Happy Beauty Christmas

We hope you are all enjoying the countdown to the holiday season. If the magazines are to be believed, this means sparkles and metallic when it comes to clothes, make-up, and the increasingly ubiquitous semi-permanent manis (glitter of course!). Glamour’s front cover says “Sparkle: Tons of It”, while Red’s cover advice is for “Berry Lips and Grown-up Glitter”. Preparation is more than surface, and if you follow Cosmo’s advice you start with a pre-party routine – “The Party Prepper Workout” – “to help you nail that dress”.[1] This involves a 14 minute fat-burning circuit of lunges, push-ups and burpees, after which you might be forgiven for feeling that partying on top is a bit much to ask!

An interesting development in beauty at Christmas is the advent of the beauty advent calendar. While beauty calendars have been available for a number of years, until recently they have largely been fairly niche. This year they have exploded – who wants to face chocolate in the morning when you could have a bit of face-pampering instead? They are available to suit all pockets. At the top of the range is Jo Malone, for £280, while Liberty offers, for £165, the “ultimate in Beauty Advent Calendars”.[2] And so popular is this calendar that it sold out early and can be found for up to double its price on Ebay. Alternatively you can, for £150, take up Charlotte Tilbury’s offer to “treat yourself, or a loved-one, to my award-winning treats, throughout the holiday season”.[3] Boots No.7, also sold out, invites you to “indulge yourself this Christmas with a daily dose of beauty”, for just £39.[4] At the cheapest end of the scale there is the ‘Technic Advent Calendar Cube’ which went on sale for £19.99 and is currently available at the reduced price of £12.99.[5]

This proliferation of beauty calendars has not gone unnoticed, and has been commented on in many places; for example, in Cosmo, The Independent, and The Sun. These calendars are clearly beautiful objects, and don’t get us wrong we totally get the attraction (next year, yes please – if you’re reading!). But on a more serious note they remind us that beauty is ubiquitous, and if there are 24 beauty essentials for each calendar, that’s an awful lot of must-haves. The sheer number of beauty products which we think are necessary and we cannot live without is ever increasing. For example, apparently in 2006 our average make-up routine was eight steps and took 17 minutes; it’s now 27 steps and takes 40 mins.[6] Forty minutes a day – from age 15 to 75 – adds up to 14,600 hours which is 608 days over a lifetime. That’s a lot more pamper time than you might think!

Wishing you a luxurious and beautiful Christmas. Thanks to all those who’ve contributed to our blog conversation this year and looking forward to more in 2017. The next post will be in January, when no doubt we’ll be beginning new fitness regimes and detoxing.

With thanks and good wishes
Fiona MacCallum and Heather Widdows

Fiona MacCallum is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Warwick.

Heather Widdows is Professor of Global Ethics, Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham.


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