It’s safe to say that when it comes to a woman who wears many hats, Irene Forte is up there. Not only is she the founder of luxury sustainable skincare brand Irene Forte Skincare, but she’s also the wellness consultant for Rocco Forte Hotels, an advisory Board Member of the Global Wellness Summit, and she’s now a mum after welcoming her daughter earlier this year. 

Her eponymous beauty brand is brimming with mother nature’s finest, with ingredients grown on the brand’s sweeping Sicilian farm using traditional standards and zero chemicals. With a strong focus on sustainability, ‘clean’ formulations, and science-backed products, it’s all about a healthy, natural, and realistic approach to beauty, skin and ageing. 

Sitting down with Hip & Healthy, Forte shared her thoughts on ageing gracefully, natural ways to keep skin looking its best, and the importance of a healthy body and mind when it comes to turning back time. Listen in. 

What’s your approach to ageing?
Ageing is inevitable, but my approach is all about well-ageing or ageing well. It’s all about natural, healthy and sustainable ageing. For me, every year gets better. Ageing is about getting wiser (life experiences that help us make better decisions), a better understanding of oneself and what you want to spend time doing/not doing, having more confidence, etc. 

Do you think it’s possible to age gracefully, without the need for Botox etc?
I do think it’s possible to age gracefully without the need for Botox. Indeed, Botox doesn’t actually improve the quality of your skin; it may get rid of wrinkles temporarily, but it doesn’t improve hydration, skin texture, etc. Therefore, I feel like you probably age more gracefully without Botox if you truly take care of yourself. 

How have you dealt with the pressures of ageing?
I don’t really feel the pressure. I firmly believe that if you look after yourself and are happy, you will age well. I also feel like every year gets better. 

Are there natural ingredients that really can help us keep skin looking younger?
Yes, 100%! There are natural ingredients that can even ‘reverse’ ageing! Some of my favourites that we use in our products are the following: 

Myoxinol™: An oligopeptide complex from hibiscus esculentus seed extract that combats both the biological and mechanical formation of wrinkles through botulinum toxin-like activity and by protecting the skin against free radicals. This novel active combats wrinkles in a similar way to Botox, as it inhibits the mechanical factors responsible for expression line formation on the face. It’s also a proven antioxidant, protecting against free radicals and preventing the breakdown of collagen and the formation of wrinkles. It activates the cell’s natural defences to prevent oxidative damage, thus biologically delaying the ageing of cells. 

Green Pea Polypeptides: Pisum sativum extract is a potent fraction extracted from green pea seeds. It contains a high concentration of active polypeptides that work to improve skin firmness and elasticity. These botanical peptides work to enhance important elasticity factors and signals to maintain and improve the structure of the skin. They also protect against degrading enzymes that break down structural proteins, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin. Even at small concentrations, they’re proven to increase collagen and elastin synthesis, as well as improve and maintain surface hydration. 

Prickly Pear Polysaccharides: Derived from Sicilian prickly pears, opuntia ficus-indica stem extract contains polysaccharides that work to increase the skin’s antioxidant capacity, helping reduce inflammation, moisturise, and prevent irritation. In vitro tests show they also help protect the skin from oxidative stress and inhibit the production of a pro-inflammatory messenger, interleukins, therefore helping reduce redness and inflammation. Like hyaluronic acid, prickly pear polysaccharides hydrate and protect the skin. In vivo tests revealed improved skin moisturisation over time and calmed, less irritated skin.

At what age should we start using ‘anti-ageing’ products?
I think if the products are non-aggressive, you can start at any age. The best way to do this is with gentle products that are performance-proven. It’s always important to look out for clinically proven products – does a product have decent anti-wrinkle, hydration, or elasticity results, for example? I also think it’s important to have a complete routine – cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, face cream. 

What about from a holistic perspective? 
I think self-care is vital in order to age well. For me, this means sleep (good sleep is essential for our wellbeing); eating well (having a healthy and balanced diet is vital for both mind and body); exercise (this is vital for good health, assisting with internal movement of blood, nutrients, oxygen and cellular energy); meditation (there are amazing scientific studies showing the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on the mind); and of course – looking after your skin with regular facials, at-home rituals, great products, etc.

As a new mum, how have your perceptions of ageing and beauty changed?
It definitely puts things into perspective. My perceptions of ageing/beauty haven’t necessarily changed, but my daughter and her wellbeing trumps everything for me. 

Do you worry about the pressures your daughter will face?
To be honest, not really. I just hope she’ll continue to be healthy and happy! 

Complete the sentence: To me, ageing means…
Getting wiser and understanding what you want better.