Category Archives: Hair

Check Your Own Pretty Price: What’s Your Beauty No-Fly Zone?

Retro Beauty Salon

Over on XOJane, Rachel McPadden says she will never get a pedicure because they completely creep her out.

What I don’t want is someone banished beneath me, scrubbing, dremel-ing and cursing my pompous American feet while I iPhone my pals and read up on celebrity babies. Although damn, I love celebrity babies and would die without my phone.

Ah yes. I feel her, because I wrote this story and it sorta changed my life. (See: This here blog.) But I still get pedicures. Um, a lot. Not to mention, I’ve now been on the business end of all sorts of undignified beauty work. And I don’t push for anyone to give up these beauty rituals — I mostly just want you to make more eye contact, be friendly, and tip really super well. Bonus if you’ve also put some thought into why you’re getting said beauty work and feel good about your choices.

Also, maybe don’t sit on your iPhone while they work on you. That is just bad manners. Would you sit on your iPhone at the dentist? That’s what I thought.

But it got me thinking about how there are a few beauty things that I will not do, the way Rachel will not do pedicures. And that’s cool. Here’s my list:

  • Facials. Because after ten months at Beauty U, I just don’t think they work. They are lovely for taking a nap while someone pets your face, but I don’t want to pay for that.
  • Hair dye. Because I did this whole fake blonde thing in college and I’m still not over it. Plus, carcinogens. 

Check Your Own Pretty Price: Are there any spa/salon services that you just won’t do? And if so, why not? Are you worried they’re too exploitative, uncomfortable with the beauty standard, freaked about chemicals or just cheap? We’re not judging. It’s just interesting. So go! 

[Photo: Typical Hungarian 05 by Huldero via Flickr.]


Filed under Beauty Labor, Check Your Own Pretty Price, Chemical Peels, Facials, Hair, Nails

On the Subject of Selling Hair

Blond Extensions

This story from last week’s New York Times is still haunting me and it seems like nobody really took much notice, so we better: Poor Russian women are selling their blond hair for around $50 a braid, so you can pay an average of $439 for glorious golden extensions.

This actually made the gray lady’s front page, which surprised me — except for how this piece got top billing there too, so clearly, somebody at the ole NYT has a hair fetish, methinks — because this isn’t quite news. Indian women sell or donate their hair in religious ceremonies all the time, as everyone knows if they saw the Chris Rock movie. In fact, (brunette) hair from Asian countries makes up the majority of the $250 million per year human hair extension market. And the NYT reports that blond women have been selling their hair since the 1960s, only now the demand has substantially increased thanks to extensioned-out stars like Jessica Simpson and my hair crush Blake Lively.

I’m a soft touch when it comes to hair — I cried buckets when Jo sold hers in Little Women — but crowning glory rhetoric aside, doesn’t this whole practice feels like a bad Disney movie in the making? Only instead of Cruella Deville chasing puppies, we’ll have some pretty-yet-plucky blonde (with the Indian chick as her sarcastic sidekick, I mean, it is Disney) running from a cartoon Kevin Paves wielding evil magic scissors, with her spun-gold tresses hidden under a jaunty newsboy cap.

And yet, it’s far more real than that.

So many black women have this lifelong struggle against their natural hair texture, which starts young (check out this awesome news story about a black mom who decided to cut off her extensions after her five-year-old daughter talked about hating her own hair) and never really ends unless they decide to wear it super short once they hit middle age, as Debra J. Dickerson explains over on DoubleX.

Meanwhile, all these Indian, Russian and insert-other-poor-countries-with-great-hair-here women are selling off these pieces of their bodies for grocery money. So their more affluent sisters can achieve cartoonishly long, volumized hair.

Which, by the way, most of us still don’t even realize isn’t real — I just had to break the whole “yes it’s extensions” news about Blake Lively to a good friend last week, and I spent most of last summer in denial myself about the girls on Pretty Little Liars. Like Photoshopping and really good plastic surgery, you can know extensions are out there happening somewhere.. and still not know them when they’re right smack there in front of you, making you feel inadequate about your own hair’s naturally flat top and just-below-the-shoulders stopping point.

In short, human hair extensions make everyone’s hair worth less. While costing you a small fortune. Continue reading


Filed under Hair, Happenings

So, We Have to Talk About Long Hair

I, umm, kind of don’t want to, because we’ve been talking a LOT about the body image side of things in the past week (especially Fat Talk, Fat Talk Haters, and how I feel about being a little fat now). And I’m ready to get back to Beauty U and some of the other Beauty Things that make up the whole varied mix here at Beauty Schooled.

But first.

Dominique Browning is asking New York Times readers “Why Can’t Middle Aged Women Have Long Hair?Continue reading


Filed under beauty standards, Hair, Happenings

[Muddling Through Milady’s] Chapter 3: Sanitation & Disinfection — and Formaldehyde, Too.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to subject you to Milady’s somewhat mind-numbing explanations of the three tiers of decontamination that should be used in a salon or spa. (But in case you’re wondering, they are sterilization, disinfection, and sanitation, and I have them down cold.)

Instead, I’m going to be all timely and share this little tidbit, from Milady’s Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians, page 44 (in a red box marked with a big exclamation point, so you know it’s important). Continue reading


Filed under Beauty Labor, Hair, Ingredients, Nails, products

Monday Mannequin Mania


Starry Night Mannequin Head

Starry Night. In Mannequin form.


Obviously, anyone who can see my blog header knows I have a thing for mannequin heads. Back at Beauty U, I was constantly jealous of the cosmetology students getting to play with their mannequin heads all the time, because in esthetics, we don’t get mannequins, a fact that I found deeply disappointing. (It’s kind of hard to practice facials on plastic — you need real skin.) I don’t know why I like them so much – I was a big player-with-dolls as a kid and very into cutting my Barbies’ hair and all that, but there is also something super creepy about these life-sized heads with empty eyes.

Whatever the Psych 101 explanation is about me and mannequins, I have now discovered this site and cannot get enough of the awesomeness. Continue reading

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Filed under Beauty Schooled, Hair

[Guest Post] On (Not) Being Transvestite Barbie

photo of transgender barbie

Devoted Beauty Schooled readers know I have a total blog crush on Kate of Eat the Damn Cake. If you don’t know that, you should A) check out her blog, especially the Cake Gallery and B) check out this great post she did for me awhile ago.

But come right on back here, because in lieu of our usual Pretty Price Checking (suspended due to me being off the grid somewhere and thus out of touch on anything Price Check related — update me on what I missed in the comments?), we’ve got Kate guest posting!

And I love this post first because it enabled me to do a Google search on the phrase “Transvestite Barbie” and find you the amazingness featured above. And second because I think a lot of us can relate to Kate’s struggle to look like herself and yet also beautiful in that Big Life Moment special occasion kinda way. It’s really the same struggle we go through daily (look like ourselves, yet also like some approximation of Pretty, whether that was defined by TV, the beauty industry, your women’s studies class, your mom, whatever). But with lots of extra wedding day pressure.

So here’s Kate. She’s handling it all swimmingly.

The salesman in the formal wear department asked me who designed my gown. I couldn’t remember. We were shopping for my mother’s dress for my wedding. She found a gorgeous one. She asked about hair and makeup. What did he recommend? He looked at me. “Well, where is your daughter going?”

I shook my head slowly. “Um,” I said. “I don’t know.” Continue reading


Filed under Beauty Schooled, beauty standards, Guest Post, Hair, Makeup

Summer Hair Challenge Report

As I told you last week, I’ve been going product-free for the past few days as part of the No More Dirty Looks Summer Hair Challenge — both to see what my hair does when it gets to exist without the unholy triumvirate of styling oil/styling cream/styling spray, and because I’m becoming more and more convinced that subjecting ourselves to an onslaught of chemicals in the name of beauty is a dicey proposition.

Here’s the lovely photo gallery that Siobhan and Alexandra put together of all 72 of us in all of our air-dried glory:

No More Dirty Looks Hair Challenge Photo Gallery

Totally rad, right?

I’ve also been digging reading about other bloggers’ experiences with the challenge (like here’s Kendra the Skin Detective and Amy of Things We Make). But I was kind of surprised to see the discussion going on over at Sephora’s Beauty and the Blog, where the general sentiment seems to be, Pooh! What challenge? Continue reading


Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Schooled, beauty standards, Hair, Happenings, week 38