Ageing with good grace
Beauty journalist Bethan Cole on the wellbeing and skincare practices that are seeing her embrace an upcoming milestone birthday
In just under three months, I will turn 50 and, unlike many who I know, I am sanguine about it. Why? Well, firstly, I am grateful I have made it this far – many don’t. Secondly, I have never depended on my looks and I notice that, often, it is those who have been great beauties and predicated on their looks who fear ageing most. There is a large element of vanity in the fear of ageing and, while I have always tried to look my best, this is never something that has troubled me in a big way. So, fear that I will be old, wrinkled and unattractive does not bother me, because I have always traded myself on my brain and, as a beauty journalist, I know that if you really want, nowadays there are fixes for these things.
Yet, a couple of decades later, natural beauty is more popular than ever before. According to research by NPD Group, 70 per cent of prestige skincare sales in the US for the first half of 2019 were attributed to natural brands. But how do you go about proving that natural skincare can be as effective as synthetic cosmeceutical brands? The new guard of natural beauty brands, such as Seed to Skin, Balance Me, Elequra and Wildsmith Skin, believe in establishing thorough credentials before making any product claims. For Wildsmith Skin, this consideration is front and centre. ‘Traditionally, natural brands have traded on their ingredients, provenance and experience, rather than scientific efficacy,’ says Katherine Pye, general manager of Wildsmith Skin. ‘The field has evolved now and there are natural products that can easily stand up against cosmeceutical brands.’
Wellness-wise, I am probably a typical perimenopausal woman: prone to regular water infections, incredibly heavy and now irregular periods and, at times, terrible PMT and mood swings. I have tried and jettisoned HRT because it gave me headaches. But, frankly, these things are all pretty minor – the bottom line is, I’m still hanging in there and I feel generally positive, rather than beleaguered by my situation. I hope there is much to look forward to.
I do yoga and meditation to ease my body and mind into this next phase of life. I enjoy food, the occasional drink, I dance (at weddings mainly, these days) and I have a huge love of animals – dog walking gets me through the mental-health doldrums. When the time is right, I will date again and – who knows, as I have never lived with anyone, been married or had children – perhaps I will be one of these people who finds love in later life. I am optimistic, if nothing else. Everyone has a time to bloom in their lives – and I am hopeful mine will be coming soon.
When it comes to skincare tips for perimenopausal skin, I am an avowed ‘skinimalist’ and keep it really simple. All I need is a good cleansing balm (I’m currently using Wildsmith Active Repair Nourishing Cleansing Balm, which is excellent, and The Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser is also brilliant), a light or oleaginous facial oil and, of course, my trusty SPF.