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Beauty 100 – Hygiene and Grooming | Mother’s Ways

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Habit.”

Habit. The stuff of the everyday — places we go, things we do, people we see. We don’t often think of…

Habit includes the things I do that I do not often think of… Until now.

Now, I become aware of what I automatically do, such as brushing my teeth every morning and night, cleaning my tongue and ears regularly, trimming nasal hair, and cutting my nails. I do them not because I want to do them, but because they have long become a habit. I have picked up the habit to maintain hygiene from my mother, and I have unconsciously brought these habits over to my life in my new house. I perform these habits as though I were still living with my mother, living my life the way she taught me to. I think of my mother every time I catch in these habits that she inculcated in me.


At this point, I have come to realise that the key to beauty starts from maintaining hygiene, whether you are 5 years’ old, 12 years’ old and going through puberty, sweet 18, or adult over 21. If you are a parent, inculcate the habit of maintaining hygiene in your child.

From left, toothpaste, toothbrush, tongue cleaner, nasal hair trimmer, ear digger, and on top right, nail clipper.

Here is how to maintain hygiene, and why.

1. Brush teeth at least twice a day, once in the day and once at night. Brush after food.

Parents could try setting the water mug (with water) and toothbrush (with toothpaste on) for your child. Brush with your child to role model for them that this is important, and also to ensure that they carry out the act at the appropriate time of the day.

Why: Brushing teeth helps remove food and plaque – a sticky film that forms on teeth and contains bacteria. The bacteria could release acids that attack tooth enamel, in the presence of sugar which is present in most foods. After repeated attacks, cavities will form. (Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/brushing-your-teeth/faq-20058193)

Why, according to my mother: Many elderly had lost their teeth in early adulthood. One elderly she knew had gold teeth on his dentures, and another brushes his teeth with charcoal.

2. Clean the tongue with a tongue-cleaner (third item from the left in photo) every other day.

Parents could try role-modelling in front of the child and monitor the child when introducing this act.

The tongue cleaner can be bought from beauty or personal daily supplies store. In Singapore, it is usually also sold at the personal supplies booth at a Pasar Malam. These stores usually also sell combs, nail clippers, and the likes.

Also, there is the plastic one and the metal one. I prefer the plastic one, which you see in the photo.

Why: Cleaning the tongue helps remove the white “stains” on the tongue. The white “stains” have to be removed to prevent bad breath. Bad breath occurs when foul smells are produced during decomposition – bacteria breaking down the white “stains” of food into simpler substances.

The next time you meet someone with bad breath, try to sneak a peak at their tongues and spot the white “stains” that cover the entire tongue.

Why, according to my mother: White “stains” look dirty, so clean it.

3. Trim nasal hair using a small trimmer with blunt ends (fourth from the left in photo) when they grow out of the nose.

Trimmers for nasal hair can be bought from beauty or personal daily supplies store. The one in the photo is from Daiso (a Japanese store selling all sorts of items for a flat price of SGD 2).

Plucking is also possible, but will be painful.

Parents need not introduce this procedure as it is purely aesthetic, and nasal hair is seldom noticed when in school.

How: For those starting out, ensure that you already know how to control a pair of scissors properly and have good hand-eye coordination. Face a mirror straight, put the blades of the trimmer into the nose vertically, open and close the trimmer without touching the walls of the nose. There should be zero pain. Remove the trimmer after a few trims and check. If there are no more hair sticking out, it is done. There is no need to look upwards or use a touch and try to see the hairs while trimming. It is more dangerous that way.

Why: Purely aesthetic, as nasal hair functions to filter out foreign particles during breathing, so do not trim to much.

Nasal hair can be quite distracting if they stick out from the nose as they can be seen by people who stand right in front of you.

4. Clean ears using an ear-digger (last from the left in photo) once a week or by ear candling once a month.

Parents could try digging ears for your child, by having your child lie sideways on your lap, in between your legs. Sit on the floor, and lean against something for support. This way, you could bend over and look into your child’s ear. Have the child turn over on the other side when you have finished digging one ear. Also, allow your child to feedback if it is painful, and adjust your depth of digging and strength accordingly.

Ear diggers can be bought from beauty or personal daily supplies stores.

Why: Cleaning ears helps remove biological wastes that is naturally produced. Removal of ear wastes is important because the accumulation of waste could hinder hearing.

The next time you meet someone young who is hard of hearing, try to find out if they dig/candle their ears regularly.

Why, according to my mother: The wastes are dirty, so clean it.

5. Trim nails using a pair of small scissors for nails or a nail clipper (top right in photo) once a week.

Parents could try trimming nails for your child regularly, as it could be dangerous and daunting for the young ones who have less developed motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Parents could also try getting a smaller nail clipper when teaching the child to trim nails independently so that it is not as scary.

Why: Trimming nails helps removes dirt that accumulates under the nails, and could help prevent acne as dirty nails sometimes cause pimples to grow when the fingers touch the face. Besides, clean and short nails are desired in many professions, such as mothers who prepare food, kitchen staffs, makeup artists, beauticians, masseuse, and more.

In addition, short nails makes typing on a touchscreen mobile phone so much easier!

Why, according to my mother: Long nails are dirty and not allowed in school.

These are the very basics of beauty that is usually unspoken because these are assumed to be habits that most urbanites would have learned from parent(s)/guardians, or friends, long before adulthood.

Thank you, Mother!

What are some habits in your beauty routine? Comment and share!

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