I’ve been trying my best to keep up with women’s beauty trends since the ripe age of 5, when the closest thing I had to a style icon was Baby Spice. Not to say I don’t still occasionally appreciate sky-blue eyeshadow and pigtails, but times have changed, and so have my day-to-day routines and beauty regimes. I’ll admit that most of the fad trends I’ve tried have been short-lived and for the most part, ineffective, but even the most tried-and-true routines can be considered crazy to a common outsider, specifically men. From fake fingernails to phony tans, it can be hard to fully understand why females take the time and spend the money they do in order to be considered “attractive” to the opposite sex. Especially when you consider that men must do no more than simply shower, brush their teeth and occasionally lift a few pounds to be deemed traditionally desirable.
If you’ve ever wondered why your girlfriend puts up with physical and emotional pain in an effort to look good, then get pumped up to learn a thing or two about the common — but admittedly crazy — things women do for beauty. It’s easy to get caught up in the up-and-down, in-and-out roller coaster of female beauty fetishes, but it can be a bit harder to explain them in a practical way. Is that because they’re impractical? Perhaps. But, that’s not going to hold us back. Whether you’re a beauty newbie or a time-weathered expert, women of all ages can relate.
Read on to learn about 15 crazy (but common) things women do for beauty:
15. Eyebrows, Eyebrows, EYEBROWS
The first time an ex-boyfriend watched me do my makeup, he was flabbergasted. “Wait… you draw your eyebrows on?” YES I’M BLONDE AND LITERALLY LOOK LIKE AN ALIEN OTHERWISE. For the remainder of the relationship he liked to call me “Miss No-Brows” during arguments, which I didn’t appreciate. No woman likes to be reminded of the fact that her forehead goes straight up from her eyelids to her hairline. Eyebrows are a defining feature on a female face, and are currently having their biggest moment ever. Don’t make fun of us for what we don’t have! Whether with pencil, cream, shadow, or wax, I’ll continue to color in the arches on my face until my dying day. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t ever written a secret pro/con list regarding the desirability of semi-permanent tattoo makeup. Other people do it, why not me? The current trend that really confuses me, however, are the perfectly groomed, straight-line arches that look neither natural nor low-maintenance. I mean, are they applied on with a straight-edge ruler? Post-It note? Knife? Somebody please explain. Meanwhile, please pass me my eyebrow pencil. I have some filling in to do.
14. Acrylic Fingernails
Women love them, men hate them. Having long, luscious fingernails makes us feel undeniably fancy, but many men are actually afraid of the red plastic talons hanging from our hands. I was personally addicted to acrylic fingernails for about 3 months, until I could no longer stomach the idea of so many bacteria babies breeding beneath my tips. After the lengthy removal process, the distressed shape of my natural nails was enough to deter me for good. As with so many things in life, less is sometimes more when it comes to art and nail enhancements. Although I no longer feel quite as glamorous while typing on my keyboard or texting on my phone, at least I can rest assured that my natural nails are healthy, and, even better, not so germy! Don’t even get me started on all the “extras,” so-to-speak. Beyond the occasional accent nail, I just can’t get behind the constant influx of sparkles and 3-D glue-ons.
13. Fake Tanner
We’ve all seen Jersey Shore, right? Those girls made fake tans mainstream. My fear of skin cancer turned me off the idea of tanning beds, so I admit I switched to the sticky-brown stuff that passes as self-tanning lotion. But not for long. Not because it made me blotchy, but because it caused my previously-white sheets to transform into a distressing shade of poopy brown-orange. Definitely not the sexiest way to introduce my bed to a boyfriend-to-be. Not to mention the after-affects of crusty, tangerine-tinged cuticles. My recommendation to my girlfriends? Stay far, far away from the fake stuff. Still… I guess it’s better than skin cancer! Bonus points awarded there. But oh, how I miss that deep golden glow. My college roommates and I would often repeat the oh-so-sophisticated mantra, “if you can’t tone it, tan it.” Due to my own personal laziness and affinity against weight lifting, I now can do neither. #SadFaceEmoji
12. Five Different Shampoos
I counted. I have — wait for it, 3 different shampoos and 4 different conditioners on my shower shelf. Literally. One shampoo/conditioner twin set for day-to-day washing, one of the purple variety to keep my blonde brass-free, one clarifying duo, and then one additional deep conditioner, just because. Men — who seem to wash their hair with the exact same gel stuff they use on their bodies — just don’t understand our wants and needs. But, you have to admit… the variety definitely helps to keep shower time spicy. Much like Pokemon, when it come to hair products I’ve gotta catch them all.
11. Eyelash Curlers
Eyelash curler, or updated torture device from the medieval ages…? We may never know! I officially swore off of eyelash curlers after I saw that Reddit post, so I’m going to agree with the guys on this one — eyelash curlers are indeed crazy. I remember a time in high school when I would have bet my right eyebrow that eyelash curlers made ALL. THE. DIFFERENCE. I actually used to curl them in the car on the way to school, which absolutely terrifies me in retrospect. One forgotten stop sign or hasty break by a fellow driver and I would have been in a very bad place, indeed. These days, a couple swipes of black mascara is typically enough to satisfy my smokey-eye needs, but I’m also not against literally gluing a string of synthetic plastic fibres to my eyelids if I’m ever in need of extra “oomph.” Speaking of… fake eyelashes are a bit crazy, too.
10. Lip Gloss
Sure, it looks nice, but lipgloss is the bane of most men’s kissing existence. I once had a boyfriend who would straight-up refuse to kiss me if my lips even hinted at the slightest application of unnatural shine. Granted, he’s now an ex-boyfriend, but the lesson was still learned and I’ll never forget: guys just aren’t into it. Lip gloss is basically fancy chapstick, extra points if it includes glitter. Of course, that’s a very personal opinion because I just can’t with the current matte trend. Cracked, cakey lips, anyone?! Lip gloss is often sticky enough to qualify as fly paper (no, really — I once actually entrapped a black fruit fly in my lip gloss while trying to eat a banana), and has the irritating tendency to spread to places it shouldn’t, most notably on my hair on a windy day. That being said, I’ll never let the gloss go. Since my very first Roll-On Lip Smackers Strawberry tube, I’ve been totally addicted. Fruit flies and all.
9. Pore Strips
If you’ve never experienced the intense satisfaction of slowly pulling a pore strip away from your nose skin in order to inspect the gooey little stalagmites of remaining oil, YOU AIN’T LIVING. After a successful pore strip excursion, I honestly feel like I got a mini nose job because my pores are so deflated of junk. The entire experience is the perfect combination of nasty and satisfying, a guaranteed winning combination for all involved persons. Men typically have no idea of what women endure to ensure the porcelain skin akin to grandma’s creepy basement dolls. Let me tell you right now: it’s not pretty, but it’s oh-so-totally worth it. Although I’m not entirely sure about how they actually work — they DO! — I choose not to question their magic and continue to bless the Bioré gods.
8. Sky-High Heels
Yes, heels are great and they make you feel fancy AF, but let’s face it: most men don’t want to be made shorter than half the girls in the bar. And to that we say, #boybye. Impending foot problems be damned, high heels have an unparalleled way of turning a causal going-to-the-grocery outfit into a date night staple. What I will argue, however, is that platform heels are not worth the hype. Unfortunately it took me one badly sprained ankle to fully appreciate the risk involved. Those shoes went in the garbage immediately, and I’m still recovering 3 months later. To scare you further, I mentioned the graceless fall to my doctor during a recent annual visit, and she offered the comforting news that my ankle will probably be just a bit weak for the rest of my life. So, once again, not worth the hype. Thank God the stripper-chic trends of the mid-2000’s are behind us for the time being.
7. Dry Shampoo
Why can’t we just wash our hair, you ask? Good question. The female head of hair wobbles between a delicate balance of limp and slippery, to greasy and slick within the span of about 2 hours. Lucky men can simply strip down and scrub every nook and cranny of their bodies in a 5 minutes cleaning frenzy, while a full-blown woman shower often requires 5-plus minutes of waiting for the conditioner to sink in, alone. Don’t even get me started on the added time it takes to lather up and shave down… that’s a topic for another article, entirely. Dry shampoo blessedly allows us to extend the life of our grease-free locks, all while adding superb benefits like increased texture and volume. I actually have gotten into the habit of spritzing the dry stuff at my roots as an everyday routine, regardless of when my last scrub-down occurred.
Ok, I’ll admit I’m bitter about this point simply because the one and only time I attempted to contour I ended up looking like I’d gone out to my apartment courtyard, dug my fingers in the mud and painted elaborate war stripes into the hollows of my cheeks. My friends wouldn’t even let me go out, swear to God. However, in my conversations with my male friends I’ve learned that maybe my lack of talent is actually a benefit to my face. While contouring as a concept has gained international attention through heavy-handed YouTube stars, the look is a bit too dramatic (not to mention, time-consuming) for my every-day life. I’ll just stick to my simple bronzer/blush routine that I’ve been perfecting since freshman year of high school, thank you very much.
Wait… we wax WHAT? If only men were encouraged by society to pay 60 or more bucks to literally have their butt hairs ripped out with hot wax. It’s laughable. But the initial agony does not even begin to paint the whole picture. To tell you the truth, the ensuing itchiness that inevitably comes as the hairs grow back is the true issue here. To walk around with your nether regions on fire in order to experience a few weeks of smooth, hairless beauty should be a crime, and yet, it’s still what we do. With the new norm of bikini lines that hike halfway up our hips, and the growing popularity of thong-style bottoms, it’s honestly difficult to dismiss the practicality of a Brazilian wax. In one fell swoop, we become beach-ready. The phrase “pain is beauty” takes on a significant aura of veracity here, which all brave warriors can attest to. Just know that we suffer for that smooth-as-silk appeal.
4. Breast Petals
Breast Petals are essentially glorified Band-Aids (only without the little cotton bit) that we slap on our boobs to avoid the forever dreaded nip-slip. Since the majority of summer clothes from the likes of Forever 21 only include spaghetti-style straps — or no straps at all — it’s become increasingly normal to step out of the front door sans bra. What’s not to like, eh? While I truly do appreciate the freedom of this newly permissible laissez-faire bounce, I also don’t like my nips to perk up at even a slight suggestion of a summertime breeze: that’s where the petals come into play. All fun and games, of course, until it comes time to rip them off before bed. Holy OWWWWW! Nipples are an extremely sensitive body part, obviously, so just imagine the horror of ripping from them a way-too-sticky sheet of rubber. Really not fun and arguably not worth it.
3. Pin-Straight/Spiral-Curl Hair
Girls will spend hours — literally, hours — painstakingly straightening their hair to create an unnatural illusion of stick-straight strands. On the flip side, 99.9% of us have been forced to spend the night nursing a burnt thumb, throbbing earlobe or a fiery red streak across the nape of our neck from an imperfectly-positioned 400° wand. And for what? I seriously doubt that any man has ever thought to himself, “Wow, that girl would be SO HOT if only that errant lock of hair didn’t have a 1-millimeter kink. Total buzzkill.” Since most men spend approximately 2 minutes gelling their man strands into coiffed perfection, they don’t understand that women can’t simply do the same. I mean, we could, but only if we commit as a gender to pixie cuts. There’s an idea! Even if we do decide to go au-naturel for the night, we still have to utilize some kind of drying tool to speed up the getting ready process. Unless, of course, we simply skip that step and place our trust in the never-ending versatility of dry shampoo.
2. $200 Hair Cut/Coloring
To most guys, a $200 hair cut makes no sense. However, when you’re dealing with 1-2 feet of strands which have to be meticulously separated, bleached, highlighted, deep conditioned, razor-cut into face-framing layers, and coaxed into position with a dizzying array of mousse, texturizing products, hair lacquer and leave-in conditioners, the generous output of money starts to make sense. Granted, before I graduated college and got a big-girl job I never dreamed of spending more money than a Great Clips special on my hair. However, after experiencing the pure pleasure of a professional shampoo job and head massage, there’s no going back. Hell, I’d spend an extra $50 to simply sit in that chair for 5 minutes longer. There’s no feeling quite like stepping out of the salon with a fresh cut, ready to take on the world with brilliantly sun-lit highlights. It’s priceless and I can’t be convinced otherwise.
1. Perfume Before Bed
News flash: perfume is for me and NOT for men. My boyfriend recently commented on how I like to spray myself before I tuck in for the night, and I politely explained that I’ve been doing that every night for years, regardless of my current relationship status. When Marilyn Monroe was asked during an interview in 1952 what she wore to bed, she simply replied, “Chanel N.5.” Who wouldn’t want to channel that level of easy confidence?Although Chanel N.5 isn’t my scent of choice, I’d never imagine slipping in bed without a pre-snooze spritz. It relaxes me, and secretly makes me feel a bit Marilyn-esque. And while I’m on the topic of perfume, let’s quickly touch base on its often hefty price tag. Of all the particular beauty products that I’m willing to drop a chunk of my paycheck on, perfume is number 1, always. Even on a budget, I feel no qualms about dishing out $100 or more for a quality bottle, simply because it’s so worth it to always feel effortlessly chic.