There’s a woman I see on the school run everyday who clearly aspires to look like Katie Price in her original Jordan mode. Or maybe it’s actually someone from TOWIE, Jersey Shore or one of those shows that I don’t watch (and have zero interest in). Her clothes are reasonably normal, but I’m utterly intrigued by the dark tan, thick cat flick liner and see-them-across-the-playground lashes, peeking out behind a backcombed platinum lock. She has a young baby and clearly spends a lot of time and effort on the whole shebang: her look is studied, planned, carefully executed - and in her eyes, a good one.
Maybe this look is quite normal in some places, but I’ve never seen a real live person looking like this outside of Heat magazine. It got me thinking to people’s ideas and perceptions of beauty and what they hope to achieve from using makeup and skincare, all of which I find quite fascinating, including how this has personally changed for me as I’ve got older. It amazes me how much time, money & knowledge younger women devote to their beauty routine at an age when I would have been pretty clueless!
I thought I’d do a little run through of my beauty ‘targets’ since I started to meddle with makeup and skincare…
Mid Teens: Pink Cheeks, Pale Lips
I was uber pale and longed for rosy cheeks, so I guess this was my first beauty objective! I’d watch my mum apply lipstick then smudge 3 dots of it into her cheeks for a little colour, so I’d try to do the same. This didn’t work particularly well with a pale shimmery lipstick, so I’d end up pinching my cheeks on the bus every time a boy got on, assuming this would make him find me more attractive… probably my biggest mission in life at this tender age. I’ve just remembered that part of my attraction to pale shimmery lipstick was in attempt to camouflage my lips - I didn’t like their fullness; it was not cool back then. How sad.
Late Teens: Bronze On, Straight Locks
Oh how I longed for straight silky hair in a swishy bob. I used to wish I could chop off the thick wavy hair underneath (my hair is silkier on top) long before people did things like that. Things got a lot easier once I learned to go with the flow! My anti pale mission continued in my affair with bronzer: shimmery orange cheeks and shimmery pink lips was the perfect accompaniment for my white jumpsuit and tiger print tee with stick on diamanté eyes.
Twenties: Glamourama Hippy
I settled into myself a lot more in my twenties and went from deep insecurity at being painfully thin to joy at finally having some curves. Velvet, red lipstick and curls featured highly. I’d swing between this and a hippy phase, fuelled by a love for long haired men, hats and ‘pretend natural’ makeup. In my mid 20s I became more aware of the importance of skincare (thanks to my big sis) and went high end from an early stage, with Dior and Estee Lauder featuring a lot. My love affair with self tan also started at this stage. (NB People who think self tan looks cheap or tacky are a. using the wrong product, b. haven’t mastered how to use it or c. are looking at people who haven’t mastered how to use it. No-one should know you’re wearing it has always been my motto!)
Thirties: Anti ageing Momma
Concern about the imminent ageing process spurred me on to all things anti ageing, especially eye creams. I was at the height of my career (in PR) and expected to look groomed and professional at all times, which was reflected in my hair and makeup. I discovered new brands, fell in love with Laura Mercier, NARS, Clarins and most of the contents of Space NK. Mid 30s I had my first child and suddenly had much less time and money to focus on me. By the time no.2 came along, I’d got the hang of this much better and bounced back to my former self much more quickly, but it’s definitely a juggling act. I hate to see women neglect themselves just because they have a child. Children should obviously be our priority, but we’re still individuals. My daughter (who will be 8 tomorrow) has zero interest in makeup and informed me last week that she didn’t want to put it on to play dress ups as she is pretty enough without it. I LOVE this! Since the day I started wearing makeup I’ve found myself unattractive without it, so will be nurturing this attitude in my daughter big time!
And no, not boob jobs or eye jobs (though if funds allowed! ;) ), but learning what actually suits me and can enhance what I’ve already got. The ageing thing takes some getting used to (that’s a separate post really), but I’ve accepted that it’s happening (not a lot of choice!) - and while a plethora of products won’t stop that, they can slow it down a little and ensure that what’s there is both protected and looks the best that it can. Through writing this blog I have the opportunity to try some amazing products and share the results with you, which I really enjoy. II used to think I had makeup mastered; I knew what suited me and that was it. I don’t…. I’m constantly learning about makeup: what works for me and what doesn’t - and of course making mistakes along the way.
It’s all about tailoring (& often ignoring!) the latest trends & favourites to find what works best for me personally. Rainbow palettes, cat eyes, cement-look nails and matt lips may look amazing on some people, but not me - and that’s ok! I’m all for a bit of glamour, but on a day to day basis I normally aspire to achieve a polished, natural look that makes my eyes look awake, skin look radiant, hair glossy - and overall, generally bright and healthy.
Wonder what Miss Jordan lookalike would think if she knew she’d inspired all this!
What matters most to you in terms of how you look? I’d love to know - and if there’s anything you’d like me to focus on this year, I’d love to hear! :) Nic x
Disclaimer: I 1000% realise that beauty goals & how we look are not the most important things in life, nor anywhere close, but as this is a beauty blog, it’s ok to let loose & temporarily indulge our whims. ;) These are the kind of thoughts that fleet through my head from time to time; today I just started typing and they all ended up here.
ps I have never admitted my age on here before *cringes*