I’ve been thinking a lot about identity and attachment lately. These were concepts I first heard about when I started practising yoga a few years ago, and I’ve thrown words like ‘non-attachment’ around plenty of times, without actually really delving much deeper.
But life, and things like illness, injury and ageing, all offer the perfect vehicle for an experimentation with identity. What happens when we are used to our bodies responding in a particular way to exercise, and then we become injured? What happens when we receive a certain amount of pride and affirmation from the work we do, and then we’re retrenched? What happens when we’ve always identified with being ‘attractive’, and then we begin to age?
I’ve always loved make-up, and over the years when my skin was problematic and red and angry, make-up was an essential barrier to the world and a weapon to conceal imperfection. Luckily these days make-up is more of a nice addition, rather than a perceived necessity, although realistically I prefer myself when I’m made up. I feel prettier, I feel more self-confident, and I feel like I’ve got my shit together. And although these aren’t necessarily bad outcomes from applying a little mascara, what’s wrong with bare skin?
So lately I’ve been experimenting with going make-up free. It’s certainly a work in progress (I haven’t yet rocked a work meeting without mascara, and a night out bare-faced, feels, well, too bare), but I’m interested in investigating how much of my identity resides in how I look, and how attached I am to looking a certain way.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts! Do you feel comfortable wearing not a stitch of make-up to work, or are you never bare-faced except when sleeping?
As I’ve discussed in many posts over the years, my skin has not always been the easiest. Hormones and sensitive skin have led to many years of breakouts and discomfort, ranging from small bumps to full blown adult acne.
Happily my skin has been pretty clear for about the last year, and I think monthly peels at Laserderm, and perhaps a simmering down of my hormones, have a lot to do with it. I’m still super wary of using new products, but also want to use products that are ‘high-tech’ in terms of handling the onset of wrinkles and ageing, that are full of natural ingredients, and aren’t tested on animals.
Although I would like to buy local, I have been using Paula’s Choice for the last six months, and I love the liquid exfoliant. I also use Lulu & Marula’s purifying treatment oil, which smells glorious and really seems to calm down breakouts.
I’ve also recently come across Skoon, a South African bespoke, natural skincare range (with a beautiful website and lovely, minimalist packaging). I’m thinking White Cloud Manuka and the Purifying Clay Cleanser to start. Their Instagram account is pretty glorious too.
Grey hair don't care
I’ve long had grey hair. And by long I mean prematurely – literally since I was teenager! It started as a shock of white on my front hairline, and I’ve coloured my hair ever since (every shade imaginable).
At the beginning of last year I decided I wanted to experiment a little and see how much grey hair I actually had (long before this article on grey hair becoming the hallmark of cool … ha!). The answer is I have a lot of it! Luckily for me it’s silver, not yellow, but it still takes some getting used to!
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, I’d suggest keeping the ends dark (if you’re brunette). I think it gives the look a more deliberate feel (as opposed to ‘she rather let herself go, didn’t she?’). A great, edgy cut is also essential, as is hair in peak condition (I use vegan friendly Kevin Murphy). Polished personal grooming is a good idea (a work in progress for me), but most important I think is an eccentric personal style. (You’ll probably also have to have a pretty thick skin … it’s amazing how many people have strong opinions on ageing and letting your grey hair out, feminists included!).
I know I’m late to the party on this one, but Lush handmade cosmetics are AMAZING. I got my hands on Karma Kream, a delicious body cream, and the Ocean Salt scrub. My favourite is Karma Kream. My skin is naturally dry and parched, and I really battle to find a body lotion that keeps my skin elastic and smooth all day long. The battle seems to be over. Karma Kream is rich, but still easy to slather on, and smells incredible.
The enormous bonus here is that Lush products are organic, not tested on animals, preservative free, handmade, and most are vegan. And they have a fabulous online store, as well as a real store in Cape Town. Happy day I say!
Every day offers the opportunity to rethink the habitual
They had me at the name; and then I saw the packaging. It was all over. I must get my hands on these products.
Lulu & Marula
My skin is not my best asset. It’s troublesome and sensitive and hormonal. I’m hoping that the oiliness that leads to the trouble will stand me in good stead when it comes to the slow onset of wrinkles, but the way things are going right now, it doesn’t seem all that promising (read: wrinkles and pimples).
I’ve tried just about every product known to womankind, from the exorbitant to the common-or-garden, and a plethora of in-salon treatments and facials. Some work; most make my skin a zillion times worse. And I err on the side of not tested on animals, so that makes things a little more tricky.
At the moment I’m on the REN train, and happily I’ve not had any massive negative response. The products I’m using are in fact lovely. I’ve also discovered Lulu & Marula – made in South Africa, all natural, and beautifully packaged. I’m trying out the purifying treatment oil, which smells divine, and although hasn’t given me perfectly clear, sensationally uniform skin (in other words, the skin I never had when I was 21), it hasn’t made me break out, which is a pretty big deal for me.
I’m going to try the cleansing balm next.
You can even shop online.