Natalie (@thebeautyrecluse), had always been an avid skincare user but it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with rosacea that she started to take a closer look at the ingredients in each product she used. Her condition turned out to be a blessing in disguise, and she is now well-versed in products for sensitive skin and well-ageing.
Her inspiration for her instagram journey, however, stemmed from her frustration with the lack of representation for ageing skin and fear-mongering marketing strategies from beauty brands, giving birth to @knackeredat40, her instagram handle and blog at that time.
In this edition of It’s Deeper Than Skin, Natalie shares her skincare tips for ageing skins, how she juggles work-life balance and her thoughts on ageism and the skincare industry.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 41 years old, married, mother to three children, and I seem to be collecting animals at an alarming rate. My background is mainly corporate, predominantly in engagement, and I am 100% a people person. I thrive off helping others. To me, there is no better feeling in the world (other than a good night’s sleep even though I have no idea what that feels like anymore).
What inspired you to join the online skincare community?
I have a huge passion for skincare. Due to the three kids, I do not have much of a social life and therefore, for years, I would spend my evenings devouring research and studies on skincare and the ageing process. I think this was partly due to my own obsession, but also because I was becoming increasingly frustrated with ludicrous marketing claims.
Knackeredat40 was born from this. It married my love of engagement with my passion for skincare, and I wanted to showcase that regardless of age, we should all be represented within the beauty industry.
Tell us about your skin journey and how would you describe your current state of skin?
My skincare journey has definitely had its ups and downs. I was always lucky in the sense that my skin was pretty ‘normal’. I didn't suffer massively with breakouts or irritation. Other than my skin being a tad dry, it was pretty smooth sailing. That was until I hit the age of 30 and was diagnosed with Rosacea.
That really was a challenge and I had to rethink my whole approach to my skincare routine. Not only did I have to avoid a lot of products that contained fragrance, but the advice out there was pretty useless. It took a lot of trial and error to find a new routine that worked with my extremely reactive skin.
Fast forward 10 years and my skin is the best it has ever been. I think due to the Rosacea, I could no longer just slap skincare on willy nilly and I had to really research ingredients, etc. It has surprisingly been the best thing that has happened to my skin.
What is your current skincare ritual?
For me, the cleansing step is my favourite. I find it therapeutic. Removing the day's dirt and troubles with a luxurious cleansing balm really does feel special to me. I will then include a lot of hydration to counteract my increasing dryness (due to age) and add in a whole load of antioxidants to protect and repair. Finally, I seal it all in with a good moisturiser.
Do you have a favourite Sachi Skin product?
Absolutely! The Triphala Pigmentation Corrector is a stunning formula which includes many of my holy grail skincare ingredients. It is such a multitasker providing me with my antioxidants and my beloved peptides! I genuinely notice my skin brighten as soon as I apply it. It is truly a wonder product.
What are your holiday skincare favourites?
SPF, which goes without saying, a good antioxidant, a hydrator, a bloomin good lip balm, and plenty of mists!
What are your top 3 SPF recommendations?
I love Skin Regimen SPF 30, Institut Esthederm bronze range and good old Body Shop Factor 50.
What have you learned in your skincare journey that you would like to share with others?
That perfect skin does not exist. We need to stop striving for perfection. I think this stems from heavily filtered images on social media which is why you will never find a filtered image on my feed. Aside from that, ageing is not something to be feared. Rather than approaching it with harsh, super strength actives, focus on keeping your skin protected and hydrated. That's the real secret to “anti-aging”.
Share with us a little more about #thehobbyinfluencer. What is this and what inspired you to create this handbook?
The Hobby Influencer is an initiative I created when I began my Instagram journey. I felt quite alienated, and I wanted to provide a space where we could offer support to others who need it, and to share my own journey in the hopes that it would help others too. I personally believe that success comes from working together, and so far, a few members of the group are already seeing success on their own accounts and the handbook has received such great feedback. I am super happy with it.
As an advocate of well-ageing, what are your thoughts on how the beauty/skincare industry views ageing and what you like to see more of?
I could talk about this topic all day so I will try to keep my response as short as possible!
I believe the beauty industry uses age as a way to fearmonger. I believe that the use of 25 year old models to advertise ‘anti-aging’ skincare products is both ridiculous and offensive. Once you hit the age of 40, you become invisible in the beauty industry. Forgotten, as I like to refer to us as, the forgotten women. What is quite ludicrous is that, at the age of 40+ we have significantly larger disposable income. We have all this cash to spend, and yet we are completely overlooked.
I have a whole series in the planning stage around ‘The Forgotten Women’ and really hope to shine a spotlight on how ageism is still rife.
What skincare products are must-haves for you to address premature ageing?
Hydration!! Honestly, it is the key to everything. Keep your skin hydrated, use an antioxidant to prevent further damage, and always wear your SPF.
Being a mum can be incredibly challenging. What rituals help you to take care of yourself and unwind?
Locking my children in a padded room? I am obviously only joking! (although I have definitely considered it before).
For me, it is making sure that once the kids are in bed, I use that little pocket of time wisely. A big fat bubble bath, a face mask, putting down my phone and just switching off (I definitely struggle with the phone part!).
As a parent, I race around all day and don't even have time to think. I need that ‘me time’ in the evening just to recharge. It definitely makes me a better mum. I am useless to the kids if I am constantly feeling burnt out. Self care isn't selfish, it is a necessity.
If you could make one change happen in the beauty industry what would it be?
Inclusivity. Not just around ageism, but as a whole. Skincare and beauty products should be formulated in a way that they work for all ages, all skin types, all skin colours, period. There really aren't any excuses.
Tell us something that people may not know about you?
Since I am what you may call an ‘over-sharer’ there isn't a lot people do not know about me! I really am an open book.
So here are just a few random things:
I am a coke zero addict. It's the caffeine, the only thing that gets me through the day.
I am absolutely terrified of flying. Partly due to my fear of heights, partly due to the fact that I feel extremely claustrophobic, and partly due to getting stuck on a flight in a storm a few years ago.
I am a closet Marvel super fan and genuinely believe that one day I will marry Thor.
I am a cheap date (quite possibly why my current husband married me), and I get very drunk, very easily.
Oh and I can't swim! It's something to do with me moving my arms and legs at the same time. I just do not have the coordination.
Best skincare advice you've ever gotten?
Remove your makeup before you go to sleep. Absolutely vital! Also, apply your skincare at least an hour before you go to sleep. It gives it time to do its thing before you smush your face into the pillow.
Anything exciting coming up for you in the next few months?
Yes! As mentioned, I have the forgotten women initiative coming up, and I am launching a new ebook/guide which aims to answer all skincare questions, explain ingredients,
and showcase who should (or shouldn't) be using what.
Let's do some quick fire questions:
Coffee Tea or Neither?
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A combination of several alarms, three kids, and a giant dog!
What are you currently watching on Netflix?
Downton Abbey. I am really late to the party with this one. I am not a huge fan of period dramas, but I have got a bit hooked on this one.
What is on your current playlist?
Florence and the Machine will forever be there. As will Mumford and Sons. It is often completely dependent on what mood I am in.
Finish the sentence: I feel beautiful when…