E: What’s the hurry? We haven’t posted since dinosaurs roamed Space NK, remember. Actually who are you?
M: WE ARE LATE FOR HERBOLOGY CLASS.
E: You’ve lost me.
M: Professor Sprout will kick our arses.
M: For god’s sake, Ron. I am doing a whole Harry Potter-Herbology thing. Keep up.
E: Oh. I have never read Harry Potter. I fail Herbology.
M: Which is ironic, as Herbology has not failed us.
E: You speak truth.
M: We have definitely failed it though. They sent us a huge package of stuff weeks and weeks ago and we still haven’t reviewed it.
E: Oh god. It’s true.
M: BAD BEAUTY BLOGGISTS. BAD.
E: Probably the worst beauty bloggists in the history of beauty bloggism.
M: It’s ok, we’ll say we were intensively testing it.
E: Which has the added advantage of being TRUE. And god knows, the poor Herbologists had their work cut out.
M: Our craggy, craggy, traumatised winter faces have tested Herbology like it has never been tested before.
E: Winter has been cruel, like something out of Game of Thrones (which I have also not read) and I have reverted to my natural state: half Medieval peasant, half badger.
M: Winter has Come. Harsh. Bitter. Windswept. And Elemental Herbology was here to keep the… bad stuff at bay. I think we’re just going to have to say it, E. WE LOVE ELEMENTAL HERBOLOGY.
E: I thought I would never love again. Yet here we are. Giddy. De-badgered.
M: I fell in love almost immediately. There was the giddy hyperventilation of opening up a care package of heavy glass jars. The sweet sweet smell of herbal whatever goes into it. The comfort of the duvet like textures. Shall we go through the products before our readers lose the will to read?
E: There aren’t any readers, M. We last updated our blog in 1896. But sure, let’s talk about cleanser into the howling void. The “Purify and Soothe” cleanser is excellent. Eve Lom-esque, but lighter. Nice camomile scent.
M: It was actually the product I liked the least. Mostly because I drunkenly managed to make the tube burst.
E: Eh? How the fuck did you do that?
M: I DO NOT KNOW. I WAS DRUNK. The balm was cold and I squeezed really hard.
M: Also, I find it a bit hard to remove.
E: You were probably drunkenly trying to wash your face with Windolene, or E45 cream. I like the texture because I am not a drunk.
M: It’s lovely. A very fine oily balm. What about the “Cell Active Rejuvenation” day moisturizer?
E: Easily absorbed. Soft and moisturising but not greasy. Nice bronzey cylinder like something you’d get at an awards ceremony.
M: Rose gold, I would call it.
E: Sure, whatever, tubesplitter.
M: This is the one with the hilarious french translation. “Creme du jour defroissante et raffermissante”. How would you translate defroissante?
E: Ha. “Uncreasing?”
M: Yes. Uncreasing and firming cream of the day.
E: Google Translate abuse: NEVER NOT FUNNY.
M: I like it. I was getting this weird rash on my limbs from the abhorrent cold a few weeks ago. Horrible itchy bumps all over my hands and arms and legs, but my face was fine, protected by the magic of Elemental Herbology.
E: Good. Moving on to the serum.
M: The serum is… good. Serumy.
E: And we wonder why we haven’t hit the big time yet. “Serumy”. Fucking hell. I haven’t really used the serum yet because I am finishing an expensive REN one a persuasive man made me buy.
M: It does nothing bad. I’m not sure if it does anything good. It is supposed to help congestion, but the traffic around Hackney Central was terrible this morning. BADOOM TISH.
E: I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that, M. The night moisturiser? “Facial Souffle” (great name)?
M: I think this is my favourite thing. It’s like pressing a delicious tiramisu onto your face. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
E: I agree. It left me smooth and unscaly, whilst unlike tiramisu, it did not give me a double chin.
M: I do not feel ready for bed until I put it on.
E: It’s your creamy comfort blanket.
M: It is. And it does not bring out the facial pox, though it is wonderfully hydrating. Full marks, Herbologists. The other thing that is awesome is the facial peel. Put it on, leave it for four minutes, towel off, go to bed. Wake up with baby soft skin. It’s replaced Liquid Gold in my exfoliating affections.
E: It’s a winner. Light, non-irritant, very effective. After using it I wake up … not looking like a badger’s arse for once.
M: So we’ve covered the good, E. It is good. Very very good. All of it. Mad props, Elemental Herbology. Shall we mention the bad?
E: We are fearless in the pursuit of truth. Or is that cheese? It might be cheese.
M: HOLY MOTHER OF SWEET BALONEY ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THOSE PRICES?!?!??!
E: £44 for the night cream of joy. It would be cheaper to employ someone to caress my face with asses milk all night.
M: To be fair, it will last an eternity. I have used it every night for the past 2 months, and barely used a third.
E: I hope you’re not about to start spouting some “cost per wear” bullshit.
M: Hell no. But .. you know.
E: I do, but my inner Calvinist disapproves. Can I mention the hilarious patent stuff on the tubes?
M: Oh do. I have not noticed it. I was too busy being IN LOVE WITH THE PRODUCTS.
E: The packaging is CRAMMED with details of the many patents and patents pending in proprietary Herbology formulas. Frankly, it terrifies me. If my legal training serves me…
M: Uh oh. They’ve unleashed the IP lawyer in you.
E: … I suspect we are not even allowed to say the word “herb” any more, any of us. As we speak, the herbologists’ lawyers are running round Tescos slapping injunctions on the basil.
Yes. I need to issue one of our famous Facegoop Legal Warnings. Facegoop Legal Warning: Do not even try and say the word “herb” or “element” anymore. Step away from that bouquet garni. Science teachers: cease and desist.
M: E, I am not listening to you. I am too busy looking at their website. There are other products, E. OTHER ELEMENTAL HERBOLOGY PRODUCTS. Millions of them. Stuff for the body. Stuff for the face. OH GOD I WANT IT ALL.
M: I know, but this is pure goodness. I read about it on Beauty Mouth. Do you know this blog?
E: Nope. In my spare time, I read Proust*.
M: It is run by Caroline Hirons, who is a facialist. This means she is a face expert.
E: Thanks for clearing that up.
M: She has a thing called the Thursday clinic where people can go and ask questions. It makes for addictive reading, like looking through someone’s dirty underwear drawer, or picking at a scab. Disgusting behaviour, basically. (who keeps their dirty underwear in a drawer?)
E: I am not judging. I wore a length of used dental floss on my glasses for an hour this morning without even noticing.
M: Anyway, she recommends this Emma Hardie Moringa Balm as the best cleanser ever ever ever.
E: “Moringa”, eh?
M: It sounds like a greeting.
E: Yes!Hawaiian perhaps.
M: “Moringa, Mma. Have you slept well?”. Let’s get back to the balm.
E: If you insist.
M: I’ve never been very lucky with balms. Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish? EYE STINGING FACE STRIPPING RUBBISH. Karin Herzog professional cleansing whatever it was called? EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE SWEET SMELLING VASELINE.
E: The lawyer in me feels a disclaimer coming on here, but I will ignore the impulse. How about Eve Lom? What litigious complaints do you have about her?
M: Never tried. Isn’t it full of mineral oils or something?
E: Sigh. I quite like it. ANYWAY. Your balm block has been broken, presumably ?
M: Yes. This one smells amazing. Like a spring of blooming orange trees. And it comes in a heavy glass jar, which is always pleasing. AND it feels lovely when you spread it on to your face. Like… goose fat. Sweet smelling goose fat.
E: Soft, delicious, full of French paradoxes.
M: I wonder if you could roast potatoes in this. It is a multitasker.
E: You want orange blossom scented potatoes? You are depraved.
M: You can use it as a mask or intensive moisturiser when things get dryyyy. Dry like the Arizona desert.
E: And what does it actually do to your face, M?
M: Smooth. Clear. Not angry, not monkey. Anything that will make my face look like this, has my undying loyalty, E.
E: I see. I bet it’s really dear, isn’t it?
M: Yes, kind of. £34 in the shops. I got mine for £26 off Ebay.
E: Hmmmm. “Spendy”, as the people would have us say.
M: Well. I think one pot would last for a couple of months. I only use it in the evening, after a quick wipe of La Roche Posay lotion.
E: Who is this Emma Hardie, anyway? She sounds like one of the Avengers. The sixties ones. Not Thor & co.
M: She might as well be. An Avenger. FOR THE FACE. Here.
She has something called “facefact workshop”. That sounds amazing. I want to be educated to do my own facial sculpting at home.
E: It seems to involve having your face flayed in the manner of the creepy German guy.
E: You know, the German guy with the hat who flays people.
M: HA. Dr German von Gunther from Small Hat-am-Rhein
E: Jah, jah, genau! Hang on, we are getting distracted. Back to balm.
M: Ah yes. So: Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural lift and sculpt Moringa cleansing balm. A facialist approved, orange blossom scented, goose fat, skin miracle.
E: Legal notice: face flaying should be part of a calorie controlled diet and can go up as well as down.
M: E, I’ve always wanted to be one of those effortlessly beautiful girls. You know the ones.
E: Yes. They don’t look like mole rats in the morning, damn them.
M: Tall, long limbs and what not. The tousled honey colored hair. The smattering of insouciant freckles
E: The radiance. Always with the radiance.
M: YES. That healthy surfer girl glow.
M: LITHE. That’s what they are, E. Radiantly LITHE.
E: We do NOT have long limbs, do we?
M: erm, no.
E: We actually couldn’t muster a long limb if we put all 8 of ours together
M:We have 8 limbs between the two of us? OH MY GOD. You know what that means, dont you E. DON’T YOU?? WE ARE AN OCTOPUS? Slurp slurp slurp. That’s the noise the tentacles make when they hold on to your face to drag you under.
E: I worry about you, M. Whatcha got in your octolimbs today for us?
M: We may not have long limbs, but I have something that might get us a bit of that healthy antipodean glow. BECCA.
E: Ah, Becca. It’s like Bondi Beach in a prettily frosted pump dispenser. Flat whites, er, wallabies, beer.. Er.. ok, I’m losing it. Help me out. It’s like a pump action baby marsupial, right?
M: Right. Soft. Fluffy. Glowy. Oh so glowy. Maybe not quite as furry.
E: I did. And I love it. But keep your voice down, because Laura Mercier is going to KILL US.
M: Oh yes, sssssh. What do you think of it?
E: It’s brilliant. It just makes me look .. better. Better than I have any right to look on my diet of vodka and hula hoops and staring at a screen for 19 hours a day. You got me so enthused I went back and got some shimmering skin perfector too because I want to glow like the gorgeously freshfaced girls on the becca counter.
M: I got the primer. We’re becoming Becca junkies.
E: Any good?
M: Yeah, it’s good shit. Like light polyfilla for your face, all the craggy bits just get smoothed away. Smoooooooooothed.
E: The skin perfector is a light, shimmering highlighter. I have “Opal”. It gives a soft glow. Small children and bunnies no longer recoil in horror when I walk past. It’s pretty damn glowy though. Only a tiny amount needed or you shine like a 1970s alien.
M: I am jealous. Jealous of the highlighting alien goodness. Does it diffuse? Like a gri gri?
E: Yes, it diffuses exactly like a voodoo accessory, yes M.
M: So. Becca. It wards off evil spirits, looks awesome, covers sallowness of skin and pockmarks, and the pump’s good.
E: What’s not to like?
M: The fact it makes you perma-shiny in a hot climate? And the price, E, the price.
E: Pfff, price, schmice. You get to look like Elle Macpherson’s hotter, erm, very much younger sister? Daughter perhaps. I DON’T KNW ANY HOT YOUNG AUSTRALIANS. RUSSELL CROWE?
E: Goop morning, M. We’ve been a bit lame recently again, haven’t we?
M: Goop morning E. Yes, we have, but a lot has happened since last we spoke. Things like: me moving back to the UK. Also: winter hitting me in the face.
E: Brrrrrr. You’d forgotten about that hadn’t you? The sleet, the icy puddles. The hail.
M: Yes. I was all “YAY! COLD!”
“I get to not have sweaty boobs any more”
“I get to see my breast mist in the cold morning air”
E: Breast mist? I think ur doin’ winter wrong.
M: Ssssssh. I mean breath.
E: If you say so. So: The Shock. He is Rude.
M: Yeah. My face. She is dry. And what did you suggest when I asked you for a moisturiser recommendation, mmmm, E?
E: I told you that I didn’t have a fucking clue, I believe. Is that right?
M: That is correct. You suggested FUCK ALL.
E: Yes, that sounds likely. I’ve been using some old chip pan fat and a dead seal, myself.
M: So I had to drag my sorry, shivering carcass to Boots. The winter wonderland of Boots.
E: Ah, sweet, sweet Boots and its five pound voucher off Ruby and Millie. I bet you missed Boots, eh?
M: Yeah, I did. Boots is marvellous. I kissed its shiny shiny floor. I kissed its balding security guards. I kissed its be-coated Clinique sales assistants. And when I had kissed everyone, I also got this moisturizer: FAB Daily Face Cream
M: FAB, I’m sorry to say, stands for “First Aid Beauty”
E: Hmm. It sounds like a 1970s ice lolly and it looks .. retro. And a little medical.
M: I can’t quite get over how lame the name is. I am tempted to go over the bottle with a black marker.
E: There is some seriously bad copy on that website. I don’t think “to scavenger” is a verb. In fact, I KNOW it isn’t.
M: No, no it isn’t. Do you know what free radicals are, E?
E: Hmmmmm I *think* they’re a bit like bad bacteria. The ones from Actimel adverts, chasing the glow off your face, like evil, tiny Mr Men.
M: Oh? To me they’re freegans who organise riots near the Sorbonne.
E: Ah. White dreads. Birkenstocks.
M: No. Repetto ballerinas.
E: Fucking French, stylish even in protest. I am tempted to assume ‘free radicals’ are bollocks, But whatevs. Your FAB can trap them if it likes.
M: It’s really a shame about the packaging and lame name and terrible copy, because FAB is, I hate to say it, fab.
E: Really? What is FAB about it?
M: It’s very moisturising, as tested against the harsh Scottish wind. It leaves my skin soft and firm, but not oily. It does not give me angry monkey face – no bumps, no redness, no spots, no nothing. In fact, I can honestly say my adult skin has NEVER looked this good. I keep on passing the mirror and marvelling at it.
E: This is astonishingly good for such a lame ass named product. If someone asks you why you look so good, say Botox, yeah? Not ‘FAB’.
M: Deal. It has all this stuff in it.
BARRIER PROTECTION: Ceramides MOISTURIZE & PLUMP: Glycerin SOFTEN & SMOOTHE: Squalane COMBAT FREE RADICALS: FAB Antioxidant Booster
… FAB Antioxidant Booster. That sounds like an item on Batman’s belt.
E: Holy free radicals, Batman. “Smoothe” is not a word. Also, what in the name of Pokemon is Squalane, M?
M: Is it crushed whale? Well, maybe squeezed whale. Like, if you milked a whale (I have no idea).
E: (I guessed. Let’s ask Dr Wikipedia). Apparently it comes from “a variety of plant and animal sources”. It’s a component of human sebum, apparently. Wow, appealing.
M: I don’t care about the squalane sebum. Because I love this. It is witchcraft. And it is only £15.
E: Fine. It’s a win. It can’t speak English, but it’s a Facegoop FAB win.
E: Do you want to get clean, M? Do you wish to get back the baby soft feeling of when you were hoovered with diamonds?
M: Hmmm, maybe. But it’s the recession, you know, diamonds are dear.
E: That is very true. But what I have here is made of, hang on, let me check: rice.
M: Ooooh. Rice. That is an excellent exfoliant. Also, a great constipator. Tell me more.
E: Well, it also contains: oatmeal, papain (isn’t he a french footballler?) and salicylic acid. Oh, also, green tea and gingko for the HIPPIES. Are any of those great constipators? I need to know before I eat a handful.
M: Dude, this is sounding better by the minute. You know how excited I get about skincare. Oatmeal – that’s for horses, innit. Makes you soft like a baby foal. TRUE FACT.
E: True fact. Real talk.
M: Papain… err… that’s the weird fruit acid stuff? From papaya? possibly?
M: Gingko. That’s not even a real nut. It just sounds like one of those spangly new baby names. “Oh yes, Little Gingko’s already at nursery, he can read in two languages you know”.
E: I love a mad baby name. Chard. Fenugreek. Colostrum.
M: OK, focus E. I don’t even know what we’re talking about. WHAT IS ITS NAME?
E: All in good time, M. Firstly, I should say, I do not “get on” with most exfoliants. The granular ones sit on my face, despite attempts to wash them off. I find granules behind my ears for weeks after I have used them.
And often, they make me shiny like a conker, and red. But this one? This is good. So good, I have not shoved it to the back of the cupboard after one try.
M: TELL ME WHAT IT IS CALLED. I NEED TO KNOW ITS NAME.
E: You are going to be disappointed.
M: Oh god. It’s St Ives, isn’t it. The great grandmother of scrubs.
E: Nope. None of Granny’s apricot kernels here.
M: It’s like exfoliating your face with a squirrel. Angry. Harsh. Bit nutty.
E: Health and safety announcement: do not exfoliate your face with a squirrel. Ok, anticlimax name the product moment… drumroll. …
M: *holds breath*
E: “Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant”.
M: Ah ben bien sûr. BEN BIEN SUR. Pfffffffff.
E: Do you “do” Dermalogica, M?
M: I don’t, but I probably should. It looks good.
E: It looks … reassuring. Like it’s saying “with this boring grey and white packaging, we’re saying, we’re not here to look good, we’re here to make your SKIN look good”.
M: Medicinal. It reminds me of the sour faced dermatologist public servants I used to visit in my youth in France.
E: Yes, but it does not ask about your contraceptive routine, or tell you you are fat.
M: Or say “I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen better”. You do know St Lisa of Eldridge recommended this stuff, right?
E: No! I did not! Now I feel all vindicated in liking it! It is really very good, I must say. It is a powder. You add water to a bit of the powder to make a paste (like pre-school craft, basically), then you slap it around your face a bit.
M: Do you tell yourself off while you are doing it?
E: You can. That’s optional.
M: And the result?
E: It makes my face soft as a wobbly-limbed newborn foal. Really, tangibly softer. My face feels so delicious afterwards that I stroke it like I am on ecstasy. So sooooft. I don’t know how much it costs though, because I got given it by a nice lady who looked like an angel.
M: Were you on drugs at the time?
E: I don’t think so. Maybe a little Prosecco. I remember the nice lady shone a very bright light on my face though.
M: Erm. E? Were you… abducted by aliens? Is this ALIEN TECHNOLOGY?
E: I didn’t think so, but I have just seen on the bottle that it is “researched and developed by The International Dermal Institute”, which sounds a bit alien. Imagine working there.
“Hello, International Dermal Institute, how can I help you?”
“I HAVE A SKIN EMERGENCY”
M: Intense sobbing. Hyperventilating.
E: People pressing the Dermal Code Black button. This ‘International Dermal Institute’ thing has got me worried. It’s definitely aliens, isn’t it?
M: Maybe you are currently in an alien pod, and they are actually exfoliating your spinal fluid.
E: Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. I bet that makes a good face mask, actually, spinal fluid.
E: Are you having a laugh? How the fuck would I know. I went to Le Touquet for my summer holidays
M: Le Touquet. That sounds tropical. Like a toucan.
E: When in fact, it’s a drizzly northern beach resort made of wind-beaten concrete and despair. It literally rained every second we were there. I thought my children would dissolve. I quite wished they would, actually. I was told French Children Don’t Throw Food, but actually, that’s only because they are busy throwing each other down concrete stairs.
M: Mmmmmmm. That sounds actually properly lovely. Not the children, the rain. I could do with a bit of drizzly miserable weather goodness.
E: Yeah, all that sun and sand and hammocks and so on must be awful. Whatever floats your boat, punk. ANYWAY.
M: Yes, ANYWAY. Sunscreen. It’s either like mime makeup, or exceedingly expensive. And I need it, because it is fucking hot here. And sunny. And sweaty. Which as you can imagine, does wonders for your skin. I’m uncomfortably aware of the necessity to protect my face lest it burn right off.
E: Angry monkey face has nothing on ‘Cambodian Sunburn Face’. And what are you using to protect your angry monkey, sorry, soft, delicate skin?
M: Muji UV Protect Milk. It doesn’t know grammar, but it’s good.
E: It has no time for grammar, it’s too busy protecting milk
M: It seems to also be called “UV Milk lotion sensitiv skin”. Apparently, it’s not very good at spelling either.
E: Hmmm. I hope it’s good at sun protection, because it sucks at most other stuff. I mean, can it make a decent cup of tea?
M: Difficult to tell, E. I would love to tell you all about its mysterious, highly scientific Japanese properties, but unfortunately the packaging is in Japanese so I don’t know what it really says. Probably something like “yesterday we meadow picnic oh how happy the sun shine!”
E: And what SPFs does this magic kawaii sun cream have, M?
M: It says SPF 27 PA++, which I think is Japanese for “Provides excellent protection against UVA and UVB rays, a main cause of skin ageing”
E: You speak fluent Muji, M. I am impressed. Does it say “sits on your skin like mime make up”? or “greasy as KFC?”
M: Honestly, it’s more like a moisturiser. It sinks in nicely, no mime mask, and my skin feels hydrated but not french fry greasy. It’s a total win.
E: And being Muji, presumably it’s as cheap as rice?
M: Let us start then, E, by saying that I hate your guts.
E: Oh come now, M. You know I am basically, Single White Female but without the ginger bob. So when you told me recently about how much you were obsessing about special hungarian black mud cleanser, I went STRAIGHT OUT AND BOUGHT IT. Bwhahahahahaha. At school, that would have been the end of our friendship, wouldn’t it? You would have dumped my textbooks down the toilets and told everyone I had syphilis.
M: At school?!??! dude. you stole my life. Worse than that, you stole my CLEANSER.
E: I did. It was evil.
M: I am going to tell the world you have a tiny cockstump. Residual, mind you.
E: Well, M. I might have a tiny cockstump, but I also have Oroisurkfmgjrsljtmseriz or whatever it’s called SPECIAL BLACK CLEANSER. Hang on, I’m going to get the pot, to torment you.
M: Oh, sacred Hungarian mud! blessed be thy cleansing powers!
E: So. “Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm”, it’s called. “The best cleanser you will ever use!” says the website, which is not scared of hyperbole, apparently. But firstly, I’d like to say, it’s not actually black at all, as you promised me. It’s more of a charcoal grey.
M: On s’en fout. It’s elegant, classic, charcoal grey.
E: Next, it smells …. expensive. That’s the word, expensive.
M: How expensive?
E: Stupidly expensive, M. Forty six of your English pounds. Oh, I’ve looked it up, apparently that’s the “surprising whiff of orange blossom”. Whiffy orange blossom doesn’t come cheap. It has the texture of, I dunno, what’s greasy and expensive? Sturgeon?
M: Yup. Or foie gras. Or a fat oligarch’s wife.
E: Yeah! It has the texture of a fat oligarch’s wife who has gorged on foie gras, and the scent of a limited edition Diptyque candle. It comes with a little spoon, like caviar.
(disclaimer: I have never bought caviar)
(but I hear it comes with a spoon)
And if you are really really rich – stroke – stupid, you can also buy an entirely plain white flannel with Osueitryiutyeskjthselet written on it to wash your face with for ten quid. You’d have to be REALLY stupid to do that *hides flannel*.
M: That’s all very well, dear, but tell me. TELL ME. Does it work?
E: Hmm. Define “work”
M: Does it hoover out all the bad shit and make your skin all glowy and baby soft and smooth?
E: Well, firstly it is fabulously easy and I like that. Tiny spoonful, smear it quickly all over your face including eye area. Warm flannel (need not be Oxwzrwjczajaja branded). Et voilà, even gets crusty old eyeliner off first time. Now, for the first few days I had a shitload of blemishes, which might suggest the special volcanic goodness is doing its thing. Then again, it might have been my diet of Marks & Spencer caramel bunnies and hot dogs.
M: But are the blemishes staying?
E: No, all gone. My skin is clear and soft. It’s not drying, it’s not harsh. But is it the holy grail? I dunno.
M: Hmmmm. HMMMM, I tell you.
E: Maybe we should give it more time?
M: “We”? “WE”???
E: Me and the homemade mannequin of you I keep in my wardrobe.
M: Aaaaaaaargh, is it like my skin, but stuffed with old tights?
E: That’s exactly what it’s like M. Now come here while I put this stiletto through your eye.
M: By “stiletto”, I hope you mean “thermal cleansing balm”, and by “through your eye”, I hope you mean “gentle facial”. Punk.
M: Whatevs. Well, my skin was much better after that, but I had all these weird little milia and tiny angry red spots that just wouldn’t go away.
So, I’ve been wondering, as one does, what could be the cause of these aggravations. Stress?
M: Chocolate? A diet of potatoes and cheese? The work of the devil?
E: Weeping? So have you got any answers to this puzzle?
M: Well, I’ve been suspecting Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.
And what is this substance?
M: Sulfate – see? That’s what they have in hell, isn’t it?
E: Yup. It’s the devil’s own additive.
M: I dunno, some people react badly to it. It’s that stuff that makes shit foam, innit. Well, not actually shit. Just, products. OH GOD.
E: It’s OK. I GET IT.
E: Ick. Shit foam.
M: So, I picked up this Good Things Stay Clear purifying cleanser at Boots the other day. It’s had a lot of press. Alice Hart-Davis, who is apparently a beauty writer, created the line. And you know what? That shit is GOOOD.
E: Ooooh! Tell me more.
M: It’s a gel that you rub on your wet face for a minute or so. It turns sort of thick and creamy so you can really massage it in. And then you take it off with a flannel. It’s free from all the bad stuff, hence the name.
E: Ok. So far so .. cleansery. What’s so good about it?
M: It’s the exorcist, in a face wash.
M: I’ve only been using it for 3 days, and the tiny angry red spots that have been there for MONTHS are gone.
E: Wow. that’s some awesome shit.
M: Black magic, if you ask me.
E: I am so buying it. I bet it cures scurvy (I have scurvy).
M: Maybe. If you drink it. It has mangoes and blueberries in it.
E: It’s like putting a toad in your pocket or saying the rosary.
E: Jesus, you’ve been drinking meths, haven’t you? I’ve told you about that.
M: I think the seche vite is going to my brain.
E: If you will snort it, that will happen.
M: Anyway. I won this little tube of goodness in Modesty Brown‘s giveaway. And it is ace.
E: Oooh. Tell me more. What is the tube of goodness?
M: It’s blush. And it’s made by fairies. It’s as if someone had crushed a punnet of healthy rosy cheeks and crammed it into a handy tube. What more do you want to know?
E: Errrr. I dunno. (tries to think of hard beauty bloggist questions). Is it, er, a gel?
M: Yes, it’s a gel. And it’s fool proof. You can put tonnes of it on without worrying about it. It just gives a nice healthy glow, like you’re eating healthily and getting regular exercise and shit. It doesn’t cake or crust (am I the only one who has that problem with blusher?)
E: Yes. Yes you are. But I like the putting tonnes on bit. Unlike Armani Fluid Sheers which are nuclear bright. Brilliant, but to be used with caution. And what kind of fairies have done this with their tiny fairy hands?
M: Yes. It’s so good it’s quenched my thirst for the Lizard King’s Fluid Sheer, for the time being.
E: Awesome. TELL ME WHO THE FAIRIES ARE. Are they expensive fairies? I need to know. Do they have dietary requirements I need to know about while they are squishing healthy rosy cheeks for me?
M: Pixi. It’s £12 I think.
E: Not bad at all. I like.
M: You can feed them, err, british pounds.
E: Good. The next time I have any of those, I will go feed the pixies.
M: You do that. Now leave me alone, I have some frolicking in a meadow to do.
M’s crushed pixie is Natural coloured, free through the goodness of strangers or £12 from ASOS. But if you’re after other colours you can get them cheap from Amazon.
M: E, what the hell has happened? Where have we been?
E: We are drawing a veil over the summer. A veil of CRAPNESS.
M: There has been much huddling in dark corners, wailing.
E: We aren’t talking about that M.
M: About what?
E: EXACTLY.It’s time to move on and move forward.
M: And we’re moving forward… with fake tan? Really?
E: Yes! Yes we are! Because, and I KNOW the UK is the same as Belgium here, there isn’t a hope in hell of a real tan anymore.
M: Oh god, here we go again. Are you going to write “crunge” on your leg with this one, E? I hear that’s what all the kidz are doing these days.
E: Nope. This is happy story free of tagging.
M: Do my ears deceive me?
E: No. La rentrée de Facegoop is all about the wins. Well, partially. Listen, dude. It came recommended by St India of Knight. As you know, the recommendation of SIOK is enough for me.
“Xen Tan!” she said
So I went and bought some.
It was arduous and difficult. I had to go on their alarming website, AND I got cornered by the sea salt zombies. But it was worth it.
M: This is like product placement. India is the product. I feel a bit dirty.
E: Get over the dirty, M. This is GOOD SHIT.
M: How. Tell me how. I have forgotten what GOOD is. Is it space fake tan? Because it sounds like scientology fake tan.
E: Hang on, I need to get you the product lies from the tube.
M: Do, do.
E: Well. It does not offer a free personality test. However it does say “never looks like a fake tan and never smells like one!”
Well. Xen Tan. You may not smell like a fake tan. But you smell FAR FAR WORSE. (Yeah, we haven’t got to the good news yet)
“Delicious scent!” it says on the packet. Imagine, if you will, M, the scent of a cheap vanilla yoghurt from a discount supermarket left out in the sun (remember that? the sun?) for about 3 months. THAT is how it smells.
M: Nice. Lactic. And by lactic, I mean RANCID.
E: Yup. But, and here’s the SIOK magic, the colour, is brilliant. I am a total faketan remedial loser.
Mi: We know, E, we know.
E: I can get tidemarks, like, ANYWHERE. Well this? Total win. No tide marks, no fuck ups, great colour. Look at this fuzzy and slightly shit photo:
See? Apparently the secret is the “time release” formula, don’t ask me what the fuck that means.
M: Good. Good good good. You do realize I zoned out of this conversation 15 minutes ago, right?
E: I haz nice brown leg. That’s all you need to know.
M: My interest in fake tan. It is also on time release. Please release me from this Xen Tan Cult Rant.
E: They’re nearly as brown as yours.
M: Ahahahahahahahah. Sure they are. Can we go eat salted caramel now?
E: Ok. It’s not like we’ll need a bikini body any time soon.
E: I LOVE a doctor. I’m like those old ladies that make up illnesses just to get to see the doctor. Mmmmm. Doctors are LOVELY. Even ones who don’t have testicle necklaces like our friend Dr Mystery.
M: Well, check this guy out.
He has it all.
Greying hair? Check
Lab coat? Check
Freakishly smooth skin? CHECK.
E: Wow. Who is this awesome doctor, M? I totally want a piece of him.
M: Well, I want some of his freakishly effective science. The Cellular Water science. He is… DR MURAD.
E: Dr Murad! He sounds smooth. And sciencey.
M: Indeed. Take a look at this: ”the Science of Cellular Water looks at the ability of cell membranes to hold water within a cell as the fundamental marker of youthful good health.”
E: Cellular water eh? What is that? Water made out of, er, cells?
M: Or is it cells made out of water? The mind boggles. The diagrams aren’t helping.
E: But hang on a cotton picking minute, M. My cells are not SQUARE. That picture looks like a Battenburg cake! Not skin.
M: No, that’s just a cross section. But yes, think of it as, erm, a portion of cake. Anyway, Dr. Murad makes lots of products that I believe are generally well thought of in the Industry.
E: Where has Dr Murad come from? What kind of a name is Murad?
M: Who knows. But all of his execs are also called Murad.
E: It’s a family affair like.. THE MAFIA. Or, um, the Baldwins.
M: No, it’s like that Being John Malkovich film. Where John Malkovich walks into his own head and everyone there is JOHN MALKOVICH. Except here everyone is WEARING A LAB COAT. And saying “MURAD MURAD MURAD” while offering you cellular water.
E: Ahahahahaha. YES. “Being Dr Murad”. If Facegoop ever moves into film production, our first feature will be Being Dr Murad.
M: Nightmarish. But you’ll be pleased to know that the Dr’s products are not a nightmare.
E: Oh, and what have you tried from Dr Murad’s Cellular Water Lab?
M: I have bought his Oil-Free Sunblock Sheer Tint SPF 15, and it is ACE. Its only active ingredient is Titanium Dioxide, which doesn’t seem to irritate my skin and make it blotchy. I can’t feel it on.
None of this crappy sticky white sand texture on your face à la Liz Earle, and great under makeup too. It’s only SPF 15, but it protects you from sun and free radical damage, which I think is what you get when you hang out with commies.
E: Hmmm. Singeing with a copy of Das Kapital. That kind of thing?
M: Yup. I have not wanted to sing the Internationale once since using this. Also my skin is moist, evened out, and glowing. WIN.
E: I feel a little weak at this cosmetic success.
M: Go and lie down, E. I’ll get the doctor to bring you a poultice.
E: Hang on. Before you go, is he very expensive?
M: Not too bad. £20.59, though it’s a bit hard to find around here in greying Scotchland. But here’s a handy link to our amazon watchamacallit:
M: Oh, interesting. I thought you couldn’t be bothered with it during the week?
E: No, that’s right, but recently, it has started to make all manner of sense. I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s grown on me. Like a dewy, moisturising fungus. Eeew I have revolted myself.
M: Again. Tell me more about Face Fabric.
E: Well, I’m not foundation phobic. I quite like foundation. I have both Face Fabric and Luminous Silk, by the Lizard King. Mr Armani isn’t stupid when it comes to foundation. He knows his beigey coveragey stuff.
M: And indeed, brain control.
E: Ssssh he can hear you.
M: I have a sample of Luminous Silk. I like it.
E: Yes, it’s good for facial leprosy. It has more coverage than Face Fabric.
M: But it doesn’t give you that breathy feel.
E: Nope. Whereas Face Fabric is like magical disappearing foundation. A bit like your Diorskin.
M: What’s it like? I have poked it at the counter. Is it a bit moussy?
E: Yes, it feels quite thick in the tube and when you put it on. But once it’s on, it just fucks off into your skin and concentrates on making you even and dewy. I use my fingers because I am fucking lazy and it still looks good.
M: It’s clever, that Face Fabric.
E: Yup. It’s Fabric. For your Face. I just repeat buy without ever getting tempted to buy anything else (except Laura Mercier).
M: Is it matte? Dry as the desert sand?
E: No! It’s more sheer. And the colour match is great for me (#1 cadaver)
M: Does it actually cover anything?
E: Erm. I think so. I could show you? With a pic with one half Face Fabricked and the other nothing?
M: Yes, do. My craggy volcanic slopes of a face demand it.
E: Uh oh. don’t say volcano.
E: Ssssssssh. Ok, here you go:
M: I take it the Face Fabric is applied on the left hand side of your face (in the photos)?
E: I’m glad you can tell. This could have been embarrassing.
M: No, it is visible but also very natural.
E: That’s space technology for you.
M: Space Technology Holy Grail Foundation. I’m still looking for mine. What’s your favourite foundation, facegoopists?
E: Today we are comparing an Elf gel liner, and the product they will have to prise out of my cold, dead, claws, Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner. You don’t like gel liners, do you M?
M: No. They are fucking fiddly. I used one today for this post and I have a big splodge of it on my hand where I “took off the excess”. I can’t be bothered to take it off.
E: Oh, like a plague spot.
M: It’s more cancerous in appearance. Moving on.
E: That’s nice, M. Whereas I love them. You need a tiny, accurate brush and then it’s dead easy and gives a nice soft line.
M: I think you’re right. It is all about the tools.
E: So, usually I use Bobbi Brown Espresso Ink, or Caviar Ink.
M: What’s caviar? Like a dark grey?
E: I suppose. I really can’t tell. It’s sort of indescribable and dark, but not black.
M: Are you blind as well as lash-less?
E: Hey, usually you’re the one who describes colours as “”LIKE A FAIRY’S ARSE” or “LIKE VANESSA PARADIS” or “IT’S JUST RED, OK????”. It’s a dark browny grey. Better?
M: Deliciously salty. That’s what it’s like, wonderful on chopped onion, with a sprinkling of lemon.
E: Look, here’s a photo of all our liners.
From top: Elf coffee, Bobbi Brown Espresso Ink, Bobbi Brown Caviar Ink, Permanent Ink Marker N90.
E: I drew a line on my hand in permanent marker pen too. It’s a control line. I’m all about the science.
M: Riiiight. Who’s in the other corner?
E: In the other corner is the cheap and cheeky Elf “Coffee”. Elf has one massive point in its favor, which is that it is really really CHEAP.
M: The packaging often looks really cheap with Elf products, but this tiny jar is satisfyingly heavy.
E: Oh, I don’t think the Gel Liner packaging is bad. And I dunno what they put in it, but it’s pretty convincingly like the Bobbi Brown.
M: That is not scientific, E.
E: Oh, but it is. I have tasted both. Thus it is scientific.
M: Oh god. You haven’t, have you? HAVE YOU? Because I am going to call the “services”. And have you looked at by professionals.
E: I’m not saying either way. ANYWAY. Elf Coffee versus Bobbi Brown Espresso.
M: I think we need a little graph.
E: Knock yourself out, Mrs Science. So, I did not like the Elf colour much in the jar. It’s a bit pale for coffee. Like, Nescafé with a good glug of full fat milk.
M: Oh, gross.
E: Whereas Bobbi is a proper roasted espresso served by a leering, but attractive barista.
M: Would you say ELF is from the office coffee distributor, and BB is from the artisan coffee shop down a little cobbled lane?
E: That’s a bit harsh, but yes. Elf is Option #3 self-vend white coffee, Bobbi is doppio espresso from the Monmouth Coffee Company. However, Elf rescues itself a few points in the application. It is just as easy to put on for me as Bobbi.
M: See, for me, my fucking lashes get in the way. And my stupid crêpey skin. How about staying power?
E: Excellent for both. Barely budges all day. BUT, Elf, ugh. There was this horrible sticky feeling around my eyeline once it was on, like conjunctivitis. My eyelids were gumming together.
M: Ew, and ew.
E: Thankfully, that only lasted about 10 minutes.
M: I suppose it must have time to dry. I didn’t feel the stickiness.
E It’s probably a no lash thing. Anyway, then I forgot about it and it behaved fine all day, no itchiness, and it stayed in place.
M: OK, I’ve just rubbed the shit out of mine and it’s still staying put. Tiny bit on my finger, but that’s about it.
E: Gel liners have mahoosive staying power and Elf is no exception. The Nescafé colour is much better once it’s on too. Quite understated, but that’s ok. It’s daytime. I’m wearing a filthy hoodie and the tshirt I slept in, I don’t want to look like Joan Collins.
M: Ha, is that what I look like? Joan collins with an unsteady hand.
Elf Cream eyeliner in black
E: Maybe a little. But in a good way.
M: I need some sequined shoulder pads. So, verdict?
E: I have to be honest, I do like Bobbi better, because of the lack of eye stickiness and I would have liked a slightly darker shade from Elf. But it’s good. And when you consider it’s, like, a tenth of the price, it’s VERY good.
M: I wonder if you could mix some black and brown together to create your own espresso?
E: Hmmm. You probably could.
M: Would you buy it again?
E: Probably. But I’d rather Bobbi Brown just gave me shitloads of free eyeliner. Hey? Bobbi? Can I have free stuff?
E: And you?
M: Well, I bought it, and I will continue to use it, but I think I prefer liquid liners.
E: You can tell us about them another time. Now shoo, Alexis.
E: So, M, although this may not be obvious from Scotchland, the summer is coming.
M: Oh? Hold on, let me wrap these seal furs around me. Carry on.
E: Yes. The summer is coming. Voilà l’été! Cue the Négresses Vertes, please.
M: Uuuuuuuugh. Must I? You do realize it means you’ll be (gasp) baring skin soon?
E: M, as the good burghers of Belgiana could tell you, I ALREADY HAVE. As you know, my skin is not normally suitable for exposure. It is blue, flaky, and lizardlike.
M: In the manner of a newt.
E: A rare blue newt. Making my skin ready for public scrutiny is the work of several Facegoop posts. But let us talk through the first, and easiest step.
M: Oooh, is this Part 1? Does it involve buying a new pair of legs from a Chinese orphan?
E: Yes, and no. This is Part 1. But no leg purchases. They are unethical. No, Part 1 is called Basic Descaling for the Celtic Lizard in Your Life.
M: Please tell me you don’t take a large knife to your legs to scrape the scales off.
E: No. Instead, the celtic lizard in your life must purchase Origins Incredible Spreadable Scrub.
M: Is it really incredible?
E: Well, M. I have not been unfaithful to this exfoliant for many many years. Because it is, and watch out, this is a technical term, fucking awesome.
M: Whoa, hold on there, newt. *I* need to get technical on your lizardy arse here. Firstly, what are the scrubbing particles? And secondly, it sounds edible.
E: Funnily enough, the scrubbing particles are “brown and white sugar”. Which kind of answers your second question. You know my weakness in the product eating area and will not be surprised to hear that I have tasted this on several occasions and it IS very tasty, because it is basically sugar, olive oil and ginger. I mean, that’s pudding!
M: That would explain why you’ve finished the pot. I think you’ve discovered the magical Origins Secret of Scrub.
E: I don’t think there’s a secret. It tastes good. It scrubs good. And it leaves you sexily greasy.
M: Mmmm, a sexy greasy lizard.
E: I may be revealing too much in saying I find grease sexy. Never mind.
E: It gives you one of those “sheen” things they talk about on proper beauty blogs, it smells good, and if any should happen, accidentally, to end up in your mouth, it’s no biggie.
M. I bet you could make a pot of that at home. I have some cheap ginger massage oil from Lidl. It smells amazing. Do you think I could just put 2 sorts of sugar in and scrub myself with it?
E: Try it. And report back.
M: I will. I might just do that tonight. Do you need moisturizer afterwards?
E: No. It is extremely hydrating. You are ready to move to Phase 2, which we will be revealing in a future post. Dot dot dot.
M: E, do you ever feel like you just want to hide from the world?
E: Almost always M. You and I have often discussed our desire for a snail shell to retreat into. Inside a cave. And the cave inside a hermetically sealed dark box. And the box in a flotation tank. In Panama.
M: But sometimes it’s not just possible. Sometimes, you have to make do with hiding your ugly mug from the world. And I believe you have something that does just the job.
E: Yes. You are quite correct. It does not (yet!) cover despair or agoraphobia, but it is excellent on blemishes, thread veins and other facial crappinesses. It is Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage.
The name makes it sound like Laura is conducting a stake out from a bush, with twigs and netting on her head. She isn’t (as far as I know).
M: Hmph. I like to think of her as wearing camouflage jumpsuits and killing deer.
E: No, M, she has been wearing a lab coat, and making genius make up, including this excellent concealer. Until I met Secret Camouflage, I thought concealer had to be a bit crap. Like, either it emphasised the spot you were trying to cover, or it just covered you in goopy crap that was worse than the spot.
E: Gummy??? I think that person is lacking vocabulary. But it is certainly a lot harder and creamier than any other concealer I have used. You need to really bully it with the clever Laura Mercier Special brush to get it going.
M: Oh of course. Let me guess, the special brush is made from the tail of baby sugar gliders and cost 5 gazillion squids each.
E: I don’t remember how much the baby sugar glider brush cost. But I do know it is very good. So good, that when I lost it, I immediately bought another one. Of course, then I found the old one.
M: Of course. Are you trying to tell me, that the secret camouflage was HIDING? Oh the irony.
E: Yes. It was hiding. Very good, M.
M: Tsss. So, what about the two colours? Are they useful? I mean, I can barely cope with one colour. Two colours seems a lot like hard work.
E: Confession: I have only used one colour so far. You will recall that I have the deathly pallor of the long dead. The sun has not hit Belgium for seven hundred years. I hope that the other colour will be useful if I ever have more pigment in my skin than an albino mole rat.
M: Hmph. And is it really any good?
E: Well. Not only did I have to replace the brush INSTANTLY when I lost it, so addicted was I to its furry caress, but on the very rare occasions I find myself without my Secret Camouflage, I properly PANIC .
E: Hyperventilation. Sweaty palms. Whimpering. Breathing into – and possibly wearing – a paper bag time. Along with Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner, it is the total essential I can’t live without. Basically: the colour is excellent for me (I have SC-2). It stays on brilliantly all day, and the coverage is perfect and really invisible. I love it. Oh, and also, I went on a photo shoot last month and the professional make up artist type person was using it. So there.
M: Any of that dried up cack around spots? Crusty bits?
E: Ew! No. It is a heavy creamy texture. No crusting or cack. And the brush also enables you to be super accurate. So I can cover the tiny burst vein on my left cheek without ending up with crap all over my face. We should say, it’s for blemishes, and not an under eye concealer. I don’t think the texture would work at all as an under-eye concealer.
M: I’m (almost) sold. How much will this military-grade camouflage goop set me back, E?
E: How the fuck should I know? Look it up. But I’m telling you, Laura Mercier can come and shoot deer in my yard any time she likes.
M: Secret Camouflage: It’s the sniper of concealers. Deadly. Precise. Merciless.
E: It’s deadly like Jack Bauer.
M: Ha, Jack Bauer is not deadly. He’s a bumbling idiot. Crashing into things and contracting deadly virii all over the place.
E: He could kill you with a tube of Eight Hour Cream in 5 seconds. FACT.
M: Being the beauty gurus we are, people ask us for advice all the time.
E: Deluded fools.
M: They want to know – what red lipstick do you recommend, Facegoop? TELL ME, my love life/promotion/sanity depends on it.
E: They are barking up the wrong beauty bloggist if they ask me about red lips. Wearing it for our special moustache photos nearly destroyed me. But you have some qualifications in this field.
M: Yes. I am going to recommend one red lipstick, that is neither red, nor a lipstick. It is the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in DRAGON GIRL.
E: Again with the Nars. I know Facegoop readers suspect us of being on “Mr” “Nars” payroll. If only that were true. In reality, we just love his work. Awesome name. Awesome crayon.
M: DRAGON GRRRRRRL. It makes me want to do wheelies on my bike, even though I’m not sure what a wheelie is. I only bought it to get a freebie at Nars with 2 purchases. But when the grannies in John Lewis kept on complimenting me on my lips, I knew I was onto something. I love the bright pinky red colour. It’s punchy and pretty and hot stuff.
E: The Velvet Matte Pencil is truly make up for idiots too.
M: Yes, and I am an idiot. I love that I don’t have to mess around with a lip pencil, lipstick, and a lip brush, in the manner of a depressive clown. Just put it on, and forget about it. It doesn’t move.
E: Nope. It’s a crayon. Crayon your lips. The end. Idiot proof. On your recommendation, I bought one in ‘Walkyrie’.
M: How’s it been working out for you? It is a bit drying though, isn’t it?
E: I love it. It feels gorgeous going on. And actually I find it way less drying than some other lipsticks.
M: I usually top it up with balm half way through the day and then it just has a nice stainy quality to it.
M: The Guerlain Midnight Secret is not so good with its hips though.
E: I suppose the secret is that you dance at the ambassador’s ball until the wee small hours, then you are up bright and early looking radiant the next morning for a gala breakfast with er, the ambassador’s wife . HOW????
M: Wait wait wait. Hold on. What is this, a Ferrero Rocher ad??
E: Yes. This is my view of Guerlain, see? It is basically a highly aspirational 1950s film condensed into small, expensive pots.
M: Except, in our version, you’ve been up to no good, snogging the ambassador’s son.
E: On current form, I would be more likely to have been snogging the ambassador’s dog.
M: You’ll need some Midnight Secret for that too. Continue.
E: So. In the Guerlain version of events, you kick off your dancing slippers (mirrored Louboutins, presumably) and sink into your goosedown quilt, pausing only to grab your Midnight Secret.
In E’s version, you reel home from a seedy transvestite cabaret by a method you do not remember the next morning. You wave a towelette in the direction of your face if you are feeling fancy. Then, despite the fact that you are too drunk to undress, the blue jar of promise winks at you so you slather some on optimistically. You wake up in the morning with eye make up and drool all over your pillow, and a head like a badger’s arse.
But! Your complexion is not as shit as it deserves to be.
M: Hmmm. Your method may differ from that of the polished socialite, but the result is the same, isn’t it? And that result is glowy, and dewy, and impossibly even skin.
E: The level of dewiness depends on the G & T count. But it is definitely pretty good. Also, it smells totally delicious.
M: What does it smell of?
E: It smells like a rose garden trampled at dawn by the dainty toes of M. Guerlain, possibly dancing like M. Louboutin in this video.
M: I think more M. Guerlain’s angelic, blonde haired little grand daughter. She is all dimples and smiles as she CRUSHES the flower into the heavy blue sarcophagus of a jar.
E: Now you’re making it sound like Gigi. With Maurice Chevalier as M. Guerlain.
“sank ‘eavens, for Midnight Secret!”
M: “fo’ you face she get more CRAGGY evereee daaaaaay”
Of course, there’s another ill guarded secret related to Midnight Secret. It’s fucking expensive.
E: Horribly so. But the ambassador is paying.
M: And what price your dignity?
E: My dignity is priceless.
M: Oh? Maybe you should wipe that dog slobber off your face then.
E: Sssssh. So: Midnight Secret. Magical. Expensive. Made by cinematic giants and set to music by Maurice Chevalier.
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.