Our favourite celebrities can be divided into endless sub categories, niche groupings and divisions, for fandom is a rich and complex activity. There are the Celebrities Who Seem Kind But Brusque Enough To Shepherd Your Entire Family Around A Town Centre For An Hour, Who Would Definitely Remember Where The Car Was Parked (Sandi Toksvig). There are the Celebrities You Would Gladly Gush At Even If You Bumped Into Them In Tesco Metro With A Coat On Over Your Pyjamas. (Claudia Winkleman) There are Celebrities Who Could Ask You To Amputate A Limb So That They Could Crush Your Bones To A Fine Powder And Snort Them, And You’d Do It Without Questions Or Anaesthetic. (Britney, Beyonce.) Then, there are the We Are Spiritual Best Friends, You Just Don’t Know It celebrities, like Nigella Lawson.
Like millions of women, I believe my connection with Nigella is profound and unique. I have breasts! I like to eat from the fridge! If I had a casual thousand extra pounds that I didn’t need to spend on heat and shelter, I too would buy a rose gold Kitchen Aid! But my conviction that we’re twin souls became even stronger when Nigella revealed that she has been exfoliating with her washing up gloves, to keep her skin smooth and youthful. I have never bought a Brillo pad without wondering whether it might be repurposed to tackle the stubborn dry patch on my jaw. I have, in dire emergencies, wondered whether Eve Lom’s definition of a muslin cloth could be extended to include the letter J. I have been busy (drunk) enough to pick up Pledge and work it into my roots, believing it to be a can of Elnett. So I was very keen to try Nigella’s technique, especially because, unlike certain kale loving Hollywood beauty influencers who keep flogging face oils with a three figure price tag, she was recommending something I could get from a supermarket for under a tenner.
I decided night time was the right time to try the gloves, partly because I suspected the scrubbing action would make me a little ruddy, and I have unfortunate Boris Johnson tendencies even on my most pale and interesting days. Nigella didn’t reveal whether she uses a product, or uses the gloves on wet or dry skin, or if Fairy Liquid is also part of her beauty routine. I fancied the idea of working up a bit of a lather. Then I remembered that any kind of foaming cleanser is not my friend. It makes my face flakier than a bridesmaid who has failed to turn up to the ceremony because she needs a self care Saturday. So I worked the gloves into my usual routine – micellar water on a cotton pad, followed by Votary oil and a hot cloth. Then I snapped the gloves on, feeling a little like a someone who has volunteered to perform open heart surgery using nothing but knowledge gleaned from watching repeats of ER, and went in.
Firstly, I found the smell of the gloves off putting. I’m certain that before the year is out, a high end skincare brand will be making something that is redolent of rose bark and ylang ylang and retails at £79.99 – but it seemed counterintuitive to be putting something on my face that was slightly stinky. My instinct was to bury my face in my prickly palms, and motorboat them. This felt deeply satisfying – giving me the same same groan inducing sensation as rubbing my eyes for ten minutes after taking my contact lenses out – but then I suspected that even Earth Goddess Nigella probably uses the gloves to do a proper facial massage. I worked the nobbly silicone into my temples, cheeks and jawline, which felt soothing to the point of being meditative. I finished with a drop of the usual and then went to sleep _(_lie down with my eyes closed for eight hours while thinking about tax returns and how I’d cope if my flat caught fire.)
The next morning brought mixed results. I was convinced that I looked fresher and glowier than usual, but my skin seemed slightly more uneven in tone, and I had a little break out on my chin. Nigella has skin like the inside of a rose petal, and mine looks a little bit more like a Rothko painting that was commissioned as an advert for Fanta. I don’t know whether repeated work with the gloves would make my skin more rose petal like, or if it would aggravate my skin further and leave it looking like a remaindered TK Maxx cushion.
However, I really loved taking the time to give myself a proper face massage. Nigella’s gloves might be cheap, easily available and dishwasher safe, but my own hands are free to use, and much more environmentally friendly. I probably won’t use the silicone gloves regularly, but I will be making the massage part of my regular routine. I think the gloves are great for preparing your skin for a product – my skin seemed to absorb the oil more quickly than usual – but I think that if you have tendencies to dryness or a combination complexion, it’s best to try them with caution, ideally when you don’t have to do anything even slightly self conscious making the next day.
One exfoliating product that has changed my skin for the better is REN Ready Steady Glow, which stimulates skin cell turnover so that you shed your old, dull snakey skin to reveal your bright, smooth skin underneath. I don’t think I’ll be ditching this for washing up gloves, but as an occasional beauty writer and long term beauty enthusiast, I will say that rubbing your face with a nobbly glove is probably much better for it than using a scratchy, granular scrub. Exfoliation isn’t meant to be as aggressive as we often think. Less is more. If you’re going to try the gloves, go gently. And leave the Brillo pads alone. However, this Christmas I can’t promise that I won’t be hitting the Pledge. The hold isn’t so great, but the shine is fabulous.