Women are not as high maintenance as 'influencers' make you think

I’ve always considered myself to be relatively low maintenance. I don’t do facials, as I don’t like having my face touched. I’ve never been waxed, preferring razors and depilatory creams to a white-coated stranger between my legs.

Turns out we're not all slathering on (or putting in) the kind of products you'd see on Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Goop'.

Turns out we’re not all slathering on (or putting in) the kind of products you’d see on Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Goop’.

I wear foundation so infrequently that when my preferred brand was discontinued for two years, I didn’t even notice. I buy a mid-range lipstick, and supermarket brand BB mascara, moisturisers and cleansers. The majority of my monthly beauty budget is spent on haircuts and hair products (I go through bottles of mousse), and my regular shellac manicures.

I always assumed other women had far more sophisticated grooming regimes than me. I’m on Instagram, after all. I see beauty bloggers flogging their wares. They get bee venom facials and body wraps and microdermabrasion laser treatments and buy serum ampules individually wrapped in dead sea scrolls. Hell, they probably put jade eggs in their vaginas.

But, as it turns out, I was wrong. I asked a bunch of women to disclose their beauty and grooming regimes, and the vast majority told similar stories to mine. Few women admitted to lavish beauty routines, and most described themselves as reasonably basic.

Hair was almost always the primary expense – styling and dying the wanted hair (head, eyelashes, eyebrows) and lasering or waxing the unwanted. Many women, like me, had regular manis or pedis. Most women knew exactly what they liked and had used it for a long time.

For some women, a pricey product or service was in the mix. Some women splurge on facials or expensive moisturisers, others use top-of-the-range hair products. I was pleasantly surprised to learn (given the risk of keeping yourself broke trying to keep up with 'must-do' trends), most, like me, use basic moisturisers and cleansers, with supermarket BB creams a crowd favourite.

Many told me they used to use expensive brands but reverted to cheap brands after years of experimentation: "I honestly can’t tell the difference," said one.

Of course, there are women at the extreme ends of the spectrum. There are women who spend a fortune on skin treatments, upwards of $1000 per month on injectables and dermabrasion. But there are many women who spend virtually nothing, washing their faces with soap and water, and using sorbolene as a moisturiser.

And what about eye care, something on which we are told to spend as much as we possibly can lest… um, I'm not sure what? ''Every time I make a salad I wipe two bits of cucumber on my eyes,'' said one friend.

No one put jade eggs in their vagina.

What all of us had in common was a simplicity in our beauty regimes that runs contrary to the ultra high maintenance practices and products the Kardashians (and their mum) are madly trying to convince us we cannot live without.

Some of their daughters, nieces and young colleagues were testing out the new, trendy makeup ranges, spending a small fortune on the latest miracle creams, and dropping $150 a fortnight on eyelash extensions, but it seems, once into their thirties and beyond (if my sampling reflects the norm) many women are happier to go back to basics. One cream. One lip colour. One hair product. Whatever works.

The reasons are numerous. Firstly, women in the heavy lifting years may have less time for shopping and experimentation than younger women. We have jobs, kids, and households to maintain as well as our faces.

Secondly, and, I think, more significantly, we are more cynical. I know I went through a phase of trying every eye cream on the market, ordering products from the internet and hunting down serums touted in advertorials. None of them worked, or, at least, none worked better than the supermarket brands.

Thirdly, we come to realise that only two things make a big difference when it comes to ageing: the genetic lottery, or the more intrusive injectables. We’ve all seen enough examples of women with amazing skin who use soap and water, and women with poor skin who use the top-of-the-line moisturisers.

We know that miracle cream is nothing but false hope in an expensive tub, so we may as well stick to the cheap stuff and spend (or save) any other cash for what matters more. As we age, it just feels less important. We don't need the latest 'it' cream to feel okay about ourselves.

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