occurs. Prescribed medication can be used in severe cases.
Treatment for acne or problem skin usually takes between two to three months to have an effect, with preventative skin measures (known as maintenance therapy) following.
Look for make-up and skincare that is non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic and water-based.
Teenagers should be cleansing and moisturising their skin (face and body) daily.
Keeping the skin hydrated and nourished by drinking plenty of water and eating healthily will help with teenagers’ overall health and wellbeing.
Greasy hair can be an issue for teenagers, caused by hormonal changes. Contrary to what we might think, greasy hair can be caused by a dry scalp. The dry scalp requires the oil glands to produce more oil, which presents itself in lank-looking hair. A pH-balanced, alkaline-based shampoo (which must be thoroughly rinsed off) should help.
80pc of sun skin damage is done before we reach the age of 20, so it is essential for teenagers to use a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) SPF daily.
Hair & skin savers
For oily skin
If there is one thing I’d recommend for teenagers with problem skin, it’s to not skimp on their cleansing and moisturising products. We want to mind our skin from as young an age as possible, so investing early in your skin’s health is a great start. My two favourite skincare lines do excellent products for acne-prone and oily skin. Try Dermalogica Clear Start Oil Control Breakout Clearing Kit, €29.50, dermalogica.ie or Shiseido Pureness Matifying Moisturiser (oil-free), €33.50, selected department stores
For normal/dry skin
My mother took me to a dermatologist as a young teenager to inspect my skin and advise on my future skincare maintenance. He recommended E45 cream and I used it daily on face and body throughout my teenage years. A no-nonsense all-over skin-saver. E45, €6.50, pharmacies nationwide.
For greasy hair
A pH-balanced, alkaline-based shampoo should address most greasy hair issues. It’s vital to thoroughly rinse the product off. Try Neutrogena’s T Gel for Greasy Hair, €10.99. Products with tea tree oil are amazing for dry scalp and greasy hair, try Kiehl’s Tea Tree Oil shampoo, €19, Wicklow Street, Dublin
(TIP: Drinking Udo’s Oil is also great for dry scalp).