x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

When it's time to relax the beauty routine

After marriage, the beauty regimen tends to slip.

When Mr T and I were dating, and then later when we were engaged, I would sometimes lie to him.

They were little white lies, tweaks, really; nothing more than a slight bending of the truth or a minute omission of a detail. It was all in the name of a greater good, a female necessity since the beginning of time. I was not the first one to do it, nor will I be the last. It is a vow that is in the subconscious of women all over the world: do not reveal the truth about your beauty regimen.

I lived by the rules. I never told Mr T that I had welcomed my first silver hair at age 21, and that my roots required three hours of attention every six weeks without fail. I never felt bad about embellishing the truth and claiming that I would be working late on a particular day, when instead I was safely ensconced in a plush leather chair in a beauty parlour, urging the hairdresser to make sure the waves look "natural". I never felt bad about showing up late for a date while waiting for my nail polish to dry; a girl being wooed can never be seen with chipped colour on her nails, surely.

Although I would describe myself as low-maintenance, in that I do not always remember to put on make-up and I cannot understand the point of skin products beyond water and soap, I still have a beauty regimen that would rival Cleopatra's - minus the weekly soaks in a tub full of milk, that is.

Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I used to have an extensive beauty regimen. I never allowed Mr T to see me without tresses coiffed just so. I always made sure my fingernails and toenails were buffed and polished and I was meticulous about trimming my eyebrows.

I took care of myself, frankly. I had the time, the inclination and the luxury to present a polished version of myself to the guy romancing me; to the guy I wanted to impress.

Then, something happened. I finally realised that he was sufficiently impressed, and slowly, I began to relax, bit by bit. We got married, which is as big an indication as any that he would be sticking around, regardless of what I looked like now, and mostly because he is legally bound to. So I began to skip some parts of the routine, and bother less and less with booking those crucial grooming appointments.

So what if my roots were showing? He never seemed to notice. And the peeling nail polish? It's really such a hassle to inspect every nail, every day.

The relaxed attitude about my appearance spread into other areas, as well. Suddenly, it didn't matter if I wore the same pair of jeans and the same worn T-shirt two days in a row; I think he once said it was "cute". And now that he knows the truth - I rarely brush my hair, which is why it is always in a messy bun - there's no point in pretending otherwise, surely.

I wonder if it's laziness on my part, or if there is no longer any point in keeping up appearances with someone who has no qualms about cutting his toenails in your presence.

Regardless, there's now an added benefit to only breaking out the beauty regimen on special occasions.

He definitely notices.