Step into the Beauty Confessional Booth by Deb Jess

When you think of the things women (and many men) do to maintain beauty, it’s fairly easy to get grossed out. Slathering mud on our faces, smearing Vaseline on our teeth, painful strategic hair removal, bleaching mustaches, waxing brows, picking, taping, dying, scribbling on our lips, brows, and eyelids with food grade crayons…I heard last weekend that people have been using Preparation H to diminish dark circles and bags beneath their eyes. On Wednesday, Lisa mentioned a woman who applied spermicide to her face. And now I shall confess some of the sordid, off-putting science experiments I have tried in my personal quest for a smooth, dewy complexion, bouncy, lustrous hair, and that Cover Girl smile:

Not-so-bad: I have dabbed dissolved Knox gelatin beneath my eyes to eliminate dark circles. I can’t recall where I read about this, but the Vitamin K in the gelatin is supposed to fight dark coloration. BAD: When the gelatin dried, it pulled my eyelids down until I was quite uncomfortable and teary and looked like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, in the ‘violence aversion therapy’ scene.

Not-so-bad: I have made my own face mask of eggs, oatmeal, honey, and milk. BAD: I fed it to the cats after I scraped it off my cheeks and forehead. (I know, I know–I can hear the “Eeewwwws!” from here…but hey, waste not, want not!)

Not-so-bad: I have applied straight Vitamin E beneath my eyes. BAD: It was incredibly sticky, made me look like I was crying, and stained my pillowcases.

Not-so-bad: I once dyed my hair a spunky deep red. BAD: It actually came out purple, and the bartenders I worked with subjected me to more Purple People Eater-related jokes than any human being should ever have to abide.

Not-so-bad: I never fail to use sunscreen before spending lots of time in the sun. BAD: In 8th grade, I once strategically applied sunscreen only on the more wrinkle-prone areas of my face (my laugh line zones in particular) and ended up with white parentheses around a sunburned mouth.

Not-so-bad: I have a very high forehead, which was considered such an attractive feature in Elizabethan times that people actually shaved their hairlines up. BAD: I have a very high forehead and I’m not living in Elizabethan times, so in grade school I sat in class with my eyebrows perpetually raised so it would look smaller.* (It also helped me look very interested in whatever was being discussed.) Guess who’s got a nice little ladder of lines on her forehead now?

Not-so-bad: Due to an unfortunate poodle perm (also in 8th grade—a very bad year for beauty with me), I cut my own hair for years. BAD: I cut my own hair for years.

Now, in all seriousness, in keeping with the true intention of this week’s topic, I’m going to tell you about a product that has revolutionized my nightly beauty routine. And that is DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil. I’m fickle about moisturizers, because I veer back and forth between “natural but of dubious outcome” and “man the chemical torpedoes and SINK those wrinkles!” But DHC Deep Cleansing Oil? You keep me coming back for more.

If you’re feeling brave, I’d love to hear the quirky, embarrassing, or just plain bizarre things you’ve done for beauty.

*I should add that I did this with the teacher who actually laughed out loud, right in front of me, at my class pictures when they returned from the photographer. That kind of makes it worse, right?

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!

Deb Jess

11 Replies to “Step into the Beauty Confessional Booth by Deb Jess”

  1. These are hilarious, Jess. Thanks for sharing!

    There is scene from Anne of Green Gables, a cautionary tale, which has lasted in the back of my mind for literally decades – when she tries to dye her hair and it turns out green – Marilla tells her (I’m paraphrasing – it’s been decades) that it served her right for being vain. That’s not to say I haven’t ever dyed my hair or worn make up (uh, I wore some last June, remember?), but the whole appearance thing isn’t top of my list. Maybe it should be a bit more of a priority, but I am painfully low maintenance.

    p.s. Happy 100 years to Anne of Green Gables!

  2. Jess, I’m killing myself thinking about the eyebrows and the constantly “interested” look. So freaking funny.

    I had quite a few poodle perms too. Ugh. I also did quite a bit of experimental hair cutting. We’d have been perfect friends for each other back in grade 8!

  3. I keep thinking of Emily Dickinson. “I died for beauty, but was scarce adjusted in the tomb…”

    I cut my own bangs, just once. Looked horrific.

    My college roommate badgered me to trim her thick, curly, chin-length hair. I told her I’ve never cut hair and she said, “Oh come on, it’s one length all the way around, how can you mess that up?”

    She’s taller than me, though, and we were both standing in the dorm community bathroom, so I had to reach up. Also, I started on one side of her head and went around in a horseshoe shape to her other side. Also also, her hair was so thick I could not get one whole lock of it in one snip, so I had to snip several times in one place and it wouldn’t come out just the same…

    And at the end, the two sides were uneven.

    She didn’t complain (she HAD badgered me to do it) but nor did she ever ask me again, preferring to pony up $8 at Supercuts.

  4. In the wild an wacky 80’s I though an asymmetrical hairdo was a good thing. Short on one side long on the other. sigh.

    I love the idea of the sun screen lotion

  5. Ah, Jess, is the adventurous one in DIY beauty products! My worst beauty experience was being talked into a light “body perm,” back in the 80’s, which resulted in my striking resemblance to Little Orphan Annie with dark hair. UGH!!!

  6. What do you mean? Asymmetrical hairdos are out? There goes my big tip! Really, my tip is that I cut my husband and children’s hair so I can afford to get a decent haircut every six weeks.

  7. In a way I miss perms. I would wash and towel dry my hair and be done. My natural hair is fine, limp and flat but with the right perm no one would ever know!

    The trouble with perms (besides the expense and that unholy chemical stench for the first few days) is that they only look good in a short window of time. At first you’re poodle-esque, no matter what size the rollers. Then, when the hair starts to grow, the roots are flat for a few inches then suddenly your hair springs into curlicues…a weird look, which means you resort to hair clips and barrettes to disguise this, totally ruining the “wash-n-go” thing.

    On the subject of 80s hair…remember the movie The Wedding Singer? Did anyone else thing that Drew Barrymore’s hair was WAY too cute for the 80s? Honestly, if she didn’t have a curly perm she’d at least have that pouf of curly bangs and/or a giant lace bow.

  8. Thanks for chiming in, everyone! We are without Internet (AGAIN), so this may be my only opportunity to read about your delightful beauty experiments today.

    I have yet to meet a woman left unscathed by the perm craze of the 80s…it’s a cultural bonding thing, no?

    And YES, Drew Barrymore’s hair was SO not styled correctly for that movie!!

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