Turns Out Beauty Tasks Are My Last Priority

Jihan Geronimo Balloons

By Gabrielle. Image via Geronimo Balloons.

In June, I discussed my goal of establishing better or more “grownup” grooming habits this year — like consistently having a proper manicure and taking the time to make sure my hair looks good each morning (instead of throwing it in a messy top knot as I rush out the door, or working in my pjs and ignoring it altogether).

I also discussed wanting to experiment with my identity and how it ties into physical appearance. I envisioned my hairstyle changing each month in big ways, trying out clothing styles that are new to me, and becoming confident about applying various makeup looks.

And then, I wanted to discuss everything with you. What I was learning. How the changes affected (or didn’t affect) my behavior. The concept of identity and how it ties into physical appearance.

I went into the whole thing with a big picture in my head, but oh my goodness, the plan has not proceeded on track at all. In fact, I think I’ve actually been substantially worse at grooming since June than I was during the previous year. From June till now (and still continuing), I allowed my travel and project schedule to ramp up in a crazy way, and physical appearance has taken a back seat to pretty much everything else. It’s like I set out to go in one direction, and have ended up in the completely opposite direction.

I probably knew that about myself, but had never really admitted it — outside of basic upkeep like daily showers and trimming my nails, beauty tasks can quickly fall the bottom of my priority list.

I don’t think I really considered how much time exploring this grooming + identity idea would take. I suppose I was imagining fitting it in around my other projects, but really, it’s a major project itself. And to carry it out the way I originally thought of it, would mean clearing some things from my schedule (for example, finishing my book — I just received chapter design samples today!), to make room for it.

But the thing is, I still really want to do this. I still like the idea, I still look forward to the discussions, and I haven’t given up yet. I’ve even made some small progress. You may remember I had bangs cut — a small thing, but a fun change. We discussed at-home beauty tasks versus hiring out. I’ve been growing out my roots in preparation for a big color change — I now have a full inch of salt & pepper growing in. I’ve also had a bleach test done on a strand of my hair. It’s little. But it’s something. So, as some of my deadlines wrap up, I’m going to try and focus on grooming/identity stuff and see what happens.

I’d love to hear: where do “beauty” tasks fall on your priority list? Are you diligent about scheduling hair appointments? Do you make time in your morning get-ready routine for makeup? If you have a project deadline you’re up against, does non-essential grooming fall to the wayside? And have you ever made a goal, and then gotten worse instead of better at it? I’d love to hear your stories!

P.S. — The bleach test is because I want to try really white blonde, similar to Jihan’s super cool hair do. Have you ever made a drastic change like that?

72 thoughts on “Turns Out Beauty Tasks Are My Last Priority”

  1. I give myself one haircut a season (Which has entirely due to cost: if I could, I’d truly go the every 6 weeks or so that is suggested-I adore my stylist/salon. I just can’t justify spending that much a year on haircuts!), I paint my nails about once a month, and my daily routine does include moisturizers and a quick 5 minute makeup regimen. If I’m up against a deadline, or feeling really daunted, I find that actually taking the extra time to focus on me makes me feel more in control, and in doing so I can really hit the ground running. (That being said, my husband and I are starting the process towards adoption, so ask me if I’m still doing this in a year or so when we have a baby/toddler racing around and you and I might both have a laugh! :)

    And as far as drastic changes goes, I have donated 12″ twice in my life, and both of those donations created pretty drastic hairstyle changes that really made me feel awesome. I don’t know that I’d be bold enough to go more “drastic” than that, lol.

    1. Good point, Connie. I didn’t bring up budget, but that’s a factor as well. I liked this idea you described: “I find that actually taking the extra time to focus on me makes me feel more in control, and in doing so I can really hit the ground running”.

      That sounds super appealing to me!

  2. I’m horrible at keeping up with my grooming, outside of the basics. Although, inspired by your bangs, I marched myself into a salon armed with nothing but a photo and some key French phrases (I live in France but don’t speak French well at all!). It was horrible! I’ve been pinning back those stinking bangs every day since and waiting quite impatiently for them to grow back. C’est la vie!

  3. Oh my goodness Gabrielle, I feel like we are kindred spirits!! Quite often I read your posts and think “she is reading my mind!”, but I totally get where you are coming from on this one! I, too, had big intentions to take better care of “me”. I was going to get my eyebrows waxed, go for regular pedicures, maybe even try gel nails. I was also going to get up a little earlier each day and “do” my hair and pull on a cute outfit. I’m not obsessive about appearance, and sometimes I just like to be cozy in my sweats, but I must admit that I do love when I spend a little time on myself… I usually feel a little more confident. And confidence is good for the heart…
    Here’s to making plans…one day :)!!!

    1. “but I must admit that I do love when I spend a little time on myself… I usually feel a little more confident”

      I feel the same way. I never regret pulling a good look together in the morning, so I’m surprised I haven’t made a solid habit of it yet.

  4. My schedule is so minimal it’s barely a routine. This is my busy season, so showers and proper clothes are not an every day thing. Ponytail & yoga pants are as far as it goes most days.
    The only thing I’m good at maintaining is my manicure. Otherwise, I revert to biting my nails, no bueno! My hair gets my stylist’s attention every 6-8 weeks to keep the frizz and roots at bay. Though, today I had 6 inches cut off and went way darker, so I may take a longer hiatus. It was a sudden decision, pretty drastic for me.
    This post is pretty timely, I was just pondering the need for a more “grown-up” routine now that I’m rounding the corner to my 36th birthday. At least some better skin care.

    1. “The only thing I’m good at maintaining is my manicure. Otherwise, I revert to biting my nails, no bueno!”

      Love this! If I’m nervous, I become a nail biter as well. In fact, sometimes, I realize I’m biting a nail and have to figure out what I’m feeling nervous about. But if I have a manicure, suddenly I’m cured!

  5. I was going to go white blonde too, but my stylist convinced me that it would take a serious investment of time( as my hair was auburn) and it would be ugly-orange for a while from stripping the color. So I went darker instead. And shorter–like pixie short curls–and I love it.

    I started a “makeover” sort of thing at the end of summer while I was stuck in the airport for hours waiting for a flight and ended up watching Carol Tuttle’s videos on Dressing Your Truth. I found it to be fascinating, and true to me. So I upended my wardrobe, hair, and other grooming habits, and although it was an investment of time as I learned about my type/style, I’m really happy with it all.

    When your schedule settles down (HAH!), you might want to check out her website.

    1. Yes, I’ve heard about the serious investment of time to go blonde as well. I’ve been discussing it with every stylist I know for months. And I even considered trying a wig instead, but I think I really want to go with the dye.

      I know it will seriously damage my hair, but I think I might ultimately end this experiment with a pixie cut (I haven’t had one in a decade!), so hopefully I’ll be cutting off most of the damage eventually.

  6. For me, the two most important “beauty” rituals are good skincare (I love Rodan and Fields. It is the only thing that could take care of my adult acne) and good exercise. I figure if I am diligent about my runs each week, then I have energy, I have mental focus and I feel strong. If your face is naturally glowing (good skin care) and you feel comfortable in your skin (regular exercise), then you can skimp on a lot of other things. I try to pick out a few outfits that I like best and then I just wear the heck out of them. I’m not a nails, salon, hair dying type of person. I am greying slowly and have embraced my curly hair by wearing it short. Whenever I need a style boost, I just comb some pages online, figure out a new favorite outfit and start wearing the heck out of it.

    1. You sound super healthy, Mary! I don’t even know you and I admire you. This is my favorite part of your comment: “I figure if I am diligent about my runs each week, then I have energy, I have mental focus and I feel strong.”

  7. Overall, they are pretty low on my priority list. Not that I’m a slob. But beauty trends are not my thing. I dress nicely for work and in appropriately casual wear on weekends, but I know what I want to spend time (and money on) and what I don’t want to. And my appearance, to a certain extent, is not one. I’m starting to have gray hair, and I have zero intention of dying my hair in the future. I always have a cut that allows my hair to go into a ponytail since you never know when you will or won’t have time to do something with your hair. My makeup routine is minimal. I don’t do manicures or pedicures, with the occasional exception of ones I’ll do at home for fun. If I have extra time, I would rather focus on going for a run or doing yoga, which have a positive impact on both my body and appearance and my overall mental well being. I simply think it’s important to know your priorities and what’s important to you. Don’t force it if it’s not who you are. God made us all beautiful and talented in our own ways, and sometimes we just need to be more confident letting that natural beauty shine through :)

  8. Wow! What a question. This has been on my mind a lot recently as well. Where is beauty on my priority list? It depends on the definition of beauty, I suppose. If it means complexity in styles, products, and routines, then it is low. If it means healthy skin, pulled together hair, and real clothes, then it ranks higher.

    Simple beauty is on my mind. I want to love the hair I have, so I am styling it the way it wants to go, rather than fighting it. I get regular cuts and keep it looking good. I try to style it as few times a week as possible, saving time and money on product. Makeup is my latest target. I got thinking a month or so ago that I spend money on makeup and some time each morning to apply it all, only to find two hours later that it really doesn’t look like I did anything ; it is all gone. What a waste. I know I am not going to freshen it several times a day, so I have started going without. I was very uneasy at first, but it has gotten easier. I am spending time each day on my skins, and I think it looks great. I don’t mind applying lip color during the day, so I am having fun experimenting with shades I like. Then, when I get really dressed up and do apply makeup, I feel fancier.

    Feeling clean, healthy, and presentable is high on my list, but so is easy and simple. I just need to figure out a way to simply fix my cuticles. They are always a mess!

    1. Oh! Loving your idea of “simple beauty”. I find the concept really appealing (says me while I plot a not-at-all-natural-hairstyle).

      As for cuticles, I learned a trick from a model when we were living in Greece. She said she was instructed to keep her nails bare so she was ready for photoshoots (and any color that might be painted on for the shoot), and that she should push back her cuticles with her thumb at the end of her daily shower.

      By the end of the shower, the heat and water will have softened them a bit, and they can gently be pushed back with little effort. When I remember to do it regularly, it does seem to keep my cuticles looking good.

  9. I believe it takes a lot of investment so it has to be your priority. I have a wonderful family member who is amazing with looks, fashion, hair etc. However it takes a long time and money and space. I have four kids, small house and limited $. I see their boxes of makeup, lots of storage of shoes, accessories – necklaces and hats and bangles and scarves and hair flowers do take up a lot of space etc and lots of time spent experimenting. Which is wonderful and awesome, but it has to be your choice to do that and even though I whine to this person – I wish they could help me, show me etc I know it will probably never happen even though they have kindly given me a few interventions :)

    1. I’ve concluded the same thing. It’s an investment of time and money. I guess I was thinking I wanted to see what it felt like to make that investment, knowing that I probably wouldn’t do it forever. Just something to try. We’ll see if I can manage it!

  10. I feel much the same as you Gabby. I would love to be the kind of woman who has put-together outfits and keeps her hair and nails well-maintained and wears “just the right amount” of makeup to really look my best, but that is just not reality for me. I can barely manage to get one haircut per year, I usually put zero time into styling my hair (a bun or a side braid, still damp from showering is how I roll.) And I’ve always been a jeans and T-shirt girl. Unfortunately my clothes don’t fit very well now, but I don’t have any clothing budget to speak of. It just seems impossible to invest in my looks.

    1. “It just seems impossible to invest in my looks.”

      Oh, I hear you. But I do hope I can rise to the challenge, if only for a short time period. I really want to try!

  11. I’m a mom of two who are 4 and 5 so I’m pretty low maintenance with my hair. I get it cut every 4-6 months and only wash it every other to every 3rd day. It’s straight and can handle it. Dry shampoo is pretty much my best friend in that area. But skin care and make up are another thing. I grew up on Mary Kay products and still love them. I’m not a makeup junkie by any means, but it’s a rare day that I don’t at least put some BB Cream and mascara on (and that’s to sit around the house), most days I have a routine of BB Cream, Mineral powder foundation, concealer, and a brightener (especially in the inner corners of the eyes… it’s my AWAKE cream!), cream eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, and blush. And of course lip color of some sort all throughout the day. I wash morning and night with a spinning brush and use an anti aging moisturizer at night. I also have moderate adult acne that drives me nuts, so I like to cover it as much as I can. I’d buy more products I’m sure, but I try to keep my costs moderate.

      1. Abbie,
        Have you tried Retin A for your acne? It works well. It’s a miracle drug for skincare. The generic version of Retin A (tretinoin cream) is what I use. It’s helpful to use a non-comedogenic moisturizer with the retin A to prevent drying. There is usually peeling until your skin adjusts to it. My insurance has always covered the tretinoin cream at the cost for a generic drug. A bonus is that Retin A helps to stave off wrinkles.

    1. Hi CeeBee. Yes! I oil pull everyday. I’m quite religious about it. I find the benefits to be worth my time for sure. And the book comes out in April 2015.

      Speaking of the book. I’m heavy into the workload on it now — it’s taking over my life! But I feel like I can only mention it a little here and there, because it’s no fun for anyone if I have post after post about the book, but can’t show off anything for months. I’m so impatient! I want to show everything I’m working on at the moment I’m working on it. Hah!

  12. I think the trick is to just experiment with basic looks that you like. When you overcomplicate things, it feels really overwhelming and you just sort of throw up your hands. Some basic products can have a huge effect – things like salt spray, a bit of mascara, tinted moisturizer, etc.
    I’ve recently started to love curling my hair but it takes aaaaages from start to finish. Rather than clogging up my mornings (I’m lucky to get 5 minutes to myself in the mornings here!) I curl the night before, and have found little tricks to make it last a couple of days.
    I find the old ‘look good, feel good’ saying works for me – I feel more confident when I have put a bit of effort in.

    At the end of the day, ‘beauty’ is supposed to be fun and empowering, it shouldn’t feel like hard work.

  13. My routine is very simple focusing on the essentials and no makeup unless I’m working that day and even then it’s minimal. I don’t plan on dying my gray as I know I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. That said, in college I had a white blonde pixie cut & loved it. My hair is a medium brown, no red, so it wasn’t too difficult to do. And I fully expect to revert to that pixie cut when I’m older as I just love that cut on women who are fully gray.

  14. Please stay away from the bleach. Bottle blonde is high maintenance, more so than you probably imagine. I think you would regret it. You’re obviously a natural beauty, and I think you’d be happier and look best with a color close to your natural that softly blends your silvers. It’s hard aging gracefully (I’m 42 and started seeing grays in my 20s) when we’re a slave to our grays. I like to search Pinterest for beautiful silver haired women. It gives me hope that someday I’ll have the courage to just let it go, to be that gray haired confident beauty.

  15. I’m definitely with you on this one! I make so many plans in my mind about making time to do my hair in the morning, keeping my nails nicely manicured and wearing make up, but in the end it all goes out the window especially on school days when I’m rushing to get the kids ready.

    I do wear dresses most days though so despite my messy hair and lack of make up (or even a washed face some mornings!) I feel a little put together when I leave the house. Today I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt and I feel like a total slob!

    I can’t wait to see your hair blonde! What a change that will be. Jihan’s cut is amazing. Will you go for a similar cut too? I love the idea of having a hairstyle like that but I know that I would struggle with the upkeep, plus I’m a little fussy about how my hair feels and I like to be smooth. I can’t handle the feel of styling products in my hair when I touch it. Weird, I know ;) I’ve always wanted to go platinum blonde too. My little sister bleaches her hair almost white and it really suits her. I figure we have the same colouring so it should suit me too but I’ve never taken the plunge. I keep saying I’ll do it one day, but there are lots of things that I’m going to do “one day”!

  16. Over the past year I have made the commitment to exercise daily. I walk hills, go to Barre, run, bike and hike. I have learned that the bones of my beauty routine is fitness. I want to be more fit the 2nd half of my life than I was in the first half! It’s an investment of time so the rest of the beauty and grooming routine has to be simple. I have pared down my wardrobe to key pieces and each outfit is simple, classic and quality . I am working toward a 5 product face…moisturizer, lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, BB cream. I want to look like a fit, beautiful, healthy woman in her 40’s with a classic style. At 40 I transitioned from a more bohemian style to a more intentional edited version of myself that I find totally freeing!

    1. I too made a decsion that I want to be fitter in the second part of my life than my first (and I am). I try to run every day, I go to yoga and walk in the lovely hills trails surrounding the city I live in. Exercise is now a kind of meditation for me, it is my quiet thinking time if that makes sense. I don’t understand how people can listen to music when they run. It would drown out my thinking! I also want to model good behaviour for my daughter about making time to exercise. We cycle and run together sometimes and I love it.

        1. Shanna, Julie – I love your comments. The Dove beauty campaigns really got me thinking the last few years about how my behaviour/thoughts about beauty/body image influence my daughter. For along time I wanted to lose weight, be healthier, strong, etc but did nothing about it. Something about turning 45 this year motivated me. I have been doing boot camp and circuit training 4 times per week, lost 30 lbs, completely changed my eating habits. I want my daughter to have a mom who is strong, healthy fit with a positive attitude to beauty/body image.

          Thanks Gabby for starting this discussion. It’s great to have this forum to share with others!

  17. I had my 2nd baby 6 months ago and it was like I woke up a few weeks later and said to myself “what happened to you?!” I always liked fashion and makeup. On the inside I was still sort of a stylish person but my clothes were ill fitting, my hair always in a messy bun and my makeup rarely done. My husband looks like he stepped right out of GQ! In an effort to feel better about myself I donated a ton of clothes, bought some new makeup and 2 months ago I got a pixie cut. I’m trying to only buy nice basics that will still be on trend a few years from now. I work full time outside the home so I don’t always get my makeup on and sometimes my work shirt has spit up on it but it’s an improvement. The absolute best thing I did though was cut off my hair and for the first time ever I’m going back every 7 weeks to maintain it. It is a little expensive but I feel so much better about myself having my hair in a place where it looks good everyday with very little effort on my part. Really this is my one luxury.

  18. I love you even more now! I think I am quite vain but beauty routine? Bah. It’s like going to the dentist: I put it off as long as I can. There is always something more important and that is not even a bad excuse. Almost everything is more important. As long as my daughter tells me everyday I am the prettiest mama… :-)
    You are beautiful and very stylish by the way. And so many more things.

  19. I am definitely not someone who makes much time for beauty. I started wearing makeup around the same time I cut 12 inches of my hair off, but I only wear mascara (and I mean only- I don’t use ANYTHING else). Part of the reason I cut my hair was because I knew I would have to actually take care of it, and it worked for over a year. Now that it’s getting pretty long again, I’ve started to go back to just throwing it up in a ponytail almost every morning (I occasionally braid it too- when it’s still wet and I don’t want to blow dry it). I shower every day, but that’s about it. I don’t even shave my legs as often as I should- it’s just too much of a pain!

  20. Every time that you mention that you are not always groomed to perfection I alway am surprised. You always look fantastic and super trendy with a splash of your own unique style. I am a lot like you; I love the idea of every thing being groomed to perfection, my hair and make up in place and a stellar outfit with the right amount of bling. I find if I have a reason to get up and get ready everyday my efforts are more. I do take my kids to school everyday and make more of an effort on school days, but most days my hair is in a top knot ;) Being a Mom doesn’t help matters much either, Being at home most of the day with kids really doesn’t offer the most motivation; I am likely to have someone wipe some thing on me before I am even ready for the day. CAn’t wait to see where you take this and what you discover to share ;)

  21. I do dedicate time on personal grooming , regular hair cuts and colour, skin care routines, waxing etc. I was going to say I indulge myself with these activites but when I went to write that realised how stupid that sounds. Paying attention to my appearance is important to me and it makes me feel good about myself. I have a really busy life (as I am sure all of the contributors to this post do) and taking time out to go to the hair salon or have a facial is a relaxation for me and I should not feel guilty about it. The only down side is that my 9 year old daughter wants to have a pedicure when I head off to have one! I certainly did not have pedicures at 9, it was more like 29, but it is something fun we can do together.

  22. After years, I cut my hair into a short style. I wish I had done it years ago. I now “have” to style the hair- no more Mom ponytails. I am also making a conscious effort when I shop. I no longer buy things because they are on sale, or impulse buys. I really “try” to complete a whole look when I shop. I make sure what I’m going to wear it with- from the shoes to the accessories. Kind of a G’aranimals approach to styling, I guess. I also get a Keratin hair treatment quarterly- which means no more frizz, but I also only need to wash my hair 3xs a week!

  23. I remember the day it first occurred to me that I could actually choose not to wear makeup. I was in high school, so it was an uncomfortable idea. Now that I’m a mother of two littles and married to a man who seems like a real feminist compared to the ones I grew up with, I am trying looks that involve less effort with a lot of success. I got colorful frames for my glasses, have become much more comfortable with messy hairstyles, and sometimes wear just a little foundation and lipstick. When I look in the mirror, I see freedom, and I love it. I’m still learning to dress myself though. It’s a surprising amount of work to learn how to dress both stylishly and for my body type. I think I’m finally giving up on incorporating any real color in my wardrobe and just focusing on colorful accessories. Life is simpler that way, and simple is what I’m all about right now. I look forward to seeing what you discover!

  24. I’m a new mom, and I am struggling with all of this! My best tip is to schedule your next hair apt before you leave the salon. If I didn’t do this, I swear 3 or 4 months would pass by without me thinking about it. I also am a huge fan of dry shampoo.

    I also pinned a bunch of looks on pinterest that I like, and I tried to see what is similar between them all. What look am I trying to achieve, and what do I find most appealing?? I am also trying to be honest with myself about what I can reasonable expect from myself on a daily basis. I generally find that I just want to look polished/put together, and that I need to make most things simple (make up, and hair).

    I also agree with the people above who stressed fitness. Feeling great about your body makes everything a lot easier. I look forward to your posts!!

  25. I’m pretty low maintenance for the most part, but there are a few things that are a must have.

    I started going gray in my early 20’s and it has just gotten worse. So I color my hair. Fortunately and unfortunately my hair grows super fast so I go to a professional twice a year and then get then touch up the roots that I can see at home every two weeks. My cousin is able to get me professional color. Yay! Sephora also has a root spray when I don’t have time to color. One year while teaching I had let my roots gets pretty bad. I finally made it the hair salon. The next day one of my students told me that I look 26. I asked him how old I looked the day before. He said 56. I was only 35. Haha! Kids just say how it is!

    One thing that I do budget for that I love is waxing my legs. It’s so nice not to have to shave. Especially when going on a beach vacation. It can be expensive, but I think of it more as an investment.

    My skin is super dry. And I feel like it has really aged from stress and living in the St G desert. I’m seriously wanting Botox for my forehead, especially between my eye brows.

    Ha! After all that it doesn’t seem like I’m low maintenance. ;)

  26. I think you look fabulous and every time I see a photo of you I have to keep reminding myself that you have 6 children. I dont think I would ever get out of my pj’s if I had 6 children.
    I went very grey (almost white) in my 40’s and just lived with it believing I looked blonde. I always thought how unfair it is that dark roots look great on white blonds but grey/white roots on dark hair just doesn’t cut it.
    Look forward to seeing the new look….
    ps: love your blog

  27. I just went blond as a 20th anniversary present for my husband (from dark brunette). I’d done it many years ago and my husband has asked me to do it again ever since. I said no mainly because I’m low maintenance when it comes to beauty and this is high maintenance. I went more Michele Williams in the new Louis Vuitton ads.

  28. I do the minimum to make myself look clean and pulled together. One of my favorite tricks, because of a tight budget, is every 6 months or so, my mom or sister or girl friend come over and I try on almost all my clothes for them and put new outfits together, get rid of and find out what I need to buy. It’s also fun.

  29. I love this post. I was actually quite surprised when you said that that was your intention as you turned 40. I TOTALLY get it – I’m by nature scruffy and EVERY YEAR I have made a NY resolution to be more presentable and chic and groomed. I turn 40 in February and I’ve kind of realised that it’s never going to happen and that actually it doesn’t matter. So I was fascinated when you (who I NEVER think of as vain, shallow or even lacking style) made this resolution.

    I just don’t think it really matters much. It’s good to be clean, it’s good to look nice (I always wear basic make-up) and I love to look nice for big moments…but there’s so much else that is exciting and important in our lives.

    Having said that…I’m massive considering red highlights in my hair. I keep thinking this is a mid-life crisis….but maybe it would just be fun?

  30. Hi there, I can really relate to this post! I used to work at a large hairdressing company (art dept) and was surrounded by very glamorous people. I tried to keep up and wear daily makeup and enjoyed the perk of free or discounted style cuts/color.
    Fast forward a few years to looking after our small children daily and a very minimal beauty routine. The most important thing for me is skincare and applying daily SPF/sunscreen (living in Australia). My hair is blonde naturally which means I also have very light eyebrows eek! As long as I can run out and have my eyebrows tinted and shaped, I feel well groomed :)

  31. Regarding the super blond DO IT! I started going gray in my early 20’s and was completely gray by mid 30’s. A couple of years ago (mid 40’s) I was having to do my roots every 2 weeks because the contrast of 100% silver roots with brown hair was too much. I went super blond and LOVE it. Now I can go 4-5 weeks between root touch ups. It’s true blonds have more fun!

  32. With as many children as you have to care for and as busy as you are with your blog and book, if I were you I would look for low-maintenance hair colors and styles for now. I am not sure blonde would be low maintenance for you. In my opinion, dark roots showing are not appealing for any person.

  33. After your initial post, I was motivated to up my beauty ante. I went to my eye doctor and when he asked if I wanted contacts, I said yes! I had contacts off and on throughout college and grad school and afterwards, but stopped wearing them after I got married. I tried the sample contacts my doctor gave me and they just were too uncomfortable for me to wear! Oh well.
    When my black hair turns white enough to start dying, I’m going to dye it hot pink first.

  34. I’m on the other side of the drastic change of hair. A year and a half ago I cut off my bra-strap-length hair (donated 14 inches!) and went not-quite-pixie length. I love it. As I kept it short I’d get compliments every couple of days. Except for my husband, who hates it. I’ve not heard a “you are beautiful” or “sexy” in over a year. So, now I’ve made the decision to grow it back out. I’m really conflicted about this decision because it is for him, not me, which I hate. But I want to feel sexy to my husband again and it’s just hair. In the meantime though I have to go through a couple of years of the in-between styles, ugh. It is particularly bad right now – still several inches away from cute chin-length bob and I feel so frumpy. I am currently investing in lots of cute hats ;)

  35. I share some of those same feelings. The idea of looking polished but groovy is very appealing but even when I’ve said, I’m going to try and take the time and energy to take forth this thought in my head about a brand new me – it gets lost, amidst the laundry, the chauffeuring kids to and fro, work, dinner, etc..

  36. I noticed at about 40 (I’m 68 now) that getting a good hair cut got harder and harder. They all want you to have age approprate hair ( think Edith Bunker) and I am more of a risk taking kind of person( rocking a mily cyrus cut with a blue streak at the moment). As for the rest of it eyeliner is my best friend, hate mascara, keep my nails up and seem to have settled on a sort of uniform of pants and a looser top. Shoes are my thing all heel heights and lots of styles even if they are over the top you only have to wear them for a couple of hours.

  37. I have to say that I’m very particular about my grooming. I get very regular manicures, pedicures, haircuts and waxes. I buy wonderful skin care products that surely cost me “too much”. I’m looking at you Josie Maran. I shave every day and take the time to apply makeup. The funny thing is I have a very low key and natural look. Girlfriends and coworkers often comment on how I “don’t wear makeup”. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that my grooming regime makes ME feel good. I really couldn’t care less what others think of my eyebrows or my nails, but having them tidy and neat helps me feel really good about myself and ultimately in control of my day. I suppose around 30 I convinced myself that if I didn’t take care of myself NOW, when would I?

  38. Pingback: Beautiful Woman | Fabulous 50's

  39. Your original post on beauty/grooming was the final push I needed to dye my hair pink!! It was a major commitment (double process bleaching and then pink over that plus some highlights to avoid a solid color) but also SO worth it!! It is easy to stay on top of it by booking your next appt before you leave the salon.

  40. I really think that no matter how much time (and money) you dedicate to personal care, the only beauty is when one feels good. Yes, exercising (choose something you love!) is essential, because it makes you feel good and strong. Keeping things on a minimum and being “natural” is often easier when you are in your 20’s or 30’s or 40’s (!), getting older makes it more difficult to go out without make up, doesn’t it? It is hard for us women nowadays, the pressure is huge to look young and groomed. And yet , true beauty is inside people. We all know those super natural, good looking people, whatever their age. I believe it is happiness that make them beautiful. And it is so true, there is so much more that is exciting and important in our lives… so let’s seek happiness and balance rather than eternal youth, let’s assume our “real” bodies, our wrinkles. It is up to us, so let’s have it all: be natural or super groomed as you pleased, be at peace with yourself, be happy and check out the beauty around you!

  41. This post very much spoke to me because it is something I struggle with. Of course, I do the basics like showering. I also take care of myself through good food, exercise and skin care. I have so much more confidence when I wear makeup – I go for a natural look – but sometimes when I could benefit the most, that 10-15 mi utes just feels like too much of a burden. I wish I could do something with my hair other than the ponytail. Maybe that should be my goal. Learn to do something besides the ponytail. Anyway, it feels good to know it isn’t ” just me’

  42. I worry about the cleanliness of my floors more than my hair… It makes no sense, I’m with you, and figure this out for all of us please…

  43. It’s key to embrace your image in whatever current phase you happen to be in. I was very low maintenance with little to no grooming when we lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and I was working from home but now that we are in Jakarta, Indonesia and I’m working outside the home, my personal maintenance routine has changed. I’ve strictly kept a few things low maintenance. I don’t own a hair dryer and I only wash and straighten my hair once every 4 days or so. I never get a pedicure. But I’ve had to adjust my makeup and buy everything new since my makeup bag was at least 5 years old. The most annoying change is having to shave every other day again! HA! But the key is to accept the phases. Love your look whether it’s no make up or full make up. Thanks for your candid thoughts. I will say that the first few weeks back in a professional office job, I felt a little frumpy and out of place. I quickly realized a new makeup selection would help, that and new heels! HA!

  44. AHHH this is a topic dear to my heart.

    I have a mother who is ALWAYS well-groomed, well-dressed, and my goodness, I am so grateful for that! It has taught me that no matter what, a woman should take care of herself first and never sacrifice that because of constraints of work/kids/partner. As momma says, “when you look good, you feel good!”

    My beauty routine is 3 minutes of make-up in the morning, lots of water during the day, and oregano oil on my face at night after showering – it kills bacteria while you sleep, and when mixed with olive oil, nourishes the skin. I keep the clothes I wear ready the night before, so I am not spending time on that in the morning, and have cut wheat and dairy out of my diet meaning my energy is high all the time and my skin glows. All these sound like big investments, but when they are habits (which happens after doing them for 30 days), then you don’t think about it.

  45. I really relate to this. I do get haircuts and my roots colored on a regular basis, and I just recently changed my hair from blondish reddish to brown. I was sick of the damaged part of my “blond” so I had my stylist just cut it off. My eternal quest is for the perfect foundation that will cover my age spots and adult acne! I just went to Nordstrom and spent quite a bit of money on Georgio Armani foundation and powder (which everyone says is “the best”) but it doesn’t seem to look/feel any better than my drugstore stuff. Sigh. I must admit I feel better when I take time to put on foundation, mascara, and eyebrow filler . . . but on most days I don’t allow myself the time for anything more than a good shower and some foundation.

  46. Oh, I can totally relate! Beauty stuff always gets pushed far down on my list. If I had more of a budget to spend on it, I like to think I’d do more.. like regular facials and manicures/pedicures, and haircuts and highlights, but I don’t know… ,maybe I’d still be pathetic. At least I can use it as an excuse for now, along with busyness!

  47. I think that you should never put off an exciting change like platinum hair. Release your inner bombshell. We, as women, often try to discourage each other from doing things that aren’t “natural”, believing that we should all value inner beauty. I think that working on your outer beauty can often captivate strangers so much that they comment (on your vivid hair, your sparkling nails) and only then do you get a chance to show off your inner beauty. “I love your unpolished nails and bare face!” said no one, ever. Wrapping yourself up in beautiful clothes and color can often make you feel so confident, and you’ll notice that people will respond to you as though you were a different person.

  48. You are so brave! I can’t imagine trying the blond/pixie cut! If you do it, live it up!

    As for me, I am so, so, so low maintenance. I have 2 kids and a full-time job outside the home, so it’s a necessity rather than a choice. I often shower after the kids are in bed and then go to bed with wet hair – it’s wavy/curly so I wear it up or back during the day. I cut my hair maybe 1-2 times a year – mostly from hair trauma. I have a few outfits I like and can dress in 5-10 minutes. And, my makeup routine is also 5-10 minutes (sunblock, tinted moisturizer, mineral powder and mascara).

    That said, I’m 42 and have fair, freckled skin which was sunburned often when I was little. So, proper skin care is a must. I use sunblock every day and drink a lot of water. I use very gentle face cleanser and moisturize at night. And, I find when I exercise, my skin and general appearance is better – you can’t imitate a healthy glow with makeup!

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