I’m a graduate. A very recent one. So fresh, in fact, that I sometimes feel like a little newborn elephant, with the placenta of education still stuck to my shoulders. Spat out onto the harsh savannah of life, traipsing around under the sweltering sun of unemployment. Searching desperately for anything I can find. Hungry, thirsty. Tired. But worst of all, WORST OF ALL, too fucking poor to afford my Dior foundation.
Oh my god it’s tough. ‘Dior or dinner?’ That’s a question that I ask myself every single day. It’s not easy, when your moisturiser’s from the pound shop and you don’t have two eyeliners to rub together. It grinds a man down.
Honestly, being a student was cushy. I had a student loan, a part time job, and I could easily to buy my cosmetics from Selfridges. That’s the easy part though. Post-ejection from the wondrous womb of uni (we should call it wombi because seriously it’s nice and warm and happy in there compared to the ‘real’ world), things turned more than a little bit sour.
Shock horror newsflash: there are no jobs. Especially for arts graduates. The creative industries often require weeks – and in most cases months – of unpaid internships and work experience. Being able to afford cosmetics from Selfridges seems like a good five years away, if I’m lucky. Vom.
But if you were wondering how I answered my ultimatum, then have no doubt that I chose Dior over dinner every time. In the meantime, though, I did actually have to pull the reigns in on my crazy cosmetic costs, and sank to the lowest echelon of cosmetic hell, and did some stabbing in the dark so you didn’t have to.
L’Oreal Infallible in Porcelain, £12
In a matter of months I had gone from shopping in Selfridges to begging in Superdrug, and actually asked the shop assistant what the cheapest foundation they had was. But let’s be honest, I didn’t get the cheapest, I’m way too precious. So I did what any wise precious person would do, and got this L’Oreal for £12 instead. Which I know isn’t cheap cheap, but I firmly believe there’s only so low you can go with foundation before it will look you’ve smeared your face in some kind of beige mascarpone.
And besides, compared to my usual £37 Dior, this was a PITTANCE darling. It’s really good for pale skin (and we all know pale foundation is hard to find, let alone good quality pale foundation) and it has a lovely jubbly semi-matte finish, but you might need to reapply halfway through the day.
POND’S Moisturiser, £4
Pond’s is actually a brilliant find – it’s a perfect base for makeup, it feels silky and fresh so it makes you feel bright in the morning and clean at night, (as if an extra NIGHT CREAM was ever a thing that poor people did), and it isn’t too oily. It does stink a bit of old ladies, but that’s fine because it’s cheap.
SIMPLE Refreshing Facial Wash Gel £2
Good for washing the day away. SIMPLE. Nothing to rave about. But it’s two pounds for Christ’s sake.
Lush Melting Snowman £1.95
ISN’T IT TERRIFYING. Imagine popping into the bathroom for a midnight wee and seeing this thing staring at you out of the dark. But really, its appearance isn’t anything to worry about. Not when you find out it was going to be named after a terrorist; the lady in Lush told me that its original name was going to be Bin Snowman. Because when you put it in water, it sinks. Just like Bin Laden. Smells heart-warmingly festive and cinnamonny though, and he has iddle choccy buttons stuck everywhere, so can’t complain really.
Okay so these days, I’m back on the Dior. But I still use all of these budget beauty aids too, because really, they’re all quite good, so there isn’t too much difference between them and the expensive stuff. So really, doing beauty on the cheap isn’t even too much of a stretch. Because when it costs under a fiver, who cares if you’re having a bath with a terrorist snowman.
To hear Ashley tweet (moan) a bit more about his first world cosmetic problems, follow @ashleyjclarke