Up until two years ago, James seemed to have it all. Working hard in the marketing sector, socializing with his friends and preparing to move into his beautiful Brentwood home. However, whilst most ‘Essex’ boys spent their time showcasing the latest in fashion, fancy cars and watches, James’s love turned rapidly in to an addiction as hoarding began on his brand new £30,000 makeover.
"It started with a £250 shopping spree at a local department store, buying a nice range of Rehab London men’s skincare, I’d simply had enough of how my skin was treating me." However, James goes on to state how even this much didn’t get him very far.
Over the following months and numerous visits later to department stores and online skincare for men shops, James claims to have amassed around £6,000 worth of male moisturisers, luxury serums, night creams and other skin care products for men.
"I always suffered with bad skin when I was a teenager and into my early twenties, and after seeing the improvement these products were giving me, I would say a snow ball effect is putting it lightly"
So, with his bathroom cabinet bulging and following a completely regimented men's skin care program three to four times a day, just how was Mr Shawcross managing to stump up the funds to pay for this off the radar level of care?
"I spent an annual bonus from work and maxed out two credit cards over this time period, but the look and confidence I was getting from these skin care products, somehow made it justifiable."
Things were still not quite right though as James quickly turned to the world of cosmetics and fragrance to take his 2012 annual spend on personal care to approximately £18,000. Collecting over 190 bottles of men’s fragrances and at one stage the same range of cosmetics for men in four different shades, claiming his skin changed tone throughout the year, depending on the season and regular fake tanning made it important to have a good match to his skin.
As 2013 began, the fascination became more intense as shelling out £500 on shaving equipment, including a gold plated razor and shaving bowl, along with even more experiments with male skin care brands went seemingly unnoticed by his loved ones.
It suddenly became clear the extent of his problems with four consecutive failed mortgage repayments and the taking out an overdraft, just to attend a skin care spa twice per week, costing approximately £90 per treatment, resulted in an inevitable knock at the door.
"I was pretty low, and in early February I had the bailiffs at the door, ready and waiting to take my stuff. I just remember crying down the phone to my Mum and Dad, knowing that no longer could I avoid the letters and phone calls from the bank. I’d saved up so hard to get my deposit and it was all gone...I had to sell my house"
After spending the last two months living back home with his parents, this young and very polite gentlemen, now seeks to find solace in the fact that his skin care love quickly became a tangible addiction, whilst rectifying his mistakes remains very much his top priority.
Symbolizing the pressure on young gentlemen to look good, guys like James seem to be fuelling the fire to an intensely growing market, dubbed the ‘TOWIE’ effect.
However, proving that good really can come out of bad, James now works for online retail outfit http://www.maleskin.co.uk/ as their number one grooming editor.. A company spokesperson said ‘"After hearing the story of James, we thought it wise to utilize his obvious love for skin care and grooming in an environment where his clear fascination can shine through...It just means we have to do one or two extra stock takes each week!"
On a serious note; to all gentlemen out there, looking good doesn’t have come at a price as James has found out, trimming down his grooming gear to a simpler range costing around £65.00 per month.