The lady at my salon, as she was painting my nails, once looked at me after a moment of contemplative silence and said, “We’re so lucky to be women. There are so many lovely things we can do, like spending the afternoon having our nails done with our friends. Men don’t have things like that.” It was a really different perspective on the whole process of preening–that we have a lot we can change and maintain physically, but that the act of doing so can be quite an enjoyable shared experience. But with all the things a woman can do to to beautify herself, there are also a whole lot of things a woman can do to maim herself in the process.
1. Bleach burn
I tend to look pretty stupid when I’m bleaching the dark hair on my face. With a creamy white Craig David style helmet strap beard and moustache, things get pretty crazy. Add to that the extremely small window of time it takes to go from bleaching your hair to burning the fuck out of your skin and you wonder why we haven’t revolutionized female facial hair to make it a covetable feature. Once, in highschool, I burned my top lip so badly with bleach left on a second too long I had tiny little blisters over a red rash and I refused to leave the house for days until it subsided. That’s life on the front lines, girls.
2. Epilation and your flaps
Epilating is a quick, easy and cheap way to remove body hair with a longer smoothness period than shaving and a less fussy procedure than waxing. For those of you who are unfamiliar, an epilation machine is a tiny hand held device with a rotating end that has lots of little pluckers built into it. You turn it on and the pluckers whizz around, and pluck your hairs as you press it against your skin. The only problem is when you’re contorting into weird shapes to get at your bikini line, there’s a danger of getting your soft flap skin eaten up by the pluckers. Although, once I was so concentrated on protecting my precious labia I managed to get the thing stuck in my head hair, which is about as fun as it sounds.
3. Plucking skin
Epilation aside, you can still do some serious damage with a pair of Tweezers, especially to the sensitive skin on your eye lid. Sometimes a woman can get over zealous in her plucking, gaining confidence as she deftly and speedily tweezes stray hair after stray hair, until–BLAM!–she misfires and the tweezers hug skin. And before she realizes she’s pinching skin and not hair, she pulls back sharply, only to pinch her skin hard and add a delicious blood blister to an otherwise beautiful browline.
4. Shaving carnage
Sort of obvious, but there’s so many ways you can hurt yourself when you’re using a blade to mow your various lawns. Shaving skin instead of hair is the most prevalent injury, especially around ankles and knees, but I find myself, more often than not, when lathered in soap and fumbling with the shaver, somehow managing to shave off half a fingernail. It doesn’t hurt so much as it feels weird, and leaves you with a misshapen digit.
5. Cutting cuticles
I feel like most of these beauty injuries occur because there’s such a fine line between perfection and pain. When you’re cutting the hard or loose skin from your cuticles, it’s so easy to go from simple removal to bleeding edges. You have to angle your nail scissors just right, and if you have a propensity to pick and peel the skin away, then you’re looking at a Black Swan situation that isn’t going to end with “it was all just a hallucination.” THIS IS REAL LIFE LADIES.
6. Waxed skin
Never wax with even one patch of dry skin. It hurts to wax off skin. Sometimes though, your skin can look perfectly silky smooth, then the waxing begins and you realize the sting is from more than just the hairs being ripped out from their roots as you notice your skin color become distinctly one shade lighter.