I hate beauty products – they are expensive and they lie. Apparently, beauty is only skin deep but what do people want – a pretty pancreas, an attractive appendix, a stunning spleen, a lovely liver? I’m a very shallow person, so skin deep will do for me. Unfortunately (for my bank balance!) I’m one of those people who tries to walk surreptitiously and unnoticed through the cosmetic department of a department store but I’m always spotted. ‘Let me through’ they cry ‘I’m a beautician and this is an emergency!’ In the blink of an eye I am sitting in a chair with some make-up plastered harpie lecturing me on skin care. ‘What is your regime?’ they ask. My intention has always been to have a regime but somehow life gets in the way and by the time I have watched yet another episode of Catfish it is really late and I just about manage to brush my hair and teeth before falling into bed. However, after a stern lecture from the harpie and the promise of fresh, dewy skin I part with an exorbitant sum of money in order to buy a miniscule pot of wonder cream. I will apply this religiously for a couple of days, but when the fresh dewy skin fails to materialise – I am all about instant gratification – the tiny pot gets thrown into the drawer of broken dreams. Of courses during lockdown we haven’t been able to enter department stores so unless we want to browse skin care on-line where, without the pressure from the beautician I am able to resist temptation, there is not much we can do about it. I once wrote an ad campaign for a skin care company – this was in the dark and distant days of press advertising. The amount I knew about skin care could be written on a postage stamp but nevertheless by judicious use of the library (remember them?) I was able to write an apparently successful series of advertisements – I don’t believe that this had anything to do with the company’s sad demise a short time later. As far as I know nobody sued because the miracle cream, that I promised (on behalf of the client) would transform their appearance, failed to do just that. Anyway, this experience has made me much better able to resist the written word. It is when I am being held captive by a real person that I am putty in their hands. Also during lockdown we have had far too much time for introspection coupled with a renewed desire for youthful dewy skin! As a result I have been having a trawl through the drawer of broken dreams and resurrected many potions and lotions of yesteryear. I applied one the other night and in the morning I discovered that it was called ‘First Defence’! ‘Last Resort’ more like. Why do these advertisements say that they can improve the appearance of wrinkles – what’s the point of improving their appearance – just make them go away!
We are constantly exhorted to buy these expensive unguents that claim to be recommended by dermatologist, although they usually fail to say what they are recommended for – greasing the front axle of your car perhaps? Clinically proven, but proven to do what – to be an effective grouting for your bathroom tiles. All these claims out of context are meaningless! However, I think that I might have cracked it – my skin may not be youthful and dewy but it is plumped up and with fewer lines – and I have achieved this at minimal cost and with a great deal of pleasure. Eating an enormous amount of comfort food during lockdown has made it more like a fully inflated balloon as opposed to the sagging half inflated pre Covid one!
Make up gets increasingly difficult as one gets older. I think drag queens are rather splendid but not sure that emulating one in a quiet country village is quite the look that I am after and trowelling on the make-up to cover the lines and blemishes can give one a rather startling appearance. When I was going through the menopause I suffered terribly from hot flushes and my make up frequently just slid off my face. I hunted the internet and found a product that promised to stop my face from sweating. It was a clear lotion that you applied with some cotton wool and allowed it to dry. I made for quite a good, if temporary, face lift as the skin became sealed and taut – but I was somewhat surprised on reading the instructions to see that it said ‘Apply to face, allow to dry and then apply false nose as usual’. It was then that I discovered that it was a product meant for actors who were working under hot, strong lights!
Why do we even bother? It’s not as if I want to attract a man – at my age most of the available men want you for one thing – Nurse or Purse. I think I’m getting a bit long in the tooth to be anyone’s nurse and if there’s anything left over in the purse, I’ve got plenty of grandchildren! In any case there are no creams, products or surgical procedures that would transform me into a young Venus – I have a terrible feeling that if I took my clothes off any man who wasn’t actually registered blind would stagger off as fast as his Zimmer frame would let him!