My biggest beauty secret is that I love who I am and what I look like. When I look at our wedding photos I see a nice dress. I see a relatively good hair day considering the weather. But the beauty I see is, well, because I love Brett and was super happy to be marrying him and also because I’m fully confident in who I am and what I look like.
I do have a few more tangible beauty secrets though. And while I still have a lot of things to figure out, like bobby pins, these are the things I’ve learned so far and the things I love.
Issue: Unwanted body hair
Solution: An epilator.
Yes. I rip all the hair out of my legs, and my underarms. I can’t remember the last time I used a razor. My hair does grow back but because it isn’t cut off I never have scratchy stubble. It’s finer and softer than it can ever be with a razor. I bought my epilator in 2002 and haven’t had to buy anything else since. It takes about an hour once a week (or every two weeks depending on how busy I think I am). I’ve tried waxing – had a bad reaction to that. I’ve tried Nair type stuff – ended up with chemical burns and the hair was almost all still there. Yes it hurt when I first started, but it doesn’t bother me at all any more. I’ll sit on the floor and take care of my legs while watching TV or reading a book. I don’t need to watch what I’m doing at all.
Solution: Fertility tracking & a menstrual cup.
First, I recommend the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” so that you can understand your body and know what is going on rather than just guessing. From the time I entered this lovely phase of life I’ve kept track of how long and at what interval my body does its thing. I’m lucky that I’m rather regular so I could guess within a few days what would happen, but I never knew for sure. Then I read this book and started paying attention to my body. Now I can pinpoint pretty much to the day what’s happening and I’m more than prepared for it with my second recommendation – a menstrual cup. I’ll pause while you think that’s gross for a second. But really, you should get over that gross thought because menstruation is not gross.
Feminine pads feel like you are wearing a diaper and there’s that whole odor thing as well as having to constantly buy them and keep them on hand wherever you go. Potty training was to get us to stop sitting in discharge, why do we go back for menstruation? Tampons avoid the diaper and odor thing, but they leak, can cause TSS, are full of chemicals used in making them, absorb all your natural fluids, you have to actually start before you can use them, and you have to constantly buy them and keep them on hand. I did recently see a better use for tampons than menstruation on The Art of Manliness: The Swiss Army Survival Tampon – 10 Survival Uses. Feminine pads are also great to keep in your first aid kit because of their absorbancy power that can be used as pressure dressings on wounds.
A menstrual cup has no odor because air does not interact with the fluid (which is what causes the odor). When it’s in correctly you can’t feel it at all. You can insert it when you know you are going to start and catch it from the very beginning. It does not dry you out because it collects fluid rather than absorbs it, which also means it won’t cause TSS. It does not contain any chemicals. I don’t have to carry anything extra with me when I go out. It actually lessens my cramps, which considering the level of cramps I have says a lot. And I bought mine (I use a DivaCup but there are a lot of types out there) once 5+ years ago and have not needed to buy another one since. There is a learning curve, it takes a cycle or two to really get the hang of it. But then you’ll never go back.
Issue: Long, Straight Hair
Solution: A comb in the shower and acceptance.
I love my long hair. I had a traumatizing pixie cut at 8 and it’s never been above my shoulders since, kind of, with the exception of another traumatizing cut at 21 that was about mid-way down my neck. Washing very long hair, especially if you are in a place with low water pressure like I was in Brasil, can be a problem. I discovered that combing shampoo and conditioner through my hair in the shower with a large toothed comb really helps clean it and rinse it and keep it smooth. To keep the ends from drying out when it’s long I only apply shampoo to my head and let it run through the ends and then I only apply conditioner to the ends and let the natural oils handle the scalp. I also only wash my hair every three days on average, brushing the natural oils through to the ends as much as possible in between.
The second aspect of my hair is that it is super straight, no matter how long it is. For the first two decades of my life I tried to deny that with perms. No more. I’ve decided my hair is what it is. It is straight. Humidity makes my hair even straighter. And when it’s long it’s also heavy and the curls on the left side of my head are already falling out by the time I’m curling the right half. And my beauty secret now – accepting my long straight hair is beautiful. It is what it is.
Issue: Uneven skin tone
For the longest time I’ve been self-conscious of the fact that there is a bit of a shadow on my upper lip. And it’s not from hair. So getting rid of that wouldn’t make any difference. Only 2nd graders notice the hair, and that’s only when they’re standing right in front of me and looking straight up. Or, at least, they’re the only ones who comment on it.
I’ve tried lots of different foundations and concealers to try and mask it but none of them worked to my satisfaction.
Earlier this summer though it finally dawned on me that it might actually be that my upper lip tans while the rest of my face doesn’t. Strange. But I thought I’d try an experiment. I’ve been putting oil-free, dry-touch, made-for-faces sunscreen on my face every morning now (something I should’ve started, oh, 30+ years ago). And my upper lip is no longer dark! I stopped using foundation in general a few years ago and I’m noticing that I wouldn’t even think I’d need it any more either. Not just the tone of my upper lip has evened out, but my whole face.
Yea sunscreen! Use it!!
What are your favorite beauty secrets?