beauty

The ads are lying to you. I'm not.

Eighteen months ago, when I hit 40, I had an a-ha moment. I (thankfully) realised I was okay about getting older and l didn’t need to look 25 forever. It was liberating. I wasn’t sure when ageing became such an issue or how it started. But obviously somewhere along the line, we’ve all been sold a bogus bill of goods that says physical ageing is the death knell.

I know for a lot of women it can be a huge self esteem issue. Pressure to appear young is compounded because of our obsession with celebrity culture and the idea that having young and dewy skin is the be all and end all for a happy life, and potentially marrying George Clooney.

Beauty companies make billions from tapping into our fear of getting old. Like most women, I have been guilty in the past of buying expensive creams and potions to try and stop the ageing process. And although some beauty companies will spruik phrases like, “independent lab results show visible lines reduced by 67%”, I can tell you, after years of trying out a number of these products, the only reducing going on, was my hard earned money from my bank account – and yet I still looked the same!

So now, I see these celebrities in their mid 40s and 50s, endorsing age defying products (who look a million bucks, and probably getting paid similar for the endorsement), and it drives me to absolute distraction. Sure these celebs may still look like they’re in their 30s, and defying age, but what I know is this: they don’t look 10 years younger because of the beauty product they’re flogging. In reality, it’s about a healthy lifestyle, eating right, exercising…and sometimes botox, fillers, and other cosmetic procedures – not to mention that their faces are so blown out with heavy studio lighting, you could toast a few dozen marshmallows off the accompanying heat.

It’s not like this is the first whiff I’ve had of dubious advertising… I know there are companies who market and package a product claiming it to be something that it’s not. And while a few have been brought before the ACCC, others have not. If you look at all the ‘low fat” products flooding the market, there’s no denying, they are definitely low fat, but what isn’t mentioned, is that some of these products are laden with massive amounts of sugar.    And that example is really just the tip of the iceberg.

So I am cross that these celebrities are being paid to convince age-fearing women to spend their hard earned money on a beauty product that appears to magically turn back the clock. I think beauty companies who employ these celebrities should put them through a type of litmus test. They should ask these older celebs who look eternally youthful, to pull a face as if they were surprised. And if their face doesn’t move, then they shouldn’t be allowed to sell beauty creams.  It’s not fair play. It’s not reality.

It does make me wonder if one day, celebs will just cut to the chase about how they really fight off ageing, so instead of flogging creams, they’ll do commercials for botox, or acid peels or even facelifts.

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If people feel the need to go and get a little cosmetic enhancement, that’s all good, to each his own. It’s all about self esteem and no one should feel the need to tell others they have had it done if that’s their choice. But I see some of these age defying ads a bit like the low fat commercials. We’ll mention the low fat but we won’t mention the sugar.  And let’s be clear, I’m not saying all of these commercials and celebrities are the same, and there is probably some age defying make ups that have made consumers very happy.  It’s just that when I see a face stiffer than a frozen yogurt, I don’t think that’s the result from a topical moisturiser.

So with that in mind, here’s my anti-ageing beauty tips – 1) with proven results, (see friends and family comments) 2) I am not being paid to endorse anything, 3) I can show a surprise face, and 4) no heavy lighting is involved….so:

  • Eat bright coloured fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Exercise.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Fish oil
  • Limit coffee, alcohol and sugar.
  • Manage your stress.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Manage sun exposure.
  • Maintain healthy relationships (friends, family, partners etc)

I have found in my “clinical studies” time and time again, that doing the above brings much greater results than some of these pumped up, trumped up, expensive beauty product. No question.

I do look younger when I look after myself, and within days of following the above routine, people start to tell me how young and fresh I’m looking. And I know that’s not from any age defying face cream or make up. It’s because I’m healthy from the inside out. However, when I’m working a million hours, eating processed food, not exercising and under stress, I look old and haggard. Friends comment how “tired” I appear, which in friend-speak means, I’m looking more closer to Betty White’s age than my own. I could also build myself an in-ground pool, fill it with the “latest technology” new anti ageing creams and swim in it for hours every day, but if I continue to not look after myself from the inside out, nothing is going to hide a gaunt deep lined face. And unfortunately, that is not what the beauty companies will tell you. Instead, it’s more like magic in a bottle.

My great grandfather died in his late 80s, and he never had a wrinkle on his face, but he worked hard (exercise), ate healthy and always wore a hat outside. That’s it.

When you look good, you feel good, when you feel good, you look good… you carry the energy of feeling good, and people are drawn to you like a moth to a flame because they want to be around that energy. That’s the elixir of youth, not some expensive age-defying cream.

So there’s my anti-ageing advice – and remember, it won’t cost you a fortune, it’s not magic, and it doesn’t leave a slimy film on your face.

Do you feel duped by advertisers? What do you do to make yourself feel good about the way you look or do you just not care?

Tara Smithson started in television in 1989, and over the last 20 years, she has worked on over 30 daytime and prime time shows as a Producer, Series Producer and Executive Producer.  Shows have included Midday with Kerri-Anne, Animal Hospital, Fresh Cooking With the Australian Women’s Weekly, and Dancing With The Stars New Zealand to name a few.