Inge van Lotringen's Better…not Younger

Inge van Lotringen’s Better…not younger: The four midlife beauty habits you MUST break

  • Inge van Lotringen shares which cosmetics trends you can ditch this year 
  • The list includes overdoing on hair strengtheners and at-home microneedling 
  • READ MORE: Hannah Betts’s Better…not younger: Beauty’s new fad? The ‘cold girl’ look, no snow required!

In the glamorous world of beauty, it’s hard to fathom that anything more sinister than the odd face rash from an unexpectedly potent skin potion can befall us.

It’s all just paint and powder, isn’t it? As for treatments and gadgets, as long as they’re labelled ‘beauty’, you can indulge with impunity. They’re hardly medical procedures after all, how harmful can they be?

More harmful than you might imagine is the answer. We’ve all seen what can happen if we let a non-qualified therapist loose with acids, lasers or injectables.

But regular cosmetics can be problematic too, if you use them too enthusiastically or in the wrong way. So here are some last-minute New Year resolutions for you in the shape of the beauty habits you would do well to ditch.

Rollers when held the wrong way will tear into your flesh rather than making neat puncture points. Stock image used

Overdosing on hair strengtheners

The success of Olaplex, the original ‘bond-building’ serum capable of patching up hair damage and breakage due to over-processing strands with bleach and dyes, has inspired a tidal wave of bond-repairing and hair-restoring products such as K18 Repair Mask, Living Proof Triple Bond Complex and new L’Oreal Elvive Bond Repair.

Colourist Jodie Shirley, of London’s Nicola Clarke at John Frieda salon, says she has seen remarkable results from the £65 Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask. But there is an issue, she says. ‘If you use products that replace lost keratin [hair’s building blocks] more often than advised, you can tip the scales and make it go brittle.

‘With so many hair strengthening products on the market now, it’s easy to get too much of a good thing.’ So, she advises if you already use a weekly bond-building serum or keratin mask, make sure all your other products are ‘regular’.

At-home microneedling

Taking to your skin with a microneedling roller similar to the ones used by professionals seems a smart, low-cost alternative to get the same results.

But good lord, please don’t. ‘A course of professional microneedling is brilliant if you need it, but needling shouldn’t be part of your weekly or even monthly regime,’ says skin doctor Sophie Shotter — in unison with just about every skin specialist I know.

Do it on a regular basis and your skin will just suffer damage. Apart from that, rollers when held the wrong way will tear into your flesh rather than making neat puncture points. Also, we rarely sterilise these rollers, risking infection.

Converting to face soap

Good old soap has made a comeback in recent years, thanks to heightened handwashing and it being environmentally friendly in terms of packaging.

Lots of special ‘face soaps’ are also doing the rounds, all claiming to be less harsh than regular soap by being ‘all natural’.

But watch out. Regular soaps are made of oils and fats and lye (sodium hydroxide), which is quite a skin-stripping ingredient.

Very little lye is left in the final product, but it’s enough to make soap alkaline, which means it’s very drying. Any bar with the words sodium or potassium ***-ate in its ingredients, such as ‘sodium olivate’, is not great as a face wash.

The ‘face soaps’ you want are often called ‘face bars’ or ‘syndets’, and are made of mild synthetic detergents such as disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate or coco glucoside, just like liquid face washes. The £8 Cerave Hydrating Cleanser Bar is a good example.

Using lash-boosting serums all year

It’s hard to resist the dramatically lengthening effects of lash-boosting serums that contain prostaglandin analogues — hormone-like substances proven to boost lash growth.

They work, but you must never use them all the time and only as directed, says ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dr Rachna Murthy. If you overdo it, you risk ‘hyperpigmentation, inflammation and redness of the eye line and lid,’ she says.

‘The additional lash growth can also harbour more bacteria. This can [lead] to dry eye disease.’

Anything else? ‘With continued use, we also see . . . decreased lower eye socket fat pads and a sunken eye appearance.’ Lovely. Just stick to a short course once a year.


I’m not usually a fan of make-up brands branching out into other types of cosmetics. But MAC has done a clever job with its Hyper Real Serumizer (from £28, Pitched as the perfect make-up canvas, it offers hydration, grip and silky smoothness — and gets a thumbs-up from slap addicts worldwide.



With a complex of blemish busters and anti-bacterial Neem extract, this quenches while controlling oil

A serum with hibiscus vinegar and a ferment that zaps acne bacteria. 

Clear stickers to pop on a spot with salicylic acid, healing cica and green tea. 

An on-the-spot complex of purifying and healing botanicals including zinc, oats and sulphur.



The Woman King actress and positive-news Instagrammer (her account is definitely worth following if you need a boost) rocked the Golden Globes this month clad in royal blue and the coolest make-up

The Woman King actress and positive-news Instagrammer (her account is definitely worth following if you need a boost) rocked the Golden Globes this month clad in royal blue and the coolest make-up. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Grip 24hr Liners in Intense Black and Turquoise, £5.99 each, framed her eyes, set off by soft peach L’Oreal Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Wood Nonchalant, £9.99.


It’s a shame about the woke name (speak your truth — bleurgh), because the Ilapothecary Speak Your Truth Aroma Roller (£29, has everything else going for it. A blend of rose, sandalwood and vanilla, it’s one of those earthy, grounding scents that can’t help but calm you down when you inhale it. The idea is to apply it to the pulse points on your body whenever your mind is racing — which, if you’re me, is 24 hours a day. But its base of nutrient and vitamin-rich moringa oil means that you can also use it as a skin-booster. This is one to have on standby while negotiating the life-sapping tail end of January.


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