How often did you listen to your mother when you were a teenager? These days I find myself remembering more and more of my mother’s wisdom and common sense and especially her health and beauty tips. Obviously I ignored her completely back then but now I think she was a pool of knowledge that I’d love to tap again if I only could. Sadly, she’s no longer with me, but I’d like to share some of her best tips – I wonder if you’ll recognise any of them?
#1. Skin care
I know this goes without saying but we only get one skin which we wear every day. We all know how important it is to cleanse and moisturise our faces and some of us may have a more intensive regime with toners, exfoliators, masks, etc. But skincare also extends to our whole body. My mother swore by Palmer’s Cocoa Butter but I’m more of an essential oils girl and I love the L’Occitane * body care range for their gorgeous feel-good products. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen how thrilled I was to get their Easter egg from my friend, full of my absolute favourite Almond products. This stuff smells so good and works so well that even my husband has been known to pinch it!
#2. Neck and décolletage
When I watched my mother moisturise her face, she always extended her routine to include her neck and chest as well. So simple, so easy, so important. So that’s why she never had a turkey neck or crepey décolletage.
Like skin, we wear our hair every day so it makes sense to invest in it. Shampoos and treatments aside, once you find a hairdresser that listens to you, understands your hair, cuts it to suit you, and does what you ask, keep them. Follow them wherever they go if you have to. This is particularly poignant for me because in the latter stages of chemotherapy my mother lost most of her gorgeous black hair and had to have a wig. Her hairdresser was wonderful, and if you didn’t know it was a wig, you wouldn’t know, if that makes sense?
Most of us may be good about moisturising our faces and necks but in fact it’s the hands that are the biggest giveaway of age. Her tip was to use hand cream at least once a day. As a keen if clueless gardener, I now do the same and then some. I have hand cream by the kitchen sink, on my bedside table, in the bathroom, in my handbag, even in the car, so if I’m stuck in traffic I can quickly apply some while I’m waiting. Every little really does help!
My mother had the most beautifully manicured nails and wore polish every day. How she managed this when she was a gardener too I have no idea, and this is one of the (many) things I would love to ask her. My nails are dreadful but my cuticles are not so bad. Her tip was to push her cuticles back every time she sat down to watch the news headlines. Doing it every day means they don’t get a chance to become too thick and overgrown.
#6. Make up
I used to love watching my mother apply her make up. She used foundation (a very light coverage), mascara, and lipstick. That was it. And she always looked elegant, groomed, and stylish. I need a lot more than that (or I think I do) but she was always an advocate of finding what works for you and sticking to it. Not being swayed by the latest trends, just keeping it simple. It’s something I aspire to – although my current make up bag certainly doesn’t reflect that!
#7. Cod liver oil
She swore by this stuff. Every morning, without fail, she would swallow a tablespoon of liquid cod liver oil – bleurgh – full of Vitamin A, D and omega-3 fatty acids. But clearly, she was on to something because her skin was always glowing. I’m just grateful they manufacture it in cute little one-a-day tablets now, which I take every day.
Check. Your. Breasts. Regularly. Seriously, check them at least once a week. There are lots of articles written about going for cervical smears but I haven’t seen so much about encouraging women and girls to check their breasts. My mother’s tip was to do it in the shower and put some conditioner on her hands to help them glide over her skin and underarms. That’s how she found her lump.
I don’t know how she managed it, but even in the later stages of chemotherapy, she never lost her ability to smile. She always told me to forget about laughter lines and enjoy living. It’s something I try very hard to do. Kindness is free, as the saying goes, but I do find that when I smile I feel better. Even if I sometimes get startled looks from strangers.
Passing them on
So these nine tips are, I think, among the best pieces of health and beauty advice that my beloved mother gave me. They’re all ones that I try to follow every day and will certainly be passing on to Flora, who sadly never got the chance to meet her grandmother. How many of them do you recognise? And what’s your favourite health and beauty tip that your mother taught you?
* This is a sponsored post.