Beauty Tips

Andrea McLean On Her Healthy Skin and Hair

Our new columnist and Loose Women presenter tells us how she looks after her skin and hair

Isn’t it just one of life’s cruel injustices that the moment we hit 50, everything other than our bodies starts thinning without any effort at all? I’m talking hair, skin, patience… In my 40s, none of this was on my radar (I was too busy hating my cellulite to worry about what else was going to happen), and then, like an insidious switch had been flicked on my last day as a 49 year-old, my collagen and hair follicles disappeared and left me behind. It’s a shock, I won’t lie. You don’t think it’ll happen to you. But – and here’s the good news – there are lots of things you can do about it!

In terms of skin, I am a huge advocate of prevention rather than cure. Always remove your make-up before going to bed. We aren’t teenagers anymore and we just can’t get away with it. I have a friend who leaves her eye make-up on all week after it’s been expertly done by a make-up artist because she doesn’t know how to do it herself and wants it to last. She showers wearing swimming goggles in her desperation to keep her false lashes intact – yes, really!

This isn’t a great idea, as the skin around your eyes is thin (some call it ‘delicate’, but we all know what they really mean) so it needs to be treated with care. Taking all your make-up off gives it time to breathe and repair. I must admit to not using special eye creams, but I always use either a night cream or oil on my skin. I’ve recently started using a jade roller to smooth the product into my face – I have no idea if my skin is firmer, but it definitely feels good rolling it along my jawline and under my eyes, like it’s de-clogging and clearing any blockages. It’s very satisfying, and I end up doing it for longer than I intended, just because it feels like a nice face massage at bedtime.

I have made a huge change with my hair recently and have stopped wearing hair extensions for the first time in years. It’s been a bit of a shock to the system exposing my fuzzy, fine (some would say ‘thin’) hair to the world. I felt quite vulnerable the first day I stepped outside without them. Why did I stop? My husband thought he saw a bald patch on my scalp and I panicked. It turned out it wasn’t, it was just the way my hair had been pulled to the side by my ponytail, but it was enough to get me in a spin and I decided to have a break from them for a while. I’ve gone back to clip-ins for the days when I feel in need of some ‘oomph’ and they have been working well.

I’ve also started using caffeine shampoo, which is made for fine, thinning hair for women going through the menopause. It’s early days yet, but the friend who recommended it says she has seen great results, so I will keep you posted.

As for my thinning patience… I’ve been using the Insight Timer app to calm my thoughts and help lower my irritation levels so that my emotional baseline is lower and less likely to trigger in traffic, commuting and when dealing with teenagers – my own, I hasten to add. I’ve been using it for years; I like the fact that they have so many different meditations on offer, and different practitioners to choose from. My favourite at the moment is a man called Jason McGrice, and his ‘Create a Conscious Morning Ritual’ meditation. It really helps set my day off in the right way. Which we could all do with more of – don’t you agree?

My top picks

Skin: Jade roller – you can pick one up from Amazon for a little as £8.99
Hair: Caffeine shampoo: Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo for fine, brittle hair, £9.75, boots.com
Mind: Insight Timer App, free

Health & Wellbeing