I think we all recall the early-to-mid 2000s with grave seriousness. We look at pictures of ourselves from that era, belly shirted and plucked within an inch of our lives, and wonder why we tried so hard to achieve a look that was so deeply unflattering. The effort and vigilance it takes to maintain those pencil-thin brows — particularly when they are actually penciled in, God forgive us — is something we should be glad to leave in the past. Full, well-shaped brows are thing now, and the idea that any of us would go out of our way to get that Big Brother Aaryn look is just senseless.
2. Picking at blemishes.
Occasionally you have that one zit that calls into question your belief systems and your place in the world, and you have to neutralize it before a big date or a job interview. But the rest of the time, leave it be! (Said the girl with numerous, likely life-long scars from doing the opposite of that.) Learn from my mistakes, be patient with your pimpies.
3. Picking the wrong shade of foundation.
Here’s the thing about foundation: You had better be goddamn sure that, when applying it, you have access to HONEST lighting. If your bathroom mirror is flattering and softly lit, when you step outside into the unforgiving reality of daytime, you are almost guaranteed to look like a dusty mime and/or Oompa Loompa. I know the above picture of me might not be the most horrifying, but I am at least five shades dustier and paler than I actually am (or need to be), and everyone is left wondering who invited the spectre of the recently-dead friend to the party. (The other side effect, of course, is your face looking like this donut.)
4. Using a cheap and/or overly rough exfoliant.
That shit rips up your skin, leaves it raw as hell and vulnerable to bacteria or infection, and generally gives you the overall complexion of a freshly-peeled blood orange. No one needs that. Gentle sloughing, not vicious ripping of the top 10 layers of skin is what we need.
5. DIY ombre.
I know that I am super unqualified to talk about this because I have never dyed my hair or had it dyed in my life, but I consulted with some of the girls at work and this is apparently a real thing. People are going out of their way to dip-dye their own shit like this was one of those fourth grade fundraisers where everyone makes their own tie-dye t shirts out on the blacktop. I’m not even sold as ombre as a thing in general, but if you’re gonna go out of your way to make your hair a spectacle of some kind, at least invest in an objective second party who can tell you when things blend nicely and don’t just look like you’ve been letting your roots grow out for the past two years.
6. Not properly conditioning.
I know that some of you are going to be distracted by the fact that I am pretending to smoke five cigarettes in this picture, but ignore that, because this was in France and that is how they communicate to one another there. The important thing is that my struggle-bus bound hair, greasy at the roots and dry as a piece of parchment throughout, is on full display. And the thing was, I was taking time and using products! I was just using the wrong ones. The day the hair stylist sat me down and gave me the gospel, it was like I was reborn. No more would I weigh my strands down with the greasy conditioners of my past, no more would I go root-to-tip. Learning how to moisturize your hair is just as important as learning how to moisturize your skin, and it’s not as hard as we make it out to be.
I need to have a discussion with my fellow white girls here for a second, because this shit has got to stop. Cameron Diaz and Gabrielle Union are the same age, and WHOA there is a lot to discuss about these images. Now, I know that this is partially because we saltines don’t age as well as most other ethnicities, but this is at least partially because of Diaz’s beach bunny lifestyle. (Look at Dita Von Teese, also the same age, who scrupulously avoids the sun.)
And honestly, it’s not our job to look young forever, so who cares, really. But that shit CAUSES CANCER and is clearly detrimental to the life and quality of our skin. And if you have even the slightest vested interest in your physical attractiveness, which, good for you — why are you actively trying to get tan? It’s 2014. We know what it does to us. We know that it’s a short-term solution to a long-term battle. Let’s leave that back in the last millennium where it belongs.