I once dated a handsome Frenchman who, when he first lived with me, stood in my bathroom, put his hand to his forehead and asked for an “air prize”. I brought him two aspirins and a glass of water, which really confused him. Turns out he wanted hairspray and seemed dismayed at my deplorable lack of hairstyle offerings.
On the other end of the spectrum, another guy I went out with kept only one thing in the bottom of his football pack: mud.
But if there’s ever a time for a cabinet reshuffle—one where you and your partner can share more beauty and grooming products—it’s now.
Increasingly, the beauty industry markets products based on the concerns a product addresses, regardless of gender. And to be honest, it’s been moving in that direction for ages. CK One, you may recall, did a pretty good job of that back in 1994.
Sure, not every beauty purchase will have universal appeal or application. There are differences in the structure of men’s and women’s skin (firstly, men are thicker). And we have different needs at different times in life too, which is why my husband won’t be reaching for my new Clarins Super Restorative Night Cream (£81, boots.com) formulated to support menopausal skin. But there are many double-ups we like to dip into, and it starts with shampoo.
My husband has always gone for the cheap and cheerful and I have never been loyal, so for years we have had a pile of bottles clogging the wire basket in the bathroom. But as we both had very lush hair in our youth and now admit it’s thinning, we’re currently trying a new formulation together – Philip Kingsley Density Thickening Shampoo (£25.50, philipkingsley.co.uk). It contains pea peptides to add volume and BHA (beta-hydroxy/salicylic acid) to exfoliate the scalp.
OK, it’s not cheap, but since you don’t have to spend a lot thanks to the quality, and we split it between the two of us, the payoff has been that we’ve both found that our hair feels stronger.
As for the shower, I’m a soap guy, he’s a gel guy. But his indulgence – Molton Brown Heavenly Gingerlily Bath & Shower Gel (£25, moltonbrown.co.uk) – has now become mine. With cardamom, tuberose, lily and sandalwood, it not only leaves the skin soft and refreshed, but smells especially divine and sets a nice base note that doesn’t fight with the fragrances we use.
When it comes to shaving, I’ve never been one for the pink, girly-girly gadgets, usually buying a razor that has more heft to it. It turns out that Kiehl’s Close-Shavers Squadron White Eagle Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream, (£17, johnlewis.com) with menthol and camphor does as cooling and soothing a job on my legs as it does on my husband’s face. Except he’s wearing more of a beard now, so it’s almost mine, all mine.
When the weather calls for a very high SPF face sunscreen, my other half hates anything that looks too shiny or leaves a white residue. The one that works for both of us is Vichy Capital Idéal Soleil Velvety Cream SPF50 (£16.50, lookfantastic.com). It not only protects well but doesn’t make me break out so I’m never afraid to use a lot.
The tube is also just the right size to slip into my bag too. Or his, come to that. Fair is fair.
This week I am mostly…
Avoid disorganization and laziness when it comes to booking beauty appointments. I always end up trying to find a last minute pedicure before a trip. Note to self: get familiar with journaling.
Envy blogger and influencer Tennille Murphy’s stunning halo of gray curls. How cool do they look? (See Instagram @thetennillelife_)
Enjoying Chantecaille Le Stylo Ultra Slim (£31, spacenk.com). It’s not new, but why change what works? It’s one of the only pen eyeliners that I find ultra-controllable and produces a thin enough line that works on older eyes and doesn’t give you that desperate “I’m with the band” look