I’m not anti-make up. I don’t have some righteous crusade against it. I don’t have daughters so I’m not one of those conscious-of-the-pressures-we-put-on-girls-to-conform-to-society’s-standards-of-beauty kind of person. I don’t feel superior in any way. No, it’s simply the case that my I-can’t-be-bothered-ness overrules my need to look beautiful.
I am a beauty moron. I know nothing of the ins and outs of a beauty regime. While some of the other other mums refuse to do the school run unless swathed in Kiehls cream and Max Factor, I might, on occasion, drag some brown No.7 eyeliner across my eyelids for a crazy night out.
This is a travesty in this day and age when every magazine is busting with ads for the latest organic wonder product that claims to gives your skin a dewy, even skin tone and make you look like a 6-month-old. I swiftly flick past this section, where words such as epidermis renewal and radiance boost jump out at me, trying to tempt me with their promises but instead leaves me feeling incomplete as a woman.
There are a few things I do to attempt to keep my inner hag contained…
- I use coconut oil as a moisturizer, which makes my face all shiny for the next 12 hours but is cheap cheap cheap!
- I regularly take the time to tame my unruly eyebrows to avoid looking like a male politician.
- I occasionally have a day sans chocolate in order to unpack my bunged digestive system and reduce the face swelling brought on by existing solely on a diet of Fruit & Nut and red wine.
- Occasionally I might wear a lip balm, but they smell so delicious that my taste buds get confused and I end up licking it off. I’m pretty sure it’s not so good for my diet.
However, I’m not sure this regime is working so well.
I worked in an office for a brief spell recently and decided that, as all my co-workers would be young and glowy and dewy and beautiful, I should at least make an effort not to look like a decaying hag. So each morning I put on some tinted moisturiser, a spot of eye shadow (which usually requires a Master’s Degree in contouring to avoid looking like a drunk prostitute, so I rarely bother), and a dab of mascara, (I usualy end up absent-mindedly picking it all out, together with my eyelashes – so my eyes end up devoid of said eyelashes – which totally negates the point of wearing mascara).
This added at least 20 minutes to my normal hectic morning schedule and my skin felt heavy and clogged. I also spent most of the day worrying that I’d smudged the mascara or that the foundation line on my jaw was too obvious. I couldn’t wait to wipe it all off and be clean of face again.
To be fair, it probably didn’t help that I was wearing products that I’d purchased some time in the 90s, and yes, I know this stuff goes ‘off’ but I wasn’t going to go spend upwards of £100 (or whatever it costs these days – I have no idea) on new beauty products when I wasn’t even sure how long I’d cope with wearing it. I’m sure that make up and skin care (and creams and complexion correctors and serums and BB creams and CC creams) have advanced light years since the 90s but still, …
Ironically, as a teenager, when I didn’t need make up (fortunately, I didn’t suffer too much from spots or blotches) I wore loads of the stuff. Applied it with a shovel to try to cover up the billboard of my adolescent insecurities after I’d cleansed, scrubbed, toned and moisturized. One morning, at about age 17, as I was working my way through my usual ritual, an epiphany made me realize that I no longer wanted to be a slave to beauty. I wiped everything off my face and walked out of door as bare cheeked as the day I was born.
It took a few days to get used to the lighter feeling, the sensation of air on my cheeks that didn’t have to coerce its way through an inch of foundation and face powder. And I got a few comments from friends about how fresh-faced I looked. I took this to be a positive thing and I vowed never to be yoked to a beauty regime ever again. I decided that my face was a reflection of my lifestyle and although my diet was not terribly healthy, it was not not terribly unhealthy either (aren’t the raisins in Fruit and Nut one of the 5-a-day?). People would have to accept my face as it was, I vowed. I discovered that most other people just didn’t care either way if I wore make up or not.
And I stuck to it. Later, even when baby-induced broken nights gave my skin the parlor of a puddle and my under-eyes looked as though crows have been moonwalking on my face, I stuck to my guns.
On occasion I will meet a woman of my own age with flawless make up that flatters her glowing skin and makes her look 18. In these instances, I might have a moment of insecurity when I consider myself unwomanly and in desperate need of tutelage in the ways of beauty. The moment soon passes once I consider the amount of effort it must have taken to get that perfect.
But, I do wonder. Had I been regimented with a skin care routine, would I now have younger looking skin? Would the large pores on my nose and the tiny broken veins that populate my cheekbones be gone? No one will ever know how effective these products are at slowing ageing. We are led to believe that by not having a beauty regime as espoused by beautiful celebs and skin care consultants we’re missing out on loads of lovely treats for the skin. I mean, who knew that skin needs hyaluronic acid to help it look plump and radiant? Well me, obviously, because my skin looks as plump and radiant as a raisin.
Should I be part of the majority and take more care of my skin? I refuse to douse myself in expensive products or slather on the make up until I look like a clown but I could take a little more care of the face that I present to the world, if I want to retain what’s left of my…ahem…youth. Perhaps if I can’t ‘reverse the signs of ageing’ then I might at least try to slow it down.