Monday, 23 April 2007

#12 Cheap Stakes PART ONE

If I think about the hundreds of items of clothing that I've returned over the years - everything from a pea-green coat that my sister called 'catalogue-y' to a pair of Miu Miu sandals that were sexy in the box, but made me hobble with premature decrepitude after five minutes - it strikes me that if the same returns policy applied to cosmetics, I'd be considerably richer, and far less cynical now. I was a student, living on £30 a week, convinced that I needed a Clarins face cream and cleanser. I bought MAC make-up and Shu Uemura curlers and Kanebo concealer. I gorged on Ruby + Millie lipgloss, Stila bronzer, NARS blusher. I was an utter fool - a broke fool - with a burgeoning make-up bag to match the escalating overdraft. So I stopped. Cold turkey. Boots was banned, all Superdrug stock sequestered. Never again. And I stuck to it. Back in the black, things improved. I'd taught myself the art of cosmetic control - I didn't need the £50 face cream or £80 cellulite gel or £20 blusher. In fact, I'd learned that it didn't really matter what kind of crap I slapped on my face - you don't get good skin from spending lots of money. You get it from being happy and healthy. Yawnsome, but true.

So, today my outlook is rather different. There are yummy, luxurious, decadent, effective things that can be bought with notes - of course - but not one of them will change your life. And, I don't know about you, but when I discover a fabulous, but pricey product, I can't stop the mental calculations in my head for long enough to enjoy it - "£60 a month, £720 per year - Blimey! I could buy premium gym membership for that! Or take an amazing holiday.... or... or." You get the guilt-tinged point. So, in the spirit of exuberant economy (the mantra being: spend less, get more, have fun!) I've come to like my little trinkets cheap and interesting. That way, if they're good - as many affordable cosmetics are - it's far more satisfying.

Here are the staples that have been floating my boat (and keeping my afloat) for some time:

1. Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme. Less than a fiver, smells like fresh, sharp sherbert and lasts for ages. In fact, I've got a two year old pot that's still going strong.

2. 17 Sheer Shine Eye Cream, £3.79. Good stuff that's very easy to use. Comes in a series of nice shades with a subtle, shimmery finish. Tigerlily is a favourite.

3. Boots Coconut & Almond Leave-In Conditioner, £1.79. I go through a bottle in the summer. I saturate my ends, or spray it all the way through damp hair if I'm doing a senorita-style-bun, comb it through and go about my business. Smells like you'd expect it to, which is no bad thing.

4. Rimmel Special Eyes Eyeliner Pencil, £2.99. It's firm (so you don't get that awful melted-chocolate consistency that you often get with expensive soft kohl) and it doesn't crumble, smudge or melt.

No comments: