I know right. We've all seen these posts come up on our blog following lists and invariably, they're one big long, sponsored post. This one, however, is not, so never fear!
This is more about knowing what your needs are, in order to tailor your products to your budget, stage of life, schedule, and personal preferences. I've divided my list into categories, so that you can perhaps (if you don't already!), tailor your list in a similar fashion. I'd certainly be interested to hear what you consider your essentials. It's also about not being swayed by the 'latest thing' and knowing what works for you. I don't use a serum (except for my own DIY one), or a primer (I use Aloe Vera Gel instead), a body scrub, exfoliators, cuticle creams, eye creams or any one of a plethora of other things the beauty industry tells me I need. I eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, drink herbal tea and lots of water, and take gentle exercise every day.
I'm 57. I look okay for 57. I've looked after my skin. My European mother taught me that from an early age. She knew that teen breakouts were a blessing because my oilier skin would stand me in good stead later in life. She was right. I have few lines, although I do wish I'd stayed out of the sun more when I was young. That's life as an Aussie of the 60s and 70s!
I'm not pretending for a moment to be a Glamour Girl. I'm well past that thanks. I am however, trying to show you, that no matter your age or circumstances, you CAN invest a little time and money in self, and it will reap rewards for you in the longer term.
Here's me *shock horror* with freshly washed face and hair, no makeup, just a bit of lip balm. Not too scary for an old girl.
I've gone through stages of using the high end skin care, plummeting to using supermarket or DIY when the mood takes me, or when the budget dictates a nip and tuck of the bank account. But I have always, always looked after my skin. And by that I mean face, neck, arms, hands, legs, and feet.
I'm a fan of the DIY foot scrub and a bright pedi. I love a good lemon scented hand scrub and a pretty manicure. I treat my hair with good products for dry, curly, silver hair, and if anything, this is where I'll splurge. I cannot stand a bad hair day. I adore a nice faux tan for a flattering bit of colour, a face mask once a week, a DIY eyebrow tint fortnightly, and a scrub with a loofah mitt, in the shower at least that often too.
This makes me feel good, in control of my life and the way I look. It makes my family feel good to see me look after myself. If I care about me, then I am better equipped to care for them, right?
Feeling in control of your own life, is a skill and a talent not to be underestimated. If you feel you can at least control how you present yourself to the world, the rest of life can often fall into place more easily. Even when terrible things have happened in my life, I've felt that this was one area that nobody could steal from me. It's been a godsend in many respects, I can tell you that.
So without further ado, here are my Beauty Essentials. No advertisements I promise.
Hands and Feet:
Light moisturiser applied several times a day
Heavier moisturiser for bedtime application
Nail wraps and applicator kit or nail polish and accessories
DIY olive oil, sugar and lemon essential oil hand scrub
Face and Neck:
Age appropriate cream cleanser
Moisturising body wash
Shimmer Tan Oil and application mitt
Toner to remove brassy tones from silver hair
Hair dryer with diffuser attachment
Mineral makeup powder and Kabuki brush
Blush and brush
3 lipsticks - daytime coral red, nightime blue red, natural shimmer gloss
Toothbrush changes every six weeks
This may seem like a long list to some, and one not long enough for others. But I wanted to give you an overview of what I use, to keep my Self-Maintenance programme up to date.
My early morning and before bed evening routine pretty much revolves around my Self-Maintenance Programme, as it has for 44 years. I don't stray too much, because I have a certain paranoia that if I neglect myself for one night, it may well become a habit. That's highly unlikely, but clearly my Mother drummed this into me, and it's stuck!
Okay, so this next bit is not an advertisement. It's merely a way of making a point. I'm not saying you should personally race out and buy any of these. Stick with me.
Of course, one cannot mention self-maintenance without mentioning a lovely scent. I adore Chanel No 5, Ombre Rose, Red Door, Emeraude (now discontinued), Far and Away Gold, Femme by Rochas (now discontinued too), and Shalimar. I know that I lean towards gorgeous heady Vanilla-Rose-Oriental based scents that I wear in moderation, each and every day.
Knowing your favourite scent 'notes', can help you choose wisely from the thousands of fragrances available these days, and prevent you making costly mistakes. Make sure you know your favourites. Don't buy a single floral (Rose, Jasmine, Gardenia, Violet), if what you love is Orientals (Cinnamon, Clove, Vanilla, Nutmeg), or Woody (Mossy, Earthy) or Fresh scents (Citrus, Green, Grassy, Water, Oceanic). Go and try a few. See what you like most, and ask the salesperson what the 'notes' are in that scent. Then do some research and find a fragrance with similar notes, that suits your budget and your 'nose'. When I couldn't afford Chanel No 5, I bought Panache. When my budget did not stretch to Red Door, I made do with Tabu. When for years, I could not find Femme, I used Vanilla Fields (which I actually still love!). They're not the same, but they are similar enough for you to feel you're treating yourself.
I consider all of these items absolute essentials. The brand and price of them varies enormously from time to time, but I am never without them. It's worked for me, and perhaps it can for you too, no matter your age or stage of life.
So tell me. What are your beauty essentials? I'm dying to know.