I am old, I am old. I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.
I’m ambivalent about being 28. Well, I’m only about seven weeks into it, to be fair. And I definitely prefer the latter stages of my twenties to the first part. My professional and romantic lives are fulfilling, and no longer resemble a high concept practical joke fuelled by fluids (including but not limited to white wine, semen, urine and tears, in both areas). I now have access to a bathroom that is improved with the use of a Diptyque Gardenia candle, not a deep breath and a pair of flip flops. I’ve learned you get more use out of one beautifully cut dress that costs £70 than ten £7 dresses that turn your tits into ever expanding comedy beach balls and show your knickers when you cough.
I wouldn’t be 22 again for a million pounds – although part of the problem with being 22 was that I was poor as a church mouse who could well be the subject of a Children In Need style telethon event in which other church mice were being asked to donate. (“Just one dropping a month could save Daisy’s life.”) A million quid would have improved things significantly. But I don’t miss spending four nights out of seven smoking in the doorway of the now defunct Metro and then choosing between the vomity nightbus and the stabby nightbus. I don’t miss going out with boys that I spent hours analysing, analysis that invariably ended with a wailed “I just want to know whether we’re actually going out or not!” I don’t miss doing jobs that paid in fabulousness, and going out to swaggy parties covered in free glitter knowing I was over my overdraft and there was a good chance my debit card would get declined when I tried to top up my Oyster. And I don’t miss my fresh facedness. In my early twenties, I had yet to grow into myself. Plump, unlined, dewy skin is all well and good, but I looked like a MAC’d up Cletus The Slack Jawed Yokel. At 28, I don’t regard my unmade up face as a doughy horror show. I think that’s a little bit because age has defined my features, and a lot because I finally have some healthy perspective.
But I’m old enough to know that I’m no longer young enough to sleep in my make up. That it’s probably time for a bit of a regime change. The Roi de Laissez Faire may be pretty chilled out and undemanding as long as you keep everything clean and moisturised, but he’s not really up to the job in the long term. It’s time for Kaiser Knuckledown.
As a skincare term, anti-ageing puts the willies up me. It’s anti feminist. It’s why Prof Mary Beard was treated so appallingly. It’s a buzz phrase for an industry that sometimes seems bent on disrespecting our experience. It wants us unlined and unformed, for maximum sex appeal – which is a ridiculous idea, as anyone who has ever forced Susan Sarandon to stand next to Miley Cyrus will testify.
Then again, I don’t want my face to look like a relief map of the Lake District in 10 years. I don’t want to not age, ever. But if regular, gentle product application can keep everything smooth and supple, I’m going to do it. Which is why I have fallen on Radical Skincare like an ant discovering a melted Calyppo. It’s beautifully made, effective stuff for lazy people who are happy to spend a bit of money in order to look their age, to stop themselves panicking and spending thousands in order to look their shoe size in years to come.
Radical Skincare is a word of mouth, A-listery phenomenon founded by two sisters who were looking to do something for their rosacea and newly lined post pregnancy skin (That’s face skin – no giggling at the back.) And their father, a non cosmetic plastic surgeon, had a lab, and the space and expertise to help them develop something tailor made. And their friends loved it, and their friends loved it, and there was enough demand to develop the brand which has just launched in the UK. The surgery element sounds scary, but there’s a strong focus on antioxidants, and all the products are paraben free – it’s science and nature coming together like Hall and Oates.
I am in love with the Youth Infusion serum - it’s a lightly scented, silkily textured insta-brightener that is absorbed by your skin faster than Mo Farah (if he were to temporarily take the form of liquid, a la Alex Mack). After three days, my skin tone is brighter, fresher and evened out. It’s as if I’ve been getting regular, sustained amounts of top level sleep – and I’m the worst sleeper in the world.
A hundred and twenty bucks is definitely the higher end of high end – you do get what you pay for with Radical, but if the bulk of your cash is for rent and gas bills and bailing out Wayward Old Uncle Aloysius, the range starts at £30 – and the Instant Revitalizing Mask(£40) is facial-in-a-bottle good. It crackles on your skin, which is slightly disconcerting but not unpleasant, like a very gentle Space Dust for the face. In three minutes, it delivers that smooth, rested, erm, revitalised look – you could swear in court that you’d been drinking spinach smoothies for a fortnight and the jury would be unanimously convinced.
If you’re in your late twenties or early thirties, and reluctant about dipping a toe in the anti ageing pool (you think you saw Cher’s old scab covered Elastoplast floating near the filter) the Radical On The Move set is a good way to start paddling. It includes miniature versions of their four best sellers – the serum, Restorative Moisture, Eye Revive Creme, Hydrating Cleanser and Age Defying Exfoliating Pads for £39. For the price of a two way Speedy Boarding upgrade, you could look like you spent two months at Bono’s place in Barbados without Bono being there.
Think of anti ageing as a bit of a due dilligence thing. You can’t stop yourself from growing up any more than King Canute can throw his hands up and halt the progress of a Splashdown wave machine. But a little care and attention now will pay off in the long run, like a pension. As long as you’re not getting skincare advice from Robert Maxwell, you’re going to be alright.