ATB Beauty Reads: Old is Gold?

I have encountered this myth a number of times. From my husband's colleagues who sought me out for advice right before their wedding (that one is an interesting story, I'll narrate it at the end of this post) to queries that I get from readers. It seems to be highly prevalent in India, moreso because we look at our past  with rose tinted glasses.

This is an excerpt from the Book "The Original Beauty Bible" By Paula Begoun.


Myth: My grandmother or mother had (has) beautiful skin so I just use what they've always used.





Fact: While your lineage may include naturally perfect skin, using skin-care products formulated even more than ten years ago would be a mistake. It would be similar to saying, my grandmother was a great writer or researcher so I’m going to use the same typewriter or computer they used. No one is going to use a computer for more than five years anymore than they would use a typewriter and still be as productive as they would be using a current state-of-the-art computer. The same is true for skin-care products. What we know nowadays about formulations, ingredients, how skin functions at its best, sun damage, exfoliation, healing, and on and on is rarely addressed in products developed before the millennium.


The brilliant advances in cosmetic chemistry, dermatology, and ingredient technology now allow for the creation of all types of products that have elegant textures, silky applications, superb finishes, and truly effective ingredients that can make a difference in every aspect of your skin-care needs. There are many excellent things to emulate about your grandmother or mother, but the skin-care products they used in the past shouldn't be one of them.


Coming back to my husband's colleague. She sought a meeting with me, her wedding was scheduled for after a month and she wanted some advice on skincare & makeup.

So I called her over, and we started to talk. I soon discovered that her dictionary of skincare included using a lip balm and a face wash. That was it. She said she didn't like using a moisturizer because it made her skin more dry by interfering with its natural hydration. She did feel some tightness soon after washing, but in about 30 minutes her skin felt okay. She didn't use a sunscreen too much as she was unsure of what it was supposed to do.

She never used makeup, ever. For her engagement, she used a black kajal pencil and some of the same vaseline lip balm.

I told her that I understand if you don't want to use moisturiser, but you must use a sunscreen to prevent damage to the skin, and I suggested using a simple homemade curd mask once every 3 days till the wedding.

As for makeup, she was a complete newbie, so I suggested a powder compact, a mascara, some colored pencil eyeliners and couple of nice lipsticks to start off with as they would be easy to use.

So she listens to me silently, and after I was done says "But my mom has never used anything but vaseline lip balm & talcum powder, and she is the most beautiful person I have seen. Her skin just glows and her lips are very naturally rosy - so she doesn't need any makeup at all. She's never used any sunscreen and her skin is so awesome, so why should I use one? In fact I went through my wedding pictures, and I felt I was looking amazing in them all with just my kajal & lip balm!"

I had seen those pictures, she looked far from awesome. Some of her cousins looked far more dressed up than her and if she weren't sitting next to the dhoti wearing boy, one would have thought she was a far off relative attending someone else's wedding.

I realized it wasn't of much use trying to convince her to change, she clearly didn't want to do it herself. So then I asked her "Well, then I guess maybe your mom would be the best person to ask for some skincare advice since she has good skin. I'm just curious, if you feel your current routine is suiting you, and you are happy with your makeup, why did you seek my advice?"

Pat comes her reply, "I thought I'd do something nice for my to-be-husband."

I told her, "You know what, he probably prefers you without makeup too, and since you don't like it as well, why complicate things and spend money?"

Have you encountered this myth?


Comments

  1. oh you cannot believe the number of people who believe that mother's method is the best..I come from a small town where wearing makeup even a hint of lipstick is not considered a "good" thing..what to say yaar..moreover people are so unaware about basic things like a sunscreen and moiturizer

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    1. Yes, I know a lot of mature women in my circle who avoid using any skincare products as the "chemicals" in the cream are harmful. They claim that the creams actually do more damage than repair & try to dissuade me also :P

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  2. oh i have heard it ever so often. it is this indian thing of women who wear makeup are a bit too mod, or are plain simple women walking the street. as someone who swears by multiple home remedies and DIYs used by my ancestors (or not), i still buy good makeup, a nice sunscreen. i may not buy as much makeup but i never scrimp on sunscreen and moisturisers.

    as a diy enthusiast, if i see olive oil being easily available, i will also copy the beauty secrets of mediterranean women, insisting that wat my mom did was right is a little ostrich-ish ,

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    1. I know! I agree that our mom's can give us a lot of DIY methods, and yes they are more healthier than us - but then they never had such work pressure or pollution to contend with either. :D

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  3. Hahahahha! nice read Tanveer! And I couldn't even agree more with both Parul and Supriya as well!!
    ok let me add another type: a story:
    I have known quite a few girls who were amazed at my makeup collection and kept 'insisting' they don't use make up , they are 'natural', etc. Later in due course, I found out they can't do without their TBS and Lush products, or Sephora lipsticks, monthly regimes at salon etc while I myself visited one some 4 months ago for a hair cut :p

    Bottom line they are very natural and since I do put on even some lipstick,I am very unnatural :p

    Although I wouldn't go out for a seminar like I would at a wedding, I could really make use of it, if my skin looked flawless or my eyes a bit more sculpted. And I won't really feel like with makeup on I am really another person!
    I'm sure with sunscreens etc, our mothers an grandmothers would not have had the pigmentation issues later even though many of them did have glowing skin.

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    1. ooh the natural thing has happened to me before.. a certain "relation" of mine used to tell me this that she is very "natural" and she used to gawk at me for visiting the beauty parlor once every two weeks for getting threading done ;) but like you said all was a farce :P

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    2. Ohh, the "I am so natural, I could be a nymph" category :D

      I know about these, girls have a lot of pretensions and hang-ups at times, I don't understand why they try to embarrass or shame other girls who openly admit that they do take care of themselves. Such insecurity. It's not like their partners are going to dump them if they find out that their glow is thanks to the fact that they use Lush. It's kinda like those girls who say "Ohh, I never diet & exercise, in fact I eat like a hog".. but when u see them eating, you instantly know they are anorexic :P

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  4. Lotssss of people like that. The thing is- our grandmothers etc had good skin because they didn't live in such polluted environments, there was no junk or fast food, they didn't really eat out, and ate chemical-free food. And of course, genes.

    I've met a lot of people who are reluctant to try any hair products- they think using anti-frizz serum or mousse or hair spray will damage their hair. Of course, too much product isn't good, but if you want to look good and have your hair be your best feature, you need to use those products once in a while.

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    1. So true..Here in south India I have noticed so many girls who proclaim that they go natural with hair have very damaged, horrible hair with knots and looks like rat tail at ends..But they simply wont invest in a good shampoo, conditioner, or serum fearing "damage by chemichaaalllss"..Result=Hairfall..

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    2. That is so true.. Our lifestyles have changed so much! We have so much water, air & soil pollution, there is stress, we are constantly eating sugar - laden food and we also never seem to relax..

      And oh, I know of girls who don't even use a conditioner for the fear of chemicals. I can understand if someone with very oily hair doesn't need it. But some ppl have really damaged hair.

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  5. nice post tanveer..u have depth in writing..

    hey,i have tagged u
    http://megalivingg.blogspot.com/2012/03/tagged.html
    hope u will enjoy doing it and wud love u knw u more...

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    1. Thanks for the compliment Pavani, and for tagging me.. I'll def. do it :)

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  6. till i was like 18 yrs old...i was just like ur husband's colleague...i honestly believed that because my mom had such beautiful skin, i could have the same by just doing what she did...but thankfully i realized that though what she was doing worked for her..my skin required a little bit of more attention and care...

    what i realized is that what ur grand mom or mom suggest, u should definitely try it but then again just like no two people are not the same...no to people have the same skin...so you just need to add these amazing advice that you get from your mother into your own skin care regime...but also think about what works for you

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    1. I agree! It's not like our mom's aren't doing the right thing. I, in fact think that one shd take their advice.. But it is silly to use Cold cream only and then expect a glow like your mom. It may work now when we are young, but with damage as it cumulative from sun, pollution, unhealthy lifestyle - it will just lead to disappointment later.

      It's kinda like clothes, you may admire your mom's style and even borrow her vintage pieces.. but your body shapes may differ, plus imagine how silly one wld look if you only wore clothes frm yr mom's era (70s & 80s) and shunned any new styles or garments like lyrca :)

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  7. Oh is this so ? At this day and age...when there so many cosmetic brands to choose from ? Mom's generation did not have so many brands to choose from atleast in india ! My mom never really stop us from using products...we sisters learnt to use and spend judiciously on makeup because it came out of our own pocket money ! :-D That said, my mom though from small town was brand conscious... so are we but not to the extent that 'expensive is better'

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    1. Glad to know Zee that you didn't fall prey to this myth :D.. my mom says the same thing - she told me how in her time, they only got maroon & brown lipsticks :P

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  8. Yes there are so many ladies who do believe the beauty routine of their great grandmothers was perfect.Simple fact that most of them miss is-Times are a changing. Our previous generations had radiant skin & luscious locks simply because they ate healthy home cooked stuff,did most of the chores on their own rather than depending on home appliances/maids,oiled their tresses regularly, encountered lesser pollution and stress didn't have to step out everyday and work for 10-14 hours a day.Our lifestyles and environment has changed and so has the need of our skin & body. There is nothing wrong with preferring the natural look,but assuming what worked for your granny will suffice in today's date is a bit of stretch

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    1. Yes, my granny used to make all her skin & hair prdts at home. But she also ate very fresh food that was home-cooked, lived in an almost pollution free environment, and stayed at home.. her hair is a lot thicker than mines even now. But I can't even think of relying on just her methods. For starters she always had oil in her hair - imagine going out like that - oily hair combed back into a plait :P

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  9. Great post tan...then why did she come to you..To tell that her mom has great skin????
    Using simple stuff like a proper shampoo and conditioner, oil-free moisturizer, clay-based facepack, good scrub and suncscreen makes a lot of difference..

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    1. I think she was confused, because she had been using exactly what her mom uses, but she didn't get the desired results. But when she saw that her mom's techniques seem outdated, she got defensive. It also wasn't her priority.

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  10. OMG!!!........even I used to think like dat.....bt now after reading ur post i've realized how wrong i was.....da thing abt changing times and pollution didn't really cum in my mind.....ur're right i should wat's bst 4 me instead of relying on others

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    1. Oops! I hope you found this useful! :D

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  11. loved this post... I was no makeup person till last year,as the professors and seniors in hospital used to give me that scorn look..as if i have commited some crime wearing a kohl at work :/ now that am a bit senior myself..i don't care ..at the end of the day i feel good about how i carry or present myself... but awfully,even in these days ppl have the mentality that if you are into skin care and makeup...it means you have no ambition/no career :(

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    1. Yea, it seems to feed into a stereotype. If you are using makeup it means that you are a bimbette / cheap / spoilt / vain...

      Surprisingly women propagate the stereotype more than men.

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  12. loved this Tanveer!!! yes, my mom definitely has beautiful skin but I have different skin than hers and I know that I need to take care of it differently than my mom did. and, then, yes, times have changed, lifestyles have changed and many things have changed with that. but, there are a lot of people who don't use anything even today and they don't know the importance of exfoliation or sunscreen. well, everyone to their own needs.

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    1. Yes.. What more can one do Swati? In the end it is their skin :)

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  13. hahhaha loved this Tanveer... It made an awesome weekend read and pretty hilarious it was :) though I come from the North East where girls just love to dress up and make-up... the moment its 4 in the evening girls come out of the house decked in colorful phaneks (sarong skirts) and PERFECT makeup.. phew! its a sight to behold :) we Manipuris take our make-up very seriously ;)

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    1. Thanks Sam! Glad u liked it :D

      I'm so happy at least some communities encourage girls to take care of themselves :D

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  14. And she has decided she looks "amazing" with lipbalm and kajal..Tell her to use the same thing for wedding also..Will look "amazing" then too... :)

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    1. LOL! Ife, she was planning to!! She had not booked any salon for her makeup. I asked her when does she plan to?

      She says "I did my own makeup for the engagement & I looked lovely, I got so many compliments! I was wearing just kajal & lip balm. I'm planning to wear the same for the wedding too!"

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  15. Hi Tanveer,

    I am a silent reader of ur blogg, bt this post made me comment

    You know when I read this post, honestly I can relate a lots of people i knw with it.. Even some of my close frnds says the same sentence... They wonder y i use moisturizer or lipstick or anythng just because i never used it in my past... Did that really make sense, and i am tired of making others understand that skin needs moisturization and sunscreen is a must, thts y i use it..
    Nw i just dont bother to anwser it. But the funny part is the so called natural beauties always calls me and asks which cream is best, not for buying, just for the sake of knowing :D

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    1. Thanks Visakhi for commenting :D

      I'm sure these natural beauties envy your skin, that is why they ask for recommendations & must be using them on the sly.

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  16. I have thick dry wavy hair which I just kept wid minimum trimming for so long. I used to get compliments fr d length n thickness of my hair but never for d beauty of it. All thnx to my conservative background and myths abt hair cuts.
    I have gt my hair cut into layers and agreed the thickness lessened but the beauty increased. No doubt it's still dry and wavy but the layers make my hair look much btttr and suits me well now :)
    So yes OLD is Gold, Nautral beauty is best is all farce and I m sure most of them from our generation have similar background.

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    1. I agree Vish..

      Just possessing long hair is not enough, it needs to be styled to suit your features :)

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  17. I recently stumbled across your blog and I LOVE it! I've been scrolling through a few posts and I'm convinced your blog is the epitome of perfection! I love the layout to the content and everything in between! You raise some really interesting points! My grandmother too, has really great skin, and she never uses creams with harsh chemicals. Maybe the key to our skin is through our diet?
    I am your newest, most avid follower!

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    1. Miss Iffa! Thank you so much! Those are some lovely words of appreciation! I'm glad you are enjoying the blog :D

      Yes, diet plays a *huge* role in the health of our skin! Our grandparents def. ate a lot better than us.

      Thanks for following :D

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  18. Oh yes! I have had people come to me and ask all sorts of questions regarding makeup and then in the end they just say water is the best cleanser!!! and I am like whoa????? If u really did think that then y did u waste my time? I respect people who has an "allergy" towards makeup but I just don't understand it when they want to waste their time & my time by simply talking about makeup when they are never going to take my advice!!!!But some ppl are definitely blessed with good genes, so they are the ultimate exception who can simply get by using a "johnson & johnson" baby mosituriser :D

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    1. Yes, there are some exceptions.. but with the kind of sun we get in India, I think these people are rather rare.

      Even I don't get some ppl who write in for advice. Once this girl wrote to me saying that she has terrible dark circles & all. So I told her to take care of her diet. She says she drinks very little water during the day because she hates using the rest rooms in her office. She has a phobia, can use rest rooms only at home. Abhi aise item piece ka kya karen?

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  19. Hi Tanveer

    Nice post.

    I have terrible skin and most of the problems are genetic. But thanks to my skin woes I have invested a hell lot of time, energy and money on skin care and make-up. The results show - though I have acne scars, my skin definately looks younger than my 32 years. I am a makeupaholic and have no qualms about it. The above school of thought - makeup is bad/unnecessary - is drilled into the Indian psyche. Lets face it, very few women are blessed with good skin! And for the rest of us - there's makeup!

    Regards

    Roopa

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    1. Thanks Roopa!

      That is so encouraging to know! Taking good care of your skin def. pays off. And am happy to see your positive attitude :D

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  20. LOL!! I understand its soo frustrating to give advice that was asked..and then be miffed with wat u say. U did the perfect thing!! no use. They'll figure in sometime that times have changed..the sun, pollution, lifestyle, eating habits change. Unless she eats, drinks, lives and behaves excatly like her mom.grandmother it isnt going to work for her. If she is reading this, I she understands sooner.

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    1. I know! If you idolize yr mom so much, just ask her. Why waste my time & your's as well. At the end of it, she leaves feeling smug at her "low maintenance" factor and I feel like I have wasted time.. Yup, I think most women realize the damage well into their 30s - by then a lot of damage has already happened and all they can do is reduce the signs of the same. Not prevent it, like a good regime in your 20s will do :)

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  21. Haha! I can't believe this actually happened...in ur own home at that! Then y did she come t u in the first place??

    I meet so many ppl like these...in fact most of my family members think this way...for them makeup is about changing the way you look versus enhancing ur positives..no matter how much I try. T explain they refuse to change their thinking..so now I've let them be...after a certain point we can't try change their point of view if they even interested..

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  22. Uggghhh! I get so irked up with such girls! So happy to be illiterate in the field of makeup and still so proud.
    When I go somewhere to meet up with friends, some of them are like "Why are you wearing so much makeup?" (this "so much" is usually a concealer, a liner, mascara and a lippie) I find it really stupid! They can also wear makeup if they wish to look pretty, whose stopping them? Its as if someone comes up to me and asks "Why are you wearing clothes?" For obvious reasons of course! Sheesh!

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  23. Ugggh!I get so irked up with such girls! So happy to be oblivious about makeup and skincare!
    Sometimes when I go out to meet friends, some of them are like "Why are u wearing so mch makeup?" And I'm like "What sort of a question is this?Are you retarded?"(ok,only in my thoughts). But my "so much" makeup usually comprises of a concealer for dark circles, liner, mascara n lippie, seriously how is that "so much"? They can also wear makeup if they wish to look pretty, rather than pointing out the fact that I'm looking good only cuz m wearing makeup!
    Its almost like asking a person "Why are you wearing clothes?"

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  24. it was awesome to read this Tanz :D ... thankfully my mom always encouraged my basic skin care and i still rem. when i was meeting my BF ( now hubby ) for the first time with my family she even asked me to do makeup properly ... i was not in a mood as there was whole lot of hungama in the morning but she insisted me to atleast look presentable ... which includes a kajal and a gloss :D :D ....
    i wonder how come somebody avoid sunscreen at this time ?? :D :D ...
    thanks for sharing this babes D:

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  25. Hi Tanveer,

    great posting - and so true....I know lots of people who think that moisturizer or sunprotection etc. is not neccessary - what a pitty.
    I needs only less time but it does so much for the skin imho.

    Have a great day, following you now.

    XOXO from Germany.
    My Bathroom Is My Castle – Beauty Blog

    ReplyDelete

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