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Transgenerational beauty

Beauty is one of the things we inherit from our family, and our genes are doubtless the biggest carrier of this heritage. Can you perceive the vastness of the coincidental accordance it takes to make us who we are? We’re a sum of our unknown ancestors that we never came face to face with, people that lived thousands of years ago, scattered all across the world. A perfect combination of these genes miraculously come together to give birth to us. In essence, we’re all flawless.

Certainly, genes aren’t the only agent at work when it comes to the family heritage of beauty. When we’re much younger, we witness the beauty routines of our family and embed them into our memories, to accompany our own way of self-care. In the past when pharmacy and cosmetics weren’t as advanced, women took it upon themselves to create their beauty regimen. They had a number of recipes for their skin, hair, entire body. They didn’t keep the formulas themselves, exchanging recipes was a natural result of socializing and with it came the inspiration of new regimens.


Since my grandparents had to move a lot due to my grandfather’s job, my grandmother had to learn recipes which she could easily make anywhere and blended these with local recipes she learned from various locations to create her beauty routine. Her biggest secret in self-care is homemade yogurt which she could easily prepare and apply. She would cover her face with yogurt and let it sit for a while. She says it makes her skin brighter and smoother. While she has taking care of her skin in the best way she knew how, the cosmetics industry started taking its first steps, and Pertev Krem was put on the shelves. With the motto “It will revive your fading beauty,” the brand managed to create significant panic among women to sell products. My grandmother immediately abandoned her yogurt routine and started using Pertev Krem. She’s 83 years old now; occasionally, she still looks in the mirror and says, “I should have never given up on yogurt.” When she looks in the mirror, not all she sees is regret; she loves her eyelashes which hints at another beauty secret of hers - loving yourself. “I worked so hard for these lashes,” she says as she puts on mascara to travel the farthest distance in the last year - to the living room. She burns the shell of nuts and brushes her eyelashes with its oil. I couldn’t understand how she got the oil by burning the shells; however, I’ve given up trying since every time I ask her about it, she says, “Your drowsy generation always chooses the easy way out.”


My grandmother isn’t the only person who inspires me about beauty and self-care. We also have a great aunt on my father’s side, the backbone of the extended family. My great aunt and her family moved from Crete to Turkey in the permutation days, carrying along their beauty routines with them. She told me how they would rub a mix of olive oil and lemon on their faces. I read about -and saw- how olive oil and lemon improve the skin. What made my great aunt stand out is the shocking additional ingredient, feta cheese. After rubbing her face with lemon and olive oil, she finishes it off with feta cheese! It looks like she’s trying to make some kind of a Greek salad. For a long time, our family argued about whether to use yogurt or feta cheese in our self-care routines. In a way, the goal was to determine who looked more beautiful since everyone vehemently defended the miracle ingredient of their own. Whenever my grandmother saw my great aunt eating feta cheese at breakfast, she would immediately ask for some yogurt, and we eventually got used to the rivalry.


My biggest beauty routine is carrying the genes of these funny, strong, and skilled women in my family. I must admit that I tried yogurt and feta cheese a few times, but decided that I preferred eating these mysterious self-care secrets. I choose to enjoy being a member of a generation that’s used to “choosing the easy way out,” and benefit from all the blessings of modern technology and cosmetics. Still, I believe that nature offers plenty of pure solutions to many problems, and the most efficient beauty routine is one that perfectly combines these solutions. It is not surprising that nowadays most cosmetics brands gravitate towards new solutions by using natural ingredients, and new brands also steer themselves in a natural course. For my skincare routine, I prefer brands that opt for natural ingredients such as Abtira, Baboon Natural and Mediflorafarm. For cleaning my skin, my favourite product is Simple’s Moisturizing Facial Wash.


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