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I Followed My Grandmother's Beauty Routine

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Carlye Wisel

October 2, 2016


I’m going to throw an idea out there that isn’t going to be so well-received: I think we’ve reached peak highlighter. You see, when the world didn’t know about contouring, it was a wonderful artistic mystery. What do you mean you put on war paint and it carves out high fashion cheekbones? How in the world is that girl in the beginning of the tutorial video the same as the one in the end?!

But now, as we collectively kneel at the Kevyn Aucoin altar and paint Oliver! dirt smudgies on our faces to look like we’re third-day-juice-cleanse kinds of gaunt hungry, the jig is up. It’s hard to look like the light is naturally hitting the peaks of your face when we’re all standing around with the same glittery sheen painted down the front of our nose, you know?

With this much knowledge at our fingertips, there’s just too much that could be done— daytime smokey eyes! makeup baking! french braid buns! — on a daily basis that, as much as I want to paint my face like the peaks and valleys of a Bob Ross mountainscape, I wind up flopping around with chipped nails and frizzy top-bun hair in a very all-or-nothing way.

Let’s dig into that mess-bun I’ve been sporting for three months straight, because for me, the sentiment is even stronger when it comes to hair. There’s a time and a place for plugging in a hair appliance, and I cannot seem to remember when that was.

Honestly, I’ve taken it a little too far, and, as a newly married woman, I can’t pull off the "I’m a tired college student who hates showering, leave me alone" look that I’ve cultivated over the past decade when I spend time merging bank accounts and getting a new driver's license. I am supposedly an adult now, like it or not, and the way I treated summer (by rejecting it, one muumuu at a time) is not cute. Something had to change, so I took a step back and re-evaluated. My hands are a ratty sort that can’t be dragged to a nearby salon, yet the ladies at that nursing home are more on top of it than I am. I threw out my blow dryer and never got around to buying a new one; my 85-year-old grandma gets her hair done every week. Clearly, I have something to learn, so I took to some ‘50s-style upgrades to my routine — and nothing will ever be the same.

I hate washing my hair but I don’t go about it in a cute way. If I’m utilizing the time — and let’s get real, the upper body strength — to straighten it, no liquid is penetrating it for a minimum of four days, but the process of keeping it dry is a terrible one. I used to go to Bliss Spa solely so i could grab a fistful of their disposable shower caps from the bathroom on the way out. I have used both Duane Reade bags and empty hotel bathroom trash sacks to create a barrier between my mane and the shower head. My husband is used to me devolving into a plastic-covered alien as I step into the shower, which is really great for keeping the romance alive!


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