I’ve been feeling a bit ‘meh’ maybe it’s the rain dashing my high hopes for May maybe it’s the crushing realisation that we’ve been here 6 months and I’m not as far along is in my general life plan as I’d like. Who knows. Anyhow, boring, mediocre, apathetic that’s how I’ve felt this week.
The cure for this? Fire up my self belief and get out there and do it! No, not at the moment, I’ve got a bit of cough and feel a bit run down. Instead I sloped off to the shops.
I would not advocate for, one moment, that consumerism is in any way a positive response to feeling a bit lack lustre. A run in the park, counting ones blessings. Is probably far more appropriate. Not for me, not this week. I opted for a bit of retail therapy of the beauty type.
Even at my age I am still not entirely sure how the various layers; foundation, powder, illuminators etc work. Often I don’t bother with any make-up. I wear foundation when it’s dark, mostly because I am not sure how to apply it.
The foundation I own is a sample given to me by a consultant on a Chanel counter who assured me it would even out skin tone, hide redness and lift my complexion. Nice. I was looking at nail varnishes and until that moment thought I looked OK. Tempted to reply “Do you have a large size Chanel gift bag for my head?” Instead, I gratefully accepted the sample and all its promises.
That is what terrified me when buying beauty products. The consultants and their in-depth knowledge and desire to sell, pitched against the huge yawning chasm that is me and make-up.
In my teens, I’d buy a lipstick, several, mostly Miss Selfridge and wear them. It didn’t occur to me that they might not suit me. My skin was youthful and dewy and I could carry off a lipstick called ‘Iron Lady’. The late maturing of my political ideals would now prevent me from wearing such a lipstick. Combined with the fact it was a pale metalic purple. Yes, really.
There is a feel good factor to a bit of lipstick and mascara. Most mothers will agree that in the early years you will grasp at anything as an alternative to looking like the ‘living dead’, which is one result of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation and age are not kind. As the years etched deeper into my skin I felt the need to consider a wider variety of creams and serums, blushers and other stuff to give the illusion of youth and dewiness. The problem is buying beauty products.
I’d ping from counter to counter in a confused state unable to make a decision from the dizzying variety; brands, products, colours. Caught in a kaleidoscope of never-ending possible purchases and then I found Sali.
Sali Hughes writes a beauty column for the Guardian. I no longer make decisions, I just buy whatever Sali suggests. She has a fringe (like me), brown hair (like me) pale skin (like me) green eyes (I think) (like me). We could be sisters. (Listen! You can probably hear Sali taking out an injunction). I am a little obsessed. Because Sali and I are so alike (probably) I reason that I can simply follow her advice and it works. I don’t even have to choose between 140 shades of MAC lipstick. Sali will tell which one, in which finish. Boom. Job done. Yesterday, it was Revlon Colourburst lip butter, Candy apple (thanks Sali). Sali’s advice can be applied to anyone, Sali knows her products.
I no longer enter Boots thinking, “I need a mascara” only to discover a choice of 20 billion types before I’ve even consider what colour and then waste an hour of my life wandering around with 5 or 6 different types in my hand, whilst reasoning that purchasing 3 would be a good idea, only to leave without purchasing any.
No, I head straight for the counter and purchase. Yesterday, a consultant tried to persuade me with the offer of a make-over, she tempted me with a new range of eye shadows. I knew the only thing I should purchase was under lash mascara (Don’t mock it until you’ve tried it, it’s one of Sali top 50 best products). The old me would be derailed by the lovely colours of the alternative products. Now I just tell them; “I only buy products if Sali Hughes suggests it. Under lash mascara please”. “Can I pay with advantage card points?”.
Sali has a lovely website, Salihughesbeauty.com where, amongst other things, you can watch Sali interviewing Caitlin Moran, while Caitlin is sits on the loo. It turns out Caitlin buys stuff recommended by Sali.
Or follow Sali on Instagram, which is my fave. Sali shares that she is off to a party (and what make-up she is wearing, sometimes it’s a lot). Sali drinks beer in the middle of day. Sali posts pictures of nice products. Sali reminds me to use sun-bloc. I live vicariously through her instagram feed.
Do you have a beauty guru? Dare I ask what is your best product? (opening myself up to possible conflict of loyalities).