I stumbled across a social media thread last week introducing me to a whole new world of what women are doing to their faces. It made me wonder if I had been living under a rock as unbeknownst to me, several of my friends lauded these beauty enhancers as the best thing ever.
One technique was called microblading, a method that enhances eyebrows. A costly procedure, microblading is when a trained technician uses a tool with nine tiny blades to “tattoo” eyebrow hair, or a simulation of it anyways. Using semi-permanent makeup, these feather stroked hairs can partially or fully camouflage missing eyebrow hair. For women with over-plucked brows or big gaps they routinely fill in with makeup, this has been a worthwhile solution. It requires touch-ups and is not inexpensive.
There’s been an eyebrow revolution in recent years, where women are shaping their brows into peculiar configurations with makeup. The practice is so jarring, I can’t seem to look away from its domineering effect. Other women trim their eyebrows down to small unnatural strips, oftentimes in a perpetual arc of surprise. All these aforementioned efforts prove with certainty some women are unhappy with the brows they’ve been assigned.
I have thick eyebrows. They have thinned a tad as I’ve aged, but my issue is more how they will take over my face in a matter of weeks if not pruned. My children get it from both sides of the family, as on the patriarch side, the “Cobb unibrow” has been handed down for generations and is quite prolific, to say the least. Microblading is clearly not for us.
The other new beauty technique I learned about was eyelash extensions. My lashes stick straight out and no amount of curling with those torturous devices seems to have much effect, so I read with curiosity and hope at what extensions entail.
A person can select from a few types of materials and sizes, then a technician applies them one at a time using a specially formulated, semi-permanent glue that reportedly is harmless and doesn’t damage the natural lash. It’s a two-hour pricey process that yields gorgeous long lashes but here’s the rub: you’ve got to return every 30 days or so (and shell out about $75) to maintain it.
After realizing a few friends with lashes I’ve long admired use this process, it made me feel better about my own lashes. Maybe theirs are as lacking as mine. If they have the time and money to spend on that, I say more power to them.
As for me, I’ll stick with what I’ve got. I am of the low maintenance variety and always have been. I use scant makeup and live in jeans and tee shirts or workout attire. I was a tomboy in my youth, a part of which has never left me. I do my best on special occasions to doll up and I enjoy that. But day-to-day, I’m not going to spend hours or hundreds of dollars on making myself look younger or prettier than I already am.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we are all beautiful as we are. Women, in particular, seem to have trouble believing it, employing a good many techniques to mask, change or enhance their looks and defy aging.
A fair amount of women have attempted to drag me on board this ship, probably feeling I was hopeless. I remember the first friend who begged to pluck my eyebrows. She was of the high maintenance variety and I let her, despite my fears. Other friends would squeal if I let them apply makeup but with one exception, I’ve hated every attempt. It’s just not me. A hair stylist was hesitant to implement a new look unless I promised to “do my hair” everyday vs. getting out of the shower and letting it air dry (gasp!). I guess my slacking beauty regimen is that obvious.
What I know, and now accept, is I was born with straight, fine hair that doesn’t want to hold a curl, bushy eyebrows, a canted smile that shows a lot of gum and teeth, a loud laugh, straight eyelashes and a curvy, muscular body. Strange physical phenomena have erupted as I’ve aged while other important functions have eroded.
I guess because of my natural disposition, I’m not inclined to fight nature and know it doesn’t change the essence of who I am. Moreover, if I ask myself what I love about my friends, relatives, children or husband, the answer will never be a physical characteristic, but about their essence and innate spirit. If that part of us is unsightly, it might make more sense to spend our time and dollars to give our insides a makeover.
This column was published in The Journal on Sunday, February 11, 2018. Photo courtesy of Sophia and Mary Lind.
A collection of columns, articles and general a-musings.