Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beautiful Disaster

Two things today gave me the idea for this post. First, Jen M. over at Get in the Car! wrote a very thought provoking piece about beauty standards in this county and what steps we take to make ourselves feel beautiful -- or the steps we don't take, depending on your point of view. I started to comment on her site but couldn't form anything coherent at the time (her blog intimidates me a little because it's so well written).

But I continued to think over the topic today and I came to the conclusion that I cut, color, wax, make-up, -- I'd like to say exercise but we all know that would be a lie -- not in an effort to conform to society's standards, but in an effort to make myself look like I used to -- when I was young and dewy and my head was not besmirched by grays.

Then later, I was emailing back and forth with Niki over at Impostor Mom and she recounted a very small portion of a story in which she lost half an eyebrow to a waxing gone wrong -- at least I'm assuming it was gone wrong since one generally doesn't WANT to lose half an eyebrow. And her story made me think about all the times I suffered for beauty or had some cosmetic related disaster befall me.

  • Of course we all remember the lip liner from hell perpetrated on me by the Henri Bendel consultant.
  • One time I went to have my upper lip waxed. Occasionally, fluctuations in hormones give me a little bit of a 'stache so I went to have that taken care of. The girl was new and instead of placing the wax all the way across my upper lip, she just put it on either side of the philtrum
So, instead of looking gorgeous and hair-free, I looked like Hitler! It really wasn't that much hair, but the complete absence of hair on either side made it really stand out. I didn't notice until I got home and then I had to go to the store to buy a self-waxing kit and finish the job. (Small digression: can I tell you that it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be to find the name of that part of your lip? And that also in my search I came across this amusing site. I am now fully convinced that there is a blog about everything!)

  • Once when I was in college, my friends and I visited the local cosmetology school because we heard you could get a $5 manicure. So we went and the very nervous girl filed my nails and stuck them in some liquid (You're soaking in it!). After my fingers were all pruney she confessed "I'm not very good at painting nails. You can do it yourself if you want." Um. If I was any good at painting my own nails I wouldn't be here asking you to do it. But she was right. She wasn't very good and I did end up painting them myself.
  • And probably the pièce de résistance was the time I went to a very chichi salon in Hilton Head, SC, to a stylist who had trained at Vidal Sassoon in London, to get my very trendy, very chunky highlights. I asked for two very blonde, very thick streaks on either side of my face. I wanted funky. Cool. This is what I got:

When he dried my hair, I didn't have two blonde streaks on either side. I had two WHITE streaks on either side. Very damaged white streaks I might add. Hair so damaged, in fact, that a big chunk broke right off a day later. I went back to the salon and he told me he couldn't help me. He told me he thought I wanted "dramatic". Well, shit. I did. But not The Munsters! One of the other stylists took pity on me and tried to put some color back with some kind of rinse but it didn't really help. I ended up chopping most of it off a few months later because the hair was so damaged.

Those are just a few of the times I suffered for beauty. I'm sure there have been others. And I'm sure there'll be more. But hopefully not too many. Anyone want to share their horror stories?


Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Since I'm too impatient for most everything, I've been lucky enough to dodge any major beauty disasters. Unless, of course, you count all those years that I permed my hair. THAT was a disaster in and of itself. Aahhh, the late 80's and its bad hair . . .

ImpostorMom said...

HA! Yes the eyebrow incident was most certainly a disaster. You know the truly sad thing though, I tipped that girl! I was in complete shock at the loss of half of one of my eyebrows and I simply went on autopilot and did what you always do at salons, tip and go. Ugh.

Most of my other beauty mishaps have been at my own hands. Equipped with some bleach and hair dye I have done terrible things to my hair in the past.

Oh and yes there were some perms in the 80s for me as well. Poodle anyone?

Lulu said...

Perm, baby. Perm.

Oh, and the time in high school that I tried shaving my legs with lotion instead of shaving cream. I walked around with band-aids on my shins all day. I still have a scar.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I can't believe that stylist argued with you about your hair. No matter what you said, if your hair is damaged (and even if it's not) they're supposed to suck it up and try to fix it.

Me? Well, in a pinch once, I colored my hair using the box stuff and it came out yellow. Not blonde. Yellow. Hmmm...had the Dorothy Hammil when I was like 9 and was mistaken for a boy on a regular basis. I can't really think of anything else at the moment. But I do spend an assload of money on all things beauty on a consistent basis. Especially my hair. I'm a hair product snob.

Karen said...

I tried dyeing my hair red once. More strawberry blonde actually. So my plan was to leave on the red dye 15 min. instead of the required hour. It's a good thing, too, because the dye reacted with a perm from months before and turned my once-blonde locks greenish-blue. Not bright or obvious, but if I wore those colors there was an undeniable hue.

Lauren said...

I can't think of anything (aside from my recent greatclips/boxdye disaster, but lets not talk about that)...but your post reminded me of this one time when I was about 7, and my older brother dared me to cut my eyelashes...and of course i did it...and I really don't think they ever grew back! I have very short eyelashes now. if i ever had fancy to go-you know, besides mcdonalds- I'd have to wear fake eyelashes.

Laurel said...

Oh, my visions of the munsters hairdo has me both hysterical and aghast! Poor you!

When I was in college I decided on the spur of the moment to go crazy and do a sort of eggplant red/brunette permanent color. But then I got a role in a play and the director wanted me blond again, so the salon stripped it nearly white and then try to color it blonde. It was damaged so badly that, as my hair grew out, I could never get the color at the roots match. Not to mention that it felt like Barbie Doll hair. It was also getting brassy so I tried an ashe color which gave it a nice greenish hue. Finally I just had it cut off to a short, short, pixie. It wasn't attractive.

Amanda said...

I never lost half an eyebrow but I did lose a nice chunk of skin just below my eyebrow once. That was lovely - big red, swollen patch of nothing high on my eyelid.

There was also the ONE & ONLY time I used Noxzema to wash my face and ended up with a lovely case of hives for about three days.

Yeah...good times!

AndreAnna said...

I spent half of my high school career with a different shade of hair color - purple, green. But that was all in good fun.

Then, last October, I used a temporary red hair dye on my natural blond hair to see what it would look like. No one told me you weren't supposed to do that to natural blonde hair. It said temporary for pete's sakes! It faded to a hot pink, which I had to spend hundreds of dollars fixing. Ugh.

holeinthefence said...

I'm laughing so at your escapades that I can't really remember mine. Oh, I'm sure that I have them. When I was 31 I got braces and immediately felt like a 13 year old: awkward, insecure, and surly. (Yea, I want to look young, but not like a prepubescent grump!) Braces hurt! But they are for dental health, too, right? So I can't chalk it up too much to my elusive chase toward youth.

Colleen said...

I usually try to wax my own brows since I'm cheap and got annoyed when one girl burned me a bit. But each time I try doing it when I'm pregnant I end up appearing as though I lost half of an eyebrow because my brows are partially blonde. Seems I get a little more heavy-handed and sloppy with the wax when that belly was in my way.
I tried doing false lashes...the little clumps as opposed to the strip of lashes and when they started to fall out, it looked like I was being attacked by viscious then since I couldn't get some of those hangers-on to come out without pulling out clumps of my OWN lashes, I got the bright idea to trim back the fake ones so that I didn't look all crazy. Well, that didn't work, either because then they were sticking straight out of my eyelid instead of curling up. I gave up and bought some ridiculous "super volumizing" mascara and filled in where I didn't have false lashes. I looked a bit like Tammy Faye for a while until the last of those spiders fell off my lashes. And um, that adventure was only about 7 months ago...just before I had the baby. So I was huge AND crazy-looking.
Then there were all the perms and big hair in middleschool and highschool...the bright cinnamon semi-permanent hair dye on top of damaged blonde hair, which made me look like Carrot Top.
Oh, ok...the list is getting embarrassing. I'll just stop there.