Last week I basically wrote a dissertation on why I love self-tanner. When I set out to write it, the concept seemed so revolutionary — like I was sharing a dark secret in confessional form even though it’s just self-tanner, which is basically the gel-manicure equivalent of bronzer if you think about it. Would I be embarrassed to share that I get gel manicures? Probably not. It got me thinking about all the other beauty rituals that, at first blush, we’re embarrassed to talk about. Where does that shame come from? Is it shame? Amelia routinely gets her eyelashes done, and I have seen her graciously accept the compliment, “Wow, you have amazing lashes,” without ever explaining that they were glued on. It really makes me wonder about her hair, but that’s an exposé for another time.
Harling shaves her stomach but doesn’t really talk about it. I’ve done that before, too (sometimes I still lie to my husband when he asks if I shaved my arms), Yvonne used to whiten her teeth incognito. A member of our business development team says she gets her sideburns threaded. Leslie is embarrassed that, occasionally, she uses a curling iron to stretch out her natural curls. It seems like a lot of the hang-ups we carry pertaining to our beauty routines correlate pretty directly with the pursuit of looking natural. We don’t want to try to look natural because it’s supposed to be effortless — but so what if it’s not?
Without sounding too cliche, or like I’m wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Empowered,” I have to say: What’s the BFD, which I think stands for big fucking deal. The longer we pretend we don’t do the things that really make up our beauty routines, the harder we are going to be on ourselves about what we look like when we wake up. Or maybe I’m projecting. But what about the youths!!! They need to know my teeth are not naturally this white. I use an electric toothbrush specifically designed to polish them whiter. Also, I pick my eyebrows, so sometimes they thin at the corners. I do not use eyeliner or mascara for their intended purpose, but I do use them to fill in my brows. I hate telling people this because big eyebrows are kind of my thing. It sounds so stupid when I say it out loud, but also really robs the sentiment of any power, which is cool.
So let’s keep talking about it! What beauty things do you do that no one really knows about? Air it out like dirty laundry, share a picture if you want to.
Feature image by Krista Anna Lewis and photo by Leandra Medine.