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Beauty Through The Ages

04/17/2015 08:16AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier

By Lisa Hanchey

South Louisiana is renowned for its beautiful women. While some attribute that to our high humidity and joie de vivre attitudes, Acadiana’s women know that it takes some TLC to keep them looking their best. Here are some tips from local beauties of all ages who agreed to share their secrets.


Troie Autumn Acker

A natural beauty like her mother, Franchesca Troie left, cleanses and moisturizes daily and does periodic facials using homemade products for problem areas. “Seek out makup that is good for your skin,” she advises. “And, take hair, skin and nail vitamins every day.”


Rachel Gulotta

Former Acadiana LifeStyle Special Features Editor and Tulane law student Rachel Gulotta was lucky – she inherited her natural beauty. Just look at the gorgeous skin of her grandmother, Gloria Serht, who is in her 80s, and cousin, Jessica Harrell right, who is in her 30s. Gulotta believes that everyday beauty should not be a struggle. “I always aim to be comfortable and as natural as possible in terms of clothing and makeup,” she says. “Most of my tips come from the French – walk as much as possible, drink lots of water, use a battery-powered facial scrubbing brush to look bright and fresh, keep lemon rinds to rub on your cuticles, let your hair air dry, and don’t forget your lips!”


Kimberly Woods

Married 14 years and mother to three children, Kimberly Woods exudes radiance from within. “I’ve never found beauty down an aisle or in a tube,” she says. “I’ve always been taught natural beauty shines from your inner being. I usually never leave home without a big smile, a fresh scent, lip balm and my spirit filled with the radiant light of the Lord Jesus Christ. I proudly wear my face bare and I accept the silver glory (I call them bling!) that peeks through my hair. In recent years, I have chosen to eliminate chemical hair treatments and embrace natural hair care. I know my beauty is found in who my Creator has told me I am.”

Barbara Olinde

Newlywed Barbara Olinde is a medical malpractice attorney and aspiring photographer. Because of her hectic schedule, she takes a simple approach to her beauty routine. “For my mind, I get a good night’s sleep,” she says. “For my body, I eat a low-carb, high-fat diet. For my sanity, I try not to sweat the small stuff. And for beauty – well, I start with a smile and have fun from there.”



Jennifer Hightower Jackson 

Dr. Jennifer Jackson, registered and licensed dietitian and CEO of her own business, Keystone Nutrition, is a traditional but modern woman. “I have been using Noxzema since high school to cleanse my face at night and cocoa butter to moisturize it,” she shares. “I only rinse my face with water in the morning and moisturize with cocoa butter before applying my makeup.”

Jackson believes that foundation is the key to a glowing complexion, but the practical lady likes mixing up her products. “I use MAC foundation, L.A. Colors eye shadow (a dime store “no-name” brand), Downtown Brown lipstick color from Mary Kay, and Maybelline eyeliner and mascara,” she reveals. “For special events, I wear MAC eye shadow.”

She keeps her hair looking stylish with regular trims, but leaves her color natural. “I get my hair trimmed every four weeks,” she says. “I am yet to get gray hair, so I do not highlight or color it.”

But, she doesn’t splurge on her nails. “It has never been part of my schedule to routinely do manicures and pedicures,” she says. “I noticed Oprah doesn’t do it either -- so I figure I am in good company.” 

To maintain her fabulous figure, Jackson works out regularly, eats healthy and stays hydrated. “I lift weights twice a week and run one to two times a week,” she says. “I cook four to five days a week and enjoy explaining to people that healthy dishes can still taste great. And, I truly drink a gallon of water a day.” 

Franchesca Hamilton Acker

This busy attorney and mom doesn’t have time to have a high-maintenance routine. “My secrets are not unique and actually mimic the suggestions often made by beauty experts,” she explains. “Water intake is pivotal. I drink lots of water, in addition to substituting water for other beverages with meals. I also utilize a daily facial cleansing and moisturizing routine, always stroking in an upward motion when applying anything to my face. Last but not least, I take vitamins daily.”

 And Beyond

Barbara McConnell (60s)

Writer and salesperson Barbara McConnell hails from the midwest, but her radiant skin is like a true Southerner’s. Her advice for keeping skin young-looking: “Beware of the sun! Moisturize. And, exfoliate with vitamin A.”

For beautiful hair, Barb suggests using only pro products or pro highlights around the face, which is the current style. As the wife of an oral surgeon, she knows to keep her teeth clean and bleached, accenting them with a red lipstick applied with a lip brush. The natural-looking beauty also goes base-free and uses no harsh eye makeup.

As for her hourglass figure, Barb advises, “Keep moving! Eat less and healthy, and be sure to get your sleep.” The stylish working mom to beautiful daughter Sara and wife to handsome Dr. Don always looks sharp by updating her accessories and eyewear. And, she keeps a positive attitude by staying interested and always learning.

Her best advice: “Pick good parents! And keep your dermatologist and plastic surgeon’s numbers handy.”

Julie Melancon Harris (60s)

Julie Harris helms the third generation of beauties in her family. “I attribute a great deal of credit to my ‘gene pool,’” she says. “My mother always stressed a healthy diet and exercise, which I believe contributes to your figure, skin and hair.”

Despite being raised by a generation that shunned sunscreen, Harris still has gorgeous skin. “ I am blessed to have great skin since I grew up in a generation that didn’t have sunscreen, only suntan lotion or oil,” she shares. “As a young adult, I took care of my skin by using Dove soap, sunscreen and  drug store moisturizer. Then, as I could afford, I progressed to using products recommended by my dermatologist. Department store makeup is what has worked for me, plus seeing my hairstylist -- who happens to be one of my daughters -- every six weeks.”

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