First, the last installment of my beauty work stuff. This is how often I do the hardcore beauty work. (Yes, for me, this is as hardcore as it gets. Remember how everyone’s “normal” is different?)
A COUPLE TIMES A YEAR BBU:
- Get a haircut (every three months), yes, at a fancy Manhattan salon that runs me around $120-$150 (including tip) plus whatever products I decide I cannot live without. Usually all of them.
- Get a blowout ($35-50) which is where they just wash and style your hair, no cutting. Heaven when you have Somewhere Very Important to be and do not want to stress about your hair. But also weird that this has become so popular, because really, paying someone to wash your hair? Are your hands broken? (And by “yours” I mean “mine” and the answer is often “do shut up and let me have this.”)
- Get a pedicure once every 6-8 weeks between April and September. Almost always at a salon. Sometimes at home, though I usually end up despairing over the results. (One reason I chose the esthetics program over the nail program — I seem to be polish-application challenged.)
- Exfoliate all over using some sort of salt or sugar scrub in the shower. Usually before dressing up fancy or getting into a swimsuit. So maybe half a dozen times per year.
- Get a bikini wax once or twice over the course of the summer when bikini-wearing is imminent. Cry because it hurts like hell. (In between I will occasionally touch up with shaving, but for the most part, this is the only time I deal with that whole area. It just hurts too much.)
- Get a massage at a fancy spa. Maybe once a year for a treat. (Ironic, yes, that I never bothered to get facials before I started Beauty U — I always found massages way more relaxing.)
A COUPLE TIMES A YEAR ABU:
All of the above has stayed at the same frequency with two key exceptions:
- Body treatments (salt scrubs, mud wraps, etc) are happening at least once every two weeks now, because someone will need a body to treat to meet their signature quota.
- Waxing is happening as fast as my hair will grow in, for the same reason. And it’s gotten um, more aggressive.
So, there you have it. (Or at least as much as I could remember by sitting and staring into space for awhile and then at the products in my bathroom cabinet. Pictured above, by the way.) I figure that at the moment, I’m losing about five to seven hours per week to my own beauty work; that’s a whole business day. Add in the beauty labor I’m doing for others and we’re looking at over 20 hours per week. People, that’s a part-time job.
Would it crack you up to know that I originally thought this was going to be one, super quick post where I’d list out my beauty routine, be like, “man… beauty work… what do we think about that?” and call it a day?
Obviously, then I started writing and realized it would have to be the theme of the whole week because we all have a lot of thoughts about this. Which is awesome, because something I hear a lot in the context of this project is “but women don’t want to give up [insert your favorite beauty service/product/treatment here].” The rationale goes something like this: Women work hard. (They have the babies, remember?) They need these small luxuries. How dare I start talking about toxic chemicals or exploited workers or eating disorders and take all the fun out of feeling pretty?
And I always have to step back from the edge, apologize, and say “of course I don’t want you to stop getting [insert That Beauty Thing again]! I just want us to figure out a more socially responsible way to do all of that.” And everyone breathes a little sigh of relief and is like, “well, okay, I guess I can start tipping better in salons/buying phthalate-free shampoo as long as it works absolutely as well as the regular stuff.”
So here’s the deal. There is nothing wrong with that scenario. If you love your Beauty Thing so darn much, who am I to take that away from you? You work hard. You have the babies. You deserve a fricking bubble bath and I do not want to rob you of that joy. (I do want you to be able to have a bubble bath free of carcinogenic ingredients. But I’m not holding you responsible for that.)
But what I’ve been delighted to discover this week is that many of you actually aren’t clinging to your beauty routine as an inalienable right. You too get bored and frustrated by the drudgery of it and with the expectations that push you to keep at it. Even if you love feeling pretty just as often. Both these things are true.
And that means that in fact, you are open to giving up [insert-That-Beauty-Thing-here]. Or other parts of your beauty work — maybe the parts that create the most work for you, or require the most undignified, badly-paid work on the part of the people you hire. Or maybe you’re open to swapping it for something else, or finding ways to make this work better.
It makes me think that maybe the whole “women cannot be asked to part ways with their [insert-That-Beauty-Thing-here]” theory was actually brought to us by — wait for it — the makers of [insert-That-Beauty-Thing-here].
They’re the ones who don’t want you to give them up. You’d actually just as soon have that extra half hour to go read the newspaper or stay in bed.
So, this week we’ve talked about what we do and why we do it. Now let’s keep the conversation going. Is there anything about your beauty work that you’d like to simplify — even if it meant looking a little different from the beauty ideal you carry around in your head?
My answer to that question is probably as long as the last three posts combined. But for starters, I’m going to work on my Hair Obsession. My goal is to make peace with my hair’s natural state. Which means cutting down to just one styling product (from my current rotating catalog of at least eight) and ditching the “I’m going somewhere nice so I should spend 45 minutes heat styling myself or getting a professional blow-out” altogether. Okay that sounds hard. How about, as much as possible? Except for super special occasions?
I’ll keep you posted.