February 7, 2012

Why Do Women Torture Themselves For Beauty?

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I don't have an answer to this question, but wanted to explore the topic. During a recent trip to Le Salon East for my yearly trim using a Lifebooker discount (55% off!), I saw gas masks. I was bewildered. I've never seen that at a salon before. I asked my hair stylist and he explained it was for the Keratin hair straightening treatment. I unfortunately had to sit next to the girl and smell the fumes... awful! It smelled like something was burning. Well it was actually because they use a flat iron to straighten the hair after spraying the Keratin product on the hair. I've heard about these treatments but never knew how dangerous they actually were. If you have to wear a mask to get your hair done... it is probably not a good idea.

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I went home and did some research to find that the hair straightening treatments contain high levels of formaldehyde, which is now classified as a carcinogenic. According to WebMD, exposure to formaldehyde can cause general malaise, runny nose, sore throat, headache, itching, and irritated eyes. The article continues to discuss the controversy: "In early September 2011, the FDA publicly warned the Brazilian Blowout hair care company that its hair-straightening products contain 'dangerously high levels' of formaldehyde. The levels ranged from 8.7% to 10.4%."

Your follicles are attached to your scalp so any products you apply will sap into your skin. Like this woman who died from an allergic reaction to the glue on her hair extensions. This New York Times article describes the the side effects and risk that not only the customer can obtain but the hair stylists as well. Scary stuff. And to think you spent several hundred dollars for something that will only last a couple months but could also cause serious health problems.

Chris Rock touched on the extremes black women go to get European looking hair in his documentary aptly titled Good Hair.  I highly recommend it. Black hair care products is a 10 billion (yes, BILLION!) dollar industry according to this Huffington Post article. The dangerous methods of hair care as gone beyond black women and all races are wearing weaves and getting Brazilian blowouts or Keratin treatments. The girls of Jersey Shore talk about their weaves all the time. As a white girl with straight hair, I don't get it. I find my hair pretty boring. I have always wanted an afro! I'm all for the natural hair movement. Women always want the hair that they don't have. Straight haired girls want curly hair and curly haired girls want straight hair. It's sad that the beauty industry teaches us to spend billions of dollars to change our looks rather than telling us we're beautiful.

As I mentioned, I was just getting a trim. I hardly do anything dramatic to my hair except for the occasional bangs. It's "virgin" hair which means I've never dyed it. I've added color streaks but never changed my natural hair color. As my friend Candy pointed out on Twitter, men do not notice these extreme measures we take:

It's so true. Even the tools we use (i.e. tweezers, eyelash curlers) look like torture devices. All for what? A guy NOT to notice? It just gives men a false sense of beauty. We're only doing it to ourselves ladies.

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The most extreme pain I've put myself through for the opposite sex was a bikini wax. I actually didn't mind it because I'm not a fan of hair and it leaves you smooth for at least a month. The hairs grow back really soft unlike with shaving. The other painful beauty measure I do is tweezing. But I like a fuller brow look so it's just plucking my unibrow area every 2 weeks. As far as a beauty routine... I paint my nails as my own artistic expression. I wear makeup on occasion for the drama (gotta please those drag queens!) or to try a fun new look. I don't cake on makeup with dates and set unrealistic expectations of what I'll look like the morning after. In fact, all of my boyfriends have complemented me more WITHOUT makeup on then with. I hate those romantic comedies where the girl wakes up fresh faced (i.e. obviously with tons of makeup on). Come on ladies... we know how unrealistic it is. If you want to look good in the morning, invest in good skincare (not makeup!).

I could go on about this but as my girl RuPaul would say: LOVE YOURSELF! Trust me, the white girl with straight hair wants your out of control curly hair! Work with what you've got. The beauty industry is not your friend nor the standard. You are. All the ads are Photoshopped to death anyways. Buy a lipstick because you want to rock a bright pink lip for your birthday party... NOT because you read in Cosmo that men loved red lipstick. And if you really hate your hair that much... shave it off and wear wigs. Seriously, it's much healthier for you.

What is the most extreme thing you've done for beauty?

3 comments:

  1. well said lady! lol i can't believe you quoted me! the only time my bf tells me i look good is when i look the most natural...smh

    Candy
    www.tayloranddemolish.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. i gave up straightening my hair almost three years ago. my hair was in AWFUL shape. i'm finally getting my thick, italian hair back!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Women always want what they don't have. I have thick wavy hair but admit going through the painful process of a Brazilian blowout twice.

    Kat
    www.citygirlchic.net

    ReplyDelete

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