I started this post in early March, but never got it done – you wouldn’t believe the list of drafts I have!
Here’s what happened: I was teaching a fitness class, Ladies Gym Circuit, and I was bouncing around to the music (as you do), and caught a quick glance of myself in the mirrors. Then I had to do a double-take, and then I had to look away!
I was appalled by my appearance! I was wearing an unflattering pink top, my hair was in a messy pony tail (not a fashionably messy one either), no makeup, and kinda dumpy looking! Oh my goodness! I’m a fitness instructor. I am in the eye of the public constantly. People look to me for inspiration, motivation, direction. Essentially, I am supposed to be someone that other people want to emulate. And who would want to emulate that reflection?!
This happens to me from time-to-time, catching a glimpse of myself and being horrified, and for the next few days I’ll do my hair, and even put on makeup, but then the novelty of that fades and I go back to my regular practices of… well, minimal beautifying. In fact, most days, I can spend the whole day without looking in the mirror, so clearly I’m just not paying attention at all!
Interestingly, a recent post by Caitlin Boyle of Healthy Tipping Point – a long term healthy living and body image blogger – posted about Grooming Rituals. She was, I suppose, conflicted by the desire to be pretty and the social messages these rituals reflect:
I realized that I don’t break the rules on ANY of the typical grooming rituals, with the exception of makeup during the day. I shave, I pluck, I wax, I paint… Half because being a girly-girl is kind of fun, and half because I suppose I subconsciously feel like I have to do it. I’m not sure which side is stronger.
I, on the other hand, frequently bregrudge the grooming rituals, with the exception of shaving my armpits – I always shave my armpits daily. Obviously, I don’t place basic hygiene in this category. Showering and de-stinking are a given! But I could take or leave most of the other things, and did them when I needed to (must shave to wear that bathing suit, put on makeup for the wedding, etc) or just felt like it on a whim.
However, after that last viewing in the mirror, I took an honest appraisal of my clothing, and some of the grooming choices I make and decided:
- I needed to get rid of pink. Seriously, why are so many women’s workout items pink? I turn BRIGHT PINK when I workout, and pink face with pink shirt is not a good look. I purged the pink and feel 100% better about it. No need holding onto unflattering clothing.
- Hair makes a big difference to how you look, and when it comes to hair, I’m as lazy as they get. I got a good hair do from my sister while in Canada, and have made efforts to ensure it looks nice on most occasions most of the time. Luckily, even if I don’t have time to blow dry it, it still looks good naturally drying. Way to go, sis!! Awesome hair cut for me! It will be important to keep up the cut, and not let it get long and lazy again.
- I don’t need to wear makeup, not even on special occasions, if I don’t feel like it. Makeup is for fun and for photos. If I am to be someone who people emulate, I’d like them to see someone who is confident enough in their appearance to go without makeup.
- If I’m not going to wear makeup to cover the blemishes, I need to manage my skin tone better. I started washing my face every morning and every night with just warm water and a face cloth, and found a lovely natural moisturiser. Best ever beauty ritual. I have breakout prone skin, but it’s also sensitive to cleaners. This has really done the trick to keep my skin even and clear. Simple, but I never bothered to wash my face before bed unless I was in the shower.
- I try to ensure that my legs are shaved every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in line with fitness classes, and just to keep things ‘under control.’ I’m finding this a bit more difficult as the weather gets colder and it gets easier to hide the scary legs under long clothing. But I think shaving is more about diligence and care for me than it is about social pressure.
- Clothing makes a difference, and I have made an effort to buy clothing that fits properly and is flattering. I’m no clothes horse, and spend most of my time in uniform, but have made a greater effort to wear something nice when I go in to town, even just for a few groceries, rather than the sloppy barn clothes or sweaty workout clothes I was wearing earlier. I don’t like the extra laundry this creates, but at least I don’t look like a slob every day!
So, although I’m not entirely sold on all beauty rituals, I have decided that they are important for a few reasons:
- People do judge other by their appearance. It’s not fair, but it’s true.
- I am in a public job, and it’s important for me to meet a few basic minimums in my appearance to have ‘credibility’ and effectiveness.
- Beauty rituals show a degree of care and thoughtfullness for yourself. I believe this thoughtfulness is good for us on the inside too!
What are your thoughts on the whole ‘beauty’ thing? Are there any beauty rituals you do or don’t participate in? Do you check yourself in the mirror regularly? C’mon, gimme some feedback ladies! 🙂