It starts with a prickle: a tingling, tightening sensation that contracts under your skin, like a stretched elastic band shrinking back to size. It strikes the moment you get out the shower, or the pool. Sometimes it strikes without warning: one minute you’re sat listening attentively to Mr Jenkins, the next you are wincing, surveying your pencil case for a suitable scratching tool and subtly reaching your ruler down to the back of your knee.
If this sounds familiar, read on. You’re the girl with the entire Dry Skin collection of Garnier products, and you know the following things: there are few things more devastating in life then going for a big old scratch, only to find you’ve cut your fingernails too short.
Fingernails don’t always cut it
Either they’re too short (see above) or the feeling of dry skin under your nails is so rank it puts you off. For real traction with a scratch, you need implements: rulers work well, as do protractors, hair combs, and, if you’re really desperate, the lid of your takeaway coffee cup. The key (ahh, keys. Keys are LOVELY) is choosing a tool that’s sharp enough to satisfy, but not so sharp you break the skin.
Black’s not worth it
Only 5 per cent of your brain will be engaged in the outside world. The other 95 per cent will be worrying feverishly about the appearance of white flakes.
Dry skin tips! on a magazine cover is like a red rag to a bull
No matter if you’ve read 10, 20 or 500 such features before, you’re buying that magazine and flicking to the page that you hope will change your life. It’s as inevitable as a peely, flaky nose on the eve of a first date.
Nine times out of ten, it’s a promotion
For a product you’ve already tried (Dove moisturising shower gel, I’m looking at you.)
You can chat moisturiser brands like some people can chat Love Island contestants
Body Shop mango butter is a bit heavy. Palmer’s cocoa butter, like Kem, can be too sweet, but it follows through. The Simple range does what it says on the tin, but it’s a bit dull. Clinique has more shelf cred, but it’s not for everyone, anymore than Liv is. You wouldn’t say no to Sudocrem, day or night.
You dream about moisturiser
Rich, creamy dreams in which you slather yourself in soft white lotion the texture of marshmallows and it melts into your skin like butter, leaving it peachy-soft and velvety.
You wake up to find you’ve gauged yourself in the night again
The crook of your elbow, the backs of your knees, the inside of your thighs and your scalp are inhabited by little devils with stinging, scratchy pitchforks.
Boiling hot showers are proof that pleasure and pain can be one and the same
Until you get out, and all you feel is burning and bitter remorse.
There is not enough moisturiser in the world to soothe you
Only the Dermalogica stuff on prescription is best, but then you gotta wean yourself off it, and that stuff is crack, for cracks.
All make up cakes into the cracks and looks shit
No matter how ‘dewy’ your foundation is, it will always look like a wash of dried paint in a desert. Sometimes you feel like your face is peeling off. Heck, sometimes it actually is.
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Image: Amber Griffin