By Clémence von Mueffling with Teresa Deely
In my book, Ageless Beauty the French Way, I encourage women to gently approach beauty with less of a quest for perfection. The goal is not to look younger, but to look good for your age and to enhance your best features!
Make the most of what you were born with. You should not be afraid to show your individuality; play with what nature gave you and make the most of it. Turn your differences into assets that may even get better with age!
1) TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN
Beauty is not about perfection or reversing signs of aging, but rather about aging gracefully. Our goal should be to become the best possible version of ourselves, outside and in, at any age.
I like the idea of healthy skin, but it does not have to be flawless. As long as my skin is healthy and hydrated, I don’t worry too much about wrinkles — they’re just part of the process!
Trying to have perfect skin can sometimes lead to some mistakes, such as scrubbing your face too often or trying invasive, harsh treatments. Why would you burn, dry, or peel when you can nourish and maintain healthy skin instead? We only have one face, and we should treat it with great care in the most delicate way possible. Treat your skin like your favorite silk blouse!
I have a tried and true beauty ritual that makes my skin glow: double cleansing.
Our skin doesn’t get clean enough from a single wash, and double cleansing is the way to go if you want to take good skin to great skin.
During the first cleanse, you get rid of impurities, pollution, or makeup with a creamy product.
During the second cleanse, you clean the topmost layer. Doing this optimizes the skin’s natural protection and regeneration, which primarily takes place at night while you’re sleeping.
Then, you can massage your face two to three times a week. People underestimate the power of massage, but regular massaging miraculously improves the quality of your face. It tones the skin, improves circulation, and minimizes lines. And best of all, it’s free!
The best skin comes from within — which means extra-healthy nourishment.
It is important to eat foods that are nutrient-dense, as they give you the most nutrients for the fewest calories. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and lean meats and poultry are all nutrient-dense. Other key ingredients for healthy skin include vitamin E (almonds), vitamin D (fish), vitamin C (citrus fruit), B vitamins (green leafy vegetables, eggs, corn, nuts, poultry), vitamin A (fish oils), lycopene (tomatoes), lutein (carrots), coenzyme Q10 (red meat, oily fish), zinc (oysters), and selenium (Brazil nuts).
As far as sugar is concerned, there is no such thing as good sugar. There is no escaping it! Sugar is usually half glucose, half fructose. You should eat no more than an ounce (28 grams) of fructose a day, unless you are very active. Bear in mind that the fructose found in fruits is much healthier than high-fructose corn syrup or other added sugars. But don’t be fooled by packaging! Fruit juice may claim to have no added sugar if it doesn’t contain sucrose, but it will most likely be full of fructose. Look for the sugar grams listed on the food label!
What’s most important is having strong spinal flexibility and joint mobility. This has nothing to do with muscles, a flat belly, or a hazelnut-shaped butt. People think that muscle work is everything, but too much muscle development impairs mobility so you can’t move properly. You need your muscles, of course, but deep muscles.
Consider deep stretches that will tone and give length to your muscles. It is not difficult to stretch.
If you start late, yoga or tai chi are your best options. Hatha yoga is the best for movement. Swimming and walking are always easily available to everyone.
Remember, a young body is a flexible body. If you want to stay young, you have to move. Vitalité is key!
I’ve gotten many helpful tips to a dreamy sleep routine from Arianna Huffington’s new book, and here are some key things to remember:
- Avoid late or spicy meals.
- Avoid exercising too close to bedtime.
- Minimize alcohol intake at night, as it leads to sleep fragmentation and sometimes sleep apnea.
- Unwind for at least a few minutes, in the dark, before going to bed.
- Keep the bedroom temperature below 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Follow a regular schedule for sleep.
- Get up at the same time every day.
- Stay active during the day and avoid napping.
Taking care of ourselves is important. Self-care is not about vanity; it is about embracing the positivity of passing time and incorporating self-confidence into our everyday lives for younger generations to follow suit.
Beauty, when viewed from this angle — with all that it encompasses in terms of care and artifice — isn’t the least bit superficial. It is a necessity.
Born in Paris, Clémence von Mueffling is a third generation beauty editor. She launched the online magazine, Beauty and Well-Being, in 2007 and is the author of Ageless Beauty the French Way.