Lessons From My Mother I.: Youth and Skin

liu wen
Gorgeous Liu Wen at Met Gala 2016.

Reading all those articles about French attitude to style, I wonder how French the phenomenon of unimitable chic actually is. Or whether is it a part of some common sense shared across cultures and it got its name because of the long lasting France = fashion and style equation. When I recall my mother’s advices back when I was in high school, it’s quite the same as what I’ve read again and again on blogs or in fashion mags. Only that she didn’t make any money with her advice, haha.

When puberty hit the door, I became fascinated with make-up and all those little things that promised to make me a more beautiful person by one single touch. I really clunged on it because not only it was a brand new world for me but also because by the time I was 11 or 12, I suddenly started to develop harsh acne that kept ruining my skin until now. So whatever came, I wanted to feel beautiful again – or normal at least, as these two are the most important priorities of a teenager. You know, you start to notice the boys, they start noticing you… and you suddenly realize that you care about how you look though you didn’t for last 11 years.

My mother was frightened when she came home one evening and found me covered with the cheapest pink eye shadow, pink nail polish and other stuff that I don’t even remember. There was some yelling and a lot of bans (well, I would probably use more of another educational methods now) because Mom was afraid of everything suspiciously chemical and also because I looked… well, cheap and absolutely tasteless.

“You don’t need all of this horrible stuff!” she told me. “First, you look really bad in it. It doesn’t suit your type or skin tone and it’s inappropriate for a girl as young as you are to be so over made-up.”

“What should I do then? I can’t go outside with skin that looks like Moon surface!”

“Putting cheap chemical shit on your face won’t make your disease any better. The best is to let it breathe and heal itself – but if you don’t want it that way, you should buy something of very high quality so it helps.”

“But I don’t have any money!”

“So go and earn it, my dear princess! Anyway, you really shouldn’t put stuff on your face and especially not make-up. You’re young! Make-up is for older women who want to correct their flaws and make themselves young again. Not for girls! Your skin is your most beautiful jewel – there’s nothing more beautiful than tight, glowy skin. No piece of clothing, no accessory, no make-up, nothing beats the glamour of young complexion. So enjoy it while you still have it! It won’t last forever. You’ll have a lot of time for make-up later.”

I rebelled against all of her advice and did whatever I wanted including spending a fortune on various miracle products by whole range of brands. And it took me ten years to find out she was right. Nothing beats clean, young, glowy complexion, really. It doesn’t matter how much clothes you own and how expensive and beautiful they are when you have bad skin that not only looks unattractive but also signalizes your body may be ill, too.

So yeah, I had to learn a lot. Trying to save money on skincare didn’t help, neither did succumbing to adverts without investigating additional information. I had to learn that what shows on my skin relates to what happens inside my body and that I need to change my daily habits, including diet and sleep (yes, Mom, you were right again). I had to learn that only regular care will pay off and that there’s no space for laziness.

So when I stumbled upon Jennifer Scott’s advice in Lessons from Madame Chic, saying: “Buy the best skincare products you can afford”, it rang a bell. That’s why I walked in the pharmacy today on my way home and let the nice pharmacist who came to ask if I need some help, to guide me through their best products for oily and acne prone skin. That’s why after an hour of deep thinking and consulting with her I took 4 different tubes of La Roche Posay and paid them though I didn’t want to spend money until my first salary. My bank account bled with this latest purchase. However, when I tried it, it was like if I never really cared about my skin before. It did everything it promised on the package. I went out of the house without make up – something I’ve not done for very, very long time. And I felt totally comfortable all the time. Just wondered what made me hesitate for so long to invest.

So yeah, do buy the best skincare you can afford and especially if your complexion is somehow problematic because nothing beats the… well, feeling great in your own skin. And do listen to your mothers because you’ll return to their advice by yourself, just later.


2 thoughts on “Lessons From My Mother I.: Youth and Skin

  1. Your mom has great advice.
    I don’t think skincare has to be the most expensive out there. I think there is something to all these “dermatologist recommended” products in the drug store. I’ve used the pricey stuff from Sephora that are very popular on the internet (Dr. Dennis extra strength glycolic pads, Drunk Elephant night serum) and they didn’t do me any favors. I use mostly inexpensive drug store products, Neutrogena sunscreen, Cerave/Aveeno moisturizers and my skin has been on the mend. Granted, I have done med-spa level treatments and peels, which have cost me less than a bottle of snake oil at Sephora and the results are immediate.


    1. Yeah. I think we appreciate the most the stuff we learned by ourselves rather than something that was simply told to us. I had to go through all of these experiments to find out by myself she was right and now I value her advice even more. 🙂
      That’s true. The more expensive = the better doesn’t work all the time and after trying on La Roche Posay products I found what works for me the most and look for it in less expensive alternatives.


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