Proving that a decent beauty routine and classic white shirt work wonders, whatever your age, it's Shula Starkey, founder of Ark Skincare (centre) with her mum and younger sister. Starkey has spent over five years developing a range of age-appropriate natural beauty products, with the help of Dr Penny Kendall-Reed. Designed to support the physiological changes the skin undergoes as we get older, Ark products are made in the UK and split into three categories: Age Prepare (teens to early 30s), Age Maintain (mid-30s-50) and Age Repair (50+). That's Not My Age had a quick chat with her.
TNMA: I like the fact that your products are called Age Maintain/Repair rather than anti-ageing, how do you feel about the constant pressure on women to look younger? And the increasing use of surgery and Botox? Have you ever tried Botox?
SS: I would never try Botox! I think there is an awful lot of pressure on women to look young and it's not healthy. Ageing is inevitable but that's not to say that you can't be beautiful, whatever your age. The focus should be on creating and maintaining healthy skin. Our products allow you to have healthy, radiant skin, and to protect against negative environmental and lifestyle factors.
TNMA: What role do your mother and sister play within the company? And is it stressful working with your family? I could never work with mine!
SS: Comparing the differing needs of my mother's skin to my own and to my younger sister's, exemplifies the need for age-aware skincare. My mother, Jenny, is the face of our Age Repair range and my sister Sally is the face of Age Prepare. They were thrilled to be involved and helped out with the initial testing phases. Now they act as brand ambassadors. It is lovely working with family: Peter is my husband and business partner and Penny Kendall-Reed is a close friend. ARK is a family business and as we grow it is like extending my family, which makes it all the more worthwhile.
TNMA: What's your advice for keeping skin looking the best it possibly can in mid-life?
SS: Keeping stress levels to a minimum is very important, always find time for yourself and do something relaxing - have a massage or do some yoga. Drink lots of water and if you can swap coffee for green tea then you'll see a big difference. Reduce sugar and alcohol intake which both create puffiness, lines and uneven skin tone. A dietary supplement is a good idea to make sure your skin is getting all the essential vitamins it needs. Of course, a good daily skincare routine will make a big difference.
TNMA: Oh and finally, why the name Ark? Does it signify something?
SS: We originally chose the name ARK as it is in both mine and Peter's surnames (Starkey and Clarke) however it also stands for Acts of Random Kindness, which is the ARK ethos.
So, there you go. To improve my complexion, I need to relax and ditch the coffee and red wine diet. Still in the Age Maintain category (just about), That's Not My Age has been testing Ark's Age Aware Serum which contains algae and cucumber extract and smells gorgeous. My skin has been feeling pretty dry, dull and sun-damaged of late and the serum definitely makes it look brighter and adds a much-needed healthy glow. And I know that my pal Disney Roller Girl has been using the Ark lip balm and says it's brilliant.