Janetta Mackay: Groundhog day

By Janetta Mackay

Add a comment
Picture / Carolyn Haslett
Picture / Carolyn Haslett

Damp, drizzle, hair frizzle. No wonder the barista in my local cafe said write about hair and humidity when I said I was procrastinating with a topic for my weekly column.

Actually, she didn't tell me to write about flyaways, she instead wrote the suggestion on a piece of paper because she's lost her voice. It's not winter to blame for her compromised vocal chords, she's a singer and has been told to rest up for awhile. This has made the daily swing by the cafe an extended entertaining pantomime with Post it notes - and another way for me to drag out a deadline.

After the weekend just past, I'm thinking of resting up as well. I started on another beauty cupboard sort out and realised raking the leaves on the back lawn had more appeal. It proved quite satisfying, thinking I had saved the slimy grass from slow suffocation in time for a good spring sprout, until I looked out the window this morning. Another pile shaken down.

Which brings me back to the beauty stuff. There's too much of it, piling up.

This may sound like nothing to complain about, but it's actually a curse. If anyone asks me what to use on their skin or their hair, I start off like a questionnaire to narrow the choice.

So many products, so little time, it's overload every time a consumer walks into a shop. New categories of things you never knew you needed are popping on shelves. At Viva we try to test a fair few and give you a heads-up on the trends to watch for. For this week's issue I've written about facial essences and have reproachful little piles of next-generation primers and optical diffusers to wade through.

Yet, the more of these highly specialised products that are launched, the more most people - those who aren't beauty geeks or professional hair stylists and makeup artists - hanker for simple solutions. Like the barista wanting a frizz fighter and me wanting a less cluttered cupboard. (For the former I recommend a light dose of hair oil or smoothing serum, or after the blustery beginning to my day maybe stay indoors or wear a hat; for the latter best adopt a focus I seem to lack when coffee calls).

The quest for simplicity is a modern mantra in the face of too much choice. I'm not advocating beauty-wise that we stick to soap and water or give up on trying to defy the elements, but that we buy based more on need than want. With cosmetics, that "need" may be for superficial self-adornment, but in succumbing, let's play smart.

One reason BB creams have been such a sales success is that they are a good example of a multi-tasking product with wide appeal. Who wouldn't rather moisturise, protect and correct in one go? As with similarly versatile hair oils, suddenly it seemed everyone was trying one. These products won't suit everyone, but repurchase rates are an indicator of more than niche appeal. Niche has its uses too - if your needs are specialised or refined - but separating the hype from the must haves is a mission.

The latest style of cream in my pile is aptly named. It's a Blur.

- VIVA

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 03 Sep 2014 02:34:49 Processing Time: 557ms