The Thrill of The Chase


You’ve heard whispers about the product, you’ve spent weeks tracking it down, you’ve finally got your hands on the cult beauty treasure. Is Sali Hughes the only one who feels a bit… flat?


Everything is so easily available these days that a truly cult beauty secret is a rare thing indeed. I remember gleefully stocking up on Kevyn Aucoin mascara, Carmex, and Eos shave cream whenever I visited America, scoring Bioderma micellar and Make Up For Ever palettes on trips to France, and receiving big parcels of Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment and Becca creme blush from friends in Australia. These purchases became pilgrimages that consumed me in the most enjoyable and ultimately satisfying way. Except that when each item became available in the UK, there’d be a period of delirious triumph soon followed by a feeling of deflation that the thrill of the chase had gone. I’m the same with eBay. I once spent a somewhat intoxicating month trying to replace my now-discontinued-in-the-UK iconic Dr Scholl mules in my chosen colour and size. I literally air-punched when I ‘won’ them, only to remember when they arrived that I much prefer my Saltwaters (which, incidentally, I loved all the more for being the last red 37s in all of New York one summer). See also: the Uggs I got my friend Jason to send me from Oz before you could buy them on every British high street, that I only now wear if I’m absolutely sure no human will see me (they are still bloody comfy though).


I mention this (admittedly, screwed up) mentality because the brilliant BeautyMart, who really are the ultimate source of cult beauty gems from far flung places, have just started selling Gal Vaselina at £12 for a very large pot. For those who’ve never heard of it, Vaselina is a Spanish petroleum jelly – as the name suggests, but smells like old fashioned men’s hair pomade and comes in the most darling retro Bakelite-style pot in two-tone 50s pink. It is beloved by Charlotte Tilbury, who, having grown up in Ibiza where it’s an everyday staple, stocks up by the dozens and uses it on pretty much every model she makes up. Gal Vaselina acts as a lipbalm, of course, but can also be mixed with eye shadows to become lid-glosses, placed on cheekbones to add sheen, rubbed into cuticles to soften, and basically perform any moisturising task. It contains all the stuff you’re meant to avoid (mineral oil, fragrance, blah blah) but it feels lovely and looks completely adorable so you know, who cares?


I am currently experiencing the first flushes of joy over Gal Vaselina’s long overdue UK availability and seeing it sitting very prettily, right here, on my bedside table. But I know that in a month or so, it will have become part of the furniture, like so many before it, and my eyes will wander to something less attainable, something more aloof to keep me hanging on. It’s pitiful, really. I’m like some immature sap chasing men who play hard to get, giddily dialing their number hundreds of times to no avail, only to instantly go off them the moment they finally pick up.


Inevitably, my eye is already on another prize, like a blissed-out junkie planning her next fix: Magic Move Soft, the brilliant hair styling gunk Sam McKnight told me he used on Michelle Williams in her Louis Vuitton campaign shots, which, quite obviously, will make me look exactly the same as Michelle Williams in her Louis Vuitton campaign shots. I feel a perverse mixture of frustration and giddy delight that I can’t get it here, and am actively turned on by the challenge of getting my paws on a tub. And for now, while I sit at my laptop, planning my strategy, my desire is off the chain. So if you’re visiting New York, get to Ricky’s on Broadway, or if you spot a rogue imported tub of the yellow Magic Move in your ethnic beauty supply store, grab some, pat yourself on the back and bask smugly in the afterglow while you still can. Because before long, some UK mogul will get wise to its genius and your rare beauty treasure may just lose a little of its sheen.


Gal Vaselina, £12, BeautyMart


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