I’ve been faking it for years and I doubt very much that I’m in the minority of women when I admit that! Get your head out of the gutter, I know what you’re thinking but believe me, that’s not it! I’m talking about something far more important here… I’m talking about beauty!
My Grandma told me that in the war her friends and she would tan their legs up with tea bags and then draw a black line with eye pencils down the backs of them to create the illusion of stockings. Real stockings were impossible to get hold of until the American’s came over with their chocolate, chewing gum and nylons so in the GI drought pre 1942 the women faked it in the name of their looks and good for them I say! I expect we were faking it in other ways prior to that and since… Well, the fake factory has gone mental and I am one well and truly ensconced passenger on its worker’s bus!
I’m not talking about surgical measures or anything too grim, I don’t fancy a lot of pain but I do like the tea bagged leg approach and these days we are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to inexpensive yet fabulous ways to fake our way to aesthetic nirvana! These are my top ten little ways that I trick and cheat my way into presentability, what are yours?
1) BLEACH! Visiting my Grandmother the other day she was astounded at my brown hair. ‘That doesn’t suit you at all’ she said? ‘But it’s me Grandmother (I know, no one past Downton Abbey has to call their Grandmother ‘Grandmother’ apart from us but she quite honestly won’t answer to anything else) and THIS is my actual hair colour’… ‘Oh I don’t like it at all’ she said… I’ve been blonde since I was a child and when I realised a lesser attractive colour than mouse was coming through at about aged 14 I introduced myself to my first bottle of ‘Sun In’. That particular product and I parted company some time after the great hair break of 97 but I remained friends with some of her more expensive buddies and didn’t abandon them until a couple of years ago. Then… After having children I slowly went darker and darker and back to my natural roots. When Florence started drawing me with black hair recently and then my Grandmother told me flat out that it DID NOT LOOK GOOD I knew I had to go back to my real natural, my blonde. A trip to my buddy Anna and her swish hair salon rectified the problem in about 2 hours and I can’t believe what the colour transform has done for me, I feel like ME again and no offence to brunettes but listen, blondes definitely DO have more fun! It might not be natural to my genes but I am definitely more natural as a blonde when I’m fake than I ever was as a natural with a fake line in ‘Oh yah… I simply LOVE my natural hair, it’s in SUCH better condition and doesn’t cost me a penny (never has anyone tried to convince themselves more)!
2) GHDs! Sticking with the hair I’ll move onto another early faking find of mine. My GHD hair straighteners although these days it has to be said that I use them more for curling. Ever done it? It’s really easy, you just apply the same technique as you would to curling a ribbon with a pair of scissors and you still get that locked in shine only super hot GHDs can assist you with. Fly away bits always have been the bain of my barnet and the revolution that came with these irons quite literally transformed my generations hair problems. They were pricey when I bought them yet even with the knowledge that they were only expected to last 3-4 years I bought them – I had seen their magic on friends and HAD to make the investment. TEN years later, a whole DECADE and they’re still going strong! Best bloody beauty buy ever! I’ve no idea how much they cost these days but when mine go kaput I’m definitely getting some more! No one wants to see the slightly wavy natural look I haven’t presented since the days I was trying to impress this surfer guy who worked with me in Fuertaventura one summer… (Shudders also remembering the Billabong hoodie I tried and failed to look surfer chic in for that same purpose…)!
3) Fake Nails! I always bit my nails and although I have had moments in time when I’ve managed to refrain for a few weeks, I always go back… However, I do not accept the bitten nail look as my own, I fake length instead. I’ve tried them all from DIY acrylics that made me file a hole in my own actual nail (not good) to super expensive gel tips in the salon and my favourite by far have to be ‘Kiss’ full cover nails. I’ve used them pretty much every week (apart from the odd few months when I have a salon job now and again) for the last 15 years and I just don’t think I’d feel comfortable going out without them on? You stick them on yourself, cut them down if you like, file them and paint them any colour you love. I’m a big nail varnish fan and totally in love with the Barry M range, I’m not missing out on all those colours just because I’m a nail biter!
4) Fake Boobs! Not ‘real’ fake boobs, like I said, I don’t fancy surgery but when I was 18 and before I had babies who brought boobs of my own, I hardly ever left the house without my ‘chicken fillets’! They were the source of much amusement between my friends over the years and I have quite a few funnies involving them. As a waitress with a plate in each hand while walking to a table of diners one popped out of my bra and fell straight on the floor thanks to my un-tucked delicious uniform T.Shirt… A customer picked it up and gave it back saying ‘Ooh, it’s all warm’. I took his table’s order next and guess what dish they chose! There are many more where that came from but the best memory of all is that they gave me confidence, cleavage and when not dropping on the floor of restaurants they looked totally real (I’m not sure a guy I kissed on a beach in Tenerife once thought they were as fabulous as I did when he tried to cop a feel – I think he might have felt he was falsely sold something but hey ho…)!
5) Lashes! I actually do have fairly long eye lashes, one time, when having extensions put in my hair, the hair dresser refused to believe they weren’t fake and started pulling at them really hard which made me want to punch her but that’s another story. Anyhoo… Despite ok lashes naturally I definitely invest in some stick on DIY ones for special nights out. They look awesome if you have the patience and skill (done badly they are just wrong) to apply them and they last for ages too! I love dramatics and sometimes will go for a really ridiculous pair but for my wedding and for other special occasions my favourites are simply just the ones you buy in Boots for about a fiver and come in individual sections to apply. Do they look natural? Well, no not really but they don’t half look glam!
6) Hair Extensions! About a decade ago I had a friend who was a make-up artist and she somehow introduced me to this band of hair dressers in Shoreditch called ‘Children Of Vision’ (Now just Vision) who made video tutorials to teach Japanese hair dressing students how to apply hair extensions… They actually PAID ME to have the extensions put in so who was I to say no? I loved them as they were super long and lasted ages even though they weren’t real hair. I was a dancer in Geri Halliwell’s ‘Raining Men Video’ and can only pick myself out of the many cast due to the length of my hair spinning around with me. Jonny hated them and used to ring me up after I’d gone home saying ‘Urgh, I’ve found one of your rat’s tails’ in the bathroom’ or similar but it never bothered me. They were so glamorous and if I could afford them then I’d have them in again!
7) Spanks! Ok, so in contrast to the days when I wore chicken fillets in my bra, unhappy with the lack of flesh I had going on, these days I prefer to squish down the excess which I’d rather not remember on my tummy! Spanks are awesome if a little uncomfortable and they even have a little wee-wee hole at the bottom so you don’t have to struggle getting them on and off every time nature calls (WARNING – Don’t attempt this drunk at a wedding or you might find you have to go commando for the rest of the reception with, of course, your tummy like your tummy and not like a spanksed down pancake on show)!
8) Fake Tan! It might make you smell slightly of soggy biscuits and turn your sheets a funny colour while making it look decidedly like you might have had a bit of a Spud from Trainspotting style accident in the night but c’mon, you can’t really beat a good bit of fake tan when it comes to make-up now can you! A bad bit of fake tan is very, very wrong but when you find a great brand like Fake Bake or St Tropez then you can see how great it can be! It’s not bad for you, it makes you look and feel sun kissed and happy and at the end of the day having a tan is slimming whether it’s come from a bottle or elsewhere so what’s not to like?! Yes I have had disasters where I’ve looked at my face and my hands and they’re completely different colours but these days, like I said, with the best products it’s all really win win! The key is exfoliation and preparation and the rest just sorts itself out!
9) Teeth Whitening! I’ve never done a TOWIE and been anywhere special for a proper pearly grin but I do use a teeth whitening shop bought formula when I have a special occasion. To be fair I haven’t done it in a while but now that I’ve prompted myself I’m going to invest in one for a night out soon. It makes me feel really nice if I do little preparations like this before I go out and they do absolutely work! Not for ever of course but they kind of give an illusion with light or something and for the evening your teeth definitely look a little more gleaming. The thought does remind me of that episode of Friends where Ross has his done then goes out with a girl who has track lighting but really and honestly a little of something less extreme is enough to make you just feel a tiny bit prouder of your smile – even if just for the night!
10) High Heels! Yep, plain old high heels! They’re the perfect way to fake your way to long shapely legs! I’m 5ft 2″ and a bit (the bit is very important) so my legs are not naturally long and beautiful. Pudding knee is a name Jonny once used for me. Affectionately apparently. I think he got the gist that it must never be mentioned again. I wear flats most days for sure but for a night out, party, wedding… Anything special and I wouldn’t be seen in anything else!