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5 Centuries-Old Skincare Tricks That Are Just As Good Today

5 Centuries-Old Skincare Tricks That Are Just As Good Today

We love skincare technology and exciting new ingredients but sometimes, even we have to admit, the old beauty tricks are the best.

As you get older you soon realize that mom/grandma/your Auntie May was right about a lot of things. Their stingy toilet paper rationing might have been questionable (what was that all all about?) and their ‘fun meter’ was often way out of whack (according to you, of course!), but when it came to looking after their skin, they may have been on to something.

Back in the day, skincare was much more straightforward. There were no Botox or laser facials to be had and the closest they got to a treatment serum was some kind of cooking oil found in their kitchen cupboards. However, there’s a lot to be said for the simpler things in life. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about innovative ingredients and ground breaking skincare technology, but certain, old-school skincare tricks have been passed down through generations for a reason. They work.

Read on for five of our favorite vintage beauty hacks you’d be wise to add to your skincare routine.

1. Sleeping On Silk

Ten years ago we bet you didn’t give a damn what kind of pillowcase you slept on. Surely it made zero difference to your skin, right? Well, actually, it kinda does. And if the onslaught of satin and silk pillowcases currently available are anything to go by, (not to mention the number of TikTok videos there are about them) it seems this trusted beauty trick has made a welcome return.

So what’s the deal here? Well, according to The Sleep Foundation regular cotton, linen or flannel pillowcases have a slightly rough surface which causes friction against your skin. This means that if you tend to toss and turn throughout the night you’re likely to crush and fold your skin into your pillowcase, causing creases which could eventually become permanently etched in. Go for a silk pillowcase, however, and the smooth, slippery surface allows your skin to glide over it with much less friction and, fingers crossed, fewer lines and wrinkles as a result. Silk is also believed to absorb less moisture from your skin than cotton which helps to keep your skin and hair better hydrated while you sleep. So there's that.

A few problems, however: silk pillowcases a) are pricey, b) often require hand-washing (yawn!) and c) are not vegan-friendly since silk comes from silkworm cocoons. The good news is that satin pillowcases can offer just-as-good benefits for your skin (and hair) and are budget-, vegan- and washing machine-friendly.

2. The Magic Of Olive Oil

Olive oil has long been used to benefit the skin and hair thanks to its high antioxidant and fatty acid content. As you know, antioxidants are super important for neutralizing the collagen-crushing effects of environmental aggressors like the sun and pollution. And fatty acids? Well, they’re excellent for fortifying your skin’s barrier function and helping to moisturize at a surface level. So put them together in one kitchen cupboard ingredient and it’s no wonder your mother couldn’t get enough of this stuff, often slapping it on before bed to reduce dryness and ‘feed’ the skin through the night.

Olive oil isn’t for everyone, however. Because it sits on top of your skin it can be fabulous for dealing with dryness and dehydration. It’s also great for removing makeup and can be an incredible treatment for people with eczema. But if you have oily or acne-prone skin this layer of oil can clog your pores and exacerbate breakouts.

If you sit in the latter camp and don’t fancy slapping pure olive oil all over your face, we get that. And boy do we have the ideal solution. Say hello to Vitamin C Super Serum+ which contains olive oil squalane. Nice.

3. Witch Hazel To Tone

Ask any older relative who’s been consistently into looking after their skin and most will tell you that, in days gone by, they’d often reach for witch hazel as a post-cleansing toning treatment.

Witch hazel is harvested from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel plant, a small tree that grows wild in Asia and the east coast of North America. It’s a natural astringent and full of anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant compounds which is why many households ensure they always have a bottle at hand to topically treat a variety of ailments from hemorrhoids and dandruff to bug bites and acne. As a sidenote, it also makes for a pretty effective house cleaner! But we digress…

Although it’s wonderfully healing and great for balancing oily skin, witch hazel can be pretty potent in its purest form. Instead, enjoy its benefits while taking care of your complexion with our Ocean Minerals Daily Face Super Toner which combines this awesome tonic with other powerhouses like vitamin C and glycolic acid.

4. Nice, Ice Baby

We hate to break it to all you Tiktokers out there, but skin icing is not new! Hollywood makeup artists have long raved about the benefits of running ice cubes over the face to reduce puffiness and get skin glowing. It’s a trick that’s been passed down for decades.

When you think about it, the concept of applying cold water or ice to brighten, tone, smooth and depuff your complexion makes sense. After all, cold temperatures constrict your capillaries which stimulates blood circulation, encouraging oxygen and nutrients to flood to the surface. However, you need to know how to do this properly because freezing cold temperatures can also cause redness, irritation and dehydration if not dealt with carefully.

For starters, you should never apply actual ice cubes straight to your skin because they can strip the skin of natural oils, killing your skin’s barrier function and even causing ices burns which is no fun. Instead, wrap ice cubes in a soft handkerchief or cloth and gently work them in circular motions over your skin for five minutes max. Oh, and always work on clean skin – we love to cleanse first with our Soothing Cleansing Milk.

Even better? Invest in some ice globes which are glass or metal wands with balls on the ends that are kept in the fridge or freezer and awesome for massaging the skin. These give you all the benefits of the frigid temps, without all that melty mess.

5. The Classic Eye Depuffer

While we’re on the subject of cold things, hands up if you remember your mom or older sister lying on their bed with either cold teabags, potatoes or slices of cucumbers on their eyes? Classic. But this age-old beauty tricks is not to be knocked.

The concept of popping a couple of cold things over your eyes for 10 minutes is similar to placing ice cubes on your skin – cold temperatures make your blood vessels contract which reduces puffiness, tiredness and dark circles. The light pressure also helps drain excess fluid. Plus who can knock the stress-relieving benefits of lying down and enjoying a bit of me-time once in a while?

What you use is totally up to you but slices of cucumber are great because they have a high water content which helps to boosts moisture under the eyes. Potatoes, on the other hand contain skin-brightening enzymes. And cold tea bags? Well, depending on the type of tea used, you can help tackle all manner of eye issues. Chamomile is soothing and great for calming redness while lavender tea may help relieve dryness. Green and black teas contain caffeine so they should be your go-tos for tightening the skin and reducing under eye bags.

We also like to finish this kind of treatment with a little eye cream just to really drive the eye-loving point home! Try Peptide Eye Gel if you’re looking for a good all-rounder.

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Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.