I am not pretending I have better things to do with my time than pamper myself. I just don’t find a $200 intensive facial relaxing, because my mind drifts towards the money I would save if I had stayed home and picked my own pimples. I want to look gorgeous and do nothing about it, that’s all. When I meet women with beautiful skin, I ask them what their secret is and if it requires zero effort, I manage to integrate it into my bare-minimum beauty routine.
We spend most of our time over-washing our hair and it reacts by pumping out more oil, which is quickly stripped away by aggressive shampoos and skin cleansers. Do less. I haven’t washed my hair with shampoo for months. I rinse it with conditioner and it has never looked so good, but I have curly hair. Straight hair needs to be washed as the oil travels down the hair, but no more than once a week. Stop using flat-irons and don’t heat the curling wand so high it could brand cattle.
Don’t wash your face in the morning. Cleanse it at night and leave it alone in the morning. Your face might feel wonderful when it’s been scrubbed clean, but it damages the skin to strip it of natural oils twice a day. I got this piece of advice from Selma Hayek and she is not only smoking hot, but has access to better dermatologists than you or I do and better dermatologists give better advice.
Sleep on your back. You might rail against this one, ‘I can’t fall asleep on my back!’ Shut up. Rolling your body over is not that hard to do. If you sleep on your side, you might have noticed in the morning – wrinkles start on your face and travel all the way down to your décolletage. I met a woman who looked twenty years younger and she gave me this fantastic tip, requiring zero effort. You will get used to sleeping on your back. Tuck pillows under your knees if that is more comfortable.
Don’t drink too much alcohol. It really does hammer the skin.
The sun is not your friend. I remember watching a British comedy series when a character cried out, “I’m getting wrinkles around my eyes like an Australian woman!” Take Vitamin D, instead. Wear sunscreen and a hat. I wear a hat, scarf and driving gloves in the car. I have been told I look like a Korean Grandmother. I would wear a full face mask and body suit if I didn’t think it would scare people.
Try to drink at least a couple of glasses of water a day. If your urine looks like it has leaked from the rods of a nuclear reactor, you’re dehydrated. Drink herbal tea if water bores you too much.
Don’t pluck your eyebrows. Fashions will come and go, but eyebrows leave when they have been over-plucked and they don’t grow back. Trim them if you are worried you look mentally ill. Elderly women have to draw fake brows on and we think it’s something old people like to do. They do not. Imagine trying to hold your hand steady when you’ve got the shakes. They were gorgeous Mods once and over-plucked them. Eyebrows give your face youthfulness. If you have a monobrow, then you might want to pluck it but personally I think they look cool. Like Frida Kahlo.
Buy the softest toothbrush you can find. If you are too harsh on your gums, they get offended and recede. People don’t talk about their gum transplant and not because they don’t happen, but because they did it to themselves and the punishment was horrifying.
Black women age very well and the secret is they have been covered in butter and coconut-based moisturizers from the time they were born. Dry flakes of skin appear as an ash on their dark skin and hence, the constant moisturizing. Have you seen what Tina Turner looks like at 73? Moisturise.
Try to reduce sugar, pasta, bread and rice as much as you can. Just don’t tell anybody about it because no one wants to hear about what you’re not eating. Seriously, I’d rather listen to the dream you had last night.
The darker the vegetable – the better it is for you. Always reach for the darker vegetable when you’re shopping; the red onion; the cherry tomato; kale. Find a way to love the kale.
Put olive oil on anything you reasonably can. Occasionally, I’ll stop drizzling it on my salad and start drizzling it on my face and hair. Get into it. Wear a bib. The olive oil needs to be fresh and have a green tint. Preferably local, as olive oils from Italy and Spain vary so much in quality. You will know when you taste the real thing because it stings the back of your throat and makes you want to cough. A single cough olive oil is very good. A two-cough olive oil is even better.
And let me know what your beauty secrets are requiring zero effort. Because there is always room to add something new, when you’re putting zero effort in.
What are your beauty tips for real women? Tell us in the comments!
Vivienne Walshe is an Australian playwright and screenwriter. Her plays have been highly awarded and published by Currency Press. As an actress she appeared on The Secret Life of Us and many other television shows and performed in plays at the Melbourne Theatre company, Sydney Theatre company and Queensland Theatre company.
Vivienne Walshe graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 1997 and has appeared as an actress across the country. Her first play, Necklines, was broadcast on Radio National and workshopped for Playbox’s Theatre 'In the Raw' script development program. A participating writer in the 2004/5 STC/Blueprints Writers' Assembly, she is the recipient of the Sydney short play fringe festival competition, the Malcolm Robertson Prize and the inaugural Max Afford Award. Her most recent play was written for the Hardlines program at the Melbourne Theatre. Vivienne has written a television series for the ABC Drama Department and has had other television serials optioned and developed by Colombia Tristar, RDF Media London, and Allotria Productions.