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Mirror Mirror on the Wall


by Carolina Fernandez

"The magic of a face." Thomas Carew

Funny how when I look in the mirror these days, I notice tiny little lines framing my eyes. Slightly-sagging flesh drooping past my jaw line and brownish spots in my otherwise relatively blemish-free skin. Ahhh. Middle age. Gravity. Character lines.

Taking care of one's face--particularly when one approaches thirtysomething (let alone forty or fiftysomething!)--ranks right up there with nightly flossing and frequent showering. Freshly-scrubbed skin remains a virtue as well as a sign of health and vitality. Rosy-colored cheeks always win over paleness, as do bright, sparking eyes and clean, clear teeth. Indeed, the impact of physical attractiveness, of cleanliness and vitality, cannot be denied in our culture as well as of those around the globe. Research in Social Psychology suggests that we assume that physically attractive people are friendlier, more popular, smarter, wealthier and more "put together." Called the "physical attractiveness stereotype" by the pro's, it defines the idea that physically attractive people possess socially coveted traits. And excellent facial skin care is the first step in that direction.

Ok ladies. The first step: Develop a beauty regimen. All women need some type of daily beauty regimen. This has nothing to do with your natural beauty or bone structure or genetic stroke of luck or misfortune. It has everything to do with simple but excellent daily grooming habits and a specific regimen of helping to ensure optimal attractiveness. Specifically, it involves a daily plan for taking care of your skin, hair and nails. Who wouldn't hold someone in deeper respect who has clean, clear and glowing skin, shining hair eyes and hair, white teeth and strong nails? These are hallmarks of sound health and vitality and of a disciplined life!

The next step: Take a personal inventory. Is your hair clean and shiny? Do you shampoo regularly? Do you apply regular hot oil treatments? Do you get regular cuts and coloring? Is your hairstyle attractive? Is it current? Are your teeth clean and cavity-free? Do you both brush and floss regularly? Do you regularly schedule dental cleanings? Do you need to consider braces or bleaching? Are your nails nicely manicured? Are they strong and pink? Are they nicely shaped? Do you keep them polished? If not, do they look healthy and strong? How about your toenails? Do you frequently apply lotions and salts to keep them soft and smooth? What about your complexion? Is it clear, clean and smooth? Is it well-toned? Do you completely remove your make-up at bedtime? Do your eyes sparkle?

10-9-8 etc. Blast Off: Use skincare products that are as close to a natural state as possible. Experiment until you find something that truly works for you. What works for your best friend may be out of your budget or cause you to break out in hives. No worries. Keep playing with products until you find something wonderful. Remember that expensive skincare products are oftentimes overrated. Beware of expensive packaging and advertising; make-up and skincare manufacturers and marketers are experts at selling "hope in a bottle," a concept upon which Revlon built its fortune. Always be on the lookout, instead, for products which are perhaps less well-known but superior in content. (See my thoughts below for those that pass the Rocket Mom sniff test.) Regardless of what you wind up putting on your face and skin, remember that your skin absorbs everything wholeheartedly! Avoid anything containing petroleum (like Vaseline) or mineral oil if possible. Take the time everyday to do the routine that works for you and that leaves you feeling positively wonderful. Invigorated and well-nourished.

Research shows in study after study that physically attractive people view themselves as happier. They apparently cultivate an increased self-confidence and a happier life view. Cultivate good skincare and good grooming in general, and smile at the world.

Rocket Mom's skincare favorites:
* Dr. Bronner's Natural Castile Soaps have been my personal favorites for over twenty years. Soft enough for a newborn's skin, they are environmentally safe and heavenly-scented. Nothing is more glorious after an hour-long swim or a hard workout than a hot shower with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap. Nothing.

* Marseilles Olive Oil Soap is the only thing I use to wash my face. Been using it seemingly forever. It's been around for hundreds of years and is completely organic. Sold in bars, it is like pure gold to me. Buy it online, at a great apothecary or through L'Occitane.

* Costa Rican lava mud masks. Okay. Sounds hokey. But it is the best darn thing I've ever put on my face, outside of all-natural lotions and, of course, the above-mentioned olive oil French soap. Wash your face with warm water and scrub it gently with a wash cloth. Apply organic Costa Rican mud on face--it's very green!--and let it dry. Keep it on for about a half hour or so. Blemishes will be gone by the time you wash it off. Amazing. Completely natural. Look for it online. I know it sounds like I'm a bona fide tree hugger--and truth be told--if I was stranded on a desert island and could only take two things for my face, it'd be my olive oil soap and my rainforest mud (particularly amusing as those who know me well would hardly describe me as a "nature girl" . . . but they are truly the best-est of the best!

* Kiehl's is the paragon of simplicity and purity. This line of all-natural skincare delivers easy-on-the-face ingredients with a relatively easily digestible price tag to match. Purchase their products in the New York City area or over the Internet. This is my personal favorite. Extremely tough to beat.

* Arbonne skin care from Switzerland. Swiss originated but American made, these products were demo-ed at our Rocket Mom Society meeting last night. We all hung out in my bathroom while skincare consultant Joan applied glorious all-natural, fruit and vegetable-based lotions to our freshly-scrubbed faces. The invigorating salt is my favorite.

* Burt's Bees makes a darn good product at a truly reasonable price. Some of their stuff is better than others. I love the carrot seed facial mist. It should be in the make-up bag of every rocket mom on the face of the planet. Apply a light layer of moisturizer after gently misting your face with the sweet smell of carrot seed. Divine.

There's lots of stuff out there, so sometimes it's tough to sift through the clutter. As always, the simpler the better. Once you find a winner, keep using it, regardless of the newest fad beauty product. Pay as little as possible. Stay fresh and clean. And keep it green.

Carolina Fernandez is an author and professional speaker who brings a message of hope to a wide variety of audiences. Her speaking style is high energy and satisfyingly entertaining; her use of amusing visual aids and personal anecdotes garnered from raising her own brood of four provide the high-octane fuel needed to navigate the oftentimes stormy waters of life and to blast into brilliance. These are played out in seminars and workshops, lectures and keynotes and in ROCKET MOM! 7 Strategies To Blast You Into Brilliance. Carolina is also a Certified Lay Speaker of the United Methodist Church. Please visit http://www.rocketmom.com for more details.
Carolina Fernandez may be contacted at http://rocketmom.com or emomrx@yahoo.com

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