By Natalie Serafini, Assistant Editor
“Youth is wasted on the young.” – George Bernard Shaw
As we age and the bloom inevitably wears off, we will all look down on fresh-faced youths and think, “Youth is wasted on the young.”
This pessimistic view of ageing encourages the frantic fostering of habits to help you age gracefully— without actually looking your age. Now, I’m all for being healthy, but these tips and tricks—like controlling your facial expressions so your face doesn’t find itself stuck in a wrinkly rut—don’t focus on health. They focus more on adapting your life in minute ways to prevent wrinkles and, let’s be real, they won’t accomplish much: try to stave off ageing in any kind of significant way and you will eventually feel like Atlas trying to shoulder the earth. “Controlling your facial expressions” (a genuine tip I found while researching this article) does little apart from nurturing another beauty obsession.
Granted, I’ll probably regret not clinging to my dermis 10-20 years from now, but there’s a limit to how much upkeep I can keep up. Moisturize away, eat healthfully when you can, exercise, and avoid doing things that will seriously endanger your health (and consequently your appearance, if that’s what will get you to pick up the sunscreen); when it comes to the nit-picky bits, though? I say set them to the side.
And on that note, let’s recount some of the tips I will likely never follow of my own volition!
The first tip comes from a company that says you should sleep on a silk pillowcase for supple, smooth skin. According to Sleep ‘N Beauty, of Sleep ‘N Beauty silk pillowcases, “Virtually everyone (99.9 per cent of the population) sleeps on pillowcases made from cotton. But, of course, the problem with cotton is that it does not slip, so the fabric continuously tugs at delicate parts of the face and neck.” Listen, kiddos: sleeping on a cotton pillowcase isn’t exactly like facing a wind tunnel for 24 hours. It might tug at your face a bit, but you’re not going to wake up looking like a Shar Pei because you didn’t buy into Sleep ‘N Beauty’s propaganda—or their pillowcases. I’m not a dermatologist or a pillowcase professional, but your cushion’s cover won’t make that much of a difference in preventing a droopy face.
The next tip advises against sleeping with your face on your pillow, to avoid all of that abrasive tugging. I don’t sleep well unless I’m on either my side or my stomach, so while I might look like a darling bud of May come middle-age if I slept on my back, I’d look like a zombie come the morning—not an appealing trade-off. No thanks, I’ll take wrinkles, a good night’s sleep, and laying on my belly. If it’s an uncomfortable life change that likely won’t significantly affect my appearance, I’m not super keen on it.
Webmd.com, that fountain of accurate and helpful medical information, says that you shouldn’t over-wash your face. Apparently, “tap water strips skin of its natural barrier oils… Wash them off too often, and you wash away protection.” Okay, but how much is too much? Am I avoiding washing my face every day? Am I only washing my face with Evian, and not tap water? Do I only douse my face with the lightest mists of water? I say get in, wash off your make-up, and get out. It’s not direct from a doctor of the web, but it gets the job done.
The way I see it, I’m going to look my age when I’m 50; hopefully I won’t look older, and it would be nice if I looked a little bit younger, but nobody’s going to mistake me for a 20-year-old. There are things I will do to maintain a certain level of youthful glow, like applying sunscreen and staying hydrated, but fooling about with these useless suggestions is fruitless. I furrow my brow, I like to laugh, I sleep on my stomach with a cotton pillowcase, and I wash my face with a modicum of vigour. My hope is that living a relatively healthy life otherwise is enough to prevent me from looking grotesque in my old age. If it turns out I’m wrong, I’m sure I’ll be in good company with other people who didn’t obsess over tiny tips and tricks.