Up until a very few years ago I had good skin. I looked years younger than I was. Then life caught up – a year of caring for both Mum and Dad while he was very sick, and their dog, then just Mum and the dog for a year before we got full-time carers, then a bitter family fall-out, and an over-reliance on that great stress-reliever/enhancer, the friend-in-a-bottle, the who-needs-a-sister-anyway-have-some-Sauvignon – my skin aged twenty years in three. So now I look my age. I have saggy skin, deep wrinkles, and age spots.
The other day I went into Bentalls, to Clinique: I thought it was time to get some proper grown up foundation. I’ve never bought foundaion before. I am 57. I said I expected it to cover my wrinkles. The saleswoman, who had a face like wrinkled bed-sheets, but beige, said I was expecting too much of foundation. “What you are thinking of is surgery,” she said. “Foundation will just even your skin tone, and it might cover your age spots. A bit. You’re beyond Botox. But you’re not the sort of person who would go to those sort of lengths, I can tell.”
Well I’ve barely use the foundation. Turns out I’m not the sort of person who goes even to those lengths even at my age even with this face. So that was thirty odd quid badly spent. But I do use moisturiser, lipstick and mascara. And this morning I left them all out in a small plastic bag ready for the airport on the kitchen counter to go into my flight bag. Which is where they are still, as I discovered when I was looking for them at Heathrow security.
So this necessitated a visit to Boots. A young saleswoman saw me struggling with mascara, lipstick and various moisturisers and cleansers. Could she help me? They had offers on. I explained my plight. Had I tried Boots no 7 serum, guaranteed to reduce wrinkles, the best product on the market? Ok, I’ll take that. And then I needed moisturiser. No not my usual one, this one was the one she uses, it’s really good, tinted for fair skin – “and believe me Madam, you have fair skin. This prevents wrinkles. SPF 50. Prevents age spots.”
I tried to explain that she was selling me prevention, but that it was too late, what I needed was cure, and my best hope was to get more age spots so they all joined up and I’d go on to develop an even tan.
To no avail. Time was ticking, she was insistent, my flight was boarding. I bought anti-ageing glycolic peel kind of wet wipe things, guaranteed to wipe away facial fault lines; no 7 Advanced anti-sun BB cream; supposedly “clinically proven line correcting” No7serum; mascara, (waterproof for funerals), and lippie. £90 feckin’ quid, cash money, and I didn’t even have my Boots card with me.
So the flight’s over, I’m on a coach now, and I’ve just applied all this stuff. I’m hoping by the time I get off it, I’ll look years younger. And I’ve SPF 50. I’m in Ireland. If the sun shines, it won’t be for long.