Sloane Crosley: 'I’m not leaving the house with bare skin'

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I had an idea for a bad performance art project. I could get a bunch of women together, and instead of wearing any clothing on our top halves, we'd buy some double-sided tape and stick all the products we use before we leave the house each morning, to our breasts. We could have shaving cream caps in lieu of pasties, bottles of toner and creams running down our spines, shoulder pads of eye gel, teeth whitening strips along the collarbone. Who's with me? Ladies?

I think the point of said art project – insofar as there's ever a point to making earrings out of eyelash curlers – would be some larger comment on the secret lengths women go to in order to make themselves presentable. But the comment has already been made. If not by beauty magazines, then by the billions of dollars collected by anti-ageing products – products which most women start purchasing in their twenties. I'm one of them.

Admittedly, I am a passive participant in skincare regimens and an even more passive participant in make-up. But when faced with the option of a face cream that promises to make me look 28 instead of 32? Sure, fine, I'll pay for that one instead. And if I didn't flinch each time I approached my tear duct with a pencil, I'd probably use one everyday.

I would love to tell you that this column is barrelling forth towards an experiment in which I go without lip moisturiser for a week or a revelation that none of it really matters and it's what's inside that counts. But it won't. Not being a moron, I already know it's what's inside that counts. And being a realist, I also know there's no way I'm leaving the house with nothing on my skin. Sorry. Hence the bad performance art.

The point of it would not, ultimately, be a statement about beauty and pressure and all that, but about credit. Unlike fashion where it's a compliment to point out when someone's got it right, women are torn when it comes to looks. We want the credit for all we do and yet we don't really want anyone to notice. Maybe in the future it'll be socially acceptable for people to touch your face and tell you they love what you've done with your skin. Oh, this young thing?

Sloane Crosley is the author of 'How Did You Get This Number' (Portobello)

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