Pretty little liar

I am a terrible liar.

I’ve said this before. Even when my deception is for a good cause (like planning my parents’ surprise 25th anniversary party, for instance), I’m still unable to fib with any conviction.

In a way, this strongly affects my stance on beauty.

Am I the only one who often finds herself doubting a certain beauty decision because she views it as a lie? I’m not talking about covering a pimple or two — I mean flat out turning yourself into something you’re not. (A la this.)

We all know I fully own to being a medium-maintenance gal, but my motto when it comes to any style enhancements is always that I want to be the best version of myself. I highlight my hair, but the first words out of my mouth to my stylist are, “I want it to look natural.” I’ve spent hours of my life seeking the perfect foundation, concealer, and nude lip colors. Even so, I rarely wear much makeup unless it’s a special occasion. It took me years to feel comfortable with manicures because I used to hate the look of colors on my finger nails. (Total disclosure: I still get painfully self-conscious about bright shades after a day or two.)

The line gets blurred when my best version deviates sharply from what I might currently have, like those pretty blonde locks currently inhabiting my noggin.

When you pride yourself on being a genuine human being, it can feel like a betrayal of self to adopt any disingenuous beauty habit.

I dread the question, “Is that your real…?” when I know the honest answer is “nope!” It’s a big part of why, as much as I wouldn’t be mad if parts of my body woke up different sizes or shapes tomorrow, I don’t think I would ever take surgical action to make them change — I’d still be the person I am, and being anything else feels a little bit like cheating.

Fortunately, in most cases, I’m not embarrassed when someone “catches” me faking it. When it comes to my hair, I actually like discussing the myriad things we find to do to those poor strands of dead protein on our heads. And, honestly, I’m not really ashamed to admit that at some point in my life I’ve had fake nails, a fake tan, fake eyelashes, fake eye color (this one is on my mom — she wanted to see what my eyes would look like really green), and even fake hair (anyone else remember those faux hair scrunchies you used to be able to buy at Claire’s to create a messy bun in a snap? …anyone?).

The point is, I try not to take beauty too seriously. At it’s most intense, it’s meant to be a form of expression and experimentation. (And these under-eye circles that seem to have taken up residence on my face aren’t going to hide themselves.) But I never want to become someone who feels like she needs to look like something or someone else to be happy.

So spill: Am I the only one who stresses about turning into a big, ol’ phony? I mean, I’m not exactly getting Real Housewife casting calls yes, so I’m probably fine, but y’all know I love when we share neuroses.

5 thoughts on “Pretty little liar

  1. I never really thought about it that way until I read your post, and now you have my mind spinning! I guess since I’m a lot like you, where I am pretty medium maintenance, that I don’t think too hard about it. However, it does really bother me when people look great but I know they have fake lashes and a perfect spray tan and extensions in their hair (someone I really do know.) I mean, you look great and all, but if I spent that much money I could look that great, too. Maybe it’s just me being jealous? Who knows if I had an unlimited budget or if I was a celebrity if I would do things differently. I like to think I wouldn’t but I have a feeling I would. Ha!

    • It’s hard for me to put my finger on exactly the emotion it makes me feel. In a possibly jealous way, I take comfort in it because, sure, if I was manicured within an inch of my life, I would probably look perfect too. But on the other hand, I look at beauty and fashion as a kind of armor. So if that’s what they needed right then, go for it!

      I find I’m honestly less judgmental about other people than I am about what I do.

  2. Ya know, I see where you’re coming from and I think as a general rule, everyone likes feeling as confident and “like themselves” as possible with the least amount of work necessary. The problem is that many people DON’T feel in touch with their “natural” selves…whether it’s cystic acne (tons of makeup magic), a double chin (beard coverage), blah hair color (dye/highlights), some people can rock it confidently without a second thought, and others truly blossom once their defense mechanisms are in place. It’s kind of my feeling on plastic surgery, too: If you TRULY believe that you will feel more confident, more comfortable, more happy and more like yourself, then do it. Who am I to tell you what the “natural” you looks like?

    One of my close friends had a nose job at sixteen. She is Jewish and a nose job at that age (at least in larger cities) is fairly common. When I met her, I told her that she had a seriously perfect nose (not in an unreal way – it just looked perfect on her face) and she said something along the lines of “HELL YEAH I DO! It’s fake!” She owned it and it took away ANY sort of plastic-surgery/fake enhancement type of stigma that I feel arises whenever “is that real?” comments are made. We were 17! I am still kind of in awe of her confidence and honesty at that moment.

    I’m someone who tried tanning beds in high school, never dyed my hair (I tried ombre at 23), and owns virtually every shade of eyeshadow on the planet, but as you probably notice…I don’t wear much more on my eyes than mascara these days. I go through different phases of “maintenance” regarding my beauty, and in the past year, I have had this insatiable desire to dye my hair lavender. Considering the process it will take and my lack of history with hair dye, it’s really kind of crazy. But I started thinking “why the hell am I not with purple hair, when all I really want out of life right now, is purple hair? Am I afraid I’ll be fired? (I won’t.) Am I afraid of how it will look in pictures? (Who cares?) Am I afraid it won’t match my clothes? (Who cares? My clothes are awesome.) Am I afraid it’s unprofessional? (Does it effect my work ethic and performance?) Am I afraid of what other people will think?” (People won’t always like what I like, and I sure as hell don’t always like what they like)… honestly, all of those questions come down to the very last one: Am I afraid of what other people will think? That’s not how I want to live my life. It seems silly, but I don’t want to be 80 years old and say “I wish I would’ve dyed my hair lavender back when I was young and awesome.” Would I get purple hair if I planned on being married in a month? No. But right now…the only thing holding me back was that it might be generally frowned upon…by others. And if I believe I only have a short time on earth, WHY WOULD I EVER LEAVE MY HAIR BROWN BECAUSE IT’S EASIER FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO DIGEST?

    Okay, rambling now. The point is, however light or heavy the makeup/hair dye/tanning – people are showing you how they feel and who they are. You dress how you want to be perceived, you know? If a man is dressed and acting as a woman, he is a woman and I will treat him as such. If a porcelain skinned girl wants to get spray tans til the end of time, okay, fine. You are soooo tan. I feel the most important part is just owning it! We ALL make “self-improvements” – and we shouldn’t be ashamed to say we are dyed, waxed, concealed, spanxed, lasered, etc. if it’s how we truly feel best. Am I going to tell people my (hypothetical) lavender hair is natural? Probably, because it’s hilarious…but everyone has their own “lavender hair” in their lives – some is just more noticeable than others!

    • Thanks so much for this comment! I think you make a lot of excellent points — and I agree with so many of them, which is probably why I feel this inner struggle at all. I like to BELIEVE that I will rock whatever it is I want to do if it makes me feel comfortable, but sometimes I have a hard time actually feeling that way.

      And you telling people your hypothetical lavender hair is natural? Killed me dead. Totally do that.

  3. I used to think about plastic surgery (I think everyone has *thought* about it at some point), and decided long ago that it’s not for me. I used to haaate the little bump in my nose, but I realized one day that I get it from my mom, and that if I changed it, I wouldn’t look like her anymore. I think genetics are magical, and I love that I look like people from my family!

    At the same time, I have no qualms about dying my hair strange & different colors. I’ve had brown, black, pink, blue, red, and blonde hair, and the blonde is my natural color. The funny thing is, when my hair was natural, no one believed me, haha. When it was a more-obviously-not-natural color, I used to joke that those were my natural colors whenever people asked. “Oh, your hair is blue… What’s your natural color?” “… This IS my natural color.” People’s faces were priceless, haha.

    Besides my hair, I totally agree with you. I prefer a natural look in almost every other way. I’m pretty low-maintanence, so maybe my preference is just out of laziness? 😛

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