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So really, truly, do you tell someone if they smell?

(134 Posts)
awkwardsis Fri 05-Apr-13 20:35:01

Am faced with a dilemma. I have a sister 10 years younger than me. She started university in September, wanted to come home pretty much straight away as she was struggling being away from home. She is a very very young 19. My parents live rurally, she has been very isolated and is very unwordly. I had her to stay with me a few days this week. When she arrived she smelled badly of BO. It lasted the 2 days she was here, and I've had to wash all of the covers on my sofa now she's gone as the smell just clung to it sad She's having difficulty making friends which tbh I had put down to her being very unlike the ones she's sharing a flat with. The pictures I've seen on her facebook show them as the 19 year olds I remember from my first year at uni, very into their clothes and make up. But now I'm wondering if there's more to it and they're actually picking on her and making her unhappy? She's about to go on placement as her degree is in teaching and I'm agonising over wether I ought to have a word with her about looking after herself a bit better? She's gone on and on about making a good impression at these schools but tbh I am worried that it won't go unnoticed. I adore my sister and feel an absolute bitch for even having an opinion about how she presents herself. I can't comment on her clothes and lack of make up as I know that's her choice, and yes I know we shouldn't feel we have to wear make up etc. But the smell? Would you want to be told? And how to I phrase it so I don't massively hurt her feelings or make her feel bad about herself?

LeoandBoosmum Wed 10-Apr-13 02:41:05

Oh...lost my last message!
If your sister's skin is very dry she could try Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Cream (fairly strong but beautiful smell from essential oils in it...thought I'd point that out in case of allergies!) I have used it for a long time. They are pretty accommodating with samples ime (they do great cleansers too...there is also a Moisture Replenishing Foaming wash for dry skin) so you could give them a call on 020 3205 3845 and see if they'll give some samples for your sister to try.
Kiehl's are usually also good with samples if you have a store or counter near to you.
Re the dry skin, aside from drinking more water she could also try treating it from the inside out by eating more fruit and veg, oily fish (or taking capsules), eating avocado and nuts like walnuts and brazils, and maybe taking flaxseed oil capsules (with regard to the fish oils caps or flaxseed caps, they can cause some skins to break out so tread carefully)..
If the girls at uni are snooty and still avoid your sister then maybe she should join a gym or some other uni groups to increase her confidence further. Anyhow, good on you, Awkwardsis!

awkwardsis Wed 10-Apr-13 10:06:42

I don't think she'd join the gym but I am going to ask her to try and widen her circle a bit, she sounds so very isolated. A haircut is a good idea, she has the most lovely thick long blonde hair and I styled it quickly with my straighteners to give a bit of a wave to it, and gave her a bit if a side fringe which I said she should consider getting cut in. Her hair is very dry too so I think I'd like to buy her some decent tuff for that, and make sure she has enough flannels, just basic things I'd not even considered she might not have. She's not the youngest as she's older than our little brother by just a year, but our mum is the same with all us siblings. Just disinterested and vaguely disapproving sad I really hope mum doesn't say anything negative when she gets home tomorrow, or that she feels the need to hide the clothes. I need t make sure she's confide t to do the makeup on her own, check she can do her hair and then she'll be good to go.

mrsibley Wed 10-Apr-13 23:00:36

Just read what you did and just had to say I wish every awkward teenage girl had a big sister like you. Fabulous.

RaspberryRuffle Italy Thu 11-Apr-13 00:44:29

OP, it sounds like you have done a great job in boosting your sister's confidence. I just wanted to say about her future skincare and haircare, I saw plenty of more 'budget' skincare brands on offer today in Boots (Garnier, L'Oreal etc). As your sister hasn't really been using anything why not start out with something like this as anything should be an improvement on her current situation of using nothing, and it means it will be something she can continue to afford for herself as part of her routine IYSWIM, instead of you treating her to something like Clinique that she won't really be able to afford and may give up on. Also then if it doesn't suit her she can try a different brand and it won't be such a waste of money.
Same with her hair, Superdrug, Boots and supermarkets have nice own brands that smell lovely, or 2 for 1 offers, she could pick these up and they are affordable for her, if her hair is so dry you can buy a hair mask very cheaply, you could even both do this next time she's round at your house as part of her continued appearance 'lessons'.
Well done for helping her out!

glossyflower Thu 11-Apr-13 08:55:27

As her sister you owe it to her to tell her and support her, which I'm sure you would do anyway.
Also maybe book a spa day with her spend some quality time pampering yourselves, it might open her eyes to see how much better she'd feel for looking after herself a bit better?
Let us know how you get on. Xxx

glossyflower Thu 11-Apr-13 08:59:43

... Sorry I didn't realise there are 6 pages of posts!

Your sister is very lucky to have you smile

Xxx

Echocave Thu 11-Apr-13 13:45:04

OP. well done, you've done a brilliant thing there. I want to give your sister a big hug.
If you are in contact regularly, I'd just keep reinforcing the nice stuff you've done and said. Once she becomes more confident away from home, she may find it easier not to be so swayed by your Mum's disapproval. I really wish you both the best [tries not to sob in OTT fashion].

Levantine Thu 11-Apr-13 15:28:24

Well done, this made me feel a bit teary! Your sister is very lucky, it is obvious how much you love each other.

What a brilliant outcome, you are a lovely sister to have.

I had a similar problem being the oldest of four girls with a mother who disapproved of shaving, make up, Tampax, just about everything really. I was quite defiant though and just went ahead and shaved my armpits, bought deoderant etc. and used make up. Our mother never discussed any of this stuff with us except to disapprove of it, so I also took it upon myself to educate the others and make sure they didn't suffer unecessarily. One had appalling acne that my mother refused to see as something a GP could treat so I took her myself. As parents ourselves now we are always discussing how strange this part of our upbringing was and we all try to be very open and supportive with our daughters as a result.

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