London - I was on my way out to a friend’s birthday when I noticed my nail varnish was horribly chipped. Well, I hadn’t just noticed, it had been getting more and more scruffy all week and I had been happily ignoring it - shoving my hands into my pockets when people were around - but they were definitely too bad to take out to dinner.
I had two options. I could try to remember where I’d left the nail polish remover in order to take off last week’s Rouge Noir and start again - or just paint over the chips and hope the new coats of colour will hide the old mess.
Yes, I picked the second option. I applied generous, gloopy dollops of new polish over the old, and took my messy manicure for a night on the town. If anyone noticed, they were polite enough not to mention it. Crisis averted.
I’d like to say that this was a one-off but it’s not.
From using black marker pen to tidy up scuffed heels to ironing only the part of my blouse that shows under my jacket - there is no corner I won’t cut.
You see, I have a confession: I am a beauty slob.
I have (don’t tell anyone) even used double-sided Sellotape to stick up falling hems. It wasn’t very successful - they started to fall down within a couple of hours and I had to resort to a couple of strategically placed staples. And no, I’m not joking.
On the outside I’m told I always look quite respectable, but it’s a sham. I am the beauty equivalent of someone who throws all their rubbish into cupboards when guests come over.
I get through more cans of dry shampoo than should really be allowed (given the choice between staying in bed and washing my hair, there is never a contest), spray Febreze on clothes that could really do with a wash and, in the summer months, I routinely run a Bic razor over only the parts of my leg on show under my cropped trousers.
For years I have held on to these dirty secrets, assuming I was the only one with such lazy ways, but it seems that I’m not alone. Apparently, so common are us beauty slatterns, that we now have a name. According to In Style magazine, we are called ‘semi-groomers’ and we are on the rise.
The fashion industry argues that the economic climate means women who can no longer afford to shell out on leg waxes, highlights and manicures and because we are all so busy running around look after our careers, partners and children - we all have to take a few short cuts.
One friend, a working mother of three children under the age of seven, agrees. She says: ‘I have the kind of hair that needs to be washed every day, but who has time? I’m barely in the shower for 50 seconds before one of the kids is banging at the door.
‘I’m lucky if I get it washed every four or five days, so I’ve taken to wearing a thick Alice band and tying my hair up in a bun. The funny thing is people keep complimenting me on how chic it looks up,’ she laughs.
‘Sometimes I only wash my fringe and put dry shampoo on the rest of my hair,’ admits another friend, Claire, a woman who looks nothing short of immaculate all the time.
‘And I have been known to put fake tan on just my arms and chest when I’m going out in jeans and a strappy top. Oh, and I wear my thick-rimmed glasses, instead of contacts, when I need to hide my unplucked eyebrows.’
Claire doesn’t have a family but has a demanding job as a lawyer and admits ‘quite frankly, I can think of better things to do than exfoliating my elbows and painting my toenails when I do get time off.’
Of course, this is an attitude some women would frown on - especially the high-maintenance New Yorkers, who schedule in weekly manicures, and French women, who would not dream of tackling breakfast without a full face of make-up and perfectly ironed silk blouse.
And I can’t imagine beauty icons such as Joan Collins have got to where they are by leaving home with a bit of mascara badly covering her white roots (a trick one colleague of mine has admitted to). These are women who subscribe to the views of Helena Rubinstein, the beauty guru who declared that ‘there are no such things as ugly women, only lazy ones.’
It’s an admirable attitude and one I wish I could sign up to, but I have chanced upon another quote from Ben Jonson, the Renaissance poet and playwright, which my friends and I much prefer.
‘A woman, the more careful she is about her face is commonly the more careless about her house.’
Well, thank you Ben for sticking up for over-stretched women everywhere. Us ‘semi-groomers’ are only so because we are busy keeping our house, our families and our careers in order.
Well, that’s our story and we’re sticking to it. - Daily Mail