Until recently, menopause was rarely discussed in the public discourse.
Thankfully, intelligent, interesting women are beginning to open up about the experience. However, there is still a level of secrecy about 'The Change' that leads some women to fear it or, or worse, go through it without support.
Of course, there is obviously a hefty psychological element to menopause. But in tandem to that, it's affect on women physically can be overwhelming. Drops in the level of sex hormones (progesterone and oestrogen) in our bodies prompts many changes: hot flushes, night sweats, dull skin, dry skin, flaking scalp and looser skin.
It's a cruel irony that when many women are hitting their stride professionally and personally, they endure such a stark physical upheaval.
With so many new concerns to deal with, it’s no wonder menopause can make women utterly fed-up. You’ve probably noticed your skincare routine no longer works as well, so it’s time to rethink your approach.
Skincare expert and make-up artist Frances Prescott, the beauty-guru who has worked with Vogue, Tatler, Marie Claire, and countless celebrities, advises on how to feel and look good during menopause.
Use a facial mist to help with hot flushes
Pause Well-Ageing Hot Flash Cooling Mist
Hot flushes can be embarrassing and uncomfortable; but they needn't be endured without succour. The Pause Well-Ageing Hot Flash Cooling Mist sprays on lightly to immediately cool (store it in the fridge for optimal results). It contains a mixture of antioxidants, peptides and vitamins designed to stimulate collagen production, which slows at menopause. A welcome relief in unpleasant moments.
Buy now, £36, Cult Beauty
Use gentle soaps to protect your delicate areas
Galinee Perfume-Free Cleansing Bar
Let us not mince words here: menopause causes there to be less oestrogen in your body, and subsequently leads to the tissues of the vulva and vagina growing thinner and drier. Regular cleansers do not assist the issue by being quite alkaline in nature, causing itchiness and often infection.
The Gallinée Perfume-Free Cleansing Bar, by contrast, mimics the natural pH of a ladies' nethers, ensuring your natural biome isn't disturbed. The soap lathers beautifully and of course can be used all over your body (It works well to wash babies, too). This French brand is excellent at soaps: check them out.
Buy now, £10, Gallinée
Consider natural care to aid sleep
Sleep deprivation is the worst thing, making us irritable and strung out, yet disrupted sleep is often the first thing that hits us during menopause.
A good night’s sleep triggers the brain to produce hormones for repairing skin tissue so it’s an essential element of any effective body care regime.
Menopausal insomniacs will love Londe Botanics soothing nighttime products, which will do their best to help you to more restful slumber.
Apply Starflower Serum to the eye area, massage a few drops of their Botanical Evening Oil to the face, neck and ears, drift into a dreamy sleep. Awake ready for the day.
Buy now, £18, Starflower Serum, Joules.
Buy now, £34, Botanic Evening Oil, Joules.
Exfoliate dull skin once a week
Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
From our forties onwards, cell turnover is reduced, so exfoliating face and body once a week improves cell replenishment. If you’re short of cash, a home treatment is just as effective; use a clean flannel soaked in warm water to buff off any cleanser. Massage skin in small, firm, circular movements.
In terms of product, Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment is beloved by skins of all ages, but gentle enough to work on drier, older skin. Use once a week, and the lactic acid/fruit enzyme combination will slough off dead skin cells to show more radiant skin underneath.Buy now, £21, Cult beauty
Look for products to brighten, firm and moisturise
Tata Harper Skincare
Growing older means our skin products need to work that bit harder, so where possible choose products that double-up on benefits.
Tata Harvey’s high performance, 100% natural Crème Riche moisturiser with neuropeptides, plus vitamins E and F, works overtime to bring volume to the face and neck for a plump, youthful glow. Layer with the Elixir vitae serum, which is suffused with anti-inflammatory ingredients to combat unwelcome flushing.
Buy now, £170, Tata Harper Crème Riche, Net-a-Porter
Buy now, £150, Tata Harper Elixir Vitae, Net-a-Porter
We know that's a hefty price tag, but experience behoves us to include Tata Harper - they make incredibly effective products. Less ruinously expensive (ok, yes, it's still not cheap) is Oskia's Super 16. This serum is power-packed with 16 super nutrients and bio-actives to boost collagen synthesis, reduce fine lines, lift and firm skin.
Buy now, £90, Super 16 Advanced Nutri-Active Collagen Serum, Oskia
Retinol can help with ageing necks
Tripepetide-R Neck Repair
There are only so many polo sweaters you can wear to disguise crepe-y necks. Skinceuticals Tripepetide-R Neck Repair offers a tri-functional corrective Retinol formula targeting sagging skin, smoothing crepiness and wrinkles. A pea-sized dab helps smooth deeper neck creases.
Buy now, £110, Tripepetide-R Neck Repair, Skinceuticals
Utilise regular face masks
A brightening, moisturising face mask used a couple of times a week makes a huge difference to the feel and texture of your skin. Hands are a tell-tale sign when it comes to premature ageing and deserve a little TLC. Don’t be mean, treat your hands to some of that mask too.
With an unlikely moniker, Bog skincare harvests the skin-boosting qualities of organic peat. Bog Energise & Detoxify face mask comprises Irish organic peat and aptly named, Lady’s mantle, Hyaluronic acid and a hyper acid known for tightening pores delivering a silky-smooth decongested complexion.
Buy now, £12, Bog Skincare
Take to regular dry brushing
Dry body brushing does wonders for improving circulation, gently exfoliating to polish the skin. Go gently, there’s no need to scrub.
For a home-spa experience after brushing, try Jurlique’s Body Exfoliation Gel before showering; walnut shell powder to slough away dry skin combined with natural antioxidants from Green Tea extract for skin that feels cleansed, soft and supple.
Buy now, £31, Jurlique
Use a strengthening shampoo to deal with brittle hair
The Hair Lab by Mark Hill Strengthening Growth Shampoo - 300ml
Everyone swears a good haircut is the best beauty boost ever, yet menopause can trigger itchy scalp or leave hair brittle, dry or thinning. Using sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners helps soothe the scalp and boost locks to glossy glory.
Mark Hill’s Hair Lab range is ideal for strengthening hair prone to breakage through hormonal, heat, chemical damage or thinning hair. It’s proven to grow hair by 25%, contains no sulphates or silicone, is cruelty-free, vegan and comes in a 100% PCR bottle.
Buy now, £5.99, Boots
Care for drier skin with a primer
Primers are absolute magic when it comes to thirsty, drier skin, preventing foundation being absorbed or sitting in fine lines and pores.
Look Fabulous Forever offers prescriptive make-up and skincare for mature complexions. Smooth Like Silk Face Primer fills fine lines and open pores ensuring your make-up stays dewy fresh.
As for lips, a real problem area: Never Feather Lip Primers prevents lipstick bleeding into those fine lines around the mouth.
Foundation is notoriously tricky; you don't want it to look ‘caked,’ yet many foundations can’t cope with age-discolouration. With rave reviews, LFF’s Continuous Cover Foundation, available in five shades, hits the spot with ample coverage, yet still provides a dewy glow.
Buy now, £19, Never Feather Lip Primer, 6ml, Look Fabulous Forever
Buy now, £24, LFF Smooth Like Silk Face Primer - 30ml
Buy now, £28, LFF Continuous Cover Foundation - 30ml, Look Fabulous Forever