My mother had me at the grand old age of 37. I don’t think I noticed that she was much older than other mums until I started school and class mates asked me if she was my grandmother. I remember feeling very upset, after all she was my mum and to me she was always beautiful. However she had a bohemic streak, and as the years went by I would subtly tell her to change her style. It worked…but only at times.
But becoming a mother myself I realized soon the almost impossible task of balancing life, work, family and on top of this looking great. It’s an equation that rarely works…at least not for me, and with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram we are not only bombarded with celebs looking great, but now also our neighbour! Of course I got onto this craze, and perhaps it lead me to take even more care of my appearance. So are there any short cuts, secrets to not looking like you are approaching 40 and middle age? I have found a few which have become part of my beauty rituals:
> The power of the sunscreen: This one is more holy than anything else. I use Anthelios from La Roche Posay – factor 30 in the winter and 50 in the summer. It goes religiously under my facial cream and keeps wrinkles at bay.
> Skin care: Best of range I have discovered is Natura Bisse, from Barcelona. I love their Glycoline which bares the sole responsibility of making my hyper pigmentation disappear. Worth every euro in my book.
> Scrub & oil: A friend of mine told me of this little beauty trick – use scrub (salt or sugar depending on how dry or oily your skin is) and then use oil as a cleanser in the shower. You come out feeling moist and don’t need to apply bodylotion on your body. A guaranteed time saver!
> Eating healthy and don’t forget the water: I take a glass of water before every big meal as it makes me feel fuller and I don’t eat so much. For the rest, I cut carbs as much as I can with the exception of fruit, vegetables and a glass of wine at night.
> A little intervention: I will be honest, I had botox and fillers (once!), the botox made little difference as I don’t have a wrinkly forehead but the fillers easily took 5 years off my face. Definitely worth trading a pair of Louboutins for (same price more or less).
> Training: As time is so precious, I installed my own cross trainer at home, together with a bouncing ball, a rubber band and a yoga mat. It also makes you more inclined to train, which I try to do 4-5 times a week. Keeping my body strong is important and in fact do this more to be healthy and feel good than looking good.
>Luxury: We all love a bit of luxury, and apart from making us look like a Million Dollars, it sure makes us feel like a million Dollars. On a low budget (and trust me – I’ve been there) a good manicure and pedicure does wonders. If you want to feel and look feminine go for classical red and make sure the nails are not too long and oval. You want to look more like Marilyn Monroe than Kim Kardashian.
Another feel good factor are good facials. I do one from Dermalogica and have my eyelashes and eyebrows coloured at the same time. Saves time on the beauty routine.
> Make-up: I rarely wear it if I don’t have to, letting my skin rest with just my cream routine, but if I have to, I dig into my cosmetics supply which I refill on a regular basis. As it goes on my skin, I prefer good brands so yep it’s all Guerlain, Chanel, YSL, Clarins and Biotherm. As I’m not terribly good at doing make-up I invested in some lessons from a make-up artist. It’s something that pays itself off easily and terribly fun to do. Make sure you go out afterwards and you have a make-over and lesson in one!
> Hair: Mine is a mess but stay away from extensions is all I can say. No matter what they claim they ultimately damage your hair. If you have time for a beauty routine of a Sunday bath, I suggest use olive oil or a good hair mask wrapped in a towel and your hair will be conditioned for the week to come. Also extra supply of vitamines and minerals, especially zink is good for your hair so get this if you can.
> Looking Good: This is why Alex and I are starting our own fashion brand – there are a lot of good brands on the market but looking really good is quite expensive and it takes years to build up a staple wardrobe. My maxim has been to always go for classics: dresses, pencil skirts, silk blouses and good tailored suits. It’s an investment, and will take you that extra mile in business. Brands I love (but can’t always afford Tara Jarmon, Patrizia Pepe, Donna Karan, Yves Saint Laurent, Hugo Boss, Paul & Joe. And of course the a good pair of heels and ballerinas for more casual occasions.
> Smelling fabulous: to stand out a little bit more, and feel more like a femme fatale than a milf, I love the strong, heady perfumes with a century on their back. Caron, Robert Piguet, Schiaparelli are all great old perfume houses. And if you can’t find it, start with Guerlain’s Mitsouko. You won’t be disappointed.
> Last but not least: don’t forget good lingerie, your trench coat, and a pair of sunglasses to hide any dark circles from sleepless nights.
So there you go, my 5 cents of beauty for the busy mums of this world.
Monica Bellucci in Dolce Gabbana ….do I need to say more?