Comfortable in Your Own Skin? Read This


We’re all getting older. And we’re kidding ourselves if we think we can defy the effects of ageing; gravity will catch up at some point. For some, it’s about getting older gracefully, with the face you’ve earned, expression lines and wrinkles revealing the life in your years. For you, plumped-up lips are always obvious, and smoothed, expressionless foreheads make everyone look the same. You’re telling your teen daughter to be comfortable in her own skin, and want to do the same.

“Ageing as gracefully as possible means taking care of our skin, hair, body and mental health – all essential to keep positive and look well,” believes natural skincare advocate Virginie Claire. “What a liberating attitude to feel free in your own skin instead of looking at each line and resenting it!” She is passionate about a simple but effective regime – cleanse, moisturise and protect the skin.

Experts agree that starting a regime early is ideal. “It’s possible for everyone to have good skin with a basic care regime,” notes consultant dermatologist Professor Anne-Marie Tobin. “If you want to use pricier products then great, but it doesn’t have to be overly expensive.” She explains how the skin thins by 6.4 per cent with each decade. Anything that damages your collagen accelerates that – and the main culprit is sun damage. So protection is the single most important thing. The National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan guidelines recommend an SPF30 every day from April to September, whatever the weather. “I’d recommend a zinc or titanium-based physical sunblock,” says Professor Tobin. Photo protection also helps with pigment changes, whether dark patches or redness. Other forms of oxidative stress (pollution, smoking) trigger the breakdown of collagen too.

“To maintain a young-looking face, and to avoid or delay medical procedures, the most efficient habit is to isolate the skin from sun,” agrees Marie-Hélène Lair, Responsible Innovation Director, Clarins. “Eighty per cent of the signs of ageing are induced by sun exposure without sun protection.” Alongside protection and a good skincare routine, diet is key. “To preserve youthfulness and radiance, fill your plate with many colours; all the ‘good’ components of food (antioxidant, vitamins, anti free radical molecules) give beautiful colours to fruits or vegetables,” notes Lair.

There are 43 facial muscles that should be used on a regular basis, so massaging in your skincare is key. Facialist Michaella Boulder (Helen Mirren is a client) advocates a hands-on approach, using deep pressure when applying skincare “to encourage blood circulation to the surface of your skin, which will carry fresh oxygen and nutrients to feed it.” I recommend Jenny Faison (at

Alternative facial treatments can work like Pilates for your face. “Facial cupping and acupuncture are a good intermediate treatments; the needles work on the same motor points used for Botox,” notes practitioner Amanda Nordell. “Visibly younger-looking skin is achievable without injectibles or aesthetic medicine,” agrees facialist Agnes Gajewska, quoting a Harvard survey finding that consistent use of gua sha (a traditional Chinese therapy using a massage tool to increase blood flow) reduces facial age by three years. Gajewska even gives group facial yoga classes.


“There’s so much that can be done with make-up to take off the years,” says make-up artist Zoe Clark, who always recommends seeing a dermatologist first, to ensure you’re using the right skincare. In a consultation, she’ll explain how to use foundation properly on more mature skin, “avoiding the notion of filling cracks with foundation, for example: it’s best to use a sheer formula. I’ll show how to brighten and lift, get rid of dark circles, where to put blusher to plump out the cheeks, in a subtle way. It’s all about concealer, brow pencils and avoiding harsh lines.” Make-up artist Leonard Daly adds: “As we get older, we lose volume in our lips. So a good lip liner as close to your lip colour as possible is worth its weight in gold. You can over-draw them to add fullness but choose either the top or bottom lip, never both, and only outline by one width of your pencil. It will make the biggest difference.”


An outdated hair style or colour can put years on us. “Resistant” hair is a common issue if your hair is turning grey, notes John Harvey of Peter Mark Creative Team. “White hair has much tighter cuticle layers than natural or pigmented hair, which affects the colouring process. Look to specific colour brands for it If lack of volume is an issue, Nioxin Systems is designed for thin-looking, fine hair: it protects against breakage.” I’ve discovered two other things that really boost volume: Living Proof’s Body Builder spray, plus the new diffuser attachment for Dyson’s Supersonic drier – both help amplify thin and fragile hair.


Whitening your teeth by a few shades (rather than a full TV reality show gleam) can be a long-lasting investment: go to a dental surgery for the best (and safest) results. Zoom Whitening takes 90 minutes in surgery plus a week at home, and can lighten by nine to twelve shades. €355; home bleaching kits from €195; (NB: you need to have seen a dentist in the past six months). Seapoint Clinic, Seapoint Avenue, Monkstown, Co Dublin;

Eyebrows give crucial structure to your face. Specialist Lorna Farrelly recommends RevitaBrow growth serum, “because we know how effective it is. But you must commit to three months using it every day, on lashes and brows. Also, for hair growth, you need a lot of healthy oils in the diet.” A tint and shape is the starting point, using threading – waxing can be too harsh – and avoiding going too dark. The Brow Artist, 124 Ranelagh, Dublin 6; Consultation from €70.

Agnes Gajewska’s Hydradermie Youth and Lift facials comprise lympathic drainage, facial muscle stimulation, oxygenation, extraction and massage. Yes, it is intense but skin appears firmer and the contours more defined, especially around the eye and jawline. She recommends an initial course of three; €75. The 45-minute Hydradermie Lift Express (€45) is perfect for a “lunchtime lift” before an evening event. Essentials Beauty and Skin Care Clinic, 7 Baggot Street, Dublin 4;

The Velvære medi-spa, opening at Dublin’s Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in 2020, will offer the renowned red-carpet Fire & Ice facial, an intensive clinical treatment designed to resurface the skin, reduce fine lines and encourage cell renewal, all in a safe way using fruit acids and iS Clinical products. With devotees including skin expert and nutritionist Dr Nigma Talib, we’re full of anticipation. Bespoke Parisian skincare from Codage will also be available.

Are you ageing gracefully, beautifully, happily – or could you do with a little inspiration and encouragement? Visit #InspirationalAgeing where we are we are discovering the ingredients for a happy and fulfilled life after 40


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