Celia Holman Lee: ‘Age is just a number’
Celia Holman Lee, who is turning 70 this year, talks about what she believes are the main pillars of pro-ageing
Celia Holman Lee at the Clarins Nutri-Lumière skincare launch at The Cliff Townhouse, Dublin. Photograph: Brian McEvoy
'I’ve always said that age is just a number, but in actual fact I don’t even look at the numbers – I just keep going,” says Celia Holman Lee, who has no intention of taking things any easier as she approaches her 70th birthday at the end of this year. The veteran Limerick model agent who has been showing Irish women how to stand tall, in every sense of the word, for more than 50 years, won’t be retiring anytime soon or stepping down from her brand ambassador roles as she’s a firm believer that work keeps her mind engaged and her spirit young.
Her schedule is dizzying. As well as regular appearances on Irish TV shows, she’s also a fashion stylist, is known for her charity work, and she also happens to be a very glamorous granny. She was recently honoured with a civic reception from Limerick City and County Council. Her most recent collaboration is with the French cosmetics house Clarins, a brand she says has an impressive provenance.
“It reminds me of classic French fashion brands like Chanel and Dior – they are all well-established, timeless and their key pieces never date. So if I have the money I would rather invest in one good piece from them that I know will stand the test of time, which is similar, I feel, to Clarins’ approach to beauty – it’s less about age and trends and more timeless, classic beauty regimes and products.”
Zest for life
She is always one of the best-dressed people in the room, no matter what event she is at and she has been the recipient of multiple awards, including a clutch of VIP Style awards. But it’s her zest for life and upbeat attitude that really deserve the accolades.
Forget the wrinkles, what ages women of my generation the most is bad posture
“I don’t do the gym, but walk a lot and eat as well as I possibly can and always choose and cook the best-quality and freshest food I can. I’m mad for fruit and honey at the moment and my husband has me on all sorts of multi-vitamins and fish oils plus I’m on a prescription supplement for bone density too, because no matter what you do to the skin you need the bones underneath to be strong to support it.”
She says she constantly meets women with the most beautiful faces and stunning figures “but if they don’t know how to hold themselves, nothing looks right on them”, she says.
“Forget the wrinkles, what ages women of my generation the most is bad posture. As the body ages, we start to hunch forward and the head droops like a duck and pulls the entire upper body down.
“In fact, I see it much more now with younger ladies too because they are all so glued to their phones. To stand better, make sure your ears are aligned over the shoulders and tuck your bottom in. This has the effect of pulling in the tummy muscles and activating the pelvic floor and it helps you to breathe better too, so it’s a win-win,” says Holman Lee, who still has the posture of a prima-ballerina.
Clarins’ Nutri-Lumière range was clinically proven by Clarins Laboratories to increase the skin’s luminance after a month’s use by 12 per cent.
When it comes to taking care of her skin, she is terrified of machines and aggressive clinical treatments. “I tried Ultherapy a few years ago on my neck and lower face (which harnesses ultrasound technology to tighten the skin) and it was great and worked well, but I’d be too scared to do anything more than that now. I just don’t think my skin has the same healing abilities anymore, so I’ve adopted a much gentler approach.”
She loves treating herself to facials which use rich natural oils massaged in deeply. And when it comes to her at-home regime, she’s currently hooked on Clarins’ new Nutri-Lumière range. “I was sent it by the brand a few months ago and was genuinely impressed by the difference it’s made. I’ve been using the Renewing Treatment Essence, and the Nutri-Lumière Day and Night Cream from the brand which claims to help with radiance and texture and that’s exactly what it does – it nourishes and quenches the skin without being overly heavy or rich and it really helps with the glow – which is no easy feat at 69. I’m too long in the tooth to be supporting brands I don’t respect.”
She says there is nothing more ageing than discoloured and neglected teeth. “I definitely notice my teeth getting yellower as I get older, which never looks good at any age. So I get to the hygienist frequently and whenever I’ve a big event coming up I always put on the whitening strips for a few day beforehand and it really brightens them up and there is no better anti-ageing weapon than a big bright smile.
The luminous result of three years of research
Creating the new Nutri-Lumière range was quite the journey for Clarins and took three years of research and development, 240 formulation tests and close collaboration with three scientific institutions to really understand how to help nutrient-depleted skin after age 60. One of the key findings was that powerful horse chestnut extracts, from both the flower and fruit, help skin to regain its full luminosity.
Horse chestnut first appeared on the earth more than 20,000 years ago and traditionally its extracts are recognised for their draining properties but it also helps to stimulate the skin’s micro-nutrient network and to repair damage,so the network will bring the skin cells everything they need to be energised and optimised.
Horse chestnut extracts are combined with 17 other exceptional plant ingredients (ten of which are organic), including skin powerhouses such as desert date leaves, used in the Chinese herbal traditions for purifying; oat sugar to reduce the look of dull skin and boost radiance; organic leaf of life for a natural hydration hit; and organic wakame extract for more beautiful, supple skin.
The cumulative effect of this botanical cocktail on the skin was clinically proven by Clarins Laboratories to increase the skin’s luminance after a month’s use by 12 per cent.
A socially-responsible company
Clarins’ approach to responsible beauty is rooted in the vision of its founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins, whose mission when he set out harnessing plant oils in Paris in 1954 was to help with body ailments, to simply “Make life more beautiful”. The company, now run by his sons, believes in the philosophy,“return to nature what nature has given us”.
They understood early on that the sustainable supply of its ingredients was a prerequisite for its success and working with committed suppliers who are concerned with social, ethical and environmental performance is a key consideration. As well as setting up numerous Fair Trade programmes with the suppliers, they made it a priority to find organically-sourced ingredients for all new plant-based ingredients.
As well as what’s in the products, Clarins already offers eco-friendly packaging that is, for the most part, recyclable and sourced from sustainably-managed forests (63 per cent are made of glass or cardstock) and glass packaging contains at least 25 per cent recycled glass.
Find out more at clarins.ie