Around the time my mother turned 50, I started hearing from friends and acquaintances that she looked especially youthful and young. And it’s true; you probably would not be able to guess her age just by looking at her. It’s uncanny how little she’s aged.
But lately, I’ve been pondering this notion of anti-aging, common among women from both Eastern and Western cultures. It has nearly become a virtue for a woman (and perhaps man) to look younger than her/his real age. From sipping herbal concoctions to going under the knife, we’ve come to accept that everyone should try to look younger than they really are.
I remember when I said so myself, quite matter-of-factly, to my husband (then boyfriend) a few years ago. “I’m just preventing a few wrinkles,” I said half-heartedly as I applied a serum, “You can’t ever start too early.” And I remember him asking me, “Why is it bad to look your age?”
I was puzzled. Is it bad to look your age? Some people must think so, because the beauty industry is brimming with product after product containing exotic ingredients all in the name of getting rid of a few wrinkles, spots and lines. Kelp, gold, caviar, mushrooms, herbs, truffles and more– we’ve plundered the earth for the sake of our skin.
Since I’m in my twenties, I’ve not thought too much about what I’ll look like when I’m old. But I wonder if I’ll be someone who is constantly trying not to look my own age, to convince everyone that I’m still forty years old even though that birthday party was many years ago.
Furthermore, how much of my time and resources will I invest into looking good? High-end products can be so expensive; are there other ways to keep me from aging prematurely?
More importantly, this brings me back to the question of what beauty really is. What is the value of a beautiful visage, and how do we define it? I’ve shared about my relationship with makeup in the past, but when it comes to aging, there are a few more considerations. I think the question I’d like to ask isn’t what I’ll look like, but what kind of person I’ll be. Will I be stuck in my ways? Will I still have a heart for adventure?
Aging is so much more than wrinkles and spots. It’s a process of becoming. And while none of us can hold off age (try as we might), all of us can decide whether we make progress as the years go by.
In the meantime, we can also make daily decisions to prevent ourselves from aging prematurely. And it does not have to be an expensive serum or weekly facial!
Since I admire my mother for reasons far greater than her ability to look younger than her age, I decided to ask her for some “anti-aging” advice to share with you all. For years, she used very few beauty products and instead kept excellent habits. And I’d like to pass them on to you! Thanks, Mom, for letting me share these tips!
1) Eat well. Like any mom, she recommends a variety of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Growing up, I often watched my mom prepare steamed broccoli, sliced apples, cubed honeydew and bananas. It is unsurprising that a healthy diet can lead to excellent skin. Want some tips on fruit and veggie juicing? Check out my preferred juicing method!
2) Cleanse regularly. No matter how tired you are at the end of the day, take off any makeup at least with a warm washcloth. Find a cleanser that is both gentle and effective for your skin, and use it everyday.
3) Exercise and sleep. I’m not good at this one, but of course it makes a difference! Keeping our whole bodies in good condition and our metabolism high will help us glow from the inside out. I’ve not been particularly successful with my intensive exercising goals lately, but I plan on walking more frequently and for longer periods of time.
4) Exfoliate and moisturize– and not just your face. Exfoliate: We all know that exfoliation removes dead skin, increases blood flow and allows for our skin to refresh itself. I love the Origins face scrub called Modern Friction. And did you know that you can make your own sugar hand scrub at home? Check out my recipe here! Moisturize: When I was growing up, I remember my mom blowing through bottles and bottles of body lotion. It was a simple drug store formula, but it has worked wonders. Be sure to moisturize your legs, arms, hands, neck and chest, especially after exfoliating.
5) Wear sunscreen. As a little girl, usually went to the beach all greasy and pale because my mom had slathered me in sunscreen. While this is a basic that so many of us skip (or don’t do enough of), sun damage is serious business. So use it everyday! And don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the back of your hands and tops of your feet when they’re exposed.
What are YOUR favorite anti-aging methods? And are you afraid of eventually looking your age? I would love to know!