E: Who is Jergens? Should I be aware of his work? He sounds like a Danish exchange student. I bet he’s probably a mate of the freakishly youthful looking Ole Henriksen. Or do I mean Henrik Olesen? Who knows. They are probably raising money to go interrailing by selling beauty products.
M: Finnish, perhaps. In any case, he probably eats a lot of herring.
E: I should imagine so. His essential fatty acids would be through the roof. And they’re cheap when you’re saving to go to Amsterdam. Tell me more.
M: Well, you know how moisturising and I do not really see eye to eye?
E: I am aware of this. Moisturising isn’t a close friend of mine either.
More one of those people who you have to do a fake smile at across a busy bar, then ignore and pray they don’t come over.
M: Moisturising, in a nutshell, is a bastard.
E: Yeah. Boring too. A boring bastard.
M: So, you will imagine my surprise when I bought my third bottle of this.
E: Bloody hell. What is it, exactly?
M: “Jergens Naturals Skin firming body moisturiser with pomegranate extract”. I realized the other day that I have been using it every day. And do you want to know why?
E: Of course I do. Tell me!
M: It claims to “visibly firm cellulite prone skin”.
E: Yeah, and allow you to fly to work on a gilded unicorn. How many times have you heard that one?
M: Well, let me tell you, my friend, it is TRUE.
E: True? Truly truly true?
M: TRUE. TRULY TRUE. I mean, I’m no leaping gazelle. I am very very far from being a leaping gazelle. All smooth, furry lithe limbs, delicate face and golden eyes.
E: Mmmmmmm so pretty.
M: To give us some background here, I had foie gras and bakewell tart tonight. For dinner. Again.
E: Good dinner. I applaud your choices. Not unsalted plaice fillet en papillote with some steamed spinach?
M: No. My thighs. They are dimpled. And this, THIS! This makes them less dimpled.
E: I am quite amazed. Totally amazed actually. I mean, you know how much I want to believe.
M: Actually, they are not really less dimpled. The fat is still there. But it strengthens the skin and firms it and, what, thickens it? So that the fat is less visible.
E: Smoothes it perhaps.
M: Yes. VISIBLY. The bottle says in 2 uses but that is a lie. I noticed the difference half way through the second bottle. Coincidentally, during water week.
E: Ssssssh we will not speak of that.
M: Do you want to know how much this costs?
E: Of course I do. £100 for 30ml? Rodial stylee?
M: No. It is cruelty free. And Paraben free. And Made in the UK for low carbon miles whatever the fuck that means. And it’s… £4.99.
E: Ha! Less than FIVE of your British pounds! A cheap, non planet flaying cellulite remedy.
M: This, my fellow cellulite miracle searcher, is a HG. I mean, it’s obviously made of embryos or something (“96% natural ingredients”). Stolen embryos bought on the Chinese black market.
E: Too dear. Probably pigeon embryos.
M: I have used many cellulite creams. MANY.
E: Ha. I think we can agree we both have.
M: Tell me about some of the crap you have used.
E: Well. I have used Vichy Lipometric, Caudalie Firming complex, Shiseido Body Creator, Sisley Celluli-Pro, the collected works of St Jeanne de Piaubert.
M: Did she burn your cellulite at the stake?
E: No, she made me wear ill-fitting cycling shorts. And her pump dispensers kept breaking. The only one that did anything was the Vichy. And it just gave your skin a metallic sheen. I liked the metallic sheen. I felt a little bit robotic.
M: I had a rather expensive Karin Herzog duo that was made of oxygen and old grannies. That’s what it smelled like, at least. Various sticky ones. I hate those sticky ones. Those stupid tubes with the tiny tiny plastic massage heads attached to them. And the serums, that you have to keep in the fridge.
E: I had those big patches you stuck on your bum cheeks, like nicotine replacement therapy.
M: And, of course, there was the infamous Philips Celesse of DOOM.
E: Ah, yes. The Philips Celesse is probably a post in itself. And do you remember when I wrote to a cellulite pants doctor to try and get him to send us some? He never replied, bastard.
M: We would have tested them faithfully.
E: You realise we could be richer than oligarchs if we had never embarked upon cellulite treatment madness.
M: Yes. Especially considering that most of my cellulite treatment madness took place in my late teens and early twenties, when I had perfectly acceptable thighs.
E: It’s probably best not to think of it. We’ll cry. Where do you get Jergens from? Your local youth hostel? Hanging out with Ole Henriksen and Dr Brandt? Did you take off his backpack and coax him out with the promise of a can of cider and a tiny joint?
M: Yes. You will find him filling up on the free Danish pastries in the tawdry canteen. Boots, dude. Boots. Always freaking Boots.
E: Wow. Boots. 4.99 and. IT. WORKS. I need a lie down.
M: One last thing.
M: I think I’ve found the magic ingredient on the back label.
M: It says it has: “Helianthus Annuus seed oil”.
E: Ahahahahhahahaahaa. Anus seed oil????? You can see why it’s cheap.
M: Yup. Whatever, my thighs are smooth.
E: I’d keep that hidden in your backpack under your crumpled miracle towel, Jergens.
E: YES TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME NOW. How are things in the dysfunctional No. 7 family?
M: Tense. I booked an appointment to be made over by the resident no 7 makeup artist.
E: Resident in Boots? Meal deals for breakfast lunch and dinner. More £5 vouchers than you can shake a stick at.
M: Apparently, all the No 7 products are the creative children of Lisa Eldridge.
E: Wow. I did not know that. I am now Impressed. No 7 has Lisa Eldrige as its adoptive mother.
M: Yes, she is Creative Director, with capital letters, innit.
She is also Hawt. And she looks like a freak when she has no makeup on, like a normal person, who wouldn’t think twice about eating your brain if these were post-apocalyptic times.
E: She’s the Angelina of orphan make up.
M: Yup. Collecting multi-coloured children for her sparkly collection with cheap packaging.
E: I admire that.
M: Her videos are ace. Lots of closeups, and she’s not annoying. Also, they’re blissfully short. Look:
M: And she does that stupid face everyone does when they put their makeup on, which comforts me.
ANYWAY. So the poor girl who is kept in the basement of the Boots on Princes St made me up. She seemed a bit on edge, and speedy, like the TGV of makeup.
E: That’s not reassuring. I wouldn’t want a high speed train that close to my face.
M: But she was very nice. She said she wasn’t allowed to put eyeliner on the inner corner of my eye, in case she pokes my eye out with it.
E: Boots, the pharmacists, see? Giving priority to Health and Safety.
M: This was also comforting, because I have a PHOBIA of anyone going near my eye with anything. Including myself.
M: Obviously. So, I was sitting in the high makeup chair with my legs dangling, as she applied A LOT of blue eyeshadow on me. Because I had asked for it. Why remains a mystery.
E: No. Oh, no. You can’t just say that. You need to rummage around in your psyche and tell us Why. WHY THE BLUE, M, OH GOD WHY WHY?
M: Because, clearly, I want to be a 70s porn star:
E: Ah, ok. Well it worked. Bravo.
M: There were all these old women, including one in a white fur hat and what looked like half a jar of dusting powder plastered on her face, just standing and staring at me. One leant over the counter, uncomfortably close, and said to the makeup artist – “ARE YOU DOING ANY MORE FACES TODAY?”
E: She obviously also wanted to look like a 1970s porn star.
M: Poor thing. She was very funny, the makeup slave. She put a LOT of makeup on me. A LOT. She kept on dusting me. Dust dust dust. And as she dusted, we bonded over a shared cultural heritage, African conflicts and how difficult it is to source appropriate ingredients for South East Asian cooking. She’s onto her third Scottish husband, and we’re hoping this one will be the right one.
E: You should try and break her out of the basement. It’s hard to see daylight in Edinburgh at the best of times. The basement of Boots must be like Finland in December.
M: I would, but I am pathologically shy. Also the Basement of Boots must be AWESOME.
E: I guess she has Lisa Eldridge.
M: Do you think they are given a little vial of Lisa Eldridge essence when they graduate from No 7 School, to sniff when they are feeling down?
E: I wonder if Lisa wears a phial of Mr Armani’s blood around her neck? Does he even have blood, being a space lizard? So many questions. Did you learn anything from this epic makeover?
M:. Well, I learned a few things:
1. Blue eyeshadow is hilarious. Stepping out into the street with full hooker makeup is also hilarious. No one noticed. That’s Scotchland for you.
2. No 7 is actually really quite good. The colours are funky but wearable, the formulations are nice, I like the brushes and it’s relatively cheap. Especially with the ubiquitous 5poundsoffrubymilllieandno7 voucher.
3. They have a nice sheer lipstick I think you would like. It’s not as smooth or glidy as Armani, but for £9.50 I think it’s a bargain. Creamy but translucent.
E: Ooh I must try that. And was there a hard sell?
M: No, not at all. She just wrote everything down on a special card thing and then left me to it. She even told me the Urban Decay shadows were better.
E: And did you buy?
M: I quite liked the lip colour on the 1970s porn star picture. But in the end I bought the neutral one, which is called something stupid like “Attract”.
E: Yeah, I need me a bit of “attract”. But I am all spent up after Space NK.
M: So, in conclusion, go to No 7 and have a makeover, because if you are lucky you will get a hilarious makeup artist, wacky grannies scrutinizing your pores, and the chance to spend your trillions of vouchers on something that’s thought up by that clever brain-eating minx, Lisa Eldridge. I was fully prepared to be disappointed, but I enjoyed it. And the next evening I wore blue eyeshadow to go outside, into the world, with my FRIENDS. Damn those plucky Pharmacists at Boots.
E: Sheer lipstick…. [makes plotting noises, rubs hands together in the manner of a cartoon miser]
M: Of course, when Mr Armani hears of this there will be hell to pay.
E: You think?
M: He will send his space lizards down. On goats.Genetically engineered goats.
E: Goodness. Did it come to you in a dream? Have you been drinking fermented lychee cocktails again? We talked about that. Hmmm. I really don’t want to anger Mr Armani, but I do like goats very very much.
M: And these are the softest, fluffiest, angriest goats you have ever encountered.
E: I think you’ve sold it to me. Alien invasion by soft fluffy goats and new and excellent cheap sheer lip colour? Our cup runneth over.
E: Hello M. I have a bag of Space NK BADNESS. So much free stuff. This week end (Friday and Saturday), if you spend £60 they give you a huge bag of stuff. STUFF.
M: I went to space NK too. Ididn’t buy anything though because I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN THE BAG FIRST.
E: OK. Well, I can tell you.
M: YAY!!! Go through the whole bag. It’s like getting the bag, without paying for the bag. And actually having to store all the stuff that comes in the bag. And remembering to throw the bag out rather than letting it fester in a corner full of other bags. And getting boils from using the stuff that is in the bag.
E: I don’t understand a single solitary bit of what you just said.
M: I’m saying, this is fun because I get all the fun of the space NK goodie bag without any of the inconvenience.
E: And without any of the joyful, hand rubbing glee, staring at your heap of free tat, though. Look!
M: Nice photo.
E: Shut up. Starting at the top, there’s a full sized thing of Space NK lavender hand wash. Hands will always need washing. Useful. Decent sized shower gel in “Jump Start” flavour. Small pot of Eve Lom cleanser and cloth. All good. Next, “WEI” cream, entitled “Royal Ming firming and hydrating cream”
M: I have some sarcastic comment to make about “Jump Start”, but I’m too distracted by WEI cream. What is WEI cream? Is it made of tiny lithe Chinese girls? Because it sounds likes it is.
E: I’m more concerned about whether it’s pronounced WEE or WAY. If there are Chinese girl in there, they’d have to be tiny. It’s a very small pot. Next, we have a nice high-tec blue and silver tube called “Dr Brandt Collagen Booster”.
M: Ha. I bet you love this because it has “Dr” in the name.
E: You are right, I love a doctor. Put your lab coat on Dr Brandt and tell me about peptides.
M: You are also a big fan of the Complex. If I squeezed out an old tea bag and labelled it “Dr M C4 Pepto-complex”, would you buy it?
E: Would it promise thinner thighs? Then I would. Who am I kidding, I would buy it regardless of its intoxicating promises because of the doctor bit. Doctors do not lie. Next, I think ridiculous name prize from the bag goes to “Elemental Herbology Cell Plumping”. The rest is teeny tiny samples. There’s a By Terry foundation. Bound to be too dark, foundation samples always are. Darphin Hydralight Skin whatever the fuck that is.Tiny sachet of Fekkai glossing cream and tiny sachet of Lubatti “dreamy night cream”. Couple of scent samples – Sisley and Acqua di Parma. The End.
M: And what did you have to buy to get all this bounty?
E: Well. You had to spend £60. So I went to see our old friend “Mr” “Nars“, who was represented by a pretty Spanish boy who they are probably grooming to be the next face of “Mr” “Nars”. “You wanta a fraiysh, spreenglike look?” he asked me. “Si si” I said. “I DO want a fresh springlike look, instead of this gin sodden crone look. Yes please. Et pouf! Sixty quid gone in seconds.
M: Pouf indeed, guapito. Oh god. Did you buy green eyeshadow? Bright lemongrass green eyeshadow?
E: No! I bought the famous Mutiple in Orgasm. No comment. I also bought a freaking lip gloss. I blame that Slagheap. It’s all her fault, coaxing me into they way of the sticky mouth.
M: What lip gloss?
E: It’s called Turkish Delight. Pinky neutral. Not too glassy glossy.
M: What else did you get? I bet there’s more.
E: I got a Matt Velvet Lip Pencil because you said it was the dog’s bollocks.
M: It is the dog’s bollocks. What colour?
E: Let me check.. Ha! WALKRYIE. I AM SPROUTING WINGS AND SINGING CONTRALTO. I AM WEARING A BREASTPLATE. Why is this pleasant nudeish lip pencil called Walkyrie? It seems most un-Walkyrie like.
M: Weil die Mädchen, sie sind nude, ja?
E: Ah, genau. Erm what else did I buy? Nothing I think. Oh, some eye make up remover. Talika, which I always get.
M: Any good?
E: Yes. It’s really really good for sensitive eyes and mine are mofoing sensitive.
M: What with having no lashes and all?
E: Yes. It says it’s « pour yeux hypersensibles » and it really is.
M: Eh ben, hyper cool.
E: Hyper, super, méga sensibles. It’s cool and non-stingy and gets everything off quickly. Hang on, I found another thing in the bag of goodies. Nude Eye Complex.
M: Oh, I tried the Nude cleansing oil. It was rather nice.
E: Was this your Space NK trip? Tell me about it.
M: Well. I was a space NK virgin and I went in with my red monkey face woes.The glossy haired, fresh faced assistant was very nice. She picked out Nude oil, Darphin serum, Ren creams and gave me a mini facial.
E. Nice. They ARE nice in Space NK. They should be at the prices they charge.
M: There were lots of explanations. She said “YOU NEED TO EXFOLIATE”.
I said “LISTEN UP PUNK ASS MY FACE IS RAW, RAW I TELL YOU”.
It started stinging when she put the serum on so she took it all off again and put on some Caudalie cream, which was ok. But!
M: Then I had to kick her in the groin when she tried to put Rêve de Miel on me, and made a run for the door.
E: Back off with your Cauchemar de Miel!
M: If you’re reading, kind Space NK lady, I am sorry. I’M SORRY I KICKED YOU. It wuz my face wot made me do it.
E: No, it was the bees. The bees made you do it.
M: It was, the fuzzy stripy bastards. But I am still thinking about the oil. It was good. Maybe I will wait until Muji’s is released next month or whenever.
E: Muji has an oil?
M: Yes, it is meant to be very good but it hasn’t launched in the UK yet. More reliably informed beauty blogs have confirmed this.
E: There is one more thing in the bag, but it was a special gift from “Mr” “Nars” for buying too much of his crackmakeup. And it is A GIVEAWAY.
M: OOOOH A GIVEAWAY. This will please ‘Mr’ ‘Nars’.
E: Si si senorita. It is a Nars Glitter Pencil. I cannot endorse it because I have never tried it, but we know the faceless corporation behind “Mr” “Nars” is a genius and wishes us nothing but good.
E: Actual scientifically proven fact. And it is full sized and I have not played with it and it’s in a box and so on. It’s sort of pale creamy with a big old fuck off sparkle. Actually more of a glitter as the name suggests.
M: Here is a non-accurate pictorial representation of said glitter pencil:
M: So what do they have to do to get it?
E: Well. they have to tell us what the shittest beauty freebie they ever got contained. They can of course lie and say ‘half a weasel and a piece of pork crackling’ if they want.
M: Ok. Sounds good. Sounds… tasty. Mmmm, weasel crackling.
E: Mmmmmm those juicy plump weasels.
Right, you know what to do. Comment in the box below for a chance to win a “Mr” “Nars” glittery pencil. You have until midnight on Wednesday the 31st of March.
E: Goop morning. I like what you did there. Today we have a guest post. Because we are both tired and you appear to live in Baltimore now, and because she offered and WE JUST ARE, OK? And it will be GOOD.
M: A’ight, a’ight. Omar don’t scare. Be cool. Tell me about our guest reviewer.
E: Our guest reviewer, who would like to be known as Slagheap, is the dewy faced and super talented Marie Philips, author and blogger. And she is reviewing Nuxe “Baume Prodigieux”. Always with the big names, Nuxe. In the interests of Facegoop scientific something or other, I got some too.
M: What is it? Is it lip gloss? Or lip balm?
E: It is a “soin multifonction”. The English version says: “Nutri-protecting lip care gloss effect spf 15″
M: Multi-fonctions my ass. It’s not like you can rub the gloss in your hair or on your cuticles.
E: And I have had it 12 hours and it has neither made me a cup of tea, nor done my tax return.
M: Anyway, I just want to say this about Nuxe: PAH.
E: Oh? Pah?
M: Yes, Pah.
E: Why pah? I like Nuxe. The shimmery shiny oil.
M: Because rêve de miel? Worst. Lip. Balm. EVER.
E: I have never used it. But many lip balms are shite. What is so bad about this one?
M: If you want your lips to erupt in a rash, then by all means use it. It’s like being stung by an angry wasp. An angry wasp with sand paper.
E: It can’t be as bad as Burt’s Bees. That’s a stingy Pritt Stick masquerading as a lip balm.
M: Nightmare de miel, it should be called.
E: Cauchemar de miel. It sounds good. I would probably buy something called that.
M: You know all this stuff about how bees are dying out, and we need to save them bladibladi bla?
M: Well. That’s bee propaganda, if you ask me.
E: You are probably right.
M: BEES ARE EVIL.
E: Big, fat, furry, physics-defying fuckers. They wish us ill.
M: Yes. Stripy bastards. Back to the lip balm.
E: This one does NOT contain honey. I have not had any stingy/rashy/gluey action. I’m just struggling with the gloss elementI dunno. I can never get my head around lip gloss. I know loads of people like it. But why am I supposed to like having sticky lips? WHY?
M: The shininess. People like that.
E: I think this is an extension of my Lip Colour Anxiety Disorder. I mean,
I do agree with our guest tester, that it makes your lips look nice. Even my cracked, horrible lips. But I feel funny about it.
M: How about we just see what our tester had to say? Someone without mental issues around lip colour?
Nuxe Baume Prodigieux
A couple of winters ago, when my lips were gaily shedding chunks of skin like burlesque lepers, my incredibly hard-to-please friend told me that the ONLY lip balm to use was made by Nuxe. Accordingly, next time I was passing through Paree, I picked up not one but two – their ‘Baume Prodigieux’, which comes in a tube like a lip gloss with one of those sponge applicators, and their ‘Reve de Miel’ which comes in a little round tub. When I was small, the only lip balm I knew was bright purple, fake grape flavour and dispensed from a small metal tray. I graduated to brightly-coloured pots of goo from the Body Shop that stank of Dewberry (ah, the stench of the 90s). Then when my sisters had babies, I discovered that nipple cream rubbed into your lips works a treat – not joking – but it is a bit embarrassing to use in public. Nuxe was my first properly grown-up (read: expensive) lip balm.
‘Reve de Miel’ turned out to be the exact colour and texture of earwax. I refused to put it anywhere near my mouth, but it does sterling work applied to my chapped knuckles as a hand cream.
However, I immediately fell in love with ‘Baume Prodigieux’. It contains mango butter – who knew mangoes had butter? – and shea butter and sunflower oil and almond oil, and Vitamin E, which, I have been assured by those who know, cannot penetrate the surface of your skin and therefore does NOTHING. It has Factor 15. I slather myself in Factor 15 at all times, which is why I look 32 and not my true age (33). It tastes like Play-Doh, which isn’t a good thing at all. But most importantly it makes your lips look exactly the same colour as they were already BUT as if they must be kissed as a matter of urgency. I adore this. I would adore this even more if I were still a teenager with a school uniform code which allowed me to wear lip balm but not lipstick. Just a suggestion.
My last tube lasted two years in rotation with other, more colourful lip glosses, and this year when I went to replace it – online, sadly, not in Paree – I noticed that it was now available in two new colours: ‘Shimmering Chocolate’ – dear god no, last thing I need is lips a colour that I want to eat; and ‘Legendary Pink’. Legendary, eh? I can’t say I’ve heard the legend of Nuxe’s Pink, it is hardly the Robin Hood de nos jours; but I did like the idea of a Baume Prodigieux in a shade other than the one I am without assistance (now dubbed ‘Natural Crystal’).
‘Pink’, though. I hate ‘pink’. I don’t mind ‘rose’ or ‘blush’ or any other euphamism, but ‘pink’ is terrifyingly suggestive of young girls in tutus dressed as princesses. That’s not what I want to look like: not at all. And yet, for the good of research and Facegoop and YOU, reader, I purchased it, hoping that the legend of the Nuxe pink might be that it really isn’t that pink after all.
It arrived. I put it on. Oh my god. The colour coverage is beyond compare; the dewy glow of it utterly seductive. I don’t have the words to describe the bliss of the texture. I have never worn a lipstick / lip gloss / lip balm like it. My other lip coverings want to hide themselves in shame.
But it is SO PINK.
Fluorescent pink. Glow in the dark pink. Barbara Cartland pink. The kind of pink that could only possibly be purchased online by someone whose screen colours are not set to match reality and who is highly optimistic about what a pink legend might comprise of.
But the legend of the Nuxe Pink, as it turns out, is the legend of the Pink so beautifully applied that you abandon all your feelings about what colour you do not want your mouth to be under any circumstances, and wear it, wear it, wear it.
E: Yesterday: I bought and consumed three 50cl bottles. It was like my soul was dying. I am an enviro-vandal! WHAT OF KARMA?????
M: Karma doesn’t believe in plastic.
E: I mean, water is all very well, but that’s the planet I’m flaying.
M: I seem to remember you having some dependency issues with your central heating
E: Hmm. No comment. I didn’t see you complaining when you were here huddled in your blanket.. no hang on I DID see you complaining.
M: You know how I dismissed the coconut water the other day?
E: Yes, I recall. Grey. Tasteless.
M: Well, I drank the whole carton yesterday. Like a lunatic. It may not taste like the real thing, but it’s thirst quenching like the real thing.
E: And? Do you feel refreshed? Are your arms all sinewy?
Mi: No, I just want more. MORE. MORE TASTELESS PSEUDO-COCOWATER. They must sprinkle it with opium.
E: I see, it’s like Whiskas.
M: Whiskas? The cat food?
E: Once you have tasted it, no other beverage (or in the case of Whiskas, cat food) will do.
M: You eat cat food? Dude.
E: NO I DO NOT EAT CAT FOOD. I eat crisps. Leftover fishfingers. And this evening: a handful of frozen peas STRAIGHT FROM MY HAND. It’s Lord of the Flies round here. No cutlery. nothing. But definitely not cat food.
M: Are you quite, quite sure?
E: Shut up now.
M: So, I think we can both agree that we more or less had our water quota this week end, yes?
E: Yes. Plenty of the stuff today, more’s the pity.
M: Which brings us to the end of Water Week. Despicable, spiteful Water Week.
E: Yes. THANK FUCK YOU ARE OVER WATER WEEK. M, my skin has never looked worse. Not even when I was 14.
M: Why is that? We have disturbed the badness.
E: Yes. Oh god, we messed with the natural order and look what has happened. Water! it is supposed to stay in the bath and stuff.
M: Yes. Possibly useful for boiling pasta. But drinking it? No.
E: I have a big spot on my chin. I never get spots.And the rest of my face is a mass of small irritations. I am not even posting a picture of myself because I would like to sex again at least once in my life, and once that picture is out there, that would never be possible. Nope. Nuh-uh. No “after” picture. AFTER THE APOCALYPSE.
M: I thought we had a deal.
E: I am reneging on the deal.
M: Pffff. My after picture looks significantly better than my before picture. Though that might have more to do with the dappled spring light and the full afternoon of napping.
E: Well. GOOD FOR YOU.
M: Can I see though? I want to see. We don’t need to post it.
E: This is going to be like one of those LOLcat things. “U sed those pikchurs were privut. Why u put them on interwebz?”. But I trust you, M. Here you go. Seriously. you will see. It’s like it’s not me. It’s another person.
M: Oh my fucking god, you weren’t exaggerating! What the fuck!
E: I KNOW! I KNOW I KNOW.
M: You look like that little runt from upstairs who was arrested the other week.
E: Water has turned me into a ned. Great. Fucking brilliant.
M: A 14 year old ned. But hey! Water! It has miraculous anti-ageing properties! It’s turned back the clock by 20 years!
E: Fuck you and your miraculous properties, water. That is my conclusion for the week. And I will NOT be continuing to drink you. What is your conclusion for the week, M?
M: Well, obviously, I had disastrous monkey face for most of the week, so that wasn’t good. But, looking at my after photo (which we also won’t post), my hair is freakishly glossy and well behaved. And I don’t look quite so grey. Although I do still have brown bags under my eyes, but that’s because I don’t sleep.
So my conclusion for the week is: drinking more water is all very well, but if you don’t get any sleep you’re still going to look like shit. The end.
E: Ok. And there we have it. Highly scientific conclusions from team Facegoop.
M: I am going to keep it up. Or at least, try to drink a couple of glasses in the morning.
E: You seem excited M. Why is that? Tell us, tell us!
M: Before I begin, can I just say how ace our readers are. Batshit crazy, but ace. In response to my Angry Face Syndrome cry for help, they’ve recommended rubbing plants on my face, baby lotion, expensive oils, Vaseline (?!?!?), not eating curry (ha! fat chance), stuff that looks and feels like lard, and organic hippie juice. And no one has mentioned the monkey. Ace.
E: I liked the cocktails best. They are big on cocktails. I am telling you, they are Our People.
M: Yes, Our People. On Crack.
E: Yes. Sssssh.
M: Ssssh. So, inspired by their advice, I went on a tour of Edinburgh’s Health Shops.
E: Uh oh. I remember when I came to visit you and we stared in the window of the Organic Sex Shop and laughed until I nearly peed at the hemp dildos.
M: What is it with shop attendants in health shops?
E: They are all on heroin.
M: The beards.
E: The deathly pallor.
M: The slackness in the jaw. The nervous disposition.
E: They look anything but healthy. ‘Eat our tofu, and you can look this shit too’.
M: So, I went to Neal’s Yard first.
E: Who is Neal anyway, what’s in his yard, and why does he spell his name in such a stupid way? I smell hippie. Ssssssss.
M: Sssss what?
E: That’s my hippie scaring noise. I grew up in a den of them.
M: Oh god.
E: I am fearful already. WHAT? What have they done to you?
M: So, the woman only ever looked at me out of the corner of my eye. HER eye. Not my eye.
E: That would just be weird.
M: Anyway, she pulled out all these creams, said “I haven’t tried most of them”, and then left me to it.
E: Er, right. ok. Stellar customer service there.
M: “I don’t want to stand over you while you’re trying them on”. Makes a change, hippie.
E: In the wrong job, hippie.
M: So, they all smelled really strong. Like someone had crushed truck loads of flowers into one tiny pot.
E: I hate that.
M: I got some samples, and made my boyfriend smell one, without telling him where it was from. He said “WHOA, now that smells like a hippie”.
E: He has a nose for hippy. Was he also raised in a commune?
E: Und the name! Who the fuck puts snail slime on their FACE?
M: THE DUTCH.
E: You know what that is, don’t you. It’s the extremely potent cannabis resin in their siroopwaffeln.
E: Oh holy mother of god. It’s actually called Snail Gel. I could not be happier. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to be happier.
M: YES! SNAIL gel. S.N.A.I.L. GEL.
E: How much is snail gel M? Because I think we have to try it.
M: You’ll find it’s a very reasonable £20.45. BUT it’s half price at the moment.
E: Oooooh. BARGAIN. SNAIL GEL HALF PRICE STEAL.
M: My boyfriend wanted to know if you have to use the snail as an applicator. I said I wasn’t sure.
E: On that photo, is the snail big, or is the pot small? Is it one of those GIANT snails?
M: Like an African land snail?
E: Yes. It looks like our African land snail looked before my ex decided it “would be happier outside”.
E: It was not happier outside.
M: Outside… in snail PARADISE.
E: It was,in fact very rapidly dead. And happier In A Better Place.
M: In the big Chilean snail farm in the sky.
E: Actually, De Tuinen means ‘garden’, I believe, so they are probably just bog standard Dutch snails from someone’s backyard cannabis farm. Oh, Holland and Barrett. You are Facegoop GOLD.
M: It was amazing. AMAZING. There was so, so much more. Goji berry creams. Ear candles. Aloe vera colon cleanse!
E Dutch snail goo. Is the “Holland” in their name related to Holland Holland? Because that would explain a LOT.
M: Yes, yes it would.
E: I am in London next week. I will also go on a field trip to Holland & Barrett. I will not rest until I have smeared my face in the secretions of Dutch snails. Using an actual Dutch snail to apply it.
E: The continued story of sunscreen, a tale almost as gripping as the Twilight saga. Except, not.
M: There are no werewolves in this tale. And no forbidden love.
E: So. I had none of my magical Clarins superscreen. I was in duty free with some fictitous money. Money in another currency does not count and can be spent on all manner of tawdry rubbish in airport beauty counters.
M: That’s right. Particularly if it’s Swiss (taps nose).
E: I saw a dinky, dainty little Chanel bottle of sunscreen. “Chanel Précision UV Essentiel Soin Protecteur”. A big name for such a small tube. It is pretty. It is small. It is neatly handbag sized and it is SPF 50. Win win win. I bought it.
M: Does it cost 5 gazillion CFA francs? Wait, no, that’s more like 3 centimes.
E: How the hell do you expect me to know? It’s made up money. And what happens in Geneva airport stays in Geneva airport.
M: Right. Sorry. It’s just, if I’m going to buy some sunscreen, I need it to, you know, cover my whole face. More than once. Possibly every 2 to 4 hours.
E: Well, there are 30 of your continental milliletres in there if that means anything to you. And it’s pretty liquid so that goes a long way. Anyway, you live in Scotland dude. You won’t need it more than once a year.
M: Yes, but then I SLATHER myself in the stuff. It is a form of rebellious teenage behaviour. My mother did not believe in sunscreen.
E: You’re actually trying to become Scottish, aren’t you? You WANT to look like you live in an underground burrow and eat nothing but saturated fat and cheap alcohol. Shall I tell you what it’s like, anyway?
M: Please do, while I gnaw on this sausage roll.
E: It’s ok. It doesn’t match up to my magical Clarins supersunscreen of love.
M: Uuuuugh. Really? Not soft as a goose down duvet? No high tech texture?
E: No. Pleasant texture, though less glidey than the Clarins. And although it smells nice enough going on, it soon defaults to a nagging, medical, zinc oxide smell.
M: No Swiss nurses dabbing your fevered brow with cool cloths? No tiny Cambodian children fanning your feet with peacock feathers?
E: No Swiss nurses. Not a single cambodian child fanned my feet during today’s inaugural wearing of the Chanel sunscreen. It goes on ok and it’s not greasy. I’m sure it does the job because there’s more of a sensation of coverage and it smells like sunscreen. But it’s not really making me love it. It is not working hard for its 670000 CHF.
M: Feck. Coco, Karl, or whoever is responsible for this debacle: SHAME ON YOU. Also, why did you not just buy the Clarins one?
E: That is a good question. I think I was blinded by the dainty Chanel packaging.
M: Yes. They are good at making bottles feel satisfying heavy. There is a special secret lab for this rue Cambon.
E: It’s cute. Its barely the size of 4 mini eggs. You can’t fault it for prettiness. But I’ll be going back to Clarins wonderscreen now. Well, when I have finished this. Sadly I’m not going anywhere with fictitious currency anytime soon.
E: We need to talk about water. But I am warning you, it is not good news.
M: Talking of hydration, when I was in the hippie stronghold earlier today, I saw a carton of that designer coconut water endorsed by Madonna, so I bought some. £4.49.
E: Please tell me it wasn’t for a tiny juice box?
M: No! A carton, like a normal juice carton.
E: Ok. Continue. Have you tried it?
M: Well, you know how fresh young coconut juice is basically like heaven liquified? Take a couple of clouds, a few angels, some divine sunbeams and squeeze them into a coconut husk, or shell, or whatever you call them. WHAT ARE THEY CALLED????
E: Shell! Shell is fine! Chill out.
M: Well, this isn’t like that, at all. It’s kiiiind of like that. But grey. And flat. And a bit acidic. It’s PANTS. But it’s rich in potassium. It’s Potassium-rich PANTS. I am ranting. Stupid dumb ass expensive coconut water DE MON CUL. Next time, I will wait until the real thing is at the chinese supermarket, and I will hack at it with my giant meat cleaver as I usually do. The neighbours will not be pleased. But my wallet and tastebuds will thank me.
E: I like the sound of the machete and the hacking. It’s been a long week. But the madonna juice sounds vile. Ok, my turn. I have comprehensively, totally, fallen off the water wagon today. I have had two glasses. That seems like plenty. I was losing the will to live. Action was needed. So my hydration needs today have been met by 3 cups of tea, an espresso, and a gin and tonic. Water can fuck the fuck off .
M: Hmph. I think the gin and tonic can count. The rest, no.
E: Well, I don’t even care. Fuckit.
M: It’s Friday. Fuck off Water Friday. I need to pee.
E: Water can kiss my non-Ryanair branded ass. Sorry about the experiment.
I am a failure.
M: It’s ok.
E: No, it’s not. Sorry, Facegoop. I have let you down. I have let myself down I have let water down. And I still don’t give a shit.
E: Why? What did you put on it? I’ve told you about trying to wash your face with Mr Muscle.
M: Nothing. I have gone back to a minimal, gentle routine because it is so ANGRY.
E: I wonder why it is angry? (WATER)
M: I blame all this stuff I’ve been poking for Face Goop. And Laura Mercier. And a virulent Ren mask. And Belgeland water.
E: Not the itchy nude minerals?
M: No, I have new ones that aren’t itchy and that seem to calm it down. But it’s basically super dry.
E: Strange. Verrrry strange (WATER)
M: I don’t think I realized how dry it was getting when I was cycling throughout the winter and now it is DAMAGED. It’s dry, spotty, lined, red, and it BURNS.
E: Hmmm. What miracle remedies do you have?
M: Nothing. I have NOTHING. No holy water, no tiny scientists in a tube, no elk-musk-testicle ointment. I am in pain and I have NOTHING.
E: When I was having a dry skin emergency earlier this year, someone told me to take those Imedeen capsules. She said they sound like bullshit but they really work.
M: Oh? Use them as in eat them?
E: No, dance the fucking chachacha with them. What do you think?
M: Listen, punk, sometimes people squeeze those capsules onto their faces. I have seen it. I might have some somewhere actually. I need something to tell my skin to sit down and shut the fuck up, and then to give it a nice pat on the head when it starts behaving.
E: Can I just take a moment to say water? You are shite. M is hot and burny and dry. I am spotty. And I am doing nothing else different at all. It must be the badness coming out. Turns out the badness was just fine where it was, wasn’t it, water? I’m keeping my badness next time, thanks.
M: Don’t anger the badness.
E: Yup. No good can come of this watery exorcism, as evidenced by my face from HELL.
It is supposed to be genius, but I am suspicious of it because it has patchouli in it, which is basically squeezed out hippie.
E: Essence of hippie. I knew it. Neal’s Yard. You try and make out you are like, proper, mainstream beauty industry sell outs, but scratch the surface and you are still a bunch of tofu knitting, tiger balm, incense freaks. I get possessed by the unquiet spirit of Richard Nixon every time I see one of your blue glass jars.
M: I smell white dreadlocks.
E: You don’t want to squeeze a hippie. That’s what you get when you squeeze a hippie.
M: Or how about the Weleda rose cream? Someone wanted us to test that.
E: That would probably be cheaper. Because we got told off yesterday for only testing expensive stuff.
M: Yes. £9.95. Pas mal, pas mal. But I might try the almond one instead because it is for sensitive skin. What are you going to do about your face spottiness?
E: Nothing. Ignore it.
M: That sounds reasonable.
E: I have covered it in Armani Luminous Silk and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage.
M: What happened to the magical Laura Mercier powder of fluffy kittens?
E: Yeah, that’s still good. But I was in the bathroom and the Armani was all there was to hand and it has, ‘ow you say? Coverage.
M: Coverage, innit. Hmm, looking at this Weleda again. Why do people put witch hazel in everything? Witch Hazel is EVIL. It has witch essence in it.
E: Oh? I have not had problems with Witch Hazel.
M: Pah. That is because you are 37% witch yourself.
E: Now you are just getting mean and abusive. It’s your face of fire doing that. Hey, we could ask readers for advice on your dry face.
M: SOS dry spotty skin of doom emergency! Red, hot, and burny. Grrrrr.
E: Please, Facegoop readers, help M solve her red hot dry spotty skin disaster before she hurts me. This morning she sent me a picture of a two headed kitten. I am afraid of what will happen if it doesn’t improve.
E: Our water diaries are boring, aren’t they? Almost as boring as drinking water.
M: Yes. No one wants to read the mind-boggingly dull details of our mundane existences.
E: So today, whiny water chat instead of diaries. I am not hating the drinking process quite so much, but I see absolutely NO benefits. Water is just pointless.
M: Actually, my skin is clearer this morning and I have not wanted any crap food for 3 days. No chocolate craving, no cheese craving, no ghee craving. I am also noticing a certain looseness round the lardy arse area, which may or may not be related. I may have to Weigh Myself tomorrow.
E: That is not my experience at all, and I think you are lying. I had to have a cup of tea and a Caramel in the bath last night. My body was aching for toxins. I’m just bitterly resentful that there’s no room for all the shit I would like to be eating due to the swilling gallons of water in my stomach.
M: I had steamed broccoli for lunch. STEAMED BROCCOLI.
E: I am appalled. I had a milkshake. This is working out better for you than me. No fair.
M: Also, I cleaned out my cosmetic drawer. It is tidy. Ish.
E: And you believe this to be water’s doing? Madness.
M: All I know is that I had four glasses of water before 11, and I was a flurry of activity this morning. I even sorted through my receipts, which I normally only do if someone threatens to lower me into a pit full of oversized rat-spider hybrids.
E: You are falling into the dangerous clutches of the water cult. I am sending in the cult deprogrammer with a family-sized bag of crisps. What I hate most about the Water Challenge is the way it keeps me from drinking as much tea as I would like to.
M: Well, that is because you are British, and foreign, and weird. And your blood is 87% tea. Strong tea.
E: I need pints of it to survive. PINTS. If my tea levels get any lower, I will end up in super rapid detox like a crackbaby in ER. In order to avoid that I had 2 pints this morning so there is no room for water. I have not had any. There is simply no space.
M: I could dip you in a cup of hot water if I wanted a nice comforting beverage.
E: In a normal week you absolutely could. I am dry and full of tea. I could be a new concept from Tetleys.
M: Water week is messing with my time perception. On Tuesday, I thought it was Saturday. Today, I’m convinced it’s Wednesday. WTF, WATER?
E: WTF indeed. I wake up thirsty. what the fuck is that about?
M: I always wake up thirsty. That’s just central heating, you weirdo.
E: Yeah, well I don’t. Never. And the heating is OFF. Spring has arrived in Belgeland, possibly for as long as 24 whole hours.
Basically my assessment of the Water Challenge so far is that it is a complete fucking drag. I can’t see any health or appearance benefits that would make me want to continue. However we are only halfway through.
M: Yes. You may have a last minute turnaround yet. Like a Ryan Air plane that you think is going to take off, but it doesn’t. Except in reverse. And with less advertising. And you don’t have to fear for your life.
E: That image really isn’t working, is it? I mean really? No. Apart from all the things you mention, I do not have a yellow harp painted on my arse.
M: No? You should check. Maybe you do.
E: Oh, I don’t think so. There is no way I am looking at my arse. I have been eating so much shit during water week that it has doubled in size
M: You might find it dewy, and plump, in a good way, from all the water.
E: Eewww. I don’t want to find it at all. I don’t want to look at my arse, I don’t want to drink water. What I actually want to do is sit in the sun with a very small very strong espressso. And DRY OUT.
E: Good morning M. There is something strange happening in the skies of Belgeland. A fiery orb has been sighted. We do not know what it means, but we are very afraid.
M: I don’t think we have one of those in Scotchland. What colour is it?
E: Sort of grey, actually. But with a tiny streak of yellow. And even the tiny streak of yellow is enough to BURN my celtic papery skin to dark red farmer-ness. BURN BURN BURN.
Unless I do something, soon my neck will be burny red, I will be taking an interest in motor sports and arable subsidies, and my face will be covered in freckles like something from the Dukes of Hazard. Hazzard? Whatevs.
M Whatevs. I feel I should say something about pixies, and sandpaper, and maybe acid.
E: Why do you need to talk about pixies and sandpaper and acid?
M: That’s what it feels like, when it burns.
E: Oh yes. I never get enough actual sun to get to that stage. I just go red and blotchy around the collarbones after 2 minutes exposure to the grey orb with a tiny yellow streak.
M: Something I only discovered after 5 long winters of living in Scotchland, when my skin started to transform into FREAKY PALE(R) SKIN THAT DOESN’T TAN QUITE SO EASILY
E: Oh holy fuck. Your skin is going native!
M: Yes! Soon it will be drinking buckies and eating chips with “sauce”. Mind you, it already looks like it drinks buckies and eats chips with “sauce”, but we can save that for another post.
E: Soon you will be craving cans of Irn Bru and having the life expectancy of a man in Sudan.
M: Ha! A man in Sudan would outlive me. And his skin would not burn.
E: I hadn’t thought of that. Very true. He would not need the topic of today’s post.
M: Which is what? How DO you protect yourself from this fiery orb?
E: Duh. Sunscreen. Face sunscreen. Face and collarbone sunscreen.
M: Mmm, sunscreen.
E: Obviously, I pretty much hate sunscreen, because it’s a bit like moisturiser but even more annoying, what with the crappy smell, the whiteness, the general smeariness.
M: The stickiness.
E: Yes. But. A couple of years ago I found a sunscreen I do not hate.
M: This cannot be true.
E: True. Totally totally true. In fact, I positively like it. It is in a small enough tube to put in your handbag. The tube does not misbehave and leak. It smells nice. It is very liquid and sinks straight into your skin on application.
M: Does it give you the dreaded sweaty spots of death?
E: Nope. Not a single sweaty spot of death.
M: Is it a stupidly low SPF? Like, SPF 2. Which is a bit like sticking your face in an oven.
E: No! It is SPF 40. Though I do not actually believe it can be SPF 40. it is TOO EASY. TOO TOO EASY. It is probably made from, hmmm, milk.
M: GIMME. Human milk. The human milk of embryo stem cells.
E: You know how I like stem cells. They are my weakness. Stem cells, bowls, gin, Cadbury’s Caramels, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Ok, I have lots of weaknesses.
M: OK, E, shut up and spill the beans. Because I need this sunscreen. Soon I will be visiting my mother, and it’s 46 degrees there and won’t rain for 6 months.
M: Do you put it on top of your normal cream, or instead of?
E: Oh, instead. My skin is already alarmed at getting one cream in the morning. I am a lazy asshole remember. However, because it is light and not difficult to use, I slap some on top when I go out at lunchtime into the pale belgo-sunlight to prevent FRYING and turning into a farmer called Jean-Yves.
So. The Clarins stuff is magic. I find it hard to believe it is proper SPF 40 due to its very liquid texture and ability to sink into your skin rather than sit around like a greasy, nagging irritation. But hey, I figure rather possibly fictitious sunscreen than nothing at all.
I got a bit distracted on the Clarins website and saw that they have a weekly Sensory Test Panel. I love the sound of that. I want to be on the Sensory Test Panel. I imagine they are all blindfolded and rubbing each other with cream, like something from a French arthouse film.
Day 3, still spotty. Stomach feels marginally less distended, which I attribute to the gin and tonic last night.
Conference call from home. Have glass #1 while preparing and glass #2 during. About half way through the call I am desperate, but DESPERATE to pee. I sneak into the loo with the cordless phone, hand over the mouthpiece. A girl’s gotta do, innit. The peeing is actually less disruptive to the call than the moment some time later when I get bored and click on Heatworld, leading to ear bleedingly loud pop music being unleashed on our legal discussions.
Call ends and I force down #3 and pee again before leaving the house. Charleroi – an industrial wasteland where I am heading for some species of ironic guided tour – doesn’t seem like the kind of place likely to have welcoming public conveniences on every street corner. I am seriously hampered in my mad dash to catch the train by the swilling, gurgling weight of my stomach. I am so out of breath when I reach the train I succumb to a mad coughing fit that just won’t stop. I have no water with me. Oh, cruel irony. An old lady hands me a Smint, disapprovingly.
Get a weeny bottle of water from a vending machine in Charleroi station. 1euro20! I could get a chocolate coated waffle and a packet of TUC biscuits from the same machine for less. What with that, and the 40 centimes for the ladies loo attendant, hydration is an expensive business in this country.
The urban safari through Charleroi is in fact exceptionally hard core cardiovascular trespassing, with slagheap climbing, jumping through fences and squatter dodging. I crack open my tiny bottle in the transit van, but Nicolas, the guide, makes sad eyes at me and says his mouth is “pateuse” from talking all day. I give him half.
We stop for a milkshake at Charleroi’s premier (only) mall. Nicolas, my guide, pronounces the word ‘mole’. We ask for a glass of tap water with our milkshakes which practically causes World War Three among the serving staff. A tiny half full glass appears. It has probably been spat in by Charleroi’s finest. I drink it. Between this and the half bottle, I reckon I have managed #4.
Finally home. I would actually quite like a drink, but one with a FLAVOUR, and possibly alcohol. I settle for eating all the cheese off the top of the children’s pizza and a glass of H2Blah. #5
What, more? Really? Fuuuuuuuuuck. I get stuck halfway through. Filled with nourishment ennui, I neither wish to eat, nor drink. I have prawny, vegetabley, dullness for dinner. I feel about 5 months pregnant. I limp through #6. I probably really need it after inhaling the toxic soup that is Charleroi air, but my body tells me what it actually needs is cocktail. Pints and pints of cocktail.
I think really really hard about disused factories full of rotting chemicals and decomposed pigeons and taxidermy rat kings to force myself through #8. It works.
Total: 8 (told you I was a single-minded, try hard, competitive bitch) Verdict: Why am I doing this again?
Go to hell, water lover.
Whose stupid idea was this? And why am I waking up at 6:40? Can’t be bothered with the stale water. Thankfully someone knocks me out with a soft mallet and when I come to, I am wrapped in a blanket at my desk, typing.
My mint tea makes me hack up phlegm. This is the only fluid that will pass my lips until lunchtime.
I’ve given up on doing anything productive today. I’m fairly certain sticking a hot poker into my right eye would be more fun than drinking anything, but I gulp down a glass of the transparent stuff anyway. It tastes disappointingly like water.
13:30 My Barefaced Beauty (stupid name) minerals have arrived, hallelujah! Praise be the Dark Lords of the sorting office. I spend much time sifting tiny amounts of powder out of tiny containers. Water… I have heard of it, but I’ve never seen it. Why is the powder clumping around these dry bumpy bits on my skin?
We’ll gloss over the afternoon. Shhhh.
I employ trickery by filling my glass before I’ve emptied it. In this cunning way, I go through 5 glasses in 4 hours. Bwahahahahhaha.
Total: Fuck, still 7. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE. And shut up about the mint tea not being water. Verdict: I see a trend emerging. Tomorrow, I tackle my problem head on by DRINKING IN THE MORNING.
E: Ah! A makeover! Women at a department store counter telling you you suit autumnal tones and forcing product upon you? Free gift with two purchases one must be skincare, have this pleather pochette with tiny versions of shit you’ll never use? That kind of makeover?
M: No, not at all. In this makeover, I sat on a high zebra print chair, watching a video of happy flawless American women swirling brushes over their faces. Two powdery women stared at mine, dabbing streaks of powder on me, trying to choose a colour. They looked perplexed. And I really needed to pee.
E: Of course, because of ALWAYS NEEDING TO PEE. I think there were only 4 minutes of today when I didn’t need to pee.
M: It’s weird, the mineral powderiness. It just sits there, and then it warms up and starts to go creamy.
E: Creamy is good though?
E: But it sort of covers up the badness, no? When I saw I had advanced leprosy this afternoon, the first thing I did was try and exorcise it with Laura Mercier Mineral Powder.
M: You would have made a terrible Jesus. In fact, it’s a bit like a cult. There is a leaflet, which says “Your skin will love you for this”. My skin, the perennial atheist, disagrees. With the powder on, I realized how dry it truly was. Like one of those National Geographic overhead shots of the DESERT.
E: Oh. Yes. The first time I put the Laura Mercier on it looked like that. But then I got used to it, and someone at a party told me I had NO PORES when I was wearing it, so I haven’t parted with it since. Apparently it’s all in the application and the teeny tiny quantity. Mme India Knight is going to do us a masterclass on mineral powder application soon. She has promised. Possibly in the style of an Avatar make up tutorial.
M: Lines. lines everywhere!
E: That would be all the water. Thanks for that, water, you dick, for making us look like aged crones.
M: Yeah, thanks a lot, asshole. Anyway, my face is itching now. It feels like tiny people are sticking tiny needles into my large tiny nostrils.
E: You’re not really selling this. Not that you are supposed to be. I’m just desperate for something positive in my watery misery.
M: Positive, eh? My sister said I was “glowing”.
E: That IS good. She only usually likes kittens.
M: The other sister. The one who ran around Superdrug for half an hour painting rainbow colours onto her nails. She is used to seeing me bare faced and haggard, so anything’s an improvement, I suppose.
E: Even so, let’s be positive. You got ‘glowing’. I got ‘no pores’. There’s something in this mineral stuff. I wonder if it’s one of those things that looks better on someone else? Like, you can’t see the magic when you’re wearing it yourself.
M: I look grey in the living room mirror which is normally very forgiving. Is that what you mean by magic? Grey. It’s not the best shade.
E: It’s nice for jumpers. Less so for faces.
M: Hmmmm. The counter lady gave me a sample with another colour and a tiny brush. She was weird, like some sort of Bare Minerals drone. SWIRL TAP BUFF. SWIRL TAP BUFF. DOES NOT COMPUTE. Like her brain had been scooped out and replaced with finely milled powder in a dizzying array of shades.
E: It probably has. But tiny brush! Tiny things are good. I am so positive tonight, I must be having a psychotic episode.
M: God, my face itches, I’m going to have to take this off. And her brush shed ALL OVER my coat! Tiny little hairs everywhere.
E: Oh dear oh dear. Like a nervous dog but without the unconditional love and the bed warming.
M: So. Bare Minerals: creepy evangelical desert dust that makes your face both glowy and itchy. I’ll try again with the sample but I’m not convinced.
This is day 2 of our attempt to drink eight glasses of water a day, for one whole week. Day 1
Wake up still feeling bloated, which is of course all water and nothing to do with the mountain of crap consumed yesterday. I have tea and crêpes. No water. And shout at the children. Wobble to work, feeling heavy. Is this how a hydrated, natural human is supposed to feel? I don’t believe it. You couldn’t run away from predators like this.
Work. First Glass. Blah, whatever. I don’t hate you, you’re just pointless. Look in mirror of truth – I have a spot just above my lip. It’s either water, or Crème de la Mer gel (a present! from someone who got it as a freebie! I can’t afford Crème ). I know who I’m blaming.
Feeling oppressed by the water burden ahead of me, I drink #2 standing by the coffee machine and bring #3 back to my desk. Coffee is awful. Water is awful. There is no milk in the building to make tea, only small containers of Belgian coffee creamer. Waaaa! I sneak down to a meeting I am not even attending and smuggle back 6 mini croissants, proper coffee and orange juice. This water regime is destroying me.
Drink #3 on conference call. Drink the orange juice too. Feel gross forcing more liquid into my groaning stomach, but I LIKE orange juice, dammit.
I am DYING to pee and conference call is still not finished. I bark staccato answers, dictated by my full bladder, to remaining questions. On the way back from the loo, I get #4 and ignore it. You’re not the boss of me, water.
Headache. I take a Nurofen with a miserly sip of #4.
Finish #4 and have consolation steak and chips in the canteen. No vegetables. I haven’t eaten this unhealthily for ages. This is all your doing, water.
Uninspired, I slump off to the water fountain and stand there, drinking #5. See, the secret thing about me is, I might be lazy and slatternly and half-arsed, but I really really like to WIN. I will not be beaten by this. I go into the ladies to pee, yet again. When I come out, I look in the mirror. My skin! It’s, it’s AWFUL. All the left side of my face is spotty. I have water-induced leprosy. I take #6 back to my desk, sulkily and try to mineral powder over the evidence.
#6 is almost bearable, but then, I am having a pretty shit day. Water is the least of my worries. I throw caution, and bladder control, to the winds and have #7 too. Oddly, #7 is possibly the easiest yet. I have no theories about this.
#8 is not easy. It is the thing I would least like right now. I would like something of a similar colour, but with ice, and approximately 40% proof.
Total: 8 glasses Verdict: Fuck you water, I won’t do what you tell me. Except pee. That I will do.
6:41 I wake up and take a gulp of stale water from last night’s untouched glass. I have given myself the day off but my rebellious, uncaring limbs carry me to the living room, where I sit, dehydrated, sinking deep into the dark clutches of the interweb.
I scrutinize my face in the mirror. My eyes are blood shot and my skin a ripple of grey with red patches. There’s an odd, dry area of skin developing all around my mouth. I feel betrayal mixed with resignation. I retreat.
I snap out of my browsing trance. I have managed one full glass all morning. I’m not sure how it got to me. I force down a second glass. At lunch, the leftover curry salt rush gives me the mother of all thirsts. The 3rd glass feels like a thimble. I have the strange swimming palpitations usually associated with eating a tub full of MSG.
I spend an hour making a blueberry tart in our hot, tiny kitchen. Afternoon tea is a blur of cups and saucers. There may have been a 4th glass of water involved. I lie down on the carpet. The feeble daylight pathetically pushing its way through the dirty windows makes my face hurt. I hear cruel laughter and the release of a camera shutter. I don’t care.
Against my better judgment, I head into town for a small shopping trip. I wander aimlessly round BHS, snapping pictures of paper bins, the weight of a 500 ml water of bottle in my bag making me slump in the manner of a sulky teenager. I’ve lost the will to live. I find myself sitting in the makeover chair at the Bare Minerals counter. I am laughing nervously. I need to pee.
I’m in the toilet of a drab, dismal shopping centre. This is where all hope comes to die. I drink half of the bottle in retribution.
Lemon tea with ginger at a friend’s house. I’m pretty sure it counts as water. Special water with magical properties. I end up second in a Mario Kart race, my best score ever. Lemon tea with ginger is the nectar of the Gods. My head is pounding.
Back home, the last of the bottle helps me to swallow 2 ibuprofen tablets. I inflict water torture on a handful of unsuspecting gyoza. There’s kimchi and soy sauce involved. Another glass seems inevitable.
Total: 7, probably Verdict: I spent the whole of this Tuesday thinking it was Saturday. Water is messing with my mind, like a particularly slippery brain worm.
This is day 1 of our attempt to drink eight glasses of water a day, for one whole week.
The before photo. We are not happy.
I never EVER drink water. Quite literally. I drink:
Tea. Usually the unhealthy black with milk Yorkshire Tea kind, strong enough to trot a mouse on.
A couple of Diet Cokes a week.
And that is all. I don’t even take pills with water – tea works fine. I must have been functionally dehydrated for about 6 years now, since the last time I drank water in any quantity was whilst breastfeeding my second child. Very occasionally, perhaps about once every two months, I get seized by a deadly thirst, but when I slake it I have to add Sirop de Grenadine to the devil’s beverage, or it won’t go down. I am not looking forward to the Facegoop Water Challenge. I thought it was a horrible idea, but M is persuasive*.
I take a photo of my dessicated Monday morning pre-make up face in the bathroom of destiny at work. Gross. I fill a first cup of water and drink it, alternating with coffee to take the non-taste away. One down. I need to pee. Normally I can sit at my desk all day without moving a single muscle – this is stealth exercise. I hate it already.
I try glass 2 without coffee. It makes my fillings ache. I think about the futility of human endeavour and eat an apple. This is more or less normal for a Monday.
Headache. I raid the chocolate cupboard, which involves stealing the key from my colleague’s drawer while she is in the toilet and claim two cheap and nasty Guylian “caramel” seahorses. Decide to wash my Nurofen down with water #3.
As I am hunched over the water fountain a colleague comes up. “What ARE you doing?” (see? My drinking water excites comment). I explain. “You shouldn’t drink too much if your body isn’t used to it” she says “Like those people on Ecstasy who die from drinking too much”. Great. I look forward to my brain swelling up and exploding out of my ears. Maybe this headache is the first sign?
Mini-Twix. This is supposed to be about the water, so I reckon my usual diet of trans-fatty chocolate miniatures must be continued. Controlled testing. On the back of the Twix, I manage to force down the remains of glass #3. Did I take a Nurofen? I can’t remember, but my head still aches.
13:28 After a large lunch I decide I need a muffin. NOW. I eat it. I blame water, possibly water on my brain. The experiment will be cut short it I top 20 stone. I go and get glass #4. If I check my Twitter feed as I drink, I can kid myself it’s, well, not water.
I need another Nurofen, so I go and get glass #5 to wash it down. I crack and get a coffee too. I drink # 5 while I wait for the coffee and bring #6 back to my desk. I feel bloated and I am starting to get water reflux.¬†
I force down the remains of #6. Bleugh. There will be no more water for some time.
I eat a fistful of lardons whilst preparing dinner. Salty. A good moment to force down #7. After #7 I feel I am fully justified in eating 2 fairy cakes and having an honest to goodness mug of tea. Before my dinner. What the fuck is happening to me? The children gulp down glasses of the stuff and ask for more. Weirdoes.
I have to write this stupid diary so I have the last glass. It is leftover from dinner, sitting next to me, taunting me. It is the glass that bursts the camel’s hump, or something. I feel revolting. The thought of doing all this again tomorrow makes me want to hurl.
Total: 8 glasses Verdict: The thought of starting again tomorrow makes me want to bury myself alive. In the desert.
I like water. I really do. I just forget to drink it.
I hate having to remember about it. I hate having to go to the kitchen to rummage through the piles of dishes to find a clean glass. I hate having a bladder the size of a walnut and having to go to the toilet all the freaking time. Water. Go to hell.
I get up and spend a half hour messing around on the internet. I inevitably end up having to leave the house in a mad rush, limbs flailing and laptop falling out of my bag. I manage to guzzle a half glass of last night’s stale water before rushing off, while muttering dark curses under my breath.
I buy a bottle of water at my workplace’s canteen. It’s 5 pence more expensive than a cup of tea. My body tries to trip me up in the stairs in retaliation. Twice.
I run around trying to fix things before the start of my lecture. I am hot, and a bit sweaty.The bottle sits on the table, staring at me malevolently. Can YOU fix this projector, water? No? Then STFU.
First half of lecture over. I have spent half the day talking. I’m pretty sure that’s -3.5 glasses, at least. I guzzle the water with my lunch of potato wedges and pasta sauce. Really, canteen, you are spoiling us.
I fill up my bottle in the girl’s toilet. The sign (above) says “drinking water”, but I have been reliably informed by the janitors that this may not strictly be true. Whatever. I have a challenge, janitors. A BEAUTY challenge. I take a picture in the tiny toilet mirror. Someone has scribbled “You are beautiful” on the wall next to it. I recoil in horror at the results.
Lecture finished. I have miraculously finished the second bottle of water to calm a coughing fit.
I sit here, typing up this diary, fighting off a vague headache. I’ve forced myself to drink another glass. It tasted faintly of lamb curry and banana muffin. I feel queasy. My boyfriend brings me another glass. He gets the evil eye.
Total: 5 glasses. Maybe 6 if you’re lucky. I’ll drink another glass during the night so let’s call it 7. Verdict: uuuugh
M: I have chronic moisturising deficiency syndrome. Zero discipline and a box full of half empty creams I never use. I usually walk around obliviously with crackly, itchy, flaky crocodile skin. And yet I must have this, because someone on the interweb said it made their skin plump and dewy and they couldn’t stop touching themselves after using it. I want to be that body butter perv. I NEED to be that body butter perv.
E: Plump and dewy. That makes you sound like a seal. I would check the smell before you buy, because it might actually be blubber. A seductive blend of carrots and blubber. However I have also heard good things about the Yes To Carrots. So I say Yes to the Yes to the Carrots. Or something.
2. A haircut £50 or whatever the demon spawn are charging these days
M: I have long, thick, unruly hair that tries to smother me in my sleep. I also hate going to the hairdresser’s. They are a vicious, manipulative, extortionist breed with a deep rooted hatred of curly hair. It’s probably been about a year since my last torture session haircut, which means I now look like an 8 year old hippy. I had high hopes of getting my hair cut this Easter in Singapore, where I once had the most awesome dry cut ever from a hairdresser who barely spoke a word of English, but the trip’s been cancelled. Bollocks.
E: Haircuts. Believe me, it’s a heap more scary when your hair lives on a stand in the bathroom and DOES NOT GROW BACK. I love my hairdresser (John Vial at Real Hair , considerably more than £50 but worth it for the gossip alone), but even he is fallible, and I have been surreptitiously trimming the last one with the kitchen scissors for weeks to get rid of the slightly mullety effect at the back. I actually love going to the hairdressers. You get magazines and hot beverages and scurrilous gossip. M, what kind of person can only cope with getting their haircut in SINGAPORE? You are a weirdo. Get a fucking haircut. The end.
M: For my birthday last year, E. gave me a lovely Chanel Précision eyroller thingy that is wonderful for depuffing and refreshing eyes after a long session of obsessive compulsive stats checking on the computers. This version has concealer mixed in. Yay.
E: I am also in thrall to the roller. Mine is YSL Somethingorother. It is cool and lovely and lives, mysteriously, on the bathroom floor. We will speak of it at some point. All hail to the rollers.
M: My sister the actress slash model wears this, so naturally I covet it like any self respecting younger sister would: with seething bitterness and bile. It’s a pretty shade of pinky red that will look lovely and polished on summer skin.
E: Ha! Summer skin. Are you ‘avin a larf, M? I don’t even know what that is. Does it look good with blue? Bluey grey? Morgue tones? No? Ok, you keep it.
M: I am pretty rubbish at applying makeup (50% clumsiness, 50% can’t be bothered), and find fat pencils much easier to cope with. This is a sheer, glossy, moisturising version of my favourite Nars velvet matte lip pencil. I want one of each. Apart from the purple one. That one can go away. It’s not wanted here.
E: The names are wrong. The purple one should definitely be called Crime. Lip Crime. Apart from that I approve. Go ahead.
6. Urban decay eyeshadow primer potion £11.50
M: There’s a small, hidden bathroom on the third floor of my workplace that gets a huge amount of natural daylight. It has this tiny mirror that never fails, in the glorious afternoon sun, to make me gasp at the sight of my oily, crêpy, smudged, pockmarked face. The interweb confirms this potion is good at “creating smooth lids that are super powered eyeshadow magnets”. The interweb is always right.
E: Oh man, that sounds exactly like the Toilet of Truth at my workplace. I have to shut my eyes when I go in there to avoid the crushing evidence of my mortality and chins, which has occasionally caused awkwardness. “Super-powered eyeshadow magnets”. Please get this M and we can test it. I will hold pots of eyeshadow 30cm from your eyes, and we will test just how magnetic they actually are. But only for a laugh, because I don’t believe in it. Not for a second. Does it have wheat protein and ions and nanoparticles? No. Well then. It can’t possibly work.
7. Nars Cruising lipstick £17
M: ‘Mr’ ‘Nars’, guapito, I have better things to do with my time than to lust after your pretty nude lipstick. No? Oh. Fine. Gimme one. And I’ll take one of those Alhambra eye duos while I’m at it. NOW LEAVE ME ALONE.
E: Get me one too before you go. However, Cruising? Really? Dude, call it ‘anonymous shag behind a tree’ and have done with it.
M: This terrifies and fascinates me in equal measure. Not exactly cheap, but it uses lasers and space pixies to remove your leg hair for up to 12 weeks. I’m pretty sure I would give up on this after about 15 minutes, but I still want it.
E: Another sci-fi choice from M. Space laser pixies. That’s got to sting, no? I am putting on my smug, hairless face here. For £300 you should have beautiful Brazilian ladyboys stroking your leg hair off, not a small eletrical appliance.
9. Guerlain Midnight secret £58.00
M: The midnight secret is that I may have accidentally surreptitiously stolen some of this from E’s bathroom when I visited her last month, but you have no proof against me. Apart from the glowy translucence of my cheeks. It’s amazing and a full review will be posted here soon.
E: It is amazing. It smells good. It makes you feel like Audrey Hepburn. I have to resist using it every night. I mean, I function with a permanent sleep debt due to taking my laptop to bed with me every night. That’s exactly what Guerlain had in mind, right? Not parties and shit. Right? RIGHT? Sob.
M: Still on the lookout for a weightless foundation that won’t break me out, I continue to be slowly brainwashed by all the mineral foundation love out there. I don’t really want to try the Laura Mercier because she is out to get me. Barefaced Beauty’s powder has just four ingredients in it, no evil bismuth oxychloride , and a carefully thought out colour range. I ordered samples of this recently, but the bastard postman still hasn’t delivered them. Where’s my magic powder, postman? HUH?
E: The postman is wearing your powder. Look closely the next time you see him and check his face. Poreless, flawless? He’s got your Barefaced Beauty.
E: Because it’s a pen you draw on your face with. Usually I am wiping the pen OFF the faces. I want a turn. Also, it looks cute and it’s a stain and not a lipstick, what with my Condition (Pervasive Lip Colour Fear Syndrome). I want to branch out into something a bit fresher and pinkier and I thought I might be able to cope with this.
M: Ooooh! It’s lovely. They should sell them in multi-packs, like felt tip pens.
2. Serge Lutens – L’Eau
E: I think this is an emperor’s new clothes scenario. I like it because it’s Serge Lutens who is like a druid of perfume, and one of those demented genius types and also because there’s a whole concept and years of scent boffin thought gone into it. This, according to Magda in Selfridges, is your ‘day off’ fragrance. ”It’s an anti-perfume” says Mr Lutens, who seems to have been smoking the carpet again “A breath of pure mountain air”. I didn’t meet him in Selfridges, sadly. It’s not supposed to be a fragrance at all, or some such bollocks. It’s supposed to just smell clean. It does smell clean, that’s for sure. Cleaner than anything in my house, any of my clothes, cleaner than me. Cleaner than I have EVER BEEN. It smells of Persil and OCD. But for some reason I want it. Want want want. Maybe I just want to be clean for once? I tried it a couple of weeks ago, walked round thinking ‘eew, that smells like washing powder” all afternoon, then spent the evening and the next day obsessing about how I could get my hands on some more. So whatever he put in there definitely works. Catnip for humans.
Man, trying to find the price for this, I have had to read a shitload of florid bollocks. Fragrance writers and parfumiers are loons. The end.
M: I passed out after the word “perfume”. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
3. Serge Lutens – Sa Majesté La Rose
E: I tried this on at a friend’s house and now I want it. It’s not an intimidating, complex, bottom notes of foxes arse, scent. It just smells of roses, innit. Proper fat roses that you want to shove your whole face into.
M: Getting a headache just from reading this. Next.
E: I read about this recently and it sounds like the biz. It smells of roses and it’s a body exfoliant. Two excellent points in its favour if you are me. It’s made of ground up rose thorns, which just sounds ace, if painful.
M: The packaging makes me want to eat macarons. I’m not sure that’s really going to help with body smoothness.
E: £100, but there is a VIDEO. About a woman who lost 4 inches on her stomach with this stuff. That’s incendiary for me. I just have to have it. I spent a long time staring at it in Printemps Beauté at New Year, but I was with M and she wouldn’t let me buy it. Bitch.
M: I don’t remember that. But I do love the title of the product page in my browser: “Tummy Tuck, Boob Job, Slimming – Reduce Cellulite”. Classy, Rodial.
E: I just want to believe in this. Want, NEED to believe it works. I was the person who bought Stri-Vectin to use for its original, anti-stretchmark application. Nah, didn’t make a blind bit of difference, and I doubt this would either, but I love the Nip/Tuck style inflated claims, semi-hysterical testimonials, packaging and glossy Miami arses on the website.
E: I have wanted this stuff for a good year without ever managing to get it, and now I want it even more. I particularly like how it says on the website “OFFICIALLY CHOSEN TO BE FEATURED AT THE 2010 OSCARS CELEBRITY RED CARPET GIFT EVENT”, a phrase which seems to contain several words too many. Does this mean Jeff Bridges got some in his goodie bag? That pleases me no end. ALT is famous for its claim to make your cellulite disappear in NINE MINUTES. It’s the big daddy of nonsensical cellulite creams, and for that I love it. Also note the reassuring qualification “Not using human stem cells”. Er, good?
M: E would totally steal your stem cells if she could. Watch out.
What’s on your wish list? Gratuitous spring lamb photo by RATAEDL.
E: Yes. I expect people are probably already bored. We should try and incentivise them. What are we giving away?
M: I have a spare lip product to give.
E: Tell me about it.
M: It’s No 7 Protect and Perfect lip care. The neglected child of the no 7 family.
E: I don’t think I’d want to be a member of the No.7 family. That fucking serum is like the pushy, show off genius child of the family and noone gives a shit about anyone else. Everyone has to tiptoe around the diva serum. Boots are really bad parents in that respect. Where did you get this lipcare thing? You didn’t steal it did you?
M: No, no! Why on earth would you suggest that?
E: Erm, no reason. No. None at all. Did you adopt it? From the No. 7 orphanage for unwanted cosmetic children?
M: Yes, from the No. 7 orphanage-stroke-factory in Romania.
E: Did you have to fight Angelina for it? Back off, bitch. Step away from the lip care.
M: What I want to know is what happened to no 5 and no 6. Actually, they are so desperate to get rid of their unwanted child cream they give you these vouchers for £5.
E: Oh yes, I know that of which you speak. They hand them over at the till don’t they, while reciting the Boots Mantra:
M: Yes, everyfuckingtime. Buy a bottle of water? HAVE FIVE POUNDS OFF. Pack of tic tacs? FIVEPOUNDSOFF. You can spend it on one of the cheaper no 7 children. Or on something called “Ruby and Millie”, which is just sticky crap.
E: Ruby and Millie. It’s sounds like a Clapham nursery school, doesn’t it?
M: Stop saying strange British things, I no understand. The £5 voucher just serves to make you realize how cheap this stuff really is.
E: Very VERY cheap.
M: Probably costs 10p to make.
E: They’d give it away at the door if they thought it would bring you back for more 3 for 2 vitamins.
M: Or a meal deal.
E: Have you actually tried this stuff? Cos we can’t give stuff away if we haven’t actually tried it. We have standards.
M: Ahahhahahahhahaha. No we don’t. But I have tried it.
E: And? my lips need care. All of me needs care, but we could start with the lips.
M: Everyone’s lips need care. It comes in a thin juicy tube sort of tube:
E: Like its bullying older sibling, the serum?
M: Well, duh. White. Pearlescent. PLAIN.
E: Ok gotcha. CHEAP.
M: When I first opened it, I though uuuugh, thanks a lot, Boots.
E: Why? Is it thin and dribbly?
M: I was expecting a lip balm, but instead yes, thin and dribbly. Like a lotion or a cream.
E: Like the “magic” serum?
M: No, different texture. More firm somehow. And yet still gloopy.
E: I don’t really like the sound of thin and dribbly. They aren’t words I want near my lips.
M: Well, I persevered, and after 4 days it did really smooth out my super-cracked-cycling-in-the-winter-with-no-balaclava-lip-skin. I didn’t want to like it, but now I spend 10 minutes every night trying to find the fucking thing, so I don’t wake up with lizard lips.
E: Brrrrrr. Lizard lips. I haz em. I have a tube of lipbalm actually IN my bed – one of the ones made by orcs – but it’s shit. I find most lip balms to be shit.
M: On the downside, I don’t really like it in the morning. And it says it’s a good base for lipstick, but I find that to be a LIE. A No. 7 lie. Perpetrated by the No. 7 matrons.
E: No. 7 lies are couched in a thin dermal layer of science.
M: Thin. So thin.
E: Percentages. Graphs. Confidence trickery. BELIEVE US WE ARE BOOTS WE WOULD NOT LIE TO YOU.
M: WE ARE PHARMACISTS. PHARMACISTS ARE BASICALLY LIKE VICARS.
E: Pharmacist is one of those professions we implicitly trust. Priest. Doctor. Undertaker. Pharmacist. Whereas in fact, they are more like dodgy boiler repair men, at least when they start dabbling in skin care.
M: However, and this is a significant plus, the No. 7 Lip Care has LIPO PEPTIDES in it. Which makes me laugh.
E: Lip peptides
M: What the fuck is a peptide, anyway?
E: I think you get them in jam. Don’t you make jam with peptides?
M: Probably. So, basically, No 7 lip care: it’s like tasteless liquid jam for your lips. Made by vicars and orphanage matrons. And we are giving one away for free! A brand new one! that hasn’t even come near our thin dribbly lips!
E: TOTALLY FREE and in TAMPER PROOF PACKAGING. Perhaps.
M: 100% PURE PEPTIDE ACTION
E: To you, all four of you Facegoop readers! No, actually that’s a lie. Only to one of you. I am as bad as a pharmacist with my lying, cheating, worthless promises.
M: So what do they have to do to get this?
E: Tell us a lipbalm story.
M: Leave a comment saying what your favourite or most disastrous lip balm purchase is. We will pick one based on PURE BIAS.
E: Yes, none of your randomised selection here. We choose the one we like best.
M: Warning: we play favourites and we DO love some of you more than others.
E: Is that legal? Who knows. Who cares.
M: We can do whatever we want.
E: It’s our lip jam. RAWR.
E: So. Leave us a comment saying something about lip balm. Before the 21st of March. And you might win one. Fancy.
Boots no 7 Protect & Perfect lip care, available from, errr, Boots.
£8.75 (or £3.75 if you have a magic voucher. Look! maths!)
M: The Legendary Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser. Revered by beauty editors and makeup artists.
E: Sung of in heroic ballads by wandering minstrels.
M: Tell me what it does.
E: Well. Mainly it disappears. You put some on your hand, what looks like a decent blob. Then you put it on your face and instantly the texture changes and sort of dries, magically and there is nothing there. Nothing. Your face looks better, though. Undeniably. But I am weirded out by the disappearing.
M: It does have a lovely texture. Like, jelly meets marmalade, but non-sticky. It’s kind of, plump?
E: Plump but dry. I think I like it.
M: I think it’s responsible for the current explosion of what the FUCK all over my face.
E: Oh no.
M: On me, it becomes evil spot creating venom of DEATH. It makes my face 50% sweaty, 50% angry teenager. I mean, I wanted to like it. I really did. I wanted to love it. It’s either the Laura Mercier or the Belgian water.
E: Pff, Belgian water is TOTALLY safe. That chemical spillage was a one off. It’s the Sauce Américaine for frites you have to worry about.
M: I’m just glad I got a sample before spending 15 gazillion pounds on this tube of snake venom.
E: Ha. I spent the 15 gazillion, of course. And now I can’t even remember when, or why, or where. I go into a fugue state when I enter beauty halls, and come to an hour later with a metallic leatherette quilted washbag filled with blue eyeshadows and fifteen irate voicemails from HSBC.
M: The sales assistant squirted it into a tiny pot for me. Look, cute!
E: Ooooh. Teeny tiny Polly Pocket make up.
M: Gaaah. I can’t open the fucking thing. Ah! And now I’ve got it all over my keyboard! my Laura Mercier is cursed. CURSED I TELL YOU.
M: Whiiiiiiiine. I want to be able to use it. Maybe I should try the non oil-free version.
E: Ok, I have put some on, and I am going to look at myself in the cold light of belgo-day.
E: Hmm. Christ, I look miserable. AND I hate my nostrils. There’s nothing you can do about weird shaped nostrils. Cosmetics are helpless in the face of them.
M: Good thing I photoshopped them out, then.
E: But yeah, it’s actually pretty good. Even. A bit glowy. Laura Mercier is stealthily making inroads into my makeup bag and with results like this, I can see why.
M: She’s crafty like that.
E: Despite the fact I don’t like the packaging at all. Brown and beige? Bleurgh.
M: I quite like it. It’s medicinal.
E: That’s your French side coming out. It’s dull.
M: Says the woman who wears nothing but shapeless black sack dresses. What’s wrong with beige?
E: Meh. It’s just crap. Those fleshy colours all are.
M: Because you are pale ghostly white.
E: Yes. It shows me up for the walking cadaver I am. Do you think Laura Mercier is making me pull those gloomy, Checkovian faces? Or is that my natural expression?
M: No comment. Do you wear it regularly?
E: Well. I do like it. But it lives in my bathroom and not my make up bag, which is a sign I don’t totally love and depend on it. It’s not what I use on weekdays, but at weekends, when I’m brushing my teeth, I might put a bit on if I’m feeling fancy. I have to be feeling pretty fancy to get around to brushing my teeth.
M: In conclusion then. Laura Mercier – lots of hype. Disappearing act on the skin. Glowy on some, snake venom on others. The jury is still out.
E: I actually think I should wear it more often. Who needs to look cheerful when you can look glowy?
M: Oh shut up, Anton.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer £15 gazillion £32 from Space.NK amongst others
M: I mean Nars? François Nars? That’s a fake name.
M: Ha! FAKE. That’s totally photoshopped.
E: Nars. Not a real name, and a face cobbled together from back issues of National Enquirer.
M: It’s Tom Cruise’s hair, with Justin Timberlake’s beard.
E: And the rest of him is some Spanish dude. Joaquim Cortez maybe.
M: In any case, the giant, faceless corporation behind “Mr Nars” is a GENIUS. A TOTAL GENIUS.
E: Yes, who cares that he’s made up. “Mr” “Nars” is BRILLIANT.
M: “Mr” “Nars”, we love you. Proper love.
E: Proper, no mockery, even though you are made up, love. Your black eagle is Amazing. Not remotely sharp or pointy.
M: I mean, eyeliner, in a giant, soft pencil, with smouldering, golden shimmer.
E: Retard proof too.
M: Yes. You can rub it all over your face with no ill effect.
E: Maybe not on your upper lip? It might not look so good there.
M: Sssssh. It would, if you were trying to look like “Mr” “Nars”. We should also mention that Aigle Noir is of course the title of a famous French song.
E: In this version, Maurice Béjart dances a homage to fat eyeliner crayon.
M: He understands the importance of eyeliner.
E: He does. So much so, that I find myself wondering if that isn’t actually François Nars dancing.
M: What is the woman? Is she the eye? Lesser eyeliner? £2.95 “Collection 2000″ eyeliner?
E: Yes. She should stop pretending she has wings.
M: And why are those people carrying giant triangles? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Do they symbolize the Q tip coming to clean up the smudges?
E: You don’t really get that problem with aigle noir though, do you? I am a bit disturbed by the tiny wing claps at 3’10. Awful.
M: Awfully GOOD.
E: It’s like he’s seen a vole he wants to eat.
M: THAT’S what she is. She’s a vole! And the triangles are the beak.
E: Aigle Noir makes us elegant and regal for one brief moment. That is why it is awesome.
M: Yes. A brief fleeting moment, it’s gone, like an eagle soaring in the heavens above. Why is “Mr” “Nars” making me write bad emo poetry?
E: All part of his evil plan, probably.
M: No. He isn’t evil. He doesn’t have an evil bone in his made up body.
E: Ok, it’s all part of his benign plan.
M: He just wants us to be beautiful. Even though we’re rubbish at being girls.
E: He’s the Gok Wan of make up.
M: Yes! With less gropage.
E: Facial grope would be weird, anyway.
M: He makes magic pants. For faces.
E: How do you wear yours, M? That’s a Cadbury’s Creme Egg reference, of course.
M: I usually start out trying to wear it as eyeliner. But then I fuck it up, so I smudge it all over my lower lid. Sometimes I put it on the outer corners of my lashline and smudge it outwards. That’s it.
E: The eagle is very forgiving. I put my proper eyeliner on first. Then I give it a bit of eagle just above the lash line. Then I blend a bit. Then sometimes I get carried away and put it all over the lid. I love how easy it is. Easy and greasy and sexy.
M: It’s a bit too thick to control, isn’t it? But that’s the genius of it.
E: Yes. That’s what makes for the general smudgy, sparkly gorgeousness.
M: So. Aigle Noir. Made by a faceless corporation hiding behind a photoshopped image and a made up name, but completely brilliant.
E: Yup. “Mr” “Nars”. You made us feel like laydeez. Thank you.
Today we are discussing Giorgio Armani Sheer Lipstick. Because that’s how we roll. Yes, we do have jobs actually. Shut up.
E: I tell you what’s weird.
E: Mr Armani. I mean, he looks like the exhumed remains of Ramses II, but he absolutely rocks at cosmetics. Not only that, but Mr Ramses Armani has no lips, yet his sheer lipstick is awesomeness in an ergonomic tube. I mean, props to him for his contribution to human happiness, but what the fuck is that about?
M: I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have any skin either. He’s 100% lizard, like in V.
E: The boring kind. My memory was dulled by muesli malnutrition, probably. Mr Ramses Armani is like a brown, brown, lipless space lizard.
M: Yes, but Italian. Can we get back to lipstick?
E: Yeah, so. Armani lipstick is good because it is not actually lipstick.
M: What is it?
E: It’s lipstick for wimps. People who are scared of lipsticks.
M: That’s a condition?
E: Yes. Because I have this Chanel lipstick and it scares me. You put it on, and look at yourself and suddenly it’s all CLOWN MOUTH! OMFG I AM WEARING LIPSTICK.
M: Yes. And you have to blot it and constantly check it isn’t on your teeth.
E: And it leaches all the moisture out of your lips, leaving you with your lips sloughing off like a reptile.
M: Always back to the reptiles. You know what else is nice about it?
M: The click when you close the lid. And the soft, ergonomic shape. It’s like one of those space chairs in lipstick form. It’s SPACE LIPSTICK.
E: Hmm. I think the click could be more clicky. Because when I have mine in my handbag the lid comes off, and the tube fills with sand and biscuit crumbs and spoons and more sand.
M: That doesn’t happen to most people.
M: No. They keep it in a tiny shiny clutch, with maybe a black Amex card and a button to call their bodyguard.
E: No shortbread fingers?
M: Are shortbread fingers Armani? NO.
E: I suppose not. Which colour do you have?
M: I don’t know. It makes your lips all berry and shiny and hydrated. And I can apply it blindfolded without looking like I’ve just snogged a lamp post. What do you have?
E: 5. And sometimes 21. They are browny reddish and discreet and do not frighten horses. I am very fond of horses and would not like to frighten them. The Chanel lipstick would definitely frighten horses. Probably men too, but I never meet any of those.
M: Ha, look at their website!
The colours are spectacularly inaccurate. And I was right. The model is definitely from space.
E: There’s something veerrrry creepy about the way she has a black band across her mouth before you choose her lipstick colour. Also, if you choose 9, it gives her blue lips, like she’s in chronic heart failure.
M: Yeah, it’s terrifying.
E: Yours must be 8 I think, but it seems to suggest you are Malibu Barbie.
M: Malibu Barbie is totally Mr Armani’s mistress.
Actually, it's no. 6
E: What do you think they are made of? Truffle oil?
M: Truffle oil and liquefied oyster for the silkiness.
E: And hmmm. Papal vestments?
E: 20% white truffle oil from Mr Armani’s space orchard, 30% the silky insides of oyster shells, 25% papal robes and 25% magical space particles.
M: Hmmm. I think we have established that Mr Armani is a mummified space lizard, but what I don’t understand is why he has come to earth to offer us his cosmetics. Is there some kind of nefarious plan behind it?
M: Oh yes. Céline has a tail. It keeps the Armani counter floor nice and shiny.
E: Does she keep it in her regulation black nylon slacks?
M: Yup. She tucks it in there when it’s not needed.
E: So, in conclusion, Armani sheer lip colour. It’s basically DNA theft by a space lizard, but we’re ok with that, because it’s nice and sheer, good wearable colours and doesn’t frighten large mammals. Right?
M: Why not.
Mr Armani does not want you to know how much his sheer lip colour costs, but it’s available from Jenners and Selfridges.
E: This should come with a health warning, because it’s actually a narcotic, not a beauty product. Do not operate heavy machinery or combine with alcohol on pain of death. It should be prescription only. And kept in the locked cupboards at the back of pharmacies that the junkies try and raid in gritty films. With the methadone and whatever.
E: Actually, what am I saying, it shouldn’t even be legal. It’s like roofies. You lose all muscle control, all free will. I bet heroin is exactly like this. Maybe less potent. Twenty minutes in a bath of this stuff, and you feel like all your bones have been removed. Probably one of your kidneys too.
M: A plague of Elemis upon you and your kin.
E: Have you been drinking it? Don’t drink it. What kind of crazed thrill-seeker are you?!
M: (dreamily) I once had a flatmate whose girlfriend worked in a spa. She was very fond of Elemis, so there was an unlimited supply of Super Soak and I could use it whenever I wanted.
E: I am surprised you ever managed to move out. Out of the Elemis CRACK DEN. I can imagine you all lying around, never moving, taking bath after bath after bath, the air a heavy fug of juniper and and clove and lavender. Filthy junkies.
M: It was the flatmate who spent a lot of time indoors. And liked to polish the kitchen cupboards.
E: He had a girlfriend? Impressive. There’s hope for us all.
M: He ALWAYS had girlfriends. He once broke his penis on a girlfriend and ran around the flat screaming.
E: Eh? Are you kidding me? Is that a thing? How the FUCK? HOW CAN YOU BREAK A PENIS?
M: There’s a ligament or something. There was blood and screaming. Apparently it’s very painful. I was in my room thinking WHAT THE FUCK.
E: Oh my god. I feel a bit sick now. Well, if you will live with Elemis smackheads in an Elemis squat, this kind of thing is going to happen.
M: Where IS my fucking Elemis?
E: You’ve spent your giro on Elemis again, haven’t you?