I’ve written about my mom more than a few times, and just about every time I have, I get requests from readers for her to share her beauty tips. I did a post like this, featuring Mama Bella’s top five beauty tips. I still love number 5, and I try my best to live by it!
So in the spirit of celebrating Mama Bella and sharing the tips she has to impart, here’s the beginning of a new series. How long will it last? As long as she wants it to! Mama Bella Says is all about the beauty and health tips that have kept my mom looking gorgeous as she grows older.
So… how old is she? I know it isn’t right to discuss or disclose women’s ages, but I asked my mom if I could share this detail with the world. And she was as forthcoming as I knew she’d be.
“Honey, I’ll be 70 in September. I’ve never lied about my age, and I don’t plan to start now,” she replied.
So bellas — this is what almost-70 can look like if you take good care of yourself. And please note – my mom has never had plastic surgery or any injectable beauty treatments. (Not that she wouldn’t, she just never has). This is what drinking water, taking amazing care of yourself, fancy skin care products, and enjoying life’s little pleasures can do.
My mom has always drilled me about my neck. “Did you scrub the back of your neck?” “Patrice, your neck!” “And did you clean your neck today?” All through high school. Super annoying, as you can probably imagine.
However, the reasons she harped on this particular aspect of my appearance were twofold.
1. In all honesty, the back of my neck is kind of dirty. Always has been. And when I was younger, I didn’t give two hoots about how it looked. Now that I’m older, my hair is shorter, and I don’t wear a collared uniform shirt every day like I did in high school… I’m even more aware that I gotta take care of it.
2. Taking good care of her neck has been one of those invaluable beauty secrets my mother has always taken to heart. And she’s a smart lady for that — few body parts show age more vividly than the neck and the decolletage. The skin there is thin and delicate, and wrinkles easily with the passage of time. It’s one of the areas of the body that are the most difficult to cosmetically enhance. Yes, you can get a neck lift, but wouldn’t you rather not?
Don’t make me feel bad, bellas — I know I’m not the only person of color with the dirty neck phenomenon. I notice it often here in Florida, and back in the day in Trinidad, there was a laundry detergent commercial that referred to the condition of “tropical collar,” meaning a shirt collar lined with dirt from constant neck-contact. So at least I know I’m not alone, but still — what’s a bella to do?
For years, my mom has meticulously cleaned the back of her neck with rubbing alcohol. The harshest cleaning agent possible. I am not a fan.
But apparently her idea isn’t totally crazy — it is one of Gomestic’s 12 excellent uses for rubbing alcohol — right alongside cleaning your shoes, mirrors, and phones with it!
I can’t really stand the smell of the stuff, but Mama Bella swears by old-school astringents like menthylated spirits to clean her skin. Not every day, mind you — just once a week. I’ve tried her method, and discovered what works for her doesn’t necessarily work for me. For my neck dilemma, the one thing that’s really helped is regular exfoliation.
I love a good scrubby scrub, and some of the best neck stuff I’ve tried includes good ol’ St. Ives’ Apricot Scrub and Lush Ocean Salt scrub. LOVE that stuff, and it makes my skin feel super refreshed but not stripped. But these days I’ve been using a super-cheap dollar store version of an exfoliating shower towel. Use a liberal dab of your favorite moisturizing body wash of choice (say, Olay with Spa Exfoliating Ribbons or Softsoap with Shea Butter), and you’ll get great results.
I’ve even started taking Mama Bella’s advice on using a good moisturizer on my neck — I tend to use the really thick creams that really penetrate the skin, like Liz Earle’s Superskin Moisturizer (which kind of smells like castor oil, but moisturizes like crazy), or Olay Definity Night Restorative Sleep Cream, which promises to eventually alleviate discoloration, dullness and brown spots. I’ve been using it for a few months now and I gotta say, I still have some brown spots… but I do think they’re a little lighter. And this Olay blend leaves my skin super soft. Is it worth $25? I’m not 100% sold yet. I’ll keep you posted.
Beautifully aging bellas like my mama might want to reach for a product meant to target the neck’s delicate skin and specific aging issues with a product like Perricone’s firming neck therapy, which comes as part of the Beautyfix member package.
My mom loves Strivectin for her face and hands, so the Strivectin Neck Cream might be the kind of product she’s been looking for.
Thanks to her constant harping on this beauty issue, this bella’s learned her lesson relatively early. I’m taking extra care of my neck now, because I want to stave off those telltale signs of age for as long as I can.
What about you, bellas? Do you have any particular necky concerns? How’s about a question for Mama Bella? Fire away in the comments!