Ruth Griffin: 10 natural ways to age well
Natural skin Week 2: Ditch fads and chemicals and follow my common sense skincare routine
The beauty world may sell us a lot of lotions and potions that claim to act as 'anti-ageing' but, in truth, there is no such thing. These products can definitely improve the skin's condition, but nothing can turn back time.
Last year we saw the beginnings of a backlash to the use of terms such as 'anti-ageing', with many magazines and celebs such as Helen Mirren refusing to use that term. They argue that it reinforces the notion that ageing is a bad thing. When she banned the use of any anti-ageing terminology in Allure magazine, editor Michelle Lee said, "Changing the way we think about ageing starts with changing the way we talk about ageing."
I wholeheartedly applaud this new movement, however, I'm also in favour of giving our skin the care that it needs to age well. So, today - in week two of my series on returning your skin to its natural state - I'm sharing my top 10 tips for keeping your skin as radiant as it can be at every age. My approach is pragmatic and, as much as possible, uses natural and budget-friendly products. In fact, two of the most important tips are totally free! I hope that this guide will help you protect what Mother Nature gave you to begin with. Let's get back our glow - naturally.
Ditch the Chemical SPF
Some of the ingredients used in chemical SPF, oxybenzone in particularly, are of some health concern. Mineral sunscreen uses zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of the two to bounce the rays off your skin. Try La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid (€19.99) from pharmacies, and Skin Ceuticals Matte UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (€41) from skinshop.ie
Good sleep is key to better skin ageing. If you're struggling with lack of sleep, think about increasing your levels of magnesium, either in your diet or in an organic supplement. Other natural calming supplement options are valerian, or Solgar Vitamin B Stress Formula (€12.80). Try essential oils like Tisserand Sweet Dreams Roller Ball (€6.99) applied to the soles of the feet at night. From health food shops nationwide. Always consult your GP before taking supplements.
Plant oils are Mother Nature's liquid beauty gold and have been used for millennia to mind our skin, hair, nails and faces. However, many women are afraid of using them in case they are too greasy, or will cause spots. I promise, using a little oil as a cleanser, moisturiser, hair mask or nail treatment will reap massive benefits. KTC Almond Oil is €3.75 for 200ml and can be used as body, hair and massage oil. From selected health food shops nationwide.
What's one of the cheapest and easiest ways to age skin well? Upping your fluid intake! Do drink more water but please ditch the plastic bottles that have been linked to endocrine-disrupting health issues and are causing damage to our oceans. I invested in stainless steal reusable water containers. Try the non-plastic lined or tipped Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottle 532 ml (€27.50), from outdoors and health food shops. Also check out littlegreenshop.ie for plastic-free beauty and homewares.
Nail It - Minus the Toxins
Some toxic ingredients can lurk in your nail lacquer, such as formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, and triphenyl phosphate. If you love a mani/pedi but you're looking to mind your nails, opt for a '5-free' or '8-free' varnish option. Try butter London Nail Lacquer (€16.75) from Boots and Zoya Nail Polish in Brigitte (€14.09) which is vegan and 5-free. From Holland and Barrett
Focus on Exfoliation
There's zero point in lashing endless lotions and potions on our skin if we 're not clearing away the old skin. Try a natural acid exfoliator or nut shell body exfoliators to keep skin healthy for longer, avoiding the micro bead plastic pollution that is soon to be completely outlawed and deemed a 'noxious substance'. Think about experimenting with body brushing, the most natural way of exfoliating. Try The Body Shop Round Body Brush (€13.50) and Liz Earle Dry Body Brush (€10) (this has a longer handle for back areas).
Million Dollar Smile
Tooth enamel is one of the only things in our bodies which doesn't regenerate itself, so it's important we mind it. For an all-natural, peroxide-free teeth whitening option, try oil pulling (an ancient Ayurveda technique). Try Cocowhite 2.0 (€28.99) which uses coconut oil, sodium bicarbonate, menthol and activated charcoal, which you swirl in your mouth for 5-15 minutes, before cleaning your teeth (and it's safe for pregnant women). From Holland and Barrett.
Finding a decent all-natural deodorant can be a tricky task, but if you want to ditch aluminium from your deodorant, but still want to smell sweet and look cool as a cucumber, try Jason's Aloe Vera Deodorant Stick (€7.55). After years of trial and error trying to find an all-natural option that works, this is the best affordable option I've found and it will last ages. From health food shops nationwide.
(Ch)eat your Veg
For a long-term, sensible approach to our skin, nails, hair and overall health, study after study has shown that we need to be mindful of what we eat. So think about nourishing your hair, nails and skin from the inside out with lots of veg and fruit and plant oils. If you are struggling with upping your veg think about cheating and using an organic supplement or oil. Try Neals Yard Organic Beauty Oil (€17.50) from health food stores and naturalskincare.ie