Thursday, March 15, 2012

The light of the evening star

My love of fashion and the associated media has been aired on my blog many thousands of times. I have favourite magazines, favourite books, favourite stores and favourite websites that all feed my lovely obsession.

My love doesn't extend to the beauty industry. I don't read their ads, I don't believe anything they tell me and I am completely indiscriminate about what I will use provided it is reasonable priced.

I never shop at beauty counters in department stores because I can't bear the spiels. I want to argue and thump the counter: "You CAN'T clean out a pore! If you clean out a pore it will BLEED!" "No thirty milligram jar of cream is worth $300! And it doesn't reduce wrinkles. Nothing can reduce wrinkles. You can blur a wrinkle by smearing the skin with grease which eventually will be absorbed and metabolised. That's all your $300 cream does! Shame on you for suggesting otherwise!"

The slogan, "You're worth it" makes my skin crawl. I'll tell you what I'm worth: equal pay, safe streets, employment opportunities and a seat on the board. Stuff your bloody frosted lipstick.

You could be forgiven for thinking I don't use many beauty products. False. I use a lot.  I love lipstick, pots of coloured powder and ludicrous coloured nail polishes. I'm forever squirting myself with scent (people on trains hate me.) I find every beige coloured eye shadow fascinating. I just don't want to be told that they make me more beautiful or more desirable or capable of winning the Nobel prize.

I buy moisturisers and cleansers from chemists and supermarkets and on line if I find them cheap. I look for things in plain packaging, things that smell nice and things that don't make me break out in hives. I buy my makeup the same way. Over the years I've got into the habit of buying my cosmetics when I travel. This allows for an element of surprise in my year (I never know exactly what a product is going to do) and means I pack less in my sponge bag.

On my last trip I hit the chemists in Paris and London and came home with these:

The Avene cold cream is delicious. It was inexpensive - about $aus12 - and is very economical. You only need a little bit for seriously satisfied skin. I use it as a night cream. The Nuxe Creme Fraiche is another winner - it smells faintly of geraniums and sinks into your skin like butter on a hot scone. I use it as a day cream under a coat of sun block. The Nuxe oil is legendary in France, and again very reasonably priced. Oils are a favourite of mine: I've used other skin oils and all with great success. They're great in the European winters as a barrier against brittle cold air and just as handy back home as an antidote to the Sydney sun. My current favourite isn't pictured here - it's a small bottle of Argan oil I bought in a French supermarket for five euros. You only need a squidge for smooth surfaces on your skin and hair. I will be sorry when I've drained the last drop.

The Boots products are (pardon my English) fab. They're well priced and don't tell me stupid lies. They also make my skin feel comfortable. Good value.

I buy my make up en route too, looking for things I can't get here or for which I won't pay Australian prices. If you are going to France and wanting to spruce up your make up bag I strongly recommend a trip to Monoprix, where they have a selection of make up to rival any American drugstore. You should also have a go at the local chemists, which are a treasure trove of good local brands of very high quality for very sensible prices. I love Bourjois and was very impressed with their new line called Une. It's a sort of back-to-basics organic line in very plain wearable colours, all in smart white packaging.

I love make up. I think it comes from having older sisters and seeing make up form a part of that  transition from girl to woman. Lipsticks are my weakness. I have a library of them. The oldest dates back to 1995. It's a sheer Merlot colour that I plucked off a sale table one rainy Saturday when nothing (except perhaps hot chips) could change my outlook. It turned out to be a a great bargain. I still wear it and it still makes me happy.