Is it an urban myth that in times of recession, lipstick sales soar? I’ve heard that when women are short of cash, they forgo bigger treats such as new shoes and handbags in favour of that pocket-sized pick-me-up, the lipstick. But how many Plum Dandies and Flaming Fuschias does a girl really need? The longer a recession lasts, the less these crazily named shades appeal.
But lipstick is not the only treat. There are plenty more low-cost luxuries out there to lift your mood without breaking the bank – and I’m on a quest to track them down.
First up is the humble face flannel. (Translation for the benefit of my American friends: that’s a facecloth, washcloth or washrag to you.)
You probably barely notice yours as you perform your morning ablutions. Once its tread’s worn thin, you’ll relegate its role to duster or a polishing cloth, before its final demotion to the compost heap where it will quietly biodegrade.
If that sounds like the life cycle of your face flannel, that’s because you’ve never treated yourself to a posh one. That can be a different experience altogether.
My eyes were opened only recently to these greater possibilities following the gift from my friend Susanne of a Crabtree and Evelyn face flannel. It was a luxurious thick white cloth, embroidered with cornflower blue seashells, and the moment I touched it I was lost. It was the Rolls Royce of face flannels. I didn’t so much wash with it as feel my face embraced. I leaned into its plush velvety softness with all the drama and self-indulgence of a toilet roll advertisement. It wasn’t so much a wash as a caress. Who’d have thought that washing your face could feel like such an indulgence? I”ll never again be be satisfied with a thin towelling square, no matter how precisely its colour matches my bathroom decor.
So take my advice and next time you’re after a cheap treat, bypass the chemist’s counter and the supermarket aisle. Head for the luxury linens area of an upmarket department store and seek out the most expensive towelling range in stock. Cast your eye along the plush, vivid-hued piles (another treat in itself, actually) and choose the most gorgeous colour you can find. Snap up the bath sheet’s baby brother – the luxury face flannel – and whisk it home before you can change your mind.
You’ll be glad you did – and you’ll be surprised at the lasting satisfaction it will bring you, all for as little as a fiver. Just be careful not to stain it with your lipstick.