The door shuts with a loud bang! I stand outside shaking my head in frustration. Teenagers!!! Oh! Why is this age so difficult! I have to remember to handle this with utter calm. I take a few deep breaths.
Me: (Talking through the door) Meera, I understand that you are unhappy with me for stopping you from doing what you wanted to. But rather than being uncommunicative, can we please have a civilized conversation about it. Let me understand your reasons for wanting to do it and hear my reasons for not wanting you to. Once we have heard each out, then we can decide about how to move forward.
(Having said my piece, I patiently wait outside for more than 10 minutes before the door creaks open and I am let into the room)
Meera: Do you really mean what you said? Or is this just a ploy to get me to give into your will?
Me: I really meant what I said. Now, can we have a conversation?
(I get a nod of affirmation)
Me: Can we start with your reasons for wanting to rely on make-up to look good? (I tentatively ask as this is an unchartered territory)
Meera: This is just the in thing amongst my friends and in my peer group. Everyone is experimenting with makeup, clothes and new looks and I feel like a freak and feel left out when I turn up the way I am (read that as with no makeup on). I feel “uncool” and am not even sure if that is a word.
Me: I understand what you are saying and can relate to it. But it is not just at your age that people are into makeup. It appears to have become the general trend, with social media flaming the fire and making it acceptable to be layered in makeup.
But what when the makeup comes off? Is that really you? Will you be able to accept the face which stares you back from the mirror? Makeup only provides superficial beauty for a limited period and it is not real beauty.
(I can sense the alarm bells ringing in her head at this discourse)
Me: Just hear me out and if at the end of it, if it doesn’t make sense to you, we can go your way.
Meera: Ok Mom.
Me: Makeup contains chemicals and no matter how much a brand may claim that there are no side effects, they do harm the skin when left on for longer times.
Clogged Pores: Acne
Meera, you know that acne is most dreaded by teenagers and adults alike. In teenagers, this has more to do with hormones. And an adult may have acne due to various reasons that lead to clogged pores.
Makeup can be a major culprit for clogged pores as it can stick to sebum along with dirt and dust. Clogged pores lead to pimples, blackheads and acne.
Makeup products contain preservatives like parabens, to prevent bacteria from growing in them. These can cause allergies, itchiness, redness – a way for the skin to tell you that it is irritated. Preservatives are known to cause allergies and may even disrupt hormones.
(I see her examining her skin in the mirror form the corner of my eye)
I understand that ageing of the skin is not a concern for you at your age. But I have learnt it the hard way that the sooner it becomes a concern the better. I am not saying that you can stop your skin from ageing. There is no running away from it. What I am trying to say is that we can take care of certain factors that may make it age faster.
Re-application of a sunscreen also becomes difficult with makeup on. This can lead to a build of free radicals which are a major contributor in ageing as they break down collagen and effect the elasticity of the skin.
(And again, I see her examining her skin from a new angle giving me hope that all is not lost yet)
Change In Color
The makeup can lead to uneven skin tone, patches, darkening or lightening of skin etc., as it interferes with the skin’s physiology. For example, a 10 hrs long, lasting lipstick may leave your lips looking darker as it contains a compound with inhibits the supply of oxygen to the lips.
(I observe a thoughtful look on her face as she had never thought about makeup from this angle)
While it goes without saying that makeup must be removed before sleeping, given your schedule, there are times when you may be too tired to do so.
And you don’t have to just remove the makeup with a remover, but the makeup remover also needs to be removed from your skin. Makeup removers contain many active ingredients which can cause a skin issue if left on throughout the night. So, a good cleansing routine is a must.
(And now there is complete surprise. This entails a lot more work than she had thought)
Also, while removing makeup, one is easily tempted to rub vigorously to get the makeup out. This can cause damage to the skin.
Irony Of It All
I find it so ironic that makeup is used to cover up imperfections in the skin whereas makeup itself can lead to the same imperfections becoming more pronounced and add on a few more.
The best makeup is good and healthy skin. Would it not be better to not require makeup at all? With a healthy skin, you can easily achieve a fresh and dewy look and can opt to wear makeup only for very special occasions. And I can bet that with a healthy skin and natural glow, you would hardly need to wear much makeup and would be able to make do with just a lip tint, mascara and eyeliner.
Meera: How can I achieve a clear skin and healthy glow?
Me: Drink plenty of water and strive to use as many natural skin care products as possible and avoid the ones with harsh chemicals.
Chemical Free Natural Cleansers
It is time to turn back to our roots and use Chemical Free Natural Cleansers. Did you know that you can easily clean your face with raw milk? Not only does it clean your face but it also makes it soft. There are other ingredients that you can use to clean your face like oatmeal, cucumber and curd etc.
Exfoliate To Deep Clean
With rising levels of pollutants, it is a must to get rid of the dead skin, dirt and oil which can clog up the pores and lead to acne. Exfoliating using Ubtans or Natural Ayurvedic Face Scrubs will not only deep clean but the natural products will benefit the skin as well.
Toners and Serums
Toners are helpful in removing the last traces of dirt and impurities in the skin after a wash. It also helps to tighten the pores. Rose water is an excellent toner as it can balance the PH of the skin naturally. It is also hydrating and gentle and smells heavenly.
Serums can provide potent antioxidants topically which keep the free radicals in check.
Why does skin care have to be complicated? The best moisturizers are the Natural Moisturizers like Honey, Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Milk, Milk Cream etc. I have a particularly soft spot for honey and turmeric. I have been using it to moisten my skin as well as get a natural glow for quite some time now.
And besides this the usual - use a face mist to stay hydrated and keep yourself safe from the Sun.
Meera: Ok Mom. I will try it your way for a while.
Me: Good! Set a new trend with your peers and friends and show them that healthy skin is the new “Cool” thing.
Meera: (With a cheeky grin) Oh Mom can you make an Ubtan for me?(Uh Oh! It looks like I just created some more work for myself and one that I cannot get out of)