Image: Instagram @mirandakerr
I wake up on New Year’s Eve with skin that is red, itchy, and irritated, and with a party just hours away, I decide to get started on the Nonna beauty wisdoms. First up: when unruly skin strikes, look to plain yoghurt as a remedy. Generally not one to wander down the home-made foodie-facial route, I reluctantly smooth the Greek yoghurt (I figure, thicker consistency is less messy) on my face, with cucumber on my eyes. After a little while, I realise the yoghurt actually feels kind of heavenly on my skin and although looking a little too much like a gourmand, I wait half an hour before I remove the yoghurt. Instantly, my skin feels soothed, revitalised and surprisingly smooth. With my rejuvenated complexion, I take on my NYE celebrations, sans the irritated blotchy skin that threatened my earlier in the day. People comment on how fresh and glowy my skin looks – I decide to keep this tip as my secret go-to last ditch cure. Number one of nonna’s tips is indeed a success.
Nonna Rosa has been putting coconut oil in her hair every Sunday since I could remember – long before beauty bloggers were shouting its many beauty benefits. So, I decide to follow suit. For a month, I put the oil all over my hair once a week, and leave it in for an hour, before washing it out. I am hesitant that the oil will leave my hair greasy and oily, but am left pleasantly surprised. After a month of this ritual, my hair feels next level silky and strong. It also seems to repair my over-processed, damaged hair. The other added bonus is that I found I am able to leave the house without too much styling – my tresses are often temperamental, and unruly, but the oil seems to combat this problem. Nonna is on a roll…
Instead of using a standard hand moisturiser, my nonna is a fan of rubbing olive oil into her hands. I’m a little more dubious about this than the coconut oil – I knew the latter had its benefits, but olive oil just seems, well, too oily and messy to use as a hand moisturiser (it’s annoying enough when I drip some on myself while cooking). But, after my hands are worked over by dishwashing liquid (when I find the dryness is at its worse), I rub some olive oil into my tired, dry hands. While it does feel strange and not nearly as indulgent as say, La Mar Hand Treatment, my hands genuinely feel softer (not oily) after about 30 seconds. I don’t know if it was just me, or if the oil reacts with the oils in my skin, but it doesn’t smell like olive oil anymore, it’s surprisingly quite nice – not at all that very ‘oily’ smell I’ve come to know so well in the kitchen. I start to feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time and money not taking on nonna’s beauty tips earlier…
This can’t work, surely? Thanks to my European genes, dark circles are a persistent problem that seem to (no matter how hard I try) leave their mark. So I am keen, but suspicious she is now just making fun, to test out this apparent miracle worker: potato. Yep, potato. Much to the delight of nonna, we do this one together. We take a raw potato, wash it well and take the peel off. We cut two slices of raw potato and place them under our eyes. After a good half an hour, we remove the slices from our eyes. Now, I’ll admit the results weren’t exactly instant, but after repeating the ritual once a day for two weeks, I notice a distinct difference around my eye area: hydration, firmness, brightness, and less noticeable eye bags. It’s also an amazingly, relaxing experience. Potatoes aren’t just amazing for fries, who knew?
Nonna Rosa has always instilled in me just how crucial sleep is, no matter what my young, care-free, ‘I don’t need sleep’, life may think. She makes a conscious effort to get a solid eight hours sleep each night. So I decide to do the same. For a week I make sure I am getting eight hours shut eye, no excuses. I also ensure I log off all techy devices an hour before I plan to hit the hay – a strategy I hope will result in a more restful sleep. As someone who doesn’t get near as many hours sleep as I should, I instantly notice an improvement in my mind, body and appearance. My memory is sharper, my stress levels are lower, my mood is heightened, and my favourite of all: my under eye bags are less noticeable (I do this one separate to the potato trial) and I am less ‘are you sick?’-worthy. This might just be my favourite, and most life changing, nonna tip. I hadn’t realised just how much screen time and how little genuine rest I was getting, until I got it and noticed the drastic difference. If I can implore you to take on any of these beauty tips, please let it be this one. Turn off the iPad and iPhone, give yourself a night-time ritual that promotes rest and relaxation (a warm bath, a cup of chamomile tea and a mellow playlist to send you to a sleepy state).
Tell us, do you have any timeless beauty tips from your grandma? Have you tried them out?
Story by Stephanie Russo