I’m not sure if this applies to blokes. A car magazine? A new pair of boxers? A quickie? Yeah, probably.
This month, I’ve done lots of little things that have made me feel better and I’m a bit sheepish to tell you about them. I didn’t save anyone’s life. I didn’t volunteer at a women’s shelter. I didn’t meditate. I didn’t foster a child.
What I did do was go to Priceline. I bought new make-up. New skincare. I also got my hair cut. And coloured. Next, I cleaned out my beauty cabinet and washed my make-up brushes.
This all made me very happy. Not like my family or my girlfriends or writing this column make me happy, but happy, in a deeply superficial way. Which still feels pretty great.
The motivation for my DIY makeover was a book called Amazing Face written by Zoe Foster who was a beauty editor for many years learning endless things she’s now shared. I too was a beauty editor once but all I learnt was that I didn’t want to be a beauty editor. “I cannot do this a day longer,” I wailed to my boss 18 months into the gig before reeling off a litany of complaints that you’d consider not just first world problems but first class ones.
“The launches, the long lunches, the champagne, the free products, the gifts, the parties….I can’t STAND IT ANYMOOOOORE,” I told her, the intensity of my emotion making my voice rise an octave in that way bosses hate.
My relationship with beauty was always tenuous. One of the reasons I was appointed Cleo’s beauty writer was because I knew so little about it. My editor figured I could write from the point of view of the reader, rather than an ‘expert’ and she was right.
But beauty editing was always a bus stop for me. I was never staying long. That’s why until reading Zoe’s book, I still didn’t know how to do a smokey eye, what colour lipstick suited me, what order I should put my make-up on (‘foundation is the underwear, concealer is the clothes” ) or how to choose the right shade of blush (“make a tight fist, then test it on your fingertips”).
Here’s what happened when I made Zoe give me a personalised consultation and schlepped all my beauty products to the office and made her go through them with me to tell me what to bin, what to keep:
Like most women, I picked up my patchy knowledge seemingly by osmosis along with random products (usually bought quickly at airports while under the influence of sedatives) and mashed it all together haphazardly.