Lauren Bravo is a writer and editor. and author of What Would the Spice Girls Do? Find her on Twitter and Instagram @laurenbravo. Here she lauds Lent as her New Year 2.0, and tells us the good beauty habits she intends to stick to, and the not-so-good ones she’s intending to give up…
Here we are then, halfway through Lent. Perhaps you’re still dealing with a caffeine comedown, or seeing giant, talking chocolate bars where your colleagues used to be. Maybe you’re counting down the days until you can sleep with your phone under your pillow again, while trying to ignore how well-rested you feel. Or maybe you had no idea it was going on at all.
But while few people I know observe Lent seriously anymore, I’ve always liked to use it as a kind of New Year 2.0 – a chance to take stock, again, this time with marginally less depressing weather, and make a few manageable resolutions to see me through to spring.
This year they’re all beauty-focused, and “manageable” is the operative word. Because we all know that if we are too hard on ourselves in the short-term, we’ll only go harder on our vice in the long-term. This is as true of heated styler abuse as it is of swearing off sugar.
So with that in mind, and a Lindt bunny in hand, I’ve made the following vows and am sticking to them religiously. More or less.
- I will squeeze my spots properly, or not at all
Look, I’m a pimple-popper. I have made peace with this fact. Squeezing, picking and otherwise faffing about with my face is virtually a recreational hobby, and a very hard habit to break.
But I know it isn’t doing my skin any favours, so my first challenge is to practice what I’d like to think of as ‘mindful squeezing’. If not with scented candles, classical music and a glass of wine afterwards, then at least with a properly sterilised blemish wand. Only in the calm and privacy of my own bathroom, not in high street changing rooms, or the mirror of a violently swaying train. I am endeavouring to dab them with salicylic acid first and give them room to heal afterwards, rather than burying the offending craters under comedogenic layers of concealer.
And most of all I am trying to remember that my skin is the only skin I have, and it pays to be nice to it. If I have to suffer the injustice of being a 30-something woman with adolescent breakouts, I can at least deal with them like a grown-up.
- I will use sunscreen on my face every single day
Not just on the no-tights days, or the no-cloud days. Not only when I’m planning to frolic in the countryside, or eat lunch on a bench in the park. Every single day. The grey days, the drizzly days, the days when my only outdoor expedition is a walk to the postbox and back. Because the best defence is a good offence (yes, I learned that from the headteacher in School of Rock) I know that using sun protection every day as a matter of habit is the very best thing I can do to protect it, respect it, and prevent it taking on the appearance of crêpe paper recently fished out of the bin. I know this, as we all do. And yet… it’s funny how the healthiest habits are the easiest ones to break, isn’t it?
So yes; not only am I using a facial sunscreen every day, but it’s the almighty Ultrasun’s Anti-Pigmentation Face – broad spectrum (which means protection against both bad boys: UVA and UVB rays), and SPF50. It’s staying in my handbag, even if it rains solidly for the next three weeks. Which, now I’ve written this, it probably will.
- I will respect my fringe and its right to autonomy
It will never be Brigitte Bardot’s fringe, or even (the achievable holy grail) Sienna Miller’s fringe in Alfie. It is barely even a fringe at all; it’s the grown-out layers of a commitment-phobe, blowdried laboriously into smooth curtains every morning and worn long enough to be shoved behind my ears whenever it misbehaves. Which is often.
But I am determined, after 30-odd years of fights and dysfunction, that I should learn to cherish my fringe exactly as it is. Like the mother who realises her wayward teenager is just trying to express their authentic self, I have put my straighteners away and am allowing, albeit with trepidation, my fringe to do its thing. Whether that’s gently framing my cheekbones, or flicking out in strange, gravity-defying directions like a dish of curly fries.
As Fleetwood Mac once sang, fringe, you can go your own way. At least until Easter.