There's something we can learn from women around the world, and the older I get, the more I care about delaying the ageing process, or simply ageing well and elegantly.
Youth is wasted on the young!
I am a big advocate for less is more, in every aspect of life, and that includes going under the knife. While I am not against it, and I believe it's every woman right to do whatever makes her feel food, we should also place greater emphasis, from a younger age about what we put into our bodies and onto our skin. You cannot keep a fruit's skin looking tight and beautiful for very long if it has started rotting from the pip.
Here are some beauty tips from women across the world, with examples of beauties which have inspired many a stylist and continue to inspire us with their elegant and timeless style.
The French Belle
French women regard the pampering of the skin, hair and body as an enjoyable, gratifying ritual. Looking attractive, at any age, is just what Frenchwomen do, especially the urban ones. For Parisiennes, maintaining their image is as natural as tying a perfect scarf or wearing stilettos on cobblestone streets. Beauty is a tradition handed down from generation to generation.
Less is more: They wear light - to - no makeup on a daily basis. Heavy foundation has a tendency to emphasize wrinkles and pores, and most women avoid it in favor of a bit of blush. Those who do use foundation make sure that it blends with the skin, often by applying it just after moisturizing. The idea is to look as natural as possible: a little color on the eyelids, mascara, maybe a bit of eyeliner and lip gloss.
Of course, it’s easy to look natural if your skin is great. And that may be where the French secrets really are. According to a 2008 Mintel report, Frenchwomen spend about $2.2 billion a year on facial skin care — as much as Spanish, German and British women put together. A survey by the market research company Mintel found that 33 percent of French girls between 15 and 19 are already using anti-aging or anti-wrinkle creams.
They use a whole range of creams including day creams (with sunscreen), night creams (without it), re-pulping creams, serums, moisturizers, cleansers, toners and salves for anything from orange-peel skin to varicose veins. What you may not find is a soap. Madame Figaro magazine recently quoted the French actress and TV presenter Léa Drucker as saying, “The day I stopped using soap, my life changed.” Post-transformation, she uses a hydrating cream.
The No. 1 body goal of Frenchwomen is not gaining weight, in the anti ageing game. Ever. If a Frenchwoman happens to see an additional kilogram or two on her bathroom scale, she will do whatever is necessary (besides going to the gym) to force the needle back where it belongs. While they are not big on gym or fitness, there is always some magic over-the-counter pill or diet that a French belle will follow in order to stay slim.
Don't think that these beauty routine stop Frenchwomen from having “something done.” The objective of plastic surgery in France, according to Dr. Michel Soussaline, a Paris surgeon with more than 30 years of experience, is “to keep the natural beauty and charm of each individual woman, not to fit some current ideal of beauty.”
Of course all the great skincare brands are French, which we know and love: Yves-Rocher, Clarins, Vichy, Biotherm, Clinique, Nuxe, Avenue to name but a few... Now if only we could bottle some of that je ne sais quoi.
Greek women are especially know for their love of olive oil in the kitchen, but these two powerful liquid golds are also ancient beauty secrets.
1. Olive Oil and Honey:
It is said that Greeks were the first to use olive oil to moisturize skin. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants which help in revitalizing dry and chapped skin. It also speeds up the renewal process of the cells which are present in your skin.
Honey is a great beauty ingredient which Greeks used in making face masks and body scrubs. It is said that we inherited the use of honey as a beauty ingredient from Greeks only. Honey is good for skin as it is anti-inflammatory and helps in cleaning of dead skin cells.
- As a hair mask: pour 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, Vitamin E oil (if you get it in capsule form, use about 3-4 capsule, otherwise 1 tsp), a few drops of your favourite essential oil. I use lavender or rosemary. Work the mask onto your hair starting from the tips working your way slowly to the roots by massaging it in. Wrap your hair in a plastic bag and towel turban. Leave it on for a couple of hours, or overnight if possible. To wash, apply shampoo directly to the hair without water and massage it all. Rinse well with warm water and then condition.
- As a face mask: 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp of baking soda. The benefits of each natural ingredient are countless, the olive oil rich in antioxidants which help moisturise, cleanse and protect the skin. Honey is a natural antiseptic, and helps sooth skin while cleaning and treating irritated pores and acne. The egg yolk delivers protein to the skin to boost collagen production and build elasticity. Egg yolks are also high in Vitamin A, B Vitamins and Zinc which help calm, hydrate and nourish dry, irritated skin. Baking Soda is added to give the mask some body and works as an exfoliant. It has tiny granules that gently buff away dead skin cells to reveal glowing new skin underneath.
- As a body scrub: Some of you may remember last summer I made some great sea salt based body scrubs. Another ingredient they all had was olive oil, which left your skin feeling moisturised and silky soft after the salt did all the hard work and removed dead skin cells. To make your own body scrub to get your skin nourished and pampered you'll need: 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp. honey, 1/2 cup sugar.
- Use good fats: Extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, olives, and avocados are great sources of healthy fats for your daily meals.
With such a rich culture of apothecary, and natural ingredients, some of which are only found in Greece, it's no wonder that there are such great emerging Greek skincare brands which use natural ingredients and at affordable prices: Using ingredients like yoghurt, pomegranate, royal jelly and flora and fauna extracts, companies such as Korres and Apivita are producing almost completely organic skincare and even site on the label what % is natural. You can find creams that are up to 97% natural!
MastihaShop is a Greek brand that uses an ingredient, Mastiha, which is not only 100% local, but is also only found in one region in Greece, Chios. This ingredient has been known, as an effective ingredient in the treatment of stomach pains, gastric disorders, digestive problems, gastralgia and stomach ulcers since ancient times, and also been proven treating the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
The French are never one to fall behind in beauty, and the most famous of their natural skincare brands is L'OCCITANE, which has drawn inspiration from Mediterranean art de vivre and traditional Provencal techniques to create natural beauty products.
Australian women, with their sea-salt hair and glowing skin, perfectly capture laid-back, idyllic summer beauty—and the fact they’re able to look that way year round only makes us more jealous of their sun goddess appeal. They spend a lot of time outdoors, which means suncream is essential, and so is fitness. Australian women also have a holistic approach to beauty, so there’s also an emphasis on eating healthy and exercise.
It's no coincidence that Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson was dubbed 'The Body' and even today, in her 50s can STILL give any 20 year old a run for her money! She's a sporty outdoorsy surfer babe who have sun kissed skin and tousled salty beach hair, who is always smiling and laughing. She just looks like she's always having a good time, and that seems to be something all Australian babes have in common. Maybe the air is just happier down under?! I think though, the lifestyle in Australia is very laid back, and with so much to do outside, and breathing in an ocean spray, just keeps people feeling younger for longer.
Skin and hair:
- Tea Tree oil is antibacterial and actually can double as a natural astringent to cure pimples. It can also be applied, just a few drops, to your shampoo to help keep your scalp hydrated.
- Apple cider rinse between your shampoo and conditioner regimen helps keep your hair shiny and also balances the pH levels of the scalp.
- Coconut oil, Australian women love it and use it religiously. With brands like BaliBody, it's no secret that Australian women are obsessed with all thing coconut. Coconut oil makes a great makeup remover (but then so does Almond oil, which is also much cheaper). One little disclaimer though lovers, coconut oil should never be used to replace your suncream. It simply does not offer enough protection against the sun, which is the BIGGEST ageing factor.
Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT, which involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, these exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
- Strength Training. Strength training (or weight lifting, yes for women too) remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.) Don't be scared to lift weight lovers, you will not get big, but you will get lean, if done correctly and a proper diet is also followed.
- Yoga. Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others. Miranda Kerr is a big advocate for yoga and we all know what she looks like.