It’s fascinating and/or perplexing to witness what’s been happening in the world of beauty over the past few years, with the adoption of face altering surgical procedures and injectables now being as commonplace as a bottle of Oil of Olay.
People are starting very early, and while I am a beauty junkie from way back, it does sadden me that needles have replaced lip gloss for young people who are already look great, as is.
I have heard so many women and even teenagers ask who they should go to for Botox, and when I ask why, the reply is usually “I don’t know, but all my friends are doing it, so I figured I should.” They are convinced that something must need fixing or enhancing, and if there isn’t a wrinkle there now, it is sure as hell coming, so it’s off to the clinic for a $300 “Baby Botox” session.
The beauty rituals in my youth seem so quaint and old fashioned in comparison.
I noticed a tweet last week where someone mentioned Aapri Apricot Facial Scrub and I was immediately jettisoned back to my teenage years, when we dutifully scrubbed our faces raw with something that felt like a mix of wet concrete and drawing pins. It began a long nostalgic Twitter thread, with women who grew up in the Seventies chiming in with all their favourite products: Ponds Cold Cream, Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil, and the infamous Yardley Pot O Gloss, with a thick, sticky texture that ensured your perm was immediately glued to your lips.
I recall spending many happy hours in my mother’s en suite, experimenting with all her lotions and potions and makeup and false lashes. A long Sunday afternoon in there would see me emerging for dinner looking like a terrifying 11-year-old Gloria Swanson, turban and all. I don’t think it was affecting my self-esteem, quite the opposite – I thought I was gorgeous.
I always regarded creams and makeup and facials as glamorous and fun, not oppressive.
It’s a giant leap from pharmacy face creams to Fraxel, though.
I have had my fair share of anti-ageing procedures over the years to be sure, Botox, and collagen injections, laser treatments for pigmentation (big fan) and once I had fat from my thigh injected into my face in an extreme version of a vampire facial, an operation so intense, not to mention the painful recovery, I was ashamed of myself for signing up for it.
But not in my 20s, when my skin was still taut. I’ve mostly given it all up now that I’m in my 50s, because you do reach a point where you think “Who am I kidding?’. But a young woman who told me recently that she wanted Baby Botox was just 28, with porcelain, pore-less skin and not a line on her face.
When I insisted that she was absolutely beautiful and should not even consider it for one moment, she blushed and said, “Thank you, then maybe I won’t”.
Let’s just pay each other more compliments.