The Secret is Face Grease

Can you see the image in this little pot of face grease? So weird!

After I posted the other day about turning 50 this year, several of you sweet (but most assuredly nearly blind) folks commented with a sentiment that went something like “Girl, you don’t hardly look 50. What’s your secret?” Buoyed by your kind words, I got to thinking that maybe I am fairly well preserved. Assuming that it’s not because I’ve been pickled in gin, I could come to only one conclusion as to why I’ve managed to weather the years.

Face grease.

Yes, you heard it. Face grease. Moisturizer. Serums. Oils. Grease that you put on your face.

When I was in my late teens, Mama told me to start using eye cream. She also told me to stay out of the sun and get plenty of rest, but being raised on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, I ignored that second part. I’ve sunned and funned all day and half of the night for years and years to varying degrees. Nevertheless, I did start using eye cream and a moisturizer. Just drugstore stuff. Whatever I could afford.

And I still do.

Whether it was that expensive Estée or that cheap date “Earl” (You know, Earl of Olay) or straight old vitamin E oil, I’ve always slathered something on my face morning and night. Really mostly in the mornings, because I’m terrible about washing my face at night. Shhhh! Don’t tell Mama, because that’s the other thing she told me to do religiously.

I think living in a hot, humid climate helps too. Lord knows we’re shiney as all git out in the summers — it’s your own natural face grease. We complain about “glistening” but we should really be grateful for it. All that sweating cleans the gross old toxins out of your pores, makes your skin glow, and keeps wrinkles at bay as long.

Speaking of living in a hot place, here’s a pro tip. There’s nothing more refreshing than lying down in a dark room with cotton pads soaked in cold Witch Hazel on your eyes (another beauty trick from Mama). I keep mine in the refrigerator. It feels good and you don’t look puffy afterward.

I’ve definitely invested in my face when I could afford to. For a (short) while I used this oil that cost about $100 for a little bottle. It was actually blue and smelled something awful, but it was in the name of beauty, by Granny, so I shelled out for it. But to tell you the honest to goodness truth, it didn’t seem to work any better than any other, cheaper grease.

That’s when I got into shea butter. This miracle grease claims to do everything from alleviating the symptoms of arthritis to curing eczema to making your face as smooth and unblemished as a baby’s bottom. You know I had to get me some. I’m sure it’s good stuff, but rubbing shea butter on my face gave me the same feeling that I get when I slather my cast iron with Crisco, so when I got to the bottom of the pot, I moved on.

I have no brand loyalty. None.

I’ve  managed beauty on a budget by doing things like mixing up Quaker oats and egg whites to make a mask and using the aforementioned Witch Hazel pads. I’ve covered myself in an expensive clay that I swear had sticks and grass in it.  I’ve painted myself green with Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mask, which is a personal favorite of mine. As with everything, you have to find balance. Here lately I’ve been using Argan oil in addition to my eye cream both of which are made by Acure (a step up to Whole Foods from the drugstore but not so you’ll have to take out a second mortgage).

But face grease aside, there’s nothing that will make you look younger than a smile. Slather on as much happiness as you can muster, and the years will melt away. Dab some cream on those laugh lines and be glad for them. Because even when I’m really not feeling it, if I can manage to put on a happy face, I almost always feel better. And when you feel good, you look good — from the inside out.

NOTE: I also have an awesome photographer named Lee Dunnie who never fails to make me look like a million bucks. That helps a whole lot. More than any face grease ever could. If you want to hire him yourself, shoot me an email to audrey@folkwaysnowadays.com and I’ll put you in touch.