Archive | February 2008

Worst Beauty Nightmare!

We’ve all had them, now share yours! Beauty nightmares, that is. What is the worst beauty related mistake, procedure, or treatment you have ever survived?

Mine is very painful! Some mistakes take a long, long time to outlive. My hair is very fine and stick straight, and I read an article about 2 years ago about body waves adding volume to flat hair. I had had perms when I was a kid, forced at gunpoint by my salon rat mother, and I hated them, but this article swore things were radically different these days! So when my mother offered to take me to get my hair done for my birthday, I ripped out pictures of body waves from hair-styling magazines and trekked off to the salon, ready for full, bouncy hair instead of fine, flat, difficult hair.

I felt very confident, because I had even brought pictures of what I didn’t want. I endured the eye-stinging, smelly perm fumes, the old-lady hair dryer chair, then finally it was time to see the grand results!

I could have cried. Or strangled the hairdresser. Good god, a yapping poodle had taken residence on my head, tight, kinky, ugly curls, exactly what I had NOT wanted! It was awful. It was a ‘fro. I desperately called a friend, who recommended washing my hair and using lots of conditioner to relax the curl, but apparently the perm solution contained Super Glue, and my hair refused to loosen its hideous, kinky grip.

I lived in pony-tails for months. I would have worn a hat if I had one, and I seriously considered shaving my head.

Did I mention that was almost 2 years ago? My hair, which won’t hold a curl from a curling iron even if I drench it with half a can of hairspray, latched onto this poodle curl and maintained a death grip. The only good thing is, now that my hair is several inches longer, the ends have a nice wave that I now like, but would never, ever go through the dreaded perm again!

Now, your turn! What is the worst beauty mistake you have ever made?


Time Crunch

There’s a new poll to the right of this post called “How long does it take you to get ready?” I’m interested in seeing everyone’s responses, and why it takes you that long (or not long at all!) to get yourself ready to face the world.

I responded “30 minutes”, but it depends, naturally. If I skip blow-drying and put my hair into a ponytail, I shave off at least 15 minutes because my hair, though fine, is ridiculously thick, a recipe for aggravating, “I’m-going-to-shave-my-head” hair! If anyone has a recommendation for a great blow-dryer that can tackle thick hair, I’m all ears. Currently I use the whiplash method of flipping my head upside down to dry sections, then standing up, and flipping back upside down because my hair is mutantly resistant to drying. If I wear my hair down or partially up, requiring blow-drying first, then I have to add 15-20 minutes to my routine.

I prefer to take my time with make-up application because (a) I am naturally klutzy, and (b) I like liquid eyeliner, which takes practice and a steady hand! The entire make-up time is maybe 10 minutes, though, because I can’t stand the heavy, mask-like feel of foundation, so I just powder my face and move on to eye make-up.

How long does it take you to get ready, and how much time is devoted to make-up vs. hair? What else do you devote time to in getting ready?

Things I Don’t Get

I adore make-up and the girly fun that goes with it, but there are a lot of things that stop me short and make me wonder exactly what some women are thinking. Here are just a few:

  • *BOTOX*: I realize we’ve touched on this previously, but let’s consider this again. Paralyzing your face muscles with toxins related to food poisoning, for the sole purpose of reducing wrinkles. Hmmm. Sure, sounds reasonable…for a neurotic, self-obsessed princess who wears “Hottie” baby T’s.

*WAXING EYEBROWS*: I had a friend who religiously had her brows waxed and would moan how shaggy and unkempt she was when she went longer than 15 seconds without an appointment with the eyebrow-ripper. Intrigued by her devotion, I actually tried it once. Expecting a magical transformation, I eagerly grabbed the mirror once the waxing was over, and behold…no perceptible difference whatsoever! Unless your eyebrows closely resemble wooly caterpillars mating above your eyes, I seriously doubt this beauty ritual is necessary.

*PINK OR RED EYESHADOW*: Redness around the eyes is typically a symptom of a hangover, lack of sleep, illness, pink-eye or other disease of the mucous membranes. This is the look you are going for?

*TALON FINGERNAILS*: Clearly a status symbol of not needing to wash dishes, type, make sudden movements, or perform other menial tasks requiring full use and control of your hands…they are certainly attention-getting, but they instantly conjure images of LaFonda from Napoleon Dynamite for me. Being a working gal, I simply can’t get past the enormous impracticality of it.

That was just to get us started. What is on your “WTF?” list of beauty trends or practices?

*to be continued!*

Avon Glazewear Lipstick

I have to confess, even though I love make-up, lipstick is one beauty product I have never liked the feel of; they are either too heavy, too slick, too chalky, or just plain weird. I can have 3 lipsticks floating in my purse, but when I open it up to put something on my mouth, 9 times out of 10 I will grab the clear lip balm instead.

Avon’s Glazewear Lipstick is one of their best newer products. I have this lipstick in 2 colors: Pink Kiss and Beach Plum. I won the Pink Kiss tube from Allure magazine, so I like to show it to people and inform them, “I won this” so they know they are in the presence of a high-roller! It’s light pink, subtle, great if you wear black eyeliner and want a gentle color that won’t compete with your eyes.

Beach Plum is my favorite color though, a beautiful shade that looks great with coloring like mine (fair skin, brunette), if I may say so myself. I just checked Avon’s website and don’t see this particular color listed anymore. The kiss of death for any product is when I fall in love with it; so many great products have met their demise and been discontinued the instant I decided I could not live without them!

Avon recently added shopper reviews to their website, a great decision, so click here to see what others have to say about Glazewear Lipstick. I say, try one out while they are sale for $3.99!

How Do You Define Beauty?

How disheartening (and telling)…as I searched for thought-provoking articles with the phrase “define beauty”, one of the very first hits is a plastic surgery website. Indeed, is this how we define beauty anymore: artificial, mail-ordered, fake, the surgical removal of what is not hip and trendy, and the addition of what is?

How sad. The most beautiful people in the world to me will never gleam from People magazine’s cover. There’s something that shines and glows through a person’s face when he or she is genuinely loving, caring, with beauty reigning on the inside. No cosmetic product or surgery can mimic it.

How has beauty become so cookie-cutter, so rigid, so artificially defined? It’s a particular body size and shape, a certain lip shape with a particular fullness, an eye color, a specific amount of bleach on the hair…ladies, we owe ourselves better than this. We are more than this.

The more women bleach their hair to look like some plasticized Barbie doll celebrity of the moment, the more I want to embrace the darkness of my own hair; the more women inject their faces to limit their expressions so they won’t get wrinkles, the more I want to yell, scream, laugh, express myself to the hilt. And the more society wants to cram us women into a tiny definition of beauty, the more I wish women would rebel, thumb their noses at the society who wants to clip their wings, and let that inner beauty burst through. What is more beautiful than a strong woman?

Are Women Manipulated by the Beauty Industry?

This article I discovered on the Health Resource Group alternately gave me fits, made me nod, made me cringe, and angered me by its condenscending attitude about women: Cosmetics: The Psychology of Putting on a False Face.

I was in agreement through this part of the article: For some people, makeup is just about having fun or wanting to look a little more rested and red in the cheeks. That’s all fine. For most people, their interest in makeup is superficial – only skin deep. However, the corporations fueling the multi-million dollar cosmetics and beauty industry have a different agenda. Like the tobacco industry, they want to go a little deeper into your psyche to establish habit equity and product dependency on a psychological and physiological level.

I find make-up fun, hunting new colors, new products, and I don’t expect miracles in a jar or tube. I laugh at and joke about the claims or associations cosmetics companies attempt to attach to their products…mile-long, fluttery, coquetteish lashes that will stop traffic and magnetically draw gorgeous men to my side? Sure. And eating certain cereals means an animated bunny will come dine with me and try to get my bowl of cereal. I’m aware of the advertisements’ attempts to attach ridiculous, wild claims to their product, so advertising has little to do with my purchases (unless the ads are offensive, then I deliberately will not buy the product).

I even agree with this part: The main message being promulgated by the ‘beauty’ industry is that you are not beautiful without their product or service. It’s no secret that women’s magazines are full of advertisements and photos that are designed to make you think, “Gee, I don’t look like that…must be something wrong with me…but hey! Lookie here! What is this ingenious product I can buy that promises to make me over into a supermodel in 15 short minutes?” I read that the majority of women report feeling bad about themselves after reading a fashion magazine. So yes, the beauty industry does take low blows, attempt to make you feel unattractive, then produce the gleaming, shining solution in a bottle/tube/jar.

I started to disagree right around here: Perhaps the most damaging aspect of the ‘beauty’ industry is the psychology behind cosmetics usage which encourages people not to be themselves but to pay for a different persona and image that you never quite own, but only ‘rent’ over time as long as you use the products.

Maybe it’s simply because I have a healthier-than-average self esteem, but I’ve never viewed wearing make-up as trying to be someone else or renting another persona. With or without lipstick, I am the same person, think the same things. Make-up should be fun and an expression of who you are already, not a mask or cover-up. Am I a minority in feeling this way? What do you think? Is make-up more of a shield, a mask, a false persona for other women?

This statement of the article also begs discussion: Men in our society begin to demand a ‘beauty’ that doesn’t exist in nature, but only exists when women pay the price to create this false superficial sense of beauty. So, the beauty industry creates a false product demand where one didn’t exist before. I am in agreement here. Beauty standards have become very high-maintenance for women, grossly out of proportion to appearance standards for men. It’s not unusual for women to feel they need to be waxed, plucked, shaved, scrubbed, lasered, botoxed, polished, filed, and lacquered from head to toe, or else they are unacceptable. A strand of hair anywhere but on your head is shameful! Dear god, are those your pores I can see?

C’mon, ladies, this has crossed into hysteria. I love make-up but still believe my thoughts and opinions and ideas carry more emphasis than whether I waxed my legs this morning, or if I didn’t have time to do my nails. The standard has become so unreasonable you would have to put in a full work day just maintaining your hair, nails, skin, legs, eyebrows, etc. to keep up. If you don’t have anything better to do, please get a hobby, buy a book, volunteer somewhere, and get a life.

The rest of the article drifts off into a rant, and the tone of the entire article was borderline militant, but it raises interesting issues and questions I thought were quite relevant here. I have a lot of fun with make-up but I recognize that’s what it is: fun. A new procedure or cream or product won’t change who I am, and I don’t want it to. I live up to my own standards, not Max Factor’s or Maybelline’s or Estee Lauder’s or Glamour’s. Women get tripped up when they start placing more emphasis on their appearance than what they do in life; there’s nothing beautiful about that.

I Covet…these Sandals!

I love these wildly impractical sandals by Charles David, made with patent leather and studded with grommet accents! The 4 1/4″ inch is a bit much for me, but the shoes are sexy, tough, and feminine in a growling tigress kind of way. They would look smoldering with a swingy little black skirt and bare leg.

If you have never tried online shoe shopping with Piper Lime, check them out. They offer free shipping and free returns, so if your dashing sandals turn out to be too small, heels too high, or the wrong color, you can rest easy knowing you can send them right back, for free!

I ordered a pair of sandals from them a few months ago, and I got to test out their return policy when the sandals pinched the sides of my toes. I just packed the box back up, peeled off the return address sticker, placed that on the box, and dropped it at the post office. My money was refunded promptly, no hassles, no questions.

If you happen to order these sandals, please let me know how you like ’em!