Last week I talked about easy ways to update your wardrobe for Spring 2023, so today it’s time for beauty because we all know how easily make-up can date you. By the end of March I’m always at my most lacklustre (probably an oxymoron but you know what I mean). This year it’s worse than ever because of the crazy way my diary has panned out since the middle of January. There’s been something exciting lined up for every single weekend – I’ll tell you all about it soon and yes, I do remember that in my first post of the year I said I was going to schedule in more downtime but when life lays itself out like a box of chocolates it’s hard to close the lid. Right now though when I look in the mirror I know I look ten years older than usual so April’s going to be a low key month and I’m planning to focus on a bit of personal restoration. So with that in mind it feels like the right time to talk about midlife make-up techniques & how to look well every day.
How to look well every day
Before we even begin to talk about make-up though, I need (almost as a note to self) to cover off the basics of how to look well every day, namely good sleep and nutrition. Neither has been good for me recently and it’s really showing. I’m not a qualified nutritionist so I won’t go into that here, sleep though is something I take seriously and it’s almost always a topic with my friends when we meet up because it can be so elusive in midlife. Since we’ve empty nested and don’t have to set an alarm as often I’ve discovered my natural sleep rhythm and I find I look and feel my best if I have eight and a half hours. It’s easily disrupted though – by temperature fluctuations, noise, a racing brain – and anything more than one glass of wine means I wake up burning hot in the middle of the night.
I really struggled with sleep throughout my 40s, at one point I thought I was going mad but now I realise it was perimenopause. The big improvement for me started with HRT, it stopped the terrible middle of the night catastrophising that I did but even so, sleep is still something I actively manage. I’ve developed what in modern parlance I suppose you’d call a ‘sleep hygiene routine’ so I’m just going to share my simple tips with you here.
- I try not to eat after 7pm
- I put my phone in a cupboard to charge at 7.30pm and leave it there until the next morning
- I work on my laptop or read until 9pm, watch something on TV for an hour and then go to bed
- I lose myself in a book until 11pm – nothing too gripping or I’ll keep going until the small hours (nothing sends you to sleep like a classic!)
The two absolute non-negotiables for me are an open window and pink noise. Besides the late nights, they’re the main reason I haven’t slept well recently – we’ve been staying in hotels a lot where the windows don’t open and it drives me slightly insane. The unreliable wi-fi has meant the pink noise often cuts out and for me then the night is over, I’ll be awake until dawn. So what is pink noise? It’s softer than white noise and it’s something we discovered during lockdown when the boys were crashing around the house at all hours. We play ocean sounds on a speaker in our bedroom or a phone if we’re away. It’s something the middle son has always done although he prefers the sound of rain on a tent (you can tell he’s born and bred near The Lakes!). I find that even if I wake up, the sounds somehow stop my head from filling with thoughts and I’m lulled back to sleep again.
If I have a lot on my plate and I know my usual routine might still not be enough, I’ll add some extra steps in before bed. A bath really does make all the difference and I’ve started adding Olverum which is a blend of essential oils. There are a lot of similar products around but this one is quite special. I’m not a big one for Spa treatments but I can imagine that this is the sort of clear headspace that they give you, where you just drift off into a fragrant place. It means you don’t have to faff about with candles if it’s an ordinary mid-week evening but you get that same sense of self-indulgence.
Essential bath oils
When I dry off, my skin feels as if it’s had a treatment. If I then indulge it a little more by slowly massaging in a rich body butter, I feel fully relaxed and wrapped in fragrance. This particular ginger soufflé feels as though it adds a glow to your body – a bit like Vicks on your chest when you were little but not as intense. The fragrance has the comforting warmth of freshly baked gingerbread rather than the fresh zing of curry.
Ginger soufflé body cream
Maybe it’s psychological but if I then add a pillow spray to this bedtime pathway I somehow feel the way I used to after bathtime when I was little – wrapped up and cared for so that any extra pressure I’m dealing with feels far away. It’s taken a while to find a pillow spray that Mal can tolerate – they often have patchouli or sandalwood in them and he loathes both so much that he has to leave the room if he smells them. This one contains lavender, chamomile and vetivert so it works for us both.
Soothing pillow spray