Body Admin Diaries: An Author And Editor Who Never Leaves Herself More Than 20 Minutes To Get Ready

'I now realise I’ve developed a pavlovian response to baths where I automatically run one whenever I feel anything less than optimal'

Body Admin Diaries

by Rebecca Holman |
Published on

The beauty industry is valued at £9.3 billion, but how much time, effort and money does the average woman spend on her body admin? On a mission to destroy the illusion that us ladies spend our precious free time fussing over facials and following fads, we’re asking a cross-section of people how much time they really dedicate to their beauty routine. Do they follow a nine-step Korean programme or are they actually applying their make-up on the bus to work? Let the veil of mystery be lifted once and for all.

Body Admin Diaries

This week we're joined by Debrief editor and author of BETA: Quiet Girls Can Run The World, Rebecca Holman....

As an editor with a decent supply of sample beauty products to test out when I want, you’d imagine I had a complex, ever changing beauty routine featuring hundreds of different beauty products. But alas, I’m a) a creature of habit and b) quite lazy so my routine is a little fairly pared back. Or so I thought...

I also never leave enough time to get ready, making every part of my body admin routine a seat-of-the-pants race to the finish - I wonder what giving myself more time to get ready in the morning would do to my stress levels? Writing this all down has also made me realise that 90% of my time is preoccupied with what to do with my hair. It’s naturally very curly, and whether I take the decision to blow dry it straight and how that goes can shape the mood of my whole day. Also I 100% take too many baths. In my defence, it’s cheaper than therapy and more chilled out than a gym class, but I’m not sure I can justify using that much water on the regular any more. WILL NO-ONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?


Debrief Body Admin Diaries Rebecca

Body Admin Diaries Rebecca1 of 7
CREDIT: 365skincare

Day 1

7.40: Alarm goes off, snooze. 7.50: Alarm goes off again, get up have a wee, go back to bed, accidentally fall back to sleep 8.15: OMFG8.17: Rub Glossier milk jelly cleaner (£15) on my face and hurl myself into shower. Consider shaving my legs and washing my hair and decide I only have time to de one. Wash my hair with living proof no frizz shampoo (£22) and Davises Love curl conditioner (£17.20) - there's no way I've left enough time to blow-dry my hair straight, so it's all about frizz management at this stage. Use &Other stories Sicilian Sunrise body wash (£7) and stagger out of shower. 8:23: Brush my teeth with Colgate Total Whitening toothpaste (£3.10) I towel dry my hair and drip dry the rest of me, run some Davies love curl cream £18.70 through my hair and comb my hair off my face - it can just dry like that on the way to work. 8.27: I moisturise my body like a demon - my skin gets really dry and itchy otherwise, so rub Palmers Cocoa Butter (£2.60) all over my body and then slather Glossier priming rich moisturiser (£29) over my face. Until recently I'd been whacking Hydraulanic acid on beforehand, but my skin has been getting increasingly blotchy so I've decided to give it a rest for a while (I'm also in denial about the fact that it's blatantly wine that's causing the problem). 8: 31 I run into the bedroom without a towel and drop to the floor when I realise my husband has already put the blinds up (we have massive windows which overlook the loft extension of the house opposite, and they frequently get an early morning eyeful when I'm running late and too panicked to care). Chuck some clothes and earrings on, spritz on some perfume (Diptqye Philosykos, £70 ), grab my gym bag, which I pre-packed the night before and run out the door for 8.39 on the dot. 8.44: On the train, smear By Terry Cc cream (£58) all over my face, getting it into my hairline and eyebrows. The girl opposite pretends not to notice. Tidy it up and apply Laura Mercier Camouflage secret foundation (£27.50) under my eyes. Whack some Illamasque cream blusher in Promise (£23) onto my cheeks, and add a bit of black mascara - Kevin Aucoin volume mascara (£22.50). My hair can air dry on the way into the office et voila, no-one will know what a chaos merchant I am in the mornings. I feel stressed just writing this. 18.55: In the gym changing room there's some cleanser and cotton pads, so I use that to take off my eye make-up off - better than having it smear down my face when I get sweaty. 20.40: Back home, and v. sweaty - even though I'm also starving and it's getting late, decide to have a bath rather than a shower before dinner. I justify this as a good way to relax my muscles, in reality it's because I want to listen to the Archers by candlelight for 12 minutes. I'm obsessed with Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep bath oil (£45) but it isn't cheap - I got some for Christmas and I'm trying to see how long I can eek that out for. I also wash my face again with Glossier milk jelly cream cleanser and decide to treat myself to a leg shave - Gilette Simply Venus disposable razors (£6.38). I'm never organised enough to by the correct refill when I buy a pricer razor so it's disposables all the way. 20.55: Dry off and use more Palmers cocoa butter and Glossier priming rich moisturizer. 22.55: Brush my teeth and put The Ordinary Rosehip oil (£9) on my face before bed - it gets super dry and this does seem to make a difference, although I'm wary of overusing it and making my skin super dependent on it.

Body Admin Diaries Rebecca2 of 7
CREDIT: 365skincare

Day 2

8.10: As above, although I make it into the shower for 8.10, which is the latest I can possibly get up and not give myself a coronary trying to get out of the house (so is the earliest I ever get up unless I have an early meeting). I normally wash my hair every other day but it got mega sweaty in the gym, so give it a proper wash again. 8.32: Haven't quite left enough time to blow-dry my hair so shove my wet hair into a ponytail and blowdry my fringe straight accidentally singing the edges in my haste. 8.44: Don't have any major meetings in the morning and my skin's not too blotchy, so decide to give make-up a miss for now, so whack some lip balm (Glossier) on the train and leave it at that. 18.08PM: Decide to meet my husband in the pub for a drink on the way home, so whack some make-up on at my desk - the usual suspects as yesterday morning (it has to be a seriously special occasion for me to deviate from my usual 5 product make-up routine) but I swerve the liquid eyeliner - my reasoning being that I'll only have to take it off in four hours time anyway. 22.36: remove my make-up with Glossier milk jelly cleaner and a muslin cloth and smear Glossier priming rich moisturizer on before bed. My skin feels really tight and dry still, so chuck some Nuxe 48 hour moisturizing creme (£21.50 ) over the top - no idea if it makes a difference or not, but it feels like it's doing something…

Body Admin Diaries Rebecca3 of 7
CREDIT: 365skincare

Day 3

8.10: As ever, I leave it too late to do anything useful with my hair, which his now not dirty enough to merit a wash but also looks too utterly insane to leave as it is. In the end I just wet it in the shower, rub in some more Davies love curl creme and leave it to dry curly. Again I shove half a pot of Glossier priming rich moisturizer on my dry, dry skin (I'm blaming the air conditioning in the office) and leave it at that. Blotchieness levels are at a 7/10 but can't be bothered to put any make-up on. 20.25: Back from a yoga class, so get in the bath. Realise my back is getting spotty which always happens when I go to the gym a lot, so give it a proper big wash with Red Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium body scrub (£28) . Then decide my whole body could do with a big scrub. Unfortunately my impromptu spa session causes a minor flood in the bathroom, which I end up mopping up with my towel when I get out of the bath. Apply my usual Palmers cocoa butter and Glossier rich priming moisturiser and go straight to bed.

Body Admin Diaries Rebecca4 of 7
CREDIT: 365skincare

Day 4

8.00 My hair is beyond gross now, which prompts me to get out of bed 10 minutes earlier to give it a proper wash - shave my legs too as a special Thursday 'getting out of bed early' treat. I even blow-dry my hair properly straight as I'm going out in the evening. Feel like an organised power woman with impeccable beauty admin. 8.50: Decide not to put any make-up on just yet - my skin looks ok and I don't have any major meetings so will hold off until I go out in the evening - I hate piling more make-up on knackered skin after a day in an air conditioned office. 18:10: Chuck on my standard make-up selection By Terry CC cream, Laura Mercier Camouflage concealer, Illamasqua cream blusher and Kevin Aucoin mascara. Our beauty editor gave me a new pen eyeliner to try out the other day - Lottie London Stamp eyeliner (£5.45). You're meant to use the pen side to draw the line above your lashes, and the stamp to add a flick at the end. I'm really into how easy it is to apply, so I use the pen side to draw a line above each of my top lashes, but ditch the flicky bit - as someone who doesn't wear all that much make-up, it feels a bit too much of a 'thing' for a Thursday night. I have no idea when I got so boring about what I put on my face. 23.30: Should probably take my make-up off and brush my teeth before bed but…zzzzz.

Body Admin Diaries Rebecca5 of 7

Day 5

7.30: Argh what's that black crap all over my pillow?8.20: Running seriously late, wash my icky, make-up-encased face with Glossier milk jelly cleanser and a muslin cloth in the shower, giving it a proper scrub - ostensibly to get rid of all the make-up in my pores, but also to slightly punish myself for my bad, drunken behavior last night. To be fair, I just neglected to take my make-up off and brush my teeth, which, 10 years ago, would have been par for the course, but now I feel like stuff like that (and poss all the booze) make me look noticeably older and more haggard in the morning. I'm going to the gym later so just wash my fringe and blow dry it straight and shove the rest of my hair up in a bun. 8.35: Absolutely slather the moisturiser on, followed by Nuxe 48 hour moisturizing mask (£19) - I feel like you're meant to put this on before you go to bed, but it's Friday, I've got no meetings, and I'm going straight from work to the gym, so feels ok to have my face covered in a moisture mask all day. Plus it might counteract all the bad stuff the office air con has done to by poor dry skin his week. 19.00: Just back from the gym, feel knackered, so decide to have a bath rather than a shower, while I'm waiting for my husband to get back from work. Realise I've developed a pavlovian response to baths where I run one every time I feel anything less than optimal, which is probably just as bad as using a new plastic water bottle every day and eating steak six nights a week (both of which I'd be horrified at). Literally stew in my own bath water at the thought of giving up my baths for the good of the planet. Resolve to cut them down to twice a week and only in place of a shower going forward. We decide to head to the pub before dinner, so I wash my hair and let it dry naturally. I'm reluctant to put make-up on when I'll only have to take it off in a couple of hours time, and going to the gym has made my skin transition nicely from 'blotchy hangover hell' to 'slightly flushed' which I can live with.

Body Admin Diaries Rebecca6 of 7
CREDIT: 365skincare

Day 6

9.55: Jump out of bed late, brush my teeth, wash my face and whack some By Ordinary rosehip oil on my face before going to a yoga class. Apart from constant fringe management and wondering where my next bath is coming from, most of this diary has been me layering as many things as I can find on my face at any given time to keep it hydrated. 15.00: Did some gardening after yoga, and as I didn't have a shower this morning, feel like I've earned one more bath before I start trying to limit my water usage. Add some Aromatherapy Associates bath oil in and go for a mega Archers catch up. I know how to live. My hair is still curly from yesterday so leave it and just put it up a ponytail after my bath. 17.00 Decide to go for a walk along the river path to the pub, so put a bit of CC cream and some mascara on.

Body Admin Diaries Rebecca7 of 7
CREDIT: 365skincare

Day 7

9.30 Getting out to the gym before going out for the day, so pack my moisturiser, deodorant and a hairbrush in my bag as I'm pretty sure they have shower stuff and body lotion in the gym changing room. Wash my face and brush my teeth before I leave the house - and quickly remember to shave my armpits over the bathroom sink - caught sight of them in the gym mirror the other day when I was doing weights and decided they probably needed a spot of pruning. 11.40 Wash and condition my hair using whatever random shampoo and conditioner they have in the gym, and some some of the communal body lotion. I'm not in a mad rush for once and they actually have straighteners in the gym (I haven't owned a pair since my last lot blew up circa 2011) so dry my hair straight, put on a load of moisturiser, and decide against make-up as my face is still sweaty from the gym, and something about sweating with make-up on makes me feel a bit gross. 22.30: Back home, and feel utterly knackered. What I really want right now is a bath, but resist as I've already maxed out my water quota for the day. Glad I didn't bother with any make-up in the morning, it makes me feel less grim about not washing my face now - stick some more moisturiser on and brush my teeth though, which almost makes me feel like i'm winning at life.

Total cost of Makeup £136.45

Total cost of Skincare £74.50

Total cost of Body care £47.08

Total cost of Hair care £57.90

Total cost of body admin: £315.93

Argh that is so much money - and there was I thinking I was really frugal and pared-back about my beauty routine. That is OBSCENE!

Follow Rebecca on Twitter @rebecca_hol

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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