Bigger, rounder, firmer, fuller, higher… when it comes to our breasts, most of us are unrelenting in wanting more of something. Yet, when it comes to looking after these fragile parts, we relegate them to the bottom of the pampering pile. In fact, we often go out of our way to be hard on them – sleeping on them, stuffing them intoill-fitting bras, bouncing them while going bra-less, putting mouths and hands on them… yes, boobs go through a lot!
Which is really not a good idea as apart from the face, this is one of the first areas of the body to show signs of premature ageing. That’s because the skin around your boobs is thinner and more prone to stretching than anywhere else, thereby losing elasticity more quickly. Add to this problems like chest acne, sun damage, abrasive clothing etc etc etc – and you can see why you need to treat your breasts better than your face. Most of us only get one pair (unless we are brave enough and rich enough to afford surgery), so start being good to them!
Deep cleanse & exfoliate
Ever thought of exfoliating your boobs? Why not? This is actually the first step towards a super-smooth décolletage as a scrub-up will remove impurities, help prevent blemishes and speed up cellular renewal, resulting in glowing, more youthful-looking skin. BUT stay away from the harsher body scrubs, which can leave tiny tears in the extremely thin dermal layer here, in favour of gentle face formulae with finely ground skin-smoothing particles. Dior’s Instant Gentle Exfoliant and Garnier’s Pure Active Exfo-Brusher Wash are superb for the fragile skin on your chest.
As for cleansing, skip the soap and go for a hydrating or clarifying body wash as per your requirements. Bliss Lemon + Sage Soapy Suds is perfect for a deep cleanse sans the dehydration; while Ole Henriksen’s Clarifying Body Wash is perfect for keeping cleavage calm and clear.
Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor highly recommended smearing a rotten banana in an old bra to firm the bust. She would allow the fruit to turn black and full of potassium, then wear it for an hour. Fortunately, there are easier (and less yucky) solutions at hand in the form of a zillion skin creams, gels, tonics and lotions that are specifically meant for the breast area. No, they won’t increase your cup size but they will definitely firm and tighten the skin around your chest, leaving you with a smoother, plumped-up effect. A dermatologist suggested Clarins Bust Beauty Lotion when I hit my 30s’ and it has been a staple on the bathroom shelf ever since. Occasionally, I follow it up with Ole Henriksen’s Invigorating Night Gel or Murad’s Clarifying Body Spray when hyperpigmentation or acne creeps up. Other great options include Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Bust Cream and Decleor’s Perfect Sculpt Bust Beautifying Toning Gel.
Moisturise & protect
Since chest skin is extremely thin, it’s very prone to dehydration and sun damage. So a moisturiser like Lush’s Lovely Jubblies, which is specifically for boobs to combat concerns like elasticity and collagen (and sounds such fun!). Follow up with your favorite body sunscreen, with minimum SPF 30. Put it on BEFORE you put your bra on – otherwise you could end up with sunburnt (or worse – permanently sun damaged) boobs.
Need more incentive to become breast-aware? Daily massage makes women more familiar with the way their breasts look and feel, enabling them to detect any changes immediately and have them checked out by their doctor.
Once a week, use a firming mask all over your boobs. Carita’s Biological Face Mask and Shiseido’s Benefiance Firming Massage Mask are both perfect for tightening and nourishing collagen-hungry skin. And for the ultimate in pre-party pampering, book yourself a professional salon bust treatment. Clarins’ Paris Method Bust Treatment uses specific massage movements, while Decleor’s Bust Firming Treatment includes a new sculptural mask for the bust.
It’s also crucial to wear the right size bra (bonus boob points if it’s underwired), since a bad fit can damage breast tissue permanently, leading to unsightly marks and sagging. You’d be surprised at the droop damage inflicted by something as simple as running up a flight of stairs since when your breasts bounce up and down, they pull and stretch the skin and supporting ligaments, which can lead to drooping. So you can imagine how important it is to always wear a good sports bra when doing bosom-jostling activities like aerobics or jogging no matter what your size (even smaller sets are sag-prone). Also important: replace bras every six months, as they lose a lot of support.
And keep in mind that maintaining a stable body weight is your next best defense against gravity-induced drag: Cycles of weight gain and loss (of 10 pounds or more) can pump up, then deflate breast skin.
While spot-toning exercises can’t turn an A cup into a C cup, they can help improve the look of your bustline. “Working out can help build up the underlying pectoral muscles, creating a foundation that lifts the breasts slightly up and out,” says Dr. Lambroza. So, work your pectoral muscles, which underlie the breasts, with press-ups. An easier way is to grip a horizontal support (window-sill, horizontal bar or the arms of a large solid chair) so you exercise from an angle of roughly 45deg instead of flat on the floor.
Show them off
You don’t have to “put ‘em on the glass”, but showcase your beautiful breasts by putting them in a push-up bra and a v-neck shirt: the greatest pairing of products since chocolate and peanut butter. If that’s too much for you, just enhance them by using some bronzer or body tint. I am totally in love with Lush’s Shimmy Shimmy – a solid body lotion that leaves a very subtle, but ever so effective shimmer that lights up your skin.
Or, go a bit further by taking a tip from make-up artists, models and actresses in the know on how to use make-up to fake a deeper cleavage: Take two shades of bronzing powder, one in a neutral tone and the other slightly darker. Using a large blusher brush, sparingly dust the lighter shade over your neck, shoulders and chest to create an overall glow. Next, dust a little of the darker shade into the cleavage itself, blending carefully to avoid any obvious lines. The same effect can be achieved by using two different tones of tinted moisturiser and blending with the fingertips.