As someone who is working flat out to keep what is left of my looks, I’m up for most new beauty trends – as long as they don’t involve general anaesthetic, a scalpel or having your face peeled off and sewn back on again.
A colleague introduced me to the idea of eyelash extensions not so long ago, and I must admit, I do like the effect. You don’t have to wear mascara, and you wake up looking reasonably perky and less like an eyeless potato.
If lying in a drab salon while a technician pokes at your eyes for one hour, and increases your risk of low-level eye infections by about 1000 per cent every four weeks is what it takes, then OK.
But it’s just one more dreary ritual to add to the maintenance list. I took an Uber to my last appointment, and the driver asked me where I was off to. “Getting my lashes done,” I said with an eye-roll. “The upkeep is becoming one endless cycle.”
“Yeah,” he replied not unkindly. “So you’re like the Harbour Bridge?”.
While I was at the salon, attempting to do some Sama Vritti Pranayama breathing to get me through the tedium, the technician suggested I should get my eyebrows tinted. I’ve always tended to my own eyebrows, with a reasonable degree of success, but hell, yeah: add something else to my must-do, must-pay beauty schedule.
I’ve taken to getting acrylic nails now, too, as I figure my face isn’t looking that great any more, so I’m generously giving people the option to look at my perfect nails instead.
For those who have not yet tried SNS, it’s a procedure that involves having your natural nails ruined and thinned with an electric nail buffer, while dipping your nails in what are probably deadly chemicals for one long hour.
It’s an hour of your life you can never get back. Your hands are covered in gunk so you can’t even while away the time scrolling through Instagram to see photos of people you can’t stand on a yacht on the Amalfi Coast.
Teeth-whitening was also something I decided was necessary.
“It will take years off,” I told myself. Nothing nicer than lying on the couch at home watching television with plastic trays in your mouth, sniffing back what tastes like foaming ammonia, leaving your teeth so sensitive and so painful it feels like you’ve been gnawing on tree trunk like a demented beaver.
I came upon a great interview with Germaine Greer, and noticed, with admiration, that she has chosen to age naturally. I mentioned it to Bruce, my hairdresser, as he was painting toxic hair dye over my regrowth. Was it time for me to start to go grey? Should I resist the urge to have everything about me covered up, buffed, improved, faked? Was a personal consciousness dawning, one where I eschewed the societal pressures to look youthful, go all herbal and proudly display what the slings and arrows of age and experience have written on me?
“God no, I won’t let you” said Bruce. “You don’t have nice enough hair to go grey, you’d look dreadful.”