Five beauty secrets I learned from my 10-month-old

My son has soft, glowing skin, hair that shines like cornsilk, and long, curled eyelashes.  There are no dark circles under his eyes, and he greets each new day with a positive attitude and a tsunami of barely contained energy. My appearance is in such stark contrast to him that some people refuse to believe he is related to me.  Not only do we have completely different complexions and coloring but in recent months I’ve also acquired purplish, puffy bags under my eyes, sallow skin, limp hair, and perennially hunched shoulders.  Without having to resort to technique’s like the evil stepmother in Tangled, is it possible to learn some beauty secrets from this little boy?  After a week of studying his habits, I say yes, he has a beauty regimen!  Details below:

Roasted Chicken Deep Condition Treatment
How does my son’s hair keep its softness?  The secret for him is apparently the roasted chicken grease he gently massages into his scalp every other evening.  Sometimes he follows this routine with a little spinach or mashed carrots.  On nights when we don’t eat chicken he will substitute curried lentils that blends with the faint whiff of diaper and Burt’s Bees Tearless Shampoo for a particularly unique aroma.

For grownups: Or, for a cheaper option with far less gross out factor and none of the poultry smell, you could try using a little coconut oil.  Massage the coconut oil through your hair from the roots to the ends.  Wrap your hair in a warm towel, sit down with a magazine, and wait for 20 or 30 minutes.  Shampoo and dry as usual.

Yogurt and Applesauce Moisturizing Mask with Cheerio Exfoliating Scrub
In the mornings, Søren likes to freshen his skin with some applesauce and cinnamon, and then follow up with an organic yogurt mask for deep moisturizing   His yogurt of choice seems to be my homemade, plain style, with or without some pureed beets or mashed banana.  If his little pink cheeks are starting to look dull and tired he crushes some Cheerios and gently exfoliates to slough dead skin cells and reveal baby-soft skin below.

For grownups: Actually, he shows some surprising intuition here.  Yogurt is a fantastic way to moisturize your skin. Using plain, whole milk yogurt, apply to a clean face and wait for 30 minutes.  For additional anti-inflammatory benefits, add a little bit of oatmeal that you have ground a few times in a mortar and pestle.  You can lightly exfoliate with the oatmeal, just don’t let it scratch your skin.

Mashed Avocado Eyelash Therapy
I can’t really attribute his long, thick eyelashes to the mashed avocado that he smashes onto his eyelids, but there is no other explanation I can see, unless it is the mashed banana that he also smashes into his eyes, or his liberal application of sweet potato and ginger puree.  At any rate, avocado oil is a good Omega-3 rich oil although olive oil may be less acidic on the eye area.

For grownups: When working around your eyes always be very cautious not to get the oil into your eyes.  A good and inexpensive way to moisturize your lashes every day is to get rid of overpriced, chemical-based makeup removers and instead remove your mascara and eye makeup with olive oil, coconut oil, or some almond oil.  Have a cloth at the ready so you don’t have to search for it with your eyes closed, then gently massage the oil into the lash and lid area.  Brush the oil off carefully with the cloth, or use a little warm water to help makeup removal.  Limiting your mascara use is also a good habit for healthy lashes.

Dual-Nap Sleep Therapy
He sleeps for 11 hours at a time in the night, and then takes two 1.5 hour naps during the day, so it’s no shocker that he doesn’t have deep, dark circles under his eyes.

For grownups: Ha!  Grownups don’t have time for naps!  Well, think again.  Whenever its possible hit the sack and get some shut eye. If you are a light sleeper or have a hard time falling asleep like me, try a few tricks: first, don’t look at a computer screen, television screen, or any other kind of screen for at least 30 minutes before bed.  Read a book, do some yoga stretches, or listen to music instead.  Second, put your cell phone in the next room or turn it off.  At the peak of my career I only slept about 4 hours a night, and my phone was always under my pillow.  I would wake up because I had dreamt that it was ringing.  When the phone left the room I suddenly started sleeping more.  Finally, don’t eat food after 8 p.m. if you can help it.  If your tummy is hard at work digesting food it will be tougher for your body to power down.  If you must eat, keep it light.  If you have a small bladder, stop drinking fluids at least 30 minutes before turning in.

Sippy Cup Hydration
The sippy cup is always close, filled with half water, half apple juice, and a smattering of opaque backwash and soggy crumbs.  Søren tips it back and tosses the emptys on the floor, loudly demanding a refill like a belligerent bar patron. This kid knows that good hydration is the key to glowing skin.

For grownups: Ugh, I hate drinking water.  It tastes bland and makes me pee all the time.  I know, I know…the obvious.  I try to mix things up by making herbal iced teas (put a few herbal tea bags into your water bottle, fill with cool water and let them soak for an hour before removing), but I’m also learning to drink a full glass of water when I wake up in the morning to get me started, and a full glass with each meal.


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