She has ditched her make-up and hair styling products, and allowed herself access to just three outfits (her running kit, a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, and one summer dress). Are all the lotions and potions that women — and millions of men — use religiously every morning merely a form of social and psychological armour, or do they have a practical physical use?"I'd reached a point where I was looking in my bathroom cabinet and feeling disgusted with myself," says Nicky."As a nation, we spend £10.5 billion on grooming and I personally spend around £2,000 each year on beauty products.
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Exfoliating scrubs, nail varnishes and cellulite-busting creams are often thrown into the mix, too.
It is a ritual that not only sets Nicky up for the day but one she has always believed was essential to keeping her looking good and feeling well.
"I was worried everyone would be edging away from me but that didn't happen.
It made me wonder whether my children were over-reacting."By week three, however, Nicky was beginning to see the signs of being socially ostracised, particularly by other mothers at the school gate."Things really were getting to a stage that I thought was utterly grim," says Nicky. My toenails were turning a strange colour and I'd developed dry, peeling skin on my hands."But again, other people didn't seem to notice, not unless I told them.
"Usually, I start my morning with a run, then a shower and breakfast," says Nicky, who is divorced.