It has been a truly perfect Spring day in Los Angeles. I have french doors in my bedroom that look out onto two oak trees, a lemon tree and some other wonderful flora and fauna (ok, squirrels are the bulk of the fauna, I admit). When I woke up I could tell it wasn't too hot or too cold, that Goldilocks would have deemed this a perfectly tempered day and I opened the doors.
I have the most perfect dogs because they are always happy to lay in bed and cuddle, rarely pressure me to go outside my morning comfort zone, and love to lounge. When the doors are open they seem equally relaxed but they turn their heads ever so slightly toward the open door, and you can see they are truly ecstatic. They are still lolling, but they are also watching for squirrels, knowing -- as if they have a secret -- that the door is open and they can pounce at first sight of a furry tail.
It was a delicious morning, and the only thing that would make it any more scrumptious was a great book. I have this rather unfortunate trend going on lately which is that I only read when I travel. Luckily, I travel a lot. I was so happy to think of reading, and start to reverse this trend. Luckily I have a huge stack of books to read right next to my bed, thanks in part to my friend Kathy who loaded many into a box with other treasures for my birthday. On the top of the pile "I Feel Bad About My Neck" by the very cool, I-wanna-have-coffee-with-her-one-day, brilliant, hilarious Nora Ephron.
It's a very fast read which is why even after getting up late, taking a work out and pilates break, and more, I am done. I wish there were more, but it reminded me that I promised to share my beauty secret on this blog: youth serum for the skin!
Nora Ephron says that a doctor once told her that at age 43 your neck starts to go and there's nothing you can do about it unless you get a facelift, since that whole region is all interconnected. She's not going that route, so she hates her neck, among other things about aging. I can relate, as can most people around my age. Even though my skin is in amazing shape -- due to the secret I'm about to let out of the bag -- I am seeing the change in my neck, and of course, other body parts.
We are all fighting aging in our own way. I had a psychic once tell me "You won't get married until later in life, but don't worry because you'll always look 10 years younger than you are..." I was probably in my early 30's and at that point was nearly oblivious to aging. But, I was instantly grateful for my genes. Both my mother and grandmother always looked far younger than their years, and I thought we were all blessed.
My grandmother died of kidney disease a year and a half ago. If you know anyone with advanced kidney disease you know that the brain chemistry is affected as well and they can have some pretty crazy moments. Like this one.
In the middle of a perfectly lovely afternoon, my grandmother asked me out of the blue if I wanted to tell her to secret to her looking so young. I said "I thought it was the genes you so generously handed down to me." She erupted with horror, "No, no, no, no, no!" I apologized for my idiocy and she asked me again if I wanted to know her secret. I told her I did, of course. Then her slightly addled brain caused her to lean into me -- even though we were completely alone -- to whisper "You have to promise to not tell your mother. Do you promise to NOT tell her?" I started to laugh, thinking she must be joking but it soon became clear she was dead serious, so I promised, squelching the hilarity of the moment.
Then she said "You know how I always have Aloe Vera and Vitamin E oil in my bathroom?" I said "Yes..." She replied that that was the secret, and again made me swear to not tell my mother. Again, I promised. At the time I was using a new line of skincare a friend who worked in the industry had professed was "the answer." I hadn't been happy using the anti-aging cremes, serums and elixirs, because it was just too time-consuming. And, frankly, I swore my skin actually looked worse.
So, I started my grandmother's regimen and have never looked back. I recently had a facial -- only perhaps the third in my life. I bid on it at a fundraiser and thought it sounded great, an aromatherapy facial. It was fantastic. Unbelievably relaxing. But, the facialist couldn't believe my age and said I probably never had facials because my skin was already in such great shape. She asked what I did. I told her grandma's secret. After all, she wasn't my mother, right?
When Judie and I wrote our book I said that one of the secret's to my great skin was water consumption. And, I actually still believe that to be true. When I don't drink as much water, it shows on my face and neck the next day. So, I still swear that that is part of why my skin looks good.
Also, I love the way exfoliating makes my skin feel, so I have always exfoliated every time I take a shower or bath. I work out a lot and like to take baths to end my day, so I always take two showers or baths a day, which means I exfoliate my face at least once a day. This might be too harsh for some skin types, but it works for me, and makes my skin endlessly soft.
So, this is the sum total of what I do for my skin:
1. WATER -- Drink a lot of water.
2. EXFOLIATE -- Use an exfoliant scrub every time I shower/bathe. Currently I am using 1) Boots Tea Tree + Witch Hazel Exfoliating Face Scrub (I picked up in London, and am praying I'll be able to find here when I run out...most of the Boots line can be found at Target and CVS, so I'm hopeful) which is chunkier and really wakes me up and 2) the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant which is delicate and makes you feel like you've exfoliated and had a masque because you leave it on just a couple of minutes to dry....it's so cool!
3. GRANDMA'S ALOE-E-LIXIR -- Take a little less than a dime size dab of Aloe Vera gel (the more pure the better -- look for the kind without alcohol or as little alcohol as possible) and maybe two drops of Vitamin E oil. (By the way, both of these things can be found in our Los Angeles Trader Joe's, but are easily found elsewhere as well.) Rub it in. If you put in too much Vitamin E oil, you'll see it, and you can just dab it down, but over time it all soaks in...it's just a matter of not wanting to have a shiny face!
The very cool extra benefit of this concoction is that when you put make up on, it's easy to wipe away any mistakes. I always get mascara on my cheek after I blink and it wipes away easily.
WARNING: The only issue with this Aloe-E-lixir is that Vitamin E makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, so you need to put sunblock over it if you are going out.
My neck was indeed the first thing to show age, and I've noticed the Aloe-E-lixir makes a huge difference. And, when I travel, which is always drying for the skin, I put it on my face and neck during the flight, which is also incredibly refreshing.
So, happy travels, and happy trails to beautiful YOUTHFUL skin! And, thanks to Grandma, God rest her sweet soul!