Let me be clear before I begin – I would never be so
delusional bold as to think I have any business giving anyone beauty or fashion advice. I have lost count of the number of times that a night out on the town begins with me taking a few deep breaths, YouTube tutorial in hand, giving winged eyeliner a go and ultimately looking, not like Adele at the Grammys, but Adele the morning after a serious bender. I will then change my outfit roughly 27 times before settling on something I later come to regret. So it seems rather nervy that I devote a post to providing anyone advice in the personal care department. But what I lack in fine motor skills and the ability to differentiate between warm and cool shades, I make up for in my championship level laziness and vanity.
My life is a constant struggle between these two facets of my personality. I am too vain to leave the house without makeup, too lazy to contour. I refuse to go gray gracefully, but never manage to get my dark roots to a salon before they are anything less than an inch long (please let ombre always be a thing). I once curled my eyelashes before evacuating my college dorm when the fire alarm was pulled in the middle of the night. It’s safe to say that when the alarm roused me that night, I was sharing my bed with a pile of laundry that I didn’t bother to put in my drawers. I will forgo a myriad of necessities in order to sleep an extra twenty minutes a day – but also try my darnedest to leave the house looking presentable enough for my children not to deny me as their mom. If you’re as lazy as I am, read on to find out how you, too, can leave the house looking polished while putting in the least amount of work possible.
Shun the Shampoo
It is well-established that I do not wash my hair everyday, or even every other day for that matter. At times, I try to spout off about how damaging daily shampooing is on your hair and its precious moisture content. Which is all well and good if I didn’t pay someone an exorbitant amount of money to bleach the shit out of my hair, and then expose my locks to a daily searing courtesy of a 350 degree ceramic straightening iron. Simply put, I don’t wash my hair because I’m lazy as hell and have better things to do – like sleep. Plus, this practice ensures that my shampoo lasts forever, which makes me feel less guilty about splurging on fancy salon products.
Some women can air dry gracefully. I am not one of those women. Make-up free with air-dried hair, and I closely resemble a drawing of Jesus one might see in a Sunday school classroom. A blow dry and a straightening is crucial for me to look, at the very least, decent. Is there anything worse than holding your arm up in the air for 20 minutes? That shit is tiring. Add the circulation of hot air that results in copious amounts of facial sweating, and now my eyeliner is smudged before I’ve left the house. Not pretty.
And so I trained my hair to be washed roughly twice a week. It’s the easiest training process you’ll ever go through, as it involves the not doing of something. Your hair, like children, thrives on routine. If you wash it every morning, it will get greasy every night. If you consistently skip days between washings, your hair will delay the oiling process. The key is to stick to the washing ban no matter what. Hair getting a little greasy at the root on day two? Sprinkle a little powder or dry shampoo on there and you’re set. Toddler gets yogurt in your tresses? Wipe off those few strands with a baby wipe. Training for a half marathon and sweating like the PTA president the night before a bake sale? Schedule your weekly long run to coincide with a washing day. Whatever happens, do not let shampoo touch your hair. Unless poop. Poop is always the exception.
Lessen Your Load
Only a mother would mention laundry in a beauty post, but bear with me here. Once children are born, laundry acts like a wet gremlin – it starts multiplying at an alarming rate. Do you know how much more time you can devote to your beauty routine when your laundry pile is less overwhelming? But how is it possible to lessen your load when your children end each day having peed through two pairs of pants and soiling four t-shirts with ketchup? Stop washing your clothes. Your pants anyway. Keep washing your shirts and unmentionables because…well, you don’t need me to spell it out for you. Pants do not get dirty like other items of clothing, and the less of them there are in the laundry, the more time you have to finally perfect the winged liner, figure out once and for all how to curl your hair using a straightener, or – let’s be honest – catch up on some beauty sleep (are you sensing a theme here?).
You may be asking yourself, “But won’t repeated wearings result in jeans that are stretched out more than my lower abdomen?” A valid question with a simple solution. Buy all of your pants a size too small. Oh, who are we kidding, if you’re like me, you refuse to buy new pants until you lose those last few pounds of baby weight, so all of your pants are already snug, to say the least. (Anyone who wants to point out the fact that my “baby” is three might want to take a step back before I punch them in their smart mouth.)
I suggest a night out on the town rather than kindergarten pick-up for the first wearing of the pants. Not only can other moms be a smidge judgy when your ass is rocking, but, let’s be honest, a flowy blouse and dim lighting go a long way toward hiding the inevitable muffin top that comes along with wearing pants that require you to lay flat in order to zip. The second wearing can be paired with a boyfriend sweater or tunic to balance out the remaining snugness. You might want to host a dinner party or schedule an important meeting around your next two go-rounds with these pants, because wears three and four mean that you are rocking properly fitted trousers! After this, your stretched out pants are most suitable for carpool and walks around the neighborhood.
It’s time to wash when your pants get the hint of a scent. I wouldn’t call it an odor, as that word has such negative connotations, but there’s a certain earthiness to your pants at this point. They’ve served you well, now treat them to a little lather in the wash so they can start the cycle all over again.
Scarf It Up
If you’re like me, you have impeccable taste when it comes to judging what other people are wearing. Not so much when it comes to dressing yourself. I love to admire women’s style and marvel at ensembles that look, at once, flawless and easy. Then I try to create the same for myself, and instead of rocking bold colors and mixed prints like Mindy Kaling, I end up looking like I lost a bet and my children dressed me for the evening. As a result, I turn to my go-to outfit all too often – skinny jeans, a t-shirt, cardigan, and boots. Cute and all, but boring as hell. Until I discovered that adding a creatively tied scarf transforms your daily uniform from mundane to enviable.
Scarves are everywhere these days, but, when tied correctly, they still add a touch of sophistication to any ensemble. Unlike the 90s, when a girl needed a trip to Paris or a French friend to learn how to tie a scarf, today you can’t go a week without stumbling upon a scarf tutorial on your Facebook feed. The next time you come across one, watch it and be amazed at how user-friendly they are. Plus, since there are so many options, you could wear the same scarf three times in one week, and no one would be the wiser. Another plus? Like pants, scarves do not necessitate a daily washing. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wore a scarf this week that hasn’t been cleaned since 2005.
Banish the Blade
When it comes to showering, I am basically an 8-year-old boy. I have better things to do, thank you very much. I hem and haw about having to get in, and, once in there, I think of all of the things I need to do to get myself ready for the day and I want out as quickly as possible. Since it wouldn’t be advisable to skip washing under my arms, and we know I’m not washing my hair in there, it only makes sense that I consider forgoing the razor as a potential time-saver. When the choice is between drying off sooner and filling in my eyebrows (which are on my FACE!) and shaving my thighs (which, if the day goes as planned, will not be seen by my co-workers), that razor’s best left to rust up in the soap dish.
I literally can’t believe that there are women in this world who shave their legs every single day. Women who wear tights or pants. Women whose legs are completely unexposed to the public. Women whose legs haven’t seen the light of day since the Reagan administration. These women have hairless legs that no one sees! Nuh uh, no thank you, not for me. Unless someone is going to be admiring my smooth calves, a blade will not touch them.
But what about skirts, dresses, or cropped pants? Well, ladies, there are certain lessons one learns at girls’ school that she holds with her for life, and one of those, is tactical shaving. Only shave what is exposed. Sometimes that means you shave just your ankles, sometimes you’ve got to go further up the path. Most times – as in the months between October and May – you build your wardrobe so that it consists entirely of skinny pants and leggings, both of which shall be topped with boots, so that you have a double layer between the public eye and your Sasquatch legs.
There you have it. Mama Tries Blog beauty secrets – dirty hair, dirty pants, dirty scarves, and hairy legs. Yup, sounds about right. My husband sure is a lucky guy.