When I was a teenager, I remember using an astringent like witch hazel to banish the extra oil my skin had started producing. Squeaky clean was the order of the day when it came to face and hair and if anything glowed, it was probably the glitter nail polish we sported on our nails.
But even today, most beauty brands advocate a matte look, from oil-free gel moisturisers and foundations to long-wearing lip formulas that look like suede but are unforgiving on the more mature client. Pore-less, powdered and primed is desirable – if you’re 20 and have flawless skin.
But if like me, you’re over 50, then an unguent is needed: and there’s nothing more luxurious and soothing as a sumptuous beauty oil.
As far back as Ancient Egypt, a variety of plant oils were used on the skin to preserve it – full of antioxidants, beautiful oils like sesame, olive, moringa and fenugreek were slathered on the skin to protect it from the harsh rays of the sun. A little further north, the ancient Greeks were also anointing themselves with wild olive oil and honey as well as the Romans, who favoured castor oil, almond, and macadamia oil.
There are many gorgeous oils that you can incorporate into your beauty routine – but how do you use them?
I enjoy using a facial oil as a serum – a few drops warmed between your hands and applied to the skin after cleansing is sublime. It makes my skin look radiant – and it can also work as a primer before make-up. Sometimes I like using an oil instead of a mask after a deep cleanse. It’s worthwhile taking the time to give yourself a massage, with upward strokes, letting the oil penetrate the skin.
I love certain oils with a particular fragrance; they soothe like a balm. Another wonderful use is applying a rich oil on my hair as a mask. Organic coconut oil is particularly good – I put my hair up and leave it on for at least an hour. You can use the time to make tea, read a book or do an online yoga class. Shampoo and condition afterwards – your hair will feel like silk. Shop around in your health store for pre-mixed aromatherapy oils – I like Facets vitality oil which contains lavender, rosemary and peppermint. It is designed as a body massage oil but I like to use it on my scalp, as rosemary is specifically good for hair growth and the peppermint stimulates the hair follicles. Lavender just makes everything better.
I’ll list some of my favourites, but do shop around, there are so many to choose from…
- A Classic: Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil – particularly good for parched, dehydrated skin. Leaves the skin soft and supple. Made from 100% pure plant extracts R635 (30ml) www.clarins.co.za
- Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi Use Dry Oil 50ml (Spray) – an exquisite oil for the body R479 www.absoluteskin.co.za
- Local brand: Skin Creamery Facial Hydrating Oil – a beautiful, naturally fragranced oil, suitable for all skin types, hypoallergenic, sinks into skin. Love this as a primer or massage treat. I have given this as a gift many times. R325 (30ml) www.skincreamery.co.za
- The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Radiant Oil – slather on body and hair – smells divine and so economical! R150 (125ml) www.thebodyshop.co.za
Written by Paola Chellew
Paola Chellew is a feature writer for the A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine. A former professional contemporary dancer, she has always loved the arts in all their forms. She has been a freelance writer for many years and has been published in various magazines including Live Out Loud, Private Life and Do It now magazines. Her passion for beauty and skincare started in her teens when she would read every beauty editor’s picks and reviews. Serious about skincare, she has researched medical-grade products for over ten years, as well as aesthetic treatments to restore and repair skin to looking its best. Having turned 60 last year, she has dedicated her blog to the “over 50s and beyond Club”, shining a spotlight on a generation that is seemingly side-lined by the beauty industry. “There is no age limit for when you stop being beautiful – a gorgeous lipstick, a sexy fragrance, radiant skin- these are not synonymous with youth- they are just things that add an extra sparkle to my day”.