Not groomed, kinda bothered… by Sara-Jade Virtue
It started with The Hair. Having sported a past-my-bum mane of unruly brown curls for the best part of my adult life (post-purple Mohawk… post-skinhead…) I decided for my 40th birthday I’d Grow Up. Get a ‘do’. Be slick, sleek, groomed. Have style. But stupidly early mornings, and, let’s be honest, downright laziness, don’t gel with a ‘do’, so before long my signature look returned to the Croydon Facelift – hair moussed to within an inch of its life, scraped back, tight as tight can be, messy bun. Not grown up. Not groomed. Not a hair do, more a hair don’t.
I’m now in month 18 of Hair Transition. No longer pretending to be a brunette (truth be told, my natural hair colour has been grey since I was 27), I’m desperately trying to go full white. Gracefully. And let me tell you, it’s a hideously long process, unless you want to bleach the monkey out of your head, or look like a loon that lives in the park for a couple of years whilst the hair dye naturally grows out…
It is what it is.
Then came the Nails. Before shellac, there were a million and one ways to damage your natural fingernails with a variety of industrial strength acrylics and fiberglass, resins and plastic, wraps and tips. I spent most of the 90’s sticking everything bar the kitchen sink onto my nails to make them long and luscious and even. Then I stopped. Tried serums and oils and treatment kits to mend the years of damage I’d inflicted on my poor broken tips. And let me tell you, it’s easier to fix a broken heart, than it is to turn back 20 years of glue damage. My weak, wafer-thin, peeling nails refuse to grow back with any real conviction. They refuse to be strong. Have length. They are a pathetic embarrassment. So began the birth of the Selection. My Selection of varnish is now, quite frankly, ridiculous. I have a Favourite Selection. An Expensive Selection. A Work Selection. A Summer Selection. All purchased with the sole purpose of concealing the damage that lies beneath. These days I am rarely naked-of-nail. I will sport a feature nail if the mood takes me. I can spend a whole day trying on different colours. I like to mix things up. I’m not afraid of a sparkle. Or a matte. Or a wet look gloss. Judge away people, but as I get older, it’s the little things that brighten up my day and make me feel slightly less… fungal.
At the same time the Hair and the Nails became a thing, so did the Face. Bored out of my mind with the daily business of a full face of make-up, I slowly (post-40) started wearing less. No longer the three shaded blend of multi-coloured swap shop shadow. No longer the top and bottom liner. Bare lips. No blush. Less and less finish on a daily basis. And you know what? No one died. No one cared. In fairness, no one else noticed. But I did. I’d gone from bold to bland. I felt invisible. Without character. Without quirk.
Enter the coloured mascara. It has, in my mind at least, become my Thing. I am NEVER without a pop of coloured mascara. A rich deep vivid blue. An almost violent violet. Sometimes a green – although I have yet to wear a proper emerald that sings. My Summer favourite: the lesser spotted Maybelline Colossal Colour Shock in ‘Electric Teal’. And you know what? It works. It works in a way few things work for women of a certain age. Women with a certain penchant for elasticated waists and comfortable shoes. So, if you too feel a little bland, a little invisible, a little blah, here are four recommendations to help bring a little shush shush and bounce back to your daily grind:
YSL have seriously upped their game with the colours of their Vinyl Couture selection. Ridiculous names, natch, but ‘I’m the Predictable’ is a gorgeous damson shade, whereas ‘I’m the Craze’ is the purplest purple I have yet to see. OBVIOUSLY ‘I’m the Excitement’ is next on my hit list… proper emerald green… look at the pretty!
Dimensions de Chanel in ‘Cobalt’. Not too bright, so not too shocking if you usually wear a brown or a black – it gives you length, curl, definition and volume. Bit spendy, but perfect for the Dear Santa list.
For great value, great coverage, great colour and no clog, you’d be hard pushed to beat the ‘Beyond Blue’ of Benefit’s They’re Real!
I’ve yet to brave a red. I fear I’d look like a rabbit with myxomatosis – however, the ‘Pro Anthracite’ shade from Dior Show looks so hilarious, I’m seriously tempted. Although, maybe not for work…