Beauty Secrets from Mothers

For most women, our initial introduction to skincare comes from mum. From cucumber slices on puffy eyes to learning how to cleanse our complexion, those precious beauty titbits open the door to experiencing womanhood. To celebrate Mother’s Day, we’ve rounded up the tips we’ve learned from past generations, from the downright quirky to the timeless and wise.

Take it all off

Every night. Period. Mum probably taught you to religiously remove makeup without fail and that beauty advice stands true today. A simple cleanse and moisturise routine is as essential as brushing your teeth in a healthy daily self-care regimen.

Use a moisturising cleanser

Soap was popular once upon a time, but by the 1950s most women had switched to using cold cream for cleansing. Thick and goopy and usually rinsed off with a damp piece of cotton wool (requiring oodles of patience when the fluffy cotton strands stick to your face), this was a giant step up from using harsh soap to scrub your delicate complexion. Thankfully, we now have super gentle micellar cleansers that leave skin clean but soft (not squeaky!). 

Fade those brown spots

In the 30s, women froze their freckles off with carbon dioxide, then in later decades dedicated themselves to lightening sun spots with lemon juice. Although mum was on to something (lemons are high in vitamin c, which brightens skin tone), it wasn’t ideal – both treatments leave skin feeling dry and makes your complexion even more sensitive to UV. So eventually we wised up, embraced our freckles and now tackle pesky pigmentation with much gentler, scientifically-backed ingredients such as Algativ LightSKNTM (a blend of green and brown microalgae fractions that reduce the production of melanin, effectively lightening brown spots over time).

SPF. SPF. SPF.

Embrace the zinc – it’s not as white and thick as it used to be when we were kids because clever modern technology means sunscreen manufacturers can make the zinc particles much tinier (no excuses now!) Although many skincare manufacturers add SPF to their moisturiser, you’re far better off applying it separately. Moisturiser should always be first (as it’s designed to sink in to the skin), then comes sunscreen (designed to sit on top of the skin and reflect the UV from your precious complexion). They’re best not mixed.

Tea fixes everything

Green tea is especially excellent as it contains an important polyphenol antioxidant that skin scientists believe may prevent the activation of a collagen-digesting enzyme (the kind that causes wrinkles). So, put the kettle on – a cuppa not only soothes the soul, science says it does the same for your skin.

And keep the cold tea bag as it’s an excellent eye de-puffer if you have a spare 10 minutes later in the day. But don’t worry if coffee is more your style, as our micellar water and serum (both with green tea) has you covered.

Toothpaste clears pimples

If only it were that easy. The rumour mill may have you believing that toothpaste can zap a zit but unfortunately it’s not the case. Toothpaste contains drying ingredients like menthol that can cause inflammation, and irritation when applied to the skin. At best toothpaste will dry to top layer of a pimple but it doesn’t kill the bacteria inside. Sorry Mum, but toothpaste is best for cleaning teeth and not clearing blemishes.

Rubbing a gold ring on your eye gets rid of a stye.

While many Mum’s are willing to swear that a gold ring cured their stye, the truth is it simply doesn’t work. A stye is a small painful lump that develops from an infected eyelash follicle. A cold ring may feel soothing but gold is inert to all chemicals it encounters in the body. We recommend going makeup free for a few days, followed by antibiotics if required.

Saliva can help you get glowing skin.

According to Grandma (and backed by scientific evidence), fresh saliva has many core minerals and anti-bacterial properties making it a powerful skin cleanser, toner and sanitising agent.It hydrates skin, balances pH, promotes wound healing, reduces inflammation and helps prevent acne. It’s supposedly a good cure for dark circles too. Who would have know.

Oatmeal baths cure itchy skin

You may remember mum stuffing a stocking with rolled oats and hanging it in a lukewarm bath. Out would ooze a somewhat slimy film capable of coating the skin to soothe irritation and trap in moisture. Not pretty, but it did the job. 

Fads will fade. Fast.

Wise mums caution their daughters against following fads (anyone who plucked their brows anyway learned the hard way!). Embrace the hacks that have stood the test of time (think cucumber slices on the eyes, or honey and yoghurt as a nourishing face mask), but stand back and watch the snail slime and bee venom fads roll on by. One day they may make us giggle as much as Helena Rubenstein’s beef facial – in the 1930s she recommended using sliced raw beef strips on the face for 1 or 2 hours for softer, smoother skin. We much prefer the less messy marine extracts and peptides that come in a bottle!

Nurture what nature has blessed you withMum probably told you that a smile is the most beautiful of all accessories and we wholeheartedly agree. There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who is confident in her own skin. Nurture your complexion with a healthy cleanse-serum-moisturiser routine, and step out into the world with a positive, self-affirming attitude (and a slick of red lippie on the days you need an instant confidence boost). Thanks mum!

Claire Hill - Mothers Skincare Secrets tea bags on eyes

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