How many beauty products and tools do you use on a daily basis?
For me, the list is pretty small, and pretty basic.
Here are the items I use between once a day and once a week – put another way, the stuff I would pack in a wash bag if I was going away:
Standard toothpaste, with plastic toothbrush.
Razor, tweezers, nail clippers.
Hairdryer and hair straighteners.
Mid-price shampoo and conditioner,
usually whatever’s being sold at a discount in the supermarket.
See, I don’t even use a hairbrush or comb on a regular basis. What a scruffbag.
I’m also not a big wearer of make-up. I’ll put on a lick of mascara each day, and if I’m going out on an evening I might add another five or so items: eyeliner, eyeshadow, concealer, powder, lip gloss.
I might then use a makeup remover later, or, more likely, I might forget and leave a make-up faceprint on my pillow after stumbling home drunk.
As you can see, I’m not a big purchaser of products. My facial skincare routine pretty much consists of one product: water. Splash it on the face and yep, that’s it.
This isn’t to say I’m thrilled with my ‘au naturel’ appearance all the time. I’m pretty sure my love of coffee means my teeth could be whiter, I’m definitely getting the odd fine line and grey hair and sometimes I get random patches of dry skin.
But, well, are all these products really worth the bother? Isn’t this just vanity? Most men don’t have all this crap to deal with and their faces aren’t sliding off or anything, are they?
It’s commonly accepted that many of the grand claims associated with cosmetics are overblown (‘Younger looking skin in just two weeks’, ‘Noticeably whiter teeth’, ‘Leaves you hairfree for longer’).
But being a cynical type, I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that some of these products effectively do nothing at all, or that they might even make your skin/hair/earlobes/whatever worse than they were before: irritated, spotty or greasy.
What if the biggest effect of buying all these products is simply on your bank balance?
I’ve ended up fostering a pretty money-saving and minimalist attitude towards beauty regimes. If I can do without, I will. It’s almost become a marker of pride. I don’t wanna be reliant on no consumerist goop to feel good.
‘That’s wonderful, but where is all this going?’ I hear you ask.
In essence, I have somehow acquired quite a number of products I’m not really using. Products I’ve been given as presents (minimalists tend to get a lot of consumable goods) or cosmetics I’ve bought for one reason or another and used for a day or two, then forgotten about.
The minimalist part of me isn’t happy about this growing collection of bottles, tubes and jars in my bedside cabinet. But the waste-hating and the money-saving parts of me have ganged up on the minimalist part, arguing that just binning them would be wrong.
So, I’ve devised a cunning plan.
It’s an experiment of sorts. Each month, I will pick four products I already own, all designed for use on a different area of the body.
I will use these products exactly as instructed, for a period of four weeks, but ONLY ON ONE HALF OF MY BODY.
I’ll then review whether I’ve noticed any difference, and crucially, I will get Ruth to guess which side has been getting the treatment.
This should have two pretty useful benefits:
- Testing whether said product is actually worth bothering with
- Using up the bottles and jars and decluttering the irritating collection
My first four products are as follows:
For the body: Rituals Magic Touch Body Cream
For the hands: Cuticle Oil by Seacret
For the face: No 7’s Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum
For the hair: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer
Is my theory of a sinister consumerist conspiracy going to be proved right, or would I have become a beauty bombshell by now if I’d actually bothered with a rigorous hair and skincare routine? I’ll report back in four weeks with my findings.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your attitude towards beauty or grooming products. Are you minimal or maximal? What are your essentials, and what do you think would happen if you ditched them? Feel free to spill all in the comments thread…
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