I don’t exactly know when it happened, but at some point I stopped looking after my appearance.
Now, I don’t think I’ve ever particularly looked scruffy, except when I’m decorating or sick, but I recently realised I wasn’t taking care of myself properly. I’d stopped cleaning my face properly, opting for a quick swoosh with a cleansing wipe before bed only, I was wearing minimal make up when I could be bothered, and, shamefully, I haven’t had my hair cut since I started my new job (I just passed my 3 month probation).
“That’s when it hit me – I wasn’t cleaning my face properly twice a day, I didn’t appreciate how good my skin could look with a flawless base, I was washing my hair once a week, and I hadn’t picked up a red lippy in months.”
I’m a huge fan of audiobooks, and I recently listened to Sali Hughes’ books Pretty Honest and Pretty Iconic. Hughes is a beauty writer for the Guardian, among other things, and her books are an adventure into her favourite cosmetics, and top tips for looking good. That’s when it hit me – I wasn’t cleaning my face properly twice a day, I didn’t appreciate how good my skin could look with a flawless base, I was washing my hair once a week, and I hadn’t picked up a red lippy in months.
It made me stop and think, and I realised I’d been a bit depressed about my appearance for a while. When I suffered badly with depression years ago, the make up was the first thing I neglected… and the first thing my therapist told me I needed to make an effort with to recover. I gained some weight at Christmas I haven’t lost, I bought a couple of dresses at a charity shop without trying them on and they didn’t zip up, and it was all just getting to me a bit. In a bid to stop caring about that, it seems I’d stopped caring about everything. If the frumpy, unattractive shoe fits, and all that.
“If the frumpy, unattractive shoe fits, and all that.”
So, after listening to the audiobooks, I decided to make a little investment in my appearance. I treated myself to a new… everything! Mascara, primer, cleanser – the works. I picked up bargains where I could, getting MAC lippies from eBay, and discounted skincare from Boots. I started properly washing (and moisturising) my face twice a day, and taking the time to apply my new make up, topping up the lipstick throughout the day as needed.
And it’s working.
“I feel more confident when I’m out and about, like someone who is present, rather than someone who is taking up space.”
I’m getting compliments at work about how nice I look. I’ve been stopped after my yoga class to tell me I’m looking good. I feel more confident when I’m out and about, like someone who is present, rather than someone who is taking up space. I can bear to look in the mirror.
And I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow… I promise!