Beauty angst

Everyone’s skin is different. Obviously. But there are some certainties. Ageing being one. Ah, that old chestnut. Nobody likes to think about it. I for one have a terrible sense of shame about aging. As though it was something that I brought upon myself, and not some necessary cosmic truth. It’s why I managed to write five gardening posts for this blog, while only messing about with two beauty drafts that filled me with terror.  Humph.
I suppose I have what the beauty world would call “the first signs of aging”.   Until I was 32 my skin was perfectly smooth and taught and glowy. And then… well, it was just not. Nothing radical happened, but I couldn’t rely on my face to do what I wanted it to anymore. And it scares me, because it requires some effort to learn about this new, not so bouncy kind of complexion that I have. I suppose it’s why all those Hollywood people fill their faces with injectables, to restore their once smooth face. But that doesn’t really work, does it? They just end up looking a bit alien.

The absurdity of being ashamed of aging is not lost on me. The politics of it is not lost on me either. The tyranny of expectation on women to look young is ridiculous.   The only people who truly look young are the young. But even the expectation of looking good imposes unsavoury cultural norms. And so, there you go. As I’ve implied, I’m a feminist, and I don’t think that women ought to be subjected to expectation about the way they look. And having put that on the table, I’m going to say that I am, like many people, a mass of contradictions. And that while I don’t think it’s right, I nevertheless care deeply about whether I look the best I can. And that’s what I’m going to write about in these posts. Because I really love skincare and makeup, despite my misgivings.

So, to my earlier thought – everyone’s skin is different. How true. The notion of oily or combination skin is complete anathema to me. I can slather on facial oils and rich moisturisers to my heart’s content and still be plagued by dry patches. A lot of beauty favourites bring my sensitive, allergy prone dermis out in itchy hives. And all my beloved perfumes make me wheeze. So I have had to stop using any kind of fragrance. Which makes me sad. I haven’t spritzed myself in lovely smells for at least a year, and yet my dresser still sports the lovely coloured bottles full of sweet smelling liquids, because I haven’t the heart to bin them.

So, in the main, I try to seek out the least perfumed, most moisture rich, least allergy causing products that I can. Of course, this rules out some really lovely skincare and make-up which might be great for some of you. But I also think that my pretty thorough research will be useful for anyone who likes to sport a bit of slap (is that a really British thing?) from time to time.

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