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.
This week we’re joined by a 28-year-old beauty editor. She lives alone (read: she doesn’t have to share her bathroom cabinet) and says, ‘I get sent a lot of products to sample but very few make it into my day-to-day routine.’ Instead of relying on freebies she prefers to re-buy her favourite products and has done for years. However, every so often a revolutionary item will stroll into her life and shake up her whole body admin.
7.30: Since discovering my gym's pool isn't a terrifying place filled with Olympic athletes that competitively lap you, I've been on a new fitness kick. However, this requires more body upkeep than I'm used to. I give my underarms and calves a quick swipe of my Friction Free Razor (£9) and brace myself for the pain of chlorine hitting newly shaved skin. Ouch.
7.40: Swimsuit on, towel packed, I give my teeth a quick once over with my devastatingly chic Muji toothbrush (£2.95) and the last squeeze of my Marvis Strong Mint Toothpaste (£7.92).
8.30: Got lost in my breaststroke and didn't watch the time, now I've only got 20 minutes to get ready for work. A two-minute shower with a pump of Nivea's Lemon Meringue shower mousse (£2.99) and a quick comb of the hair (yes I know I should have washed it, but that clock won't stop ticking) and I'm racing to get dressed. With shoulder length curly hair the first thing I do (before I even put on my underwear) is crack out the hair serum. With a generous serving of Miss Jessie's Multicultural Curl Cream (£15.99) pulled through my hair, I tackle the knicker situation.
9:10: I have one hand strategically placed to catch a handle if the tube lurches forward while I apply my face. First a slather or Shiseido's dreamy jelly WASO cream (£34), which is perfect for my combination complexion that's prone to spots. With more staying power than a red wine stain on a white dress, my old faithful Nars Radiant Concealer (£24) is here to save my splotchy skin. Next up is Anastasia Beverly Hill's Clear Brow Gel (£23), which is the only thing that can tame my wayward brows, followed my 3ina's The Volume Mascara (£7.65), which I would be devastated if they ever discontinued. No joke, I'd have a full-on horror movie Carrie moment.
7pm: I am SO done with today. Sometimes I wish I didn't live alone so that somebody else can make me dinner #lazy.
7.45pm: An episode of Queer Eye later and I've at least found the energy to take off my make-up. I start with Bioderma's Micellar Water (£8.10), I love this gentle product so much I could write an ode to it. If I ever wrote a book, it would be in my dedication. I pop out my contacts and wash my face with Glossier's Milky Cleanser (£15) - at first I wasn't convinced by this product as it's so gentle and creamy that I wasn't sure it was cleaning my skin, however with a swipe of Glossier's Solution (£19) I'm officially sold.
9pm: Heated up soup, felt proud of myself.
11pm: After more Queer Eye episodes than I care to admit, I brush my teeth. However, having used up the last of my Marvis this morning I've resorted to using one of those teeny squeeze Colgate tubes you get free in fancy hotel rooms. My grasp at adulting hasn't stretched to remembering to buy life's necessities (yet).
7:30: Ouch, so sore from yesterday's swim. Hit snooze two more times.
7:50: I lather myself in the shower with The Body Shop's Wild Argan Oil Shower Gel (£5) and wash my hair with Living Proof's No Frizz Shampoo (£22) and Conditioner (£22).
8:00: I recently tried the new Innolux hair treatment (it's like Olaplaex but better), which rebonds your hair to make it stronger and silkier, so when I remember I like to top it up with a pump of the at-home treatment (£24), which I pull through my roots. And, then I stoke on my Miss Jessies.
9am: Living that commuter make-up reality. This time I zhoosh it up a bit with a sweep of a new liquid lipstick from 3ina's collaboration with Clio Peppiatt (£8.95).
6pm: I slap on some more concealer (I need to make myself look presentable).
6.30pm: I haven't had my haircut in seven months (!) so I head to Not Another Salon for a loooong overdue chop. Embarrassingly I lie and tell my hairdresser that it's only been five months since my last visit (I can tell he knows the truth). My job may not pay well, but it does come with perks and this was one of them.
10pm: With my split ends gone I'm on a mission to purge my skin. I take off the remnants of my make-up and treat myself to a Decleour White Petal Skin Perfecting Sleep Mask (£36). This stuff is my secret weapon, it brightens, smooths, soothes and makes my pores shrink. A big impact for a little bottle.
11pm: I keep falling asleep while reading my book (House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row, in case you're interested), which is no reflection on the novel because it's a funny, wistful, inspiring bundle of pages. Before I turn the lights out I give my pillow a spritz of Neom's Perfect Night's Mist (£20), now that's the definition of luxury IMHO.
7:30: Went for a run, it was raining. In the worst mood and the day has barely begun.
8:30: Showered and fixed my hair before I realized that my tiny tube of emergency toothpaste is out. Speed did my make-up while chewing three pebbles of gum and headed straight out.
9:15: Everyone loves an early morning trip to Boots, amiright? I buy an emergency Oral-B toothbrush (£1) and toothpaste (Colgate Original Total Care, £2).
10.00: No one's commented on my new haircut, which answer's the perennial question: if a tree falls in the wood and no one witnesses it, did it even happen?
6pm: My mascara is halfway down my face, my concealer is long-gone so I spend the few minutes I have before I need to leave work to make it to the theatre in time reapplying my make-up. I pump out my favorite Fenty foundation (£26) shade, mix it with a drop of Nuxe's precious Multi-Purpose Dry Oil elixir (£18), sweep on 3D highlighter and bronzer from Huda's megawatt palette (£40), line my eyes with Eyeko's Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (£16) and smack my lips with Dolce & Gabbana's Miss Sicily lipstick (£27), which is the closest thing I've found to lipgloss shine without any of the icky stickiness.
1.30am: Whoah did not mean to stay out this late. All I can manage is a quick once over with a Nivea Make-up remover wipe (£1.49). Don't judge me.
8.00: Urgh hate my life, I need to find a job that allows for lie-ins.
9.00: A little late but I'm out the door with half my make-up on. I think I deserve an applause or at the very least a slow clap.
9.25: What is this weather? One minute it's windy and raining the next I'm sweating in my puffy jacket on the tube. Thank the lord for Soft & Gentle's 0% Aluminum Anti-Perspirant Roll-On (£2.79).
6pm: It's Friday night, which means The Debrief HQ transforms for an office of high-quality journalism (if I say so myself) into a veritable make-up counter with each writer covering their sorry pen-marked desks with a combination of beer and bronzer.
9pm: Already drunk, wish I wasn't a lightweight. End up at the pub with a handful of friends who I love dearly but my painstakingly perfect winged liner is wasted on. Sorry if the truth hurts.
1am: Went back to a friend's house for a sophisticated dinner of Linda McCartney sausages and oven-baked hashbrowns - do not tell me we're not living our best life.
2am: After a sobering Uber ride home I successfully take off all my make-up, brush my teeth and even remember to try out my new Pearl Drops Strong And White Overnight Serum (£6.99), which says my teeth will be whiter in just three days. So minty fresh.
10am: This headache is not the one. Thank God for Paracetamol.
11.30am: I go for a swim but forget the gym gives half the pool to kids swimming classes on the weekend. Not the one.
12pm: While treating myself to a sauna I notice that I forgot to shave my legs. A couple of years ago I would be mortified, but to be honest I don't really care. If my hairy legs offend you then that's your problem.
2.30pm: A friend comes round and we try out a couple of Garnier sheet masks (£1.99) I've been sent while watching Sex and The City on my projector.
3pm: Not going to lie, my skin looks exactly the same, maybe a touch shinier but that's about it.
7pm: After some cajoling, we're going to go out-out. We throw on make-up and know that inevitably we'll enjoy this part of the night more than the latter.
1am: Actually didn't go out that late, quite thankful TBH as it gives me the faint hope I might be productive tomorrow.
2am: Spend an hour doing God knows what in the bathroom. Mistakingly tried to pluck my own eyebrows a little drunk (always a bad idea) but wisely applied my tooth-whitening gel.
2.50am: Pumped up on alcohol sugar and can't sleep. FML. I spend 15 minutes rubbing in Daughter's of The Soil's luscious Marula Oil (£18) with my Jade Roller (£7.99) to try and relax.
11.00: Glorious Sunday, the day of lie-ins and self-care. I wake up on the right side of the bed, for a change and make the brilliant decision to put my Jade Roller in the fridge.
11.20: So refreshing, so cold. I love my Jade Roller. And, if I'm not mistaken I even think the bags under my eyes might be disappearing. In the spirit of things, I dab on This Works' No Wrinkles Tire Eyes (£42), which feels like an extra two hours sleep and smells a treat too, and slather on my incredibly precious but deliciously nourishing Shiseido moisturiser.
1pm: Finally showered and dressed and have made the decision that today is a no make-up day. However, I also decided to wear cropped trousers, which meant that post-shower before running out the door to meet some friends I awkwardly had to stick my leg in the sink and shave the four inches of calf on show. Chiiiic.
3pm: My friend asked if I'm feeling OK, I hope that wasn't a slight on my #nomakeup appearance.
5pm: Had the most AMAZING 4-handed Lomi Lomi massage (£85) at Tri-yoga. It was a mind-blowing experience. Harnessing Hawaiian healing practices, it's a full-body massage that feels like a therapy session.
11pm: Socializing done, dinner done, ready to hunker down for a hygge Sunday night (yes I'm a cliche) with a Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt candle (£45) and my favourite night oil (Vaishaly's dream cream £37.50).
7:30: In an effort to start the week right I throw myself into the pool.
8.00: I wash my hair and feel ready to take on life. I even remember to spritz my favourite fragrance (Comme Des Garcon's Artek Standard Cologne, £75) before getting to work (rather than slyly at my desk).
11.30: I have a meeting outside the office so I reapplying my lipstick on the tube. Everyone's staring like they've never seen this happen before, why is that?
5pm: I've been running around all day so have to dip into the cupboard to steal a deodorant because. Think it's rude to leave it there so end up nabbing Dove's Maximum Protection Roll-On (£4.99)
7pm: I meet a friend for at a launch party of a new store in Soho. I question whether this free glass of Prosecco is worth the hangover and the inevitable next-day spots. Of course, it is.
10pm: I'm home and I'm cooking an actual meal with protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. I thank the power of alcohol for this productivity.
10.30pm: While dinner's bubbling away I take off my make-up and dollop on Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Overnight Hair Mask (£16). Pray, I'm the editor with the good hair tomorrow.
Cost of make-up: £190.06
Cost of skincare: £254.07
Cost of bodycare: £185.64
Cost of haircare: £99.99
Total Cost of Body Admin: £733.30*
*As a beauty editor who receives countless samples many of the products featured were gifted for free with the idea the hope they would receive coverage in some form or other.
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.