My beauty-slash-wellness maintenance regime is fairly straightforward. I’m 75% addicted to Crest Teeth Whitening Strips and my eyebrow-threading lady knows more about me than my boyfriend. I go to the dental hygienist when I receive a postcard reminder in the mail, cut my hair whenever my hairdresser orders me to and visit the doctor regularly to ensure all bits – lady and otherwise – are achieving their yearly KPIs.
I’ve moulded my regime in to a healthy appointment cycle. However, when my personal maintenance stars recently aligned and I found myself scheduled for numerous treatments in the space of a week, I was left with two things: 1) a depleted bank account and 2) depleted self-esteem.
The first was to be expected, but the latter?
I’m always prepared for the customary how often do you floss/you should hair mask far more frequently/you’re absolutely using the wrong face cream lectures, really – they’re part of the service. But after paying to be professionally chastised for All The Things I’m not doing (or doing wrong), it was hard not to get a little despondent.
My dermatologist advised that I need to cleanse twice daily, tone in the PM, moisturize with anything SPF and use a charcoal face mask once a week, because my “skin age” is pushing its fifties.
Both my waxer and spray tan magician berated me for not exfoliating as often as I should – am I even taking my skin tone seriously?
My dentist, Boris, told me my gums were overweight (!) from a result of irregular tongue scraping. He prescribed a daily dental practice that I estimated would take north of 45 minutes.
So there you have it: a broke, fat-gummed, 25/50 year old.
It wasn’t until all of my appointments were condensed into the span of seven consecutive days that I realized how much exhausting maintenance I actually do – and how much more I was meant to be doing – that I appreciated just how unrealistic this idealistic upkeep is. Who actually does everything they’re meant to be doing? Does anyone ever use a hair mask?? There’s simply no way to follow every professional’s rules; I’d have about four and a half minutes to spare per week to do life, which is a priority most days.
An alternative solution is that I need to chill and downscale on what I think is mandatory. A standing gel manicure appointment is probably not.
So what say you? Are the societal expectations too high, or are our ideal regimes too superfluous? Isn’t some of this pampering important — “treat yo’self” and all that good stuff?
Do you do all the things? And if not, what’s your priority?
I’m personally sticking with the White Strips. Those I can handle, and Boris approves.
Photographed by Jamie Nelson for Elle Mexico June 2011