Are the best years done and dusted by age 29 for women?
A recent beauty study found that us ladies are past our prime before we hit 30 so Arlene Harris begs to differ
There was a time when women were considered to be 'over the hill' by their mid-20s, but nowadays, the goal posts have moved considerably and there is nothing unusual about females in their 50s, 60s and beyond looking beautiful and youthful.
According to a recent study from Lancôme, 43pc of women feel they look younger than they actually are, which is no bad thing of course, but the same research also found that most women feel their skin is at its best when they are 29 and they feel most confident with their looks by the age of 30.
We spoke to three Dublin women to find out what they think of these findings and what they do to ensure their youthful looks remain intact for as long as possible.
Noelle is 32 years old and originally from Co Tyrone but has been living in Malahide for the past 11 years. She works as a reiki practitioner and a personal-development coach and wholeheartedly disagrees with the notion that women reach their attractiveness 'peak' at the age of 30.
"The idea that women feel their most attractive at 29 and reach their peak at the age of 30 is ridiculous. Age is just a number and I believe people put too much pressure on themselves.
"Personally, I feel more confident and attractive now that I am in my 30s compared to what I felt in my 20s. With age, we become more aware of ourselves, who we are, our values and what makes us happy, therefore enabling us to be more confident in ourselves.
"The concept is beauty is skin deep and I believe that self-love and confidence are what makes a person more attractive from the inside out. If you feel good, then you will look good.
"So I don't worry about getting older or losing my looks. This may sound weird but I love getting older. I love birthdays and all my friends know that with every birthday, the celebrations last for about a week. I see it as another year with more life experience, lessons learned and goals achieved - plus more blessings and lots more fun memories.
"Therefore, to keep myself looking good, I try to maintain a positive, thankful attitude. I really believe if you feel good, you look good - life is what you make it and a positive, thankful attitude is the best source of good luck.
"Positive mental attitude aside, I also do believe that it so important to look after your skin at every age. And for me, the essentials are cleanser, moisturiser, eye cream and exfoliator. And of course, my products - I could not live without, MAC strobe cream and MAC Hush highlighter, which both give radiance to the skin.
"Life is all about balance, I love my job and in my spare time I love to spend time with the people that make me happy. I'm blessed to live in such a beautiful place and have lots of walks on the beach and in and around Malahide Castle. My biggest passions are painting and my dog.
"So I believe that making more time in life for the things that make us happiest, even simple things, will definitely help us to age better on the inside and the outside."
Tara is 43 years old and lives in Clondalkin with her two daughters Faye (14) and Eve (8). She runs her own business Make-up and Hair Design by Tara Eustace and works as a freelance make-up artist and hairdresser, working on all aspects of make-up from TV to fashion including weddings and parties.
She says she felt attractive at 29, but throughout her 30s, she was so busy being a mother that she didn't have time to look after herself. Now that her girls are a little older, she is able to enjoy a little more 'me time'.
"I did feel really attractive around 29 as I got married at that age, but during my 30s, I was having my babies and working full-time and even though I have a glamorous job, there were times when I didn't feel too fabulous.
"But since hitting 40, the kids are a bit older and it's definitely easier to find time to look after myself. Particularly as I have discovered boxing at the local boxing club and help out there with training the kids - both of mine are members and this has given me a newfound lease of life. I train there myself three to four times a week, so this makes me feel great and I think I look better.
"I also think that because I drink less alcohol and more water than if I wasn't training, and I spend a lot of time working out with people younger than me, this has given me an added boost.
"With my job, I obviously have access to the best beauty products, but since getting a few laughter lines (because I've always been a very smiley person) I always use an eye cream and make sure to take my make-up off every night. I use a serum as often as I can and use oils as treatments.
"And I make sure to spend more on moisturisers and eye creams than cleansers as this is very important. I love Bobbi Brown creams as they are very lightweight and more flattering and have a good SPF.
"I also take flaxseed oil and coconut oil most days, so I hope this will pay off in the future. I haven't been down the Botox route yet as it really scares me, but never say never."
Grainne from Harold's Cross is 32 years old and has spent 10 years working in the beauty industry. She is now working as a lead artist for make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury at Brown Thomas in Grafton Street, and says there are a number of simple ways in which women can keep their skin looking younger for longer.
"We are all obviously going to age but there are ways in which we can all enhance our looks and keep skin looking youthful.
"My first and most important tip for looking after your skin would be to keep the face protected from the sun at all times, whether you use a sunscreen or a hat. UV rays are one of the biggest contributors to premature ageing and wrinkles.
"Next tip would be cleansing - no matter how late in the night or how tired you are, always remove make-up before going to bed as sleeping in your make-up can clog pores leading to blemishes and free radicals picked up throughout the day causing collagen breakdown over time. I would also advise women to use a good treatment mask twice a week.
"My most recent favourite is Charlotte Tilbury's Goddess Clay Mask - the soft clay ingredient gently removes impurities and tightens pores.
"It has sweet almond oil and rosehip oil which helps to improve the elasticity and condition of the skin.
"Moisturising is also really important and I would encourage women to do so both day and night. After you clean your face, you should always apply a cream or a serum to condition and hydrate the skin. Don't be fooled if you suffer from oily skin as oily skin still gets dehydrated - the same goes for problem skin as creams with balancing oils can heal skin which is prone to acne.
"I am absolutely addicted to one of our creams which is called Magic Cream. It contains lots of botanical-based ingredients such as rosewater, organic aloe vera and rosehip oil to soothe and smooth the skin.
"The most exciting ingredient, however, is the byo nymph peptide complex which increases collagen levels and stimulates cell energy to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
"As well as working in the beauty and make-up industry, I also studied nutrition for three years and can see how diet has a huge impact on the skin. I really believe in following an alkaline diet - that means eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and making sure to get plenty of omega three oils, be it from oily fish or flaxseeds.
"Also, I would really encourage everyone to avoid the nasties such as refined sugar and hydrogenated fats.
"And lastly, in my opinion, in order to make the most of your skin and your looks - no matter what age you are - there are a number of must-have products which every woman should keep in her make-up bag. Mascara is the ultimate can't live without product for most women as a good one will curl, separate, add volume length and drama - it is the number one product to open up your eyes.
"Eyebrows have been huge trend for the last couple of years - I trained as a brow stylist and learned how getting the right shape to suit your face can give you an instant eye lift - but this can also be achieved by simply learning how to fill them in correctly with a brow lift pencil.
"Lip pencil is also an important product as the pigment in our lips fades as we age. So using a good one to enhance shape and prevent bleeding can do wonders.
To book an appointment with Grainne Duffy call 01 605 6666 and ask to be put through to the Charlotte Tilbury department