This morning, I counted up how many different products I apply to myself before I leave the bathroom.
Early on in my yet-to-be-published novel, SINGLED OUT, my main character, a woman in her 40’s readies herself for the day. It seems to amuse people that her make-up routine is, shall we say, comprehensive. This has been insightful, as her exact routine used to be my own in the days when appearance was everything and I faced customers and prospects on behalf of one global technology company after another, every working day. Safe to say, as a home-based freelancer, I’ve let myself go a little since those high-pressure days.
And yet… I remain in thrall to the toiletry and cosmetics industries. It seems I cannot rise in the morning without recourse to no less than 23 jollops, unguents, creams, lotions and potions. And that’s before I begin my now significantly curtailed make-up routine.
Impossible, I hear you cry! Well, here it is, this morning’s precise schedule of application:
- Toothpaste – a minty-fresh dental drenching
- Gum gel – yuk, temporary measure only, I hope
- Mouthwash – yes, I do love that minty-fresh feel
- Soap – duh
- Shampoo – twice, primer and undercoat
- Conditioner – topcoat
- Shower cream – soap is for the basin, bottled jollop in the shower
- Ph-neutral wash – muse no further upon this
- Shaving mousse – see, I still have some self-respect left
- Deodorant – what did the old advert say… may your armpits be charmpits?
- Hair mousse – it’s purple, does it really make my highlights gleam, I wonder?
- Anti-ageing serum – meant to sound medical, but off-the-shelf from Boots
- Face cream – I think this one actually does a job
- Eye cream – a micro-pot of magic with an earth-shattering price tag
- Talc – summer… summer
- Body lotion – scrummy one infused with tiny flecks of something gold, summer indulgence
- Athlete’s foot cream – purely pre-emptive, as I love to swim
- Heel balm – ditto above
- Lip salve – I keep a half-dozen of these dotted about the place
- Hair putty – gravity-defying sticky stuff
- Hairspray – I’m an 80’s girl, so shoot me
- Hand cream – I go back to this at least 5 times a day, but it pays off
- … last but not least, I can’t leave the house without a squirt… Eau de Parfum
As far as make-up goes, my significantly curtailed routine still involves eight products on an at-home day and ten on a going-to-a-meeting day.
You might call me a little OCD – and I would of course protest. But as a woman with a bathroom all to herself – I get all the cupboards, all the shelves, all the drawers, every flat surface, the whole dressing area, all of it – I can give free-rein to my corporal indulgencies. So I do.
Just don’t ask me if I line my jollops up facing forward with exactly, precisely the same space between each one.