'Saving the Best for Now’ by Sali Hughes

In this excerpt from 'Pretty Honest', Sali Hughes shares why you should use nice products and not save them up:


"My heroine Nora Ephron often said that the death of her best friend had taught her one thing: to always use the good bath oil. This sums up exactly how I feel about beauty. I’ll explain. One Christmas about ten years ago, Crème de la Mer sent me the most exquisite gift box containing a fortune’s worth of lovely products. It was so pretty, so luxurious, so perfect, that I put it in the cupboard to keep safe. I resumed my normal skincare routine, thinking that one day, when I was feeling very special, I would open the box and become briefly the kind of woman who slathers on Crème de la Mer just to pick out a wheely bin from B&Q.

So there the box stayed for the next four years, except when it moved house from a cupboard in London to a cupboard in Brighton. One day, as I got ready for a posh wedding and felt decidedly frumpy in that postpartum way (see Beauty and Motherhood on how to deal with this), I decided that the Crème de la Mer would be just the thing to make me feel better. Out the box came and as soon as I unscrewed the lid of the first lovely ceramic jar, so did the smell. Everything had gone off and was fit only for the dustbin.

This, I realised, was a metaphor for life, and never again would I make the same mistake. Too many women think that maybe one day they’ll go blonde, or spritz the gorgeous perfume, or open the luxury body cream, or light the spendy candle a friend gave them. We use the crap china, saving the wedding-list crockery for some imaginary ‘best’. We keep the lovely cashmere jumper that makes us feel sexy and beautiful hidden away in mothballs where it can give us no pleasure, choosing instead to wear the unflattering old T-shirt on the school run. Our mums did it, their mums and grandmothers did the same before them – all unconsciously but very clearly saying that we don’t deserve lovely things now, that they are for another, more refined woman, or a time when we can justify treating ourselves. What utter balls we women will believe in order to keep ourselves down.

Saving things for best is like metaphorically spending your life sitting on a sofa wrapped in cellophane, waiting for a more deserving time that may or may not ever come. And even if it does, the sofa will be out of fashion, the perfume will have soured and be fit for nothing but stripping pine. And besides, any opened serums and creams should be used daily or at least weekly in order to work, so using them only on special occasions is a big old waste of cash. We are not rehearsing here. We are alive now and deserve to look and feel great. Buy the neon lipstick, pour the luxury bath foam with abandon, light the candle for no discernible reason and wear the Chanel No5 to the Co-op. Lovely things deserve to be seen, used and enjoyed, not hidden away. And you deserve to live well and feel great now, not later. Life is really bloody short, so stop saving things for best today. It really is a mug’s game."

You can purchase Sali's Book, 'Pretty Honest' here.