What defines the perfect beauty regime?

Is there even one?

According to experts, and it seems everyone on the internet is an expert these days, there are three main steps to a beauty regime: Cleanse, Treat and Moisturise. Ok, fair enough but being a teenager in the late 80’s early 90’s I thought Tone was the middle one. Well it seems I’m wrong and Toning is an optional activity these days and we do it to redress the PH balance of our skin, but apparently the key thing we need to be doing now is Treating our skin after we’ve cleansed and before we moisturise.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Fair enough I’m no expert but this is what I have found out and if you are like me and don’t use much by the way of skin care products then this may help. For those of you that do use products daily you might just find you are using too many products and actually overwhelming your skin.

So what does ‘treat’ stand for?

I can tell you it’s not a lovely chocolate biscuit treat unless it’s one specifically made for skin! I do have a rather lovely face mask that smells so chocolatey and delish that it always makes me feel hungry… but I digress. Treating is where we use, serums or creams which are packed full of skincare superheroes like vitamin C, retinol, hydroxy acid and more.

Of course everyone’s skin is different and we need to adjust to suit our skin and our age but after looking at what is recommended the following seems to be the ideal skincare regime:

Daytime

  1. Cleanse – use a gentle face wash to take away the impurities of daily life. Using a gentle face wash is important if you are using several products in your skin care regime as you don’t want to overwhelm your skin. Don’t cleanse too often or use too harsh a cleanser otherwise your skins natural barrier will be washed away and you’ll end up with redness and potential problems with other products.
  2. Tone – this is an optional stage but is good for rebalancing the PH levels of your skin. Make sure you are using the right toner for your skin type though. If you have dry skin use a hydrating toner to soothe skin and if you are prone to acne then using a toner with salicylic acid in will help keep spots at bay.
  3. Serum – whatever your age or skin type it seems as though vitamin C is the skin saviour. It helps reverse the damage caused by the sun and pollution. It’s also good for hyperpigmentation, and especially so if used in the morning routine.
  4. Eye cream – find one that suits you and dab with your ring finger to prevent damage to the fine skin under the eyes. Our ring finger is the weakest one so ideal or delicate areas.
  5. Moisturise – this is designed to keep your skin hydrated and create a protective barrier for your skin against damage and pollution. Depending on your skin type choose a lighter moisturiser that will soak in quickly, if your skin is on the drier side then a thicker cream based moisturiser will do the trick.
  6. Sun cream/sunscreen – this is essential, our skin can get damaged by the sun even on an overcast day. It is the number 1 cause of skin damage so we need to use it daily and at least an SPF of 30 is recommended, even if you spend most of the time indoors. 

Night-time – this is the perfect opportunity to ensure your skin is getting all the key nutrients it needs

  1. Cleanse – this is where a cleansing oil is recommended as it is designed to take off your makeup and cleanses your skin in one go.
  2. Tone – again optional but do it before you apply serums.
  3. Serums – apparently retinol is the skin saviour for anyone to use at any age but especially in our 40’s and 50’s. There are recommendations to using alpha hydroxy acid to encourage collagen but this will need to alternate so as not to put too many ingredients that may fight with each other if you now what I mean.
  4. Eye cream – use as you would in the day, but using eye cream at night helps the delicate skin around the eyes deal with stronger ingredients like retinol better.
  5. Acne cream – this is about prevention rather than cure. If you know you are prone to the odd or regular breakout then putting spot control cream on can help keep them at bay.
  6. Moisturise – uber important to moisturise using a night cream as this is designed to hydrate and protect your skin and make sure it is glowing when you wake up.
  7. Face oil – these are designed to give that extra boost of moisture for your skin overnight. They add an extra layer of protection. Don’t worry if your skin is oily these if the right formula is chosen can work wonders for your skin.

To me this seems a lot of a faff, although it is why many women and men have fantastic skin and I don’t. I look at my own skin care regime and for me to do what is recommended I’d be there all day messing about. Especially as it’s advised to wait a little between stages to let the skin settle and for the products to sink in. But with the pressures on us all to look good every day, and keep the aging process at bay we are ‘encouraged’ to follow complicated regimes.

To be honest in the grand scheme of things if you only do half of the recommended régime you are doing something right!

Essentials are – cleansing, applying serum and moisturising the other bits, are for when you have time if you can.

What about me? What do I do?

I’m such a heathen when it comes to my skincare, or lack of care as is mostly the case. I do put sun cream on I confess to that, but if I’m honest I don’t much do the other stuff. I have the odd phase where I go all out and do all three steps, but mostly I wash with a bamboo or organic cotton flannel, yes you read that correctly a flannel. I was born in the 70’s and some of the things I did as a kid have stuck with me. I have a pile of bamboo and organic cotton flannels in the airing cupboard as they get used regularly, I’m not for these environmentally damaging wipes (they don’t do your skin much good either) and the washable wipes that companies seem to keep coming up with as the new environmental alternative, well open your eyes they’re just cut up flannels made from bamboo or organic cotton, marketed as the new way to save the planet! And, yes I can be this cynical I used to work in marketing, kinda know the tricks they use to get people to buy into the ‘product’. And spot cream! I just use toothpaste! It works a treat and leaves my face smelling minty fresh 🤣, the other half has grown accustomed to seeing me with toothpaste on my face occasionally he doesn’t bat an eyelid these days.

I will use a moisturiser on occasion when I remember to, although I confess I don’t always do this every day. I forget. Unless I get into routine and remember to do it or I’m putting on makeup, it just doesn’t get done. I do put sun cream on though, as I mentioned before but I don’t much like the combined moisturisers with SPF in them I find them far too greasy for my skin. So normal mineral based sun cream does the job for me. I do remember to put moisturiser on at night, and I’m even choosing a night time one for extra Oomph. So I suppose I might get some brownie points for that!

My mum always encouraged me to ensure my skin was clean but she used to suffer terribly with allergic reactions to most skin care products and so she rarely wore makeup, in fact I think she only ever wore mascara and lipstick as everything else made her skin react. She would react really badly and have to have prescription cream to put on, usually some steroid cream or …

What’s it called? …

Hang on…

It’ll come to me in a bit…

This is one of those walk into a room moments and you forget what you walked into the room for! It’s an age thing.

Antihistamines! That’s the one.

Mum used to wear a moisturiser but it was the same one for years and she rarely changed the brand, she had to though on the odd occasion as the formula and ingredients had changed and caused a really nasty reaction where her face swelled up and went burning red it started to peel in places. So as you can imagine skincare and makeup wasn’t foremost in my teens. Most of my influence came from teen mags like MORE and when I was older Cosmopolitan. Ahh, those were the days 🤣 Anyone of a certain age will remember More Magazine, Cosmo is still about and is even more racier than I remember 😜

I can’t say I’m much of a girly girl and I never really have been, but on occasion I do like to make an effort. And, this means when I do remember to use skincare products I want them to be as skin, animal and environmentally friendly as possible.

I will only use animal friendly products those with the Leaping Bunny and Vegan logo on them. I have long been an advocate of animal friendly products and positive ethical practices in the beauty industry and I naively used to use many of the high end brands Estee Lauder, Clinique and such like, but I found out that they were and are still not animal friendly. They are often owned by parent companies who sell in China and their products must be tested on animals before they can be sold there. So at some point there will have been an ingredient that has been tested, if not the actual product, on animals. It is hard to find a truly animal friendly product but if you care enough then look for the leaping bunny and the vegan V and you can’t go far wrong.

You don’t have to pay high end to get a good product. Many cheaper products use the same ingredients as the more expensive brands, it’s just the bigger more ‘high end’ brands market to a ‘lifestyle dream’. We all like a bit of designer but we don’t necessarily need it for our moisturiser. Do your research, there are plenty of informative websites out there.

I’m not here to tell you which products to use, you are old enough to make those decisions on your own. All I ask is that you consider the impact on the environment, animals and your health and do your research you can’t go far wrong.

Thats it from me for now. Have a rummage through your skin care products and take a careful look. Hopefully you’ve perhaps picked up a little snippet of useful information in this post.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks xo

Let’s talk about Boobs…

Boobs, bosoms, breasts, the girls, puppies, tits, baps, call them what you will. To me they’re just boobs. Love them or hate them they are a part of you, whether you are male, female or anywhere in between. Small, medium or large. Pert and perky or saggy and baggy, baby ravaged or battle scarred they are a part of you. Man boobs included here.

Our boobs are just one of those fascinating things about our bodies, they provide food and those essential first nutrients for babies, they can make us feel attractive, they are unique to you and can empower you. You don’t have to burn your bra to be a feminist these days you know. They can also do the complete opposite and make you feel like an ‘object’. They can be ravaged by disease and cause you pain. But remember they are a part of you and you are amazing.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Here’s a few facts about breasts for you:

Boobs are just glands and most mammals only have them when they become pregnant, humans are the only ones whose start growing at puberty, hence why we have permanent mammaries.

Statistically the left breast is larger than the right breast. A scientist friend once told me that this was due to the way the heart pumps blood through the body and the left side being the dominant side but how true this is I couldn’t tell you. I don’t disbelieve her though.

Both breasts are sisters and not twins – there will be subtle differences in their shape, size, nipple, colour and so on.

Apparently men are also able to breastfeed. I’m hoping this isn’t an internet fib, but apparently they have all the equipment and hormones can be stimulated enough to bring on the process. I’ve never met a man who has admitted to being able to do this, and if I’m honest I’m not sure the world is ready to accept it yet if it were true. Let’s face it women still get frowned at when they breastfeed in public even in this supposedly open minded day and age!

5000 women under the age of 45 in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. The figure is higher if you are over 45. So remember to check them once a month at least. Breast screening here in the UK is offered to women at 50 or over. Earlier if there is a history of breast cancer. It’s not just women, approximately 390 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year too. Get and check them, don’t be shy. Get your other half, if you have one, to check them too. They know your boobs as good as you and may notice something you don’t. There are plenty of websites to visit if you need help. Coppafeel.org is a brilliant easy to view site, with all the info you need.

A pair of D cup breasts can weigh up to a stone! So we can all blame weigh gain on our boobs now!

So why am I focusing on boobs in this post?

Why not!?! It’s breast cancer awareness month so it’s high time we paid attention to our boobs for a change. Do I love my boobs? Not really, I’ve found them cumbersome and awkward for years. As I’ve got older and had kids I don’t see them as a way to look better, they are just in the way and I think your mindset changes when you breastfeed. They no longer become the sexual element of your body, they are there to serve a purpose and feed a baby. I don’t look after mine as much as I should and I have reached a point in my life where the baby making stage is well and truly gone and I can now be more focused on being me. This is important for me coming into my mid to late forties and realising that there is more to life than being just ‘Mum’, I’m a woman who, like many others, has been through a lot and I feel its time to take life back. Take some control.

Boobs are important, for our health and wellbeing. Especially, in terms of style when we look at what we wear and how the ‘right’ undies can make or break an outfit. A good bra can give you a defined waistline, make you taller and improve your posture, raise your boobs up with support and minimise them where needed. It can work wonders!

I am more of a budget bra girl. I can’t afford to spend a fortune on a Rigby & Peller bra. Whilst they are absolutely beautiful and I am sure are the best there is, I do not have the budget for one. I’m a good old M&S girl. More in my budget. I do know of two of my friends who own Rigby & Peller bras and they do say they are the most comfortable they’ve ever owned and maybe one day when I feel frivolous and there aren’t more important things to buy I may change my mind go get ‘eye measured’ (Yes, that’s how good they are!) for one. But for now, I’m sticking with what I know and can afford.

I’ve had little luck over the years buying bras. My body shape changes so much even in the space of a month so I kind of have to take pot luck most of the time when it comes to choosing which one to wear/buy. I’ve spent a small fortune in little boutiques getting fitted, thinking it’s the perfect bra and merrily handing over the money, and wearing because its soooo comfy, only to find half an hour later I want to rip the damn thing off! I’m a fresh bra everyday girl too, you change your knickers every day so why wouldn’t you change your bra every day, so I have to have a few in my arsenal to see me through. I hand wash not machine wash and never tumble dry so I know they will last – although it is recommended you ditch them after a year as they stretch and lose shape regardless.

I have a drawer full of t-shirt bras, vest bras, sports bras, balconettes, push-ups, full cups, underwired and non wired and anything in between! Most of which I can truthfully say I haven’t worn in ages 😲. I know, heathen! Anyway, I have been wearing sports bras for months as I wanted something comfortable during Covid lock down and beyond. But now I’m back to work I feel the need for something more structured under my outfits. This is causing me a few problems, not least due to the extra covid calories I’ve accumulated, but also to an ever changing body shape. Once you get to 40+ the middle area starts to spread and is harder to control. I seem to be losing my waistline, I’m not sure where my boobs end and tummy starts they’re merging into one 🤣🤣🤣.

Anyway, I digress a little… I decided on a shopping trip to M&S as I thought I really needed to get something more shapely so my clothes wouldn’t look quite so sack like on me and they’d hopefully hang in the right places. So in I go, straight to the undies section, wandering around looking at all the pretty fancy delicate bras and then feeling miserably depressed because I just ain’t gonna get these boobies into those cup sizes! So, I move a bit more to the dd+ bras. Wow, they ain’t no ‘Hello Boys’ Wonderbra style ones that’s for sure! More of a ‘Cross Your Heart’ style from the 70’s. I have come to a point where I really dislike the uncomfortable digging in of underwires, no matter how many I get measured for not one stays on for more than half a day before I start to feel very uncomfortable and want to take it off. So, for support I’m going to have to get into the habit of wearing non wired ones. Which as we all know the under band is the support factor in a bra and the underwire gives it the structure so non wired ones have to have the support factored in differently into the design. This doesn’t always make them the most attractive. I also have had many a wire poking out incident of which a friend of mine will happily tell about one such occasion in class! Only me 🤦‍♀️. I can remember the underwire poking out whilst I was merrily teaching a class full of boys, not noticing why they might have been looking at me a bit strange, they usually looked like it so nothing different, anyway… said friend pointed out the offending wire at the end of the class as one of the SEN students couldn’t stop chuckling to himself. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it. Doh!

Anyway, back to the buying… I chose a bra in the end. A twin pack. Bargain I thought. Merrily paid for them and toddled home. Brilliant, I thought I’d be onto a winner and finally get some decent shape and support. Well, I was wrong. I bought the wrong shape for my boobs. Something I hadn’t thought about much before. The shape of your boobs really does make a difference to the type of bra’s you should be buying and what will fit you best. It’s not just about measurements. I recommend you take a look at this website for advice about boob shape and the right bra to match. brafittingsbycourt.com

I now know that I need a full soft cup (with or without seams) to give me shape and support. I know that a bra that is designed to give cleavage is not a good choice otherwise I end up double cupping and whopping one in the eye! Guess I’m going to need to go shopping again. Oh the joy!

How you put a bra on that makes a difference to the shape and fit. I was told by my mum when I was young that I needed to put the straps on over the shoulders and then bend over so that my boobs fell into the cups and rested in place. ‘Hoicking’ them up I so to speak. The excess boob at the sides is also encased as it should be and then tighten up, you can ease the back fastener off a notch or two later on in the day apparently. Something about it being like our feet and swelling during the day. It works. I have been putting my bra on like this ever since and although I’m sure if people were to look at me doing it, apart from it not being a pretty sight, they would think its strange – I don’t care. It works for me.

There’s loads to talk about when it comes to boobs, but maybe I’ve covered enough for now.

Just to let you know, as this is a personal blog and I have no affiliate partners I post links to sites because I want to not because I’m paid to. I am not gaining any payment from the sites you may click on so feel free to know it’s genuine. Maybe one day I may develop a partnership with businesses but for now I don’t want that.

The moral of this story? Get a good bra, get fitted and check those boobs regularly.

Take care, stay safe

Becks

Xo