For the first 36 years of my life, makeup was more or less something that happened to other people. I kept a makeup bag, which I blew the dust off and fished around in on rare special occasions, but that was about the end of it.
In the Autumn of 2017, two things happened. Firstly, I looked in the mirror one morning while getting ready for work, and hated what I saw. I mean REALLY hated. I’ve never been a huge fan of my own appearance, but that morning something pushed me over the edge. My skin was off on a frolic of its own, blemishes everywhere and having one of its “reacting to everything that isn’t air or water” sort of days leading to bright red blotches. I had bags under my eyes I could pack a week’s shopping into and all was not well. With no other option, I pulled myself together, as you do, and got on with my day.
Following on from this, a dear friend told me about a book. Well, two books, actually, both by Sali Hughes, Guardian columnist, industry insider and all-round beauty expert. I bought both, and raced through them in a matter of about 4 days. I have since read both again. In among the many, many things I learnt from “Pretty Honest” and “Pretty Iconic”, there was something that changed my life. My husband will tell you I’m prone to hyperbole, and I probably am – but in terms of my appearance, self esteem and confidence, my life was changed that day.
One of the many reasons I never bothered with makeup up to that point was the fact that I had endless trouble with that most fundamental of things: mascara. Over the course of 20 years I had sporadically and intermittently tried what must be upwards of 50 different ones across price points from Collection 2000 to Christian Dior, and every single one, waterproof or otherwise, left me with sooty black smudging all around my eyes, top and bottom, within about an hour. Eventually, I simply gave up.
From “Pretty Honest”, I learnt of the existence of tubing mascara, Google it if you’re not familiar, but the gist of it is that it is polymer-based. It forms discrete tubes around the lashes and it stays put until soaked off with warm water. It doesn’t run, smudge or flake.
The next day, I made a beeline for Boots at lunchtime. I came away clutching a tube of Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara with renewed hope in my heart. Well. Zero-Smudge indeed! The rest, as they say, is history. Once I had a mascara that worked, that would stay where I put it and that didn’t need constant policing throughout the day, the beauty world was my oyster.
I very much doubt I’m the only one in this situation, so I thought I’d share the love. This blog is to record my adventures in beauty, for the mistakes I make, the things I learn, and also for reviews of the things I have loved and not loved.
The internet is absolutely full of reviews by experts and experienced amateurs. I have often wished for reviews of products from the perspective of people who know as little as I do – people looking up from the bottom, with inexperienced hands and limited specialist terminology at their disposal. In other words, reviews that don’t require a phrasebook to understand! I thought I may as well have a go. 🙂