This week I read an incredible extract from Sali Hughes new book Pretty Iconic where she discussed her journey with makeup and products from her past and the memories that were attached to it. And it inspired me to think about my own relationship with beauty right from childhood to current day. Of course, I had to support this post with a tonne of images from my past as they're always hilarious to look back on. So if you want to know the true horrors of being a child in the 90's then keep on viewing.
I'm not one of those girls who remembers my mum putting on makeup at her dresser as she never had much interest in beauty and neither did my sister. But things like Fairy soap is something I always remember sitting in the bath tray and there is nothing quite as satisfying as unwrapping a fresh bar of soap and the smell of Fairy will always remind me of my childhood. As there isn't anything beauty related to report. The only thing I can talk about is my hair, I always had short hair with a full fringe that used to be curled under with tongs. It was quite the look as you can imagine but I was a child of the 90's and it wasn't the worst style I could have had.
YEARS 8 -12
There was still no makeup in my life at this point but the hair styles that I wrangled my tresses into were quite something. Bobbles were a big thing in my childhood but they weren't quite your normal hair ties, oh no. These figure 8 shaped pieces of elastic were adorned with such things like dice, flowers, magic 8 balls and all sorts of menagerie. I still recall just how painful it was if you accidentally pinged these bobbles against your knuckles when getting your hair into the highest ponytail the school would ever see. Clips were also a big thing when I was at school and I distinctly remember one of my favourite styles was pulling two pieces of hair back and using huge floral clips to hold them in place. As you can probably imagine Claire's Accessories was my favourite place on the planet.
A large part of my childhood was stealing products from my sister. She always used to get bath sets from The Body Shop in the Boxing Day sale. And there were always these odd bath pearls that they used to sell that they were full of bubble bath and when they'd burst in the hot water you'd be left with these awful bits of rubber floating around in the bath. The Body Shop, in general, is a brand that some of my earliest memory of beauty products come from.
THE TEENAGE YEARS
I don't think I wore makeup till I was around 13 and I vividly remember forcing my sister to put mascara on me and put my hair up in a slicked back perfectly combed through ponytail with two little bits of hair hanging down. Why this was ever a sought after trend I'll never know. Of course, Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse was what I caked my complexion with and it was far too dark. Blusher always came from Natural Collection in the shade Pink Cloud which is still a product I love. But the real star of the show was the purple eyeshadow that I used from Collection 2000 and the lashings of clear mascara that really completed the look. And like most teenagers of the early 2000's I smothered my lips in Vaseline and anything tinted from Nivea. Basically, anything that was completely useless but we all convinced ourselves it was the product to have. Then, of course, the eyebrows what can I say? They've still never quite recovered. Scents like So?, Exclamation! and Charlie Red were something that dominated my school bag and I can't help but smell them whenever I see them.
THE SCENE STAGE
When I started to get into pop punk and metal music is the time in my life when I really started to experiment with my makeup. Sadly the over lined Racoon eyes with a smudgy Rimmel kohl wasn't a good look for me but it's a product that holds such special memories for me. My later teenage years were a little rocky but overall it's the time of my life where I started becoming more independent because I'd got a job and could pay for my own things which meant I got to experiment more with my style and makeup as I had the money to do so. Like anyone who has been through the scene or emo stage, we all know the struggle of having the perfect sweeping fringe with clips to hold it in place. This was around the time that I discovered hair extensions too because I was forever on the quest for hair down to my stomach like all the cool Myspace girls had. And they were possibly the most uncomfortable thing I've ever attached to my head.
I was pretty much out of my scene stage at this point even though I still had the same interest in music but my makeup was a lot calmer. I was still reaching for the eyeliner but it was much more toned down and I think I even started to discover the world of foundation past Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse and using a cream compact from Maxfactor. Blusher was still kept the same with my beloved Natural Collection Pink Cloud but I did discover the world of neutral eyeshadows again from Natural Collection. Even now if I had to shop on a serious budget I'd go for a brand like Natural Collection as they had some great items.
UNIVERSITY AND THE BEAUTY BLOGGER YEARS
The start of university was the same as college for me beauty-wise, foundation, blush, a little bit of eyeliner, nude eyeshadow and a lot of mascara. Looking back on the photographs from this time I'm amazed at the condition of my skin. I had absolutely no kind of routine, my face got a baby wipe and maybe a cheap face wash if it was lucky. University was the time in my life where I really experimented with my hair as I'd never dyed it before apart from a disastrous attempt with Sun In. My hair went every shade imaginable and it's something in a lot of ways I regret because I had to chop it into a bob to get it back into a healthy state but it did teach me that hair is just hair and it always grows back.
In the later years of university is when I discovered beauty blogging and that changed everything. I've always liked makeup but I've never been as enamoured with it as I was in 2010/2011. And this is probably when I made the biggest mistakes in my beauty history. I listened far too much to people online and learnt the hard way that All That Glitters eyeshadow and Mac Shy Girl are shades that look absolutely vile on my skin tone. This was also when my skin went through a really bad patch due to the contraceptive implant so I was reaching for super heavy bases trying to hide the severe cystic spots that erupted on a daily basis.
Even though were a lot of beauty mistakes made I discovered the world of skincare and how to take care of my complexion properly and this was a big deal for me. My quest for a clear complexion was a long, complex and expensive one. But it was well worth it for the confidence that it's given me and how happy I feel in my own skin now the spots and scarring have cleared up.
And now were finally up to present day. Because my beauty tastes have been so well documented on this blog it feels reduntant to share them again when it's something I do on an almost daily basis but I did want to share my relationship with beauty. Writing this blog has given me such an incredible insight to not only the industry but the relationship that women all over the world have with the products that they apply. I don't wear makeup everyday because I don't feel like I need to which is something that would have been so alien to teenage Rebecca. But the process of applying my favourite products is something that I savour and look forward to. Not having the pressure of feeling like I need to apply a full face of product to feel like myself is pretty revolutionary.
I'd love to know your history of makeup!
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