Imagine living in a world where everyone’s economic status is plainly obvious to all, but if you talk about it, or attempt to improve your own or anyone else’s, you’re considered shallow at best, or imagining things at worst.  “I think your life is just fine with the amount of money you have!,” they say.  Or, “Who even wants to have a lot of opportunities?  More opportunities, more problems!”  Or best of all, “Wealth doesn’t have anything to do with your value.”  Meanwhile, you can see everyone’s *experience of* their value being determined by their wealth, in pragmatic and tangible ways, all over, every day, everywhere.

Don’t you think it would make sense for them all to just admit that different levels of wealth are tied to different life experiences, and that some life experiences are more preferable than others, and that people with less wealth wanting to accrue more is the most natural and, indeed, incentivized thing in the world?  And yet — everyone turns a blind eye, pretending a very real driver of behavior, opportunity, prestige, and status, is all — mostly — imaginary.

Welcome to the very real world of women, and beauty.  Beauty, more than any other possession or characteristic, drives our opportunities, our status, our sense of being valued in the world, in our relationships, and as female human beings.  Everyone everywhere, including ourselves, pretending that’s not true, doesn’t make it not true; what it makes it, is a Godzilla-sized elephant in the room.

We collectively offer a variety of spiritual bypasses around this, rather than squaring up with it.  And by squaring up, I don’t mean “fixing” it — it’s not gonna be fixed, ever, because it’s connected to some of the deepest, most primal hardwiring we’ve got.  I mean: just admitting it.  Coming clean.  Clearing the air.  We could do that, but we don’t; we prefer to gaslight and make women feel crazy.  So, one way we do that is, we insist that beauty is this immeasurable, entirely subjective will-o’-the-wisp.  Which I’ll talk more about in a sec, but if you’ll notice, we’ve done the same thing with intelligence — now there are fifty kinds of intelligence, and it’s not a matter of anyone being intelligent or not; it’s simply a matter of finding which flavor is yours.  We do this because it’s too uncomfortable to collectively admit that intelligence is a spectrum, and that there really are people statistically holding down the no-to-low side of that spectrum.  Are they still valuable?  Of course.  Are they intelligent?  No.  Are we able to square up with that and admit that we place extra value upon intelligence and intelligent people?  No, it’s too uncomfortable.  So we pretend that everyone everywhere is some kind of intelligent, except we all know that’s not true, and that’s the status quo.

Same thing with beauty — sure, there are infinite different looks and vibes.  Just like all cats are essentially manifestations of one spiritual Meta Cat.  There are infinite different ways for cats to be feline, but they all want to sit in a cardboard box.  There are infinite different ways for women to be beautiful but there is one human metric for female beauty.  It is not complicated, or negotiable, or cultural, and it does not change over time.  And what is that metric?  Symmetrical apparent nubility.  All beauty products and services everywhere are intended to create, restore, emphasize, or mimic the impression of symmetrical apparent nubility.

Symmetry is a preference we simply cannot disentangle from our impressions of ourselves and one another.  We don’t apply it to the beauty of trees and rocks and landscapes, but we do apply it to animals and humans.  No one is entirely symmetrical, but there is some threshold of symmetry below which we’re not able to consider someone attractive, no matter what else they have going on.

As for apparent nubility, the key word here is not actually “nubile” but “apparent”: a high hip-to-waist ratio, smooth skin, silky strong hair, firm breasts, a body fat percentage that is not too high or too low, clear eyes, strong teeth, good circulation as evinced by rosy lips and good color, an appearance of overall vitality, and then here’s an important thing: carrying those signifiers of *apparent* nubility forward into one’s 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, as long as possible — not because nubility itself need still be relevant, but because beauty is to women what cardboard boxes are to cats.  We can’t disentangle the idea of female beauty from the signifiers of apparent nubility because those two things are aesthetic conjoined twins. And we can’t disentangle the idea of human beauty from a subconscious preference for symmetry, because those two things are aesthetic conjoined twins.  That’s just the deal.

So back to the spiritual bypass: are there a million different ways to look beautiful?  Yes and no.  Again, this is a thing we all suss out effortlessly on the subconscious level — we all know when a beautiful woman has walked into the room (usually resulting in a degree of discomfort for everyone).  Why do we all know that?  Because, whether or not there are a million different ways to look beautiful, our medulla oblongata simply isn’t that sophisticated and never will be, so it doesn’t matter.  That damn lizard brain — can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

Another spiritual bypass: women of any and all appearance should equally valued, in a truly enlightened society, right?  Well, you know who equally values women of any and all appearance?  Barbarians on horseback who raid villages and carry off the women.  They’re not stopping to check anyone’s teeth.  They need women for one purpose.  I don’t think any of us want to be there in that paradigm.  So, instead, we’re here in this paradigm, where women’s beauty deeply matters but we all pretend it doesn’t.

Another spiritual bypass: well, since beauty is not equally gifted to all, we should appreciate it but not make too much of it.  That’s fine, but then how do we sanction those who “make too much of it”?  Unenforceable.  Next!

Another spiritual bypass: our Christian/Puritanical roots, as a nation.  We should serve others and not ourselves; we should deny our bodies in favor of our souls.  Welp, that’s like telling cats to deny cardboard boxes.  Good luck.

I’m not bringing all this up to complain or offer a solution.  It is, as they say, what it is.  We all get along okay, most of it is relative or at least contextual; inner beauty (or lack thereof) does tilt the scales dramatically, and in this area at least, I can actually say: the free market regulates itself pretty well!  So — what is my point?  My point is, I want to talk to women about beauty, unapologetically, and in full view of the Mount Rushmore-sized gaslight most women are experiencing, relative to their own desires, impulses, and fears about beauty.

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT BEAUTY SO FAR

Ok, first thing: it’s okay to pursue outer beauty for the sake of outer beauty.  If you don’t give yourself this permission, you’ll have one foot on the gas and one on the brake.

There are many other reasons your energy on this can be split: a sense of guilt for spending money on something as frivolous as beauty; a partner or friends who don’t support your vision of an improved appearance and experimentation to that end; legitimate lack of funds; legitimate lack of access to good aesthetic cooperators; etc.  All of those problems, although enormous, CAN be solved, but they won’t be solved if you don’t decide it’s basically okay to try to look your best.  There’s no “inverse relation” clause on inner vs outer beauty, okay?  You get to have as much of both as you can wrest from life.

There’s a physical “you” that exists in your mind’s eye and, however it looks, I guarantee it looks nothing like you.  You can hardly see it at all, through all the layers of emotion.  It can still serve a purpose, which I’ll come back to, but first:

You’re not very clear on what you look like in real life either.  Yes, you can see your self in mirrors and photos, but again — what you’re seeing is colored by a lot of emotion.  It’s very possible you obsess negatively about something that others don’t notice, and don’t notice something that others find very off-putting.  I know this has to be true because of the shit I see for sale on the internet.

Just to make it as point blank as possible, almost everyone everywhere is barking up at least one wrong aesthetic tree, so you probably are too.  How can you not do that?

Here is how: assemble a cadre of aesthetic experts.  No easy task, but keep them for the rest of your life.  These shouldn’t be people dabbling in this career; they should each suffer from that affliction where they can’t *not* see the world through the lens of their craft — let’s say hair, or cosmetic dentistry.  They go through the world and, on some level, they just yearn to fix everyone’s hair, everyone’s teeth.  They deeply give a shit about it looking right; right for that person, in other words, not just per some recent fad.  They are not one trick ponies.

There are brilliant miracle workers like this, and then there are charlatans who don’t even know they’re charlatans.  They don’t know they’re shitty at their craft, because they don’t pay attention, because if they paid any attention they wouldn’t be so shitty at their craft.  Or they would have been brilliant at something else but got themselves into the wrong field for x y z reasons.  Who knows, but they must be avoided.  They will ruin you, and make you go back into your shell, like a turtle, when you barely got the courage to try something new.

And it’s important that they aren’t argumentative per se, but that they will oppose you, when you have a bad idea.  They will help you turn a bad idea into a better idea, or ultimately they will just refuse to participate in your bad idea.  They don’t need your money that much.

Okay, so this might be a little different for each person, but here’s the team I’d assemble if I were you — and they don’t all have to be in one place, and you don’t even have to use each of their services, certainly not often; I’ll explain this list and more in a second.

  1. Hair stylist
  2. Aesthetician
  3. Cosmetic dentist
  4. Cosmetic surgeon
  5. Permanent makeup artist

The closest alligators to everyone’s beauty boat, BY FAR, are diet and exercise, but notice I do not include “nutritionist” or “personal trainer” on this list.  Why not?  Well, because I consider those two areas of professional guidance to so completely overrun with fraudulent charlatans and broken thinking that I simply do not believe you can find good help, at any price point.  Look at it this way: the overlap is almost 100% between people who, on the one hand, are fat and sick, and who on the other hand subscribe to some fitness/diet paradigm that they are happy to tell you about.  It’s like 700 Club religion, okay?  All your problems will resolve if you just accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.  Oh, what’s that?  All your problems haven’t resolved?  Well, you must not have *really* accepted Jesus into your heart.  I know that’s what they say because my mom spent a lot of time and 10% of my dad’s income dealing with them.

So you need to stop thinking that anyone knows anything about diet and fitness unless they themselves are living a state of vibrant, obvious health and physical thriving, which excludes almost all personal trainers and people angling to take your money on that front.  Charlatans, charlatans, charlatans.  And in this one area, the thinking is so dramatically broken that they can be charlatans for the entirety of their career and never even know it.  Worse, they can be charlatans for the entirety of their career and YOU don’t even know it!  They’re skinny fat, their clients are fat-fat, our thinking is so broken that the expectation of anyone in this scenario being or becoming strong and healthful — the trainer or the client — never even occurs to us.  Which is weird, right?  If a hairstylist is very bad, all the other hairstylists are going to clue into that pretty quickly, as well as the clients, right?  If a mechanic is very bad, all the other mechanics and their clients will figure that out eventually, right?  If a personal trainer is very bad, no one anywhere will ever recognize it because our bar for health and thriving is so low, it’s like under the surface of the ground, and most of us still can’t reach it.  Unbelievable.

Anyway: it’s not as bad as all that, though.  I do have some good news.  Woke culture notwithstanding, and idealized-media-portrayals-of-women culture before that notwithstanding, beauty is the same as it’s always been, and always will be: subconscious assessments of symmetry and signifiers of reproductive viability.  It’s not about whether we’re actually trying to reproduce, obviously, or if we’re too young for that or too old for that — I’m just saying, it’s not some big fucking mystery what’s guiding our collective, mostly subconscious impressions of beauty.  I know women who throw their hands up at what they perceive as mixed messages about beauty, and I’m like, no no no no — it’s not complicated.  No one actually believes it’s complicated, imo.  They just use that as a dodge, and that’s fine.  But for those of us not dodging, here’s the deal: it’s no one’s fault that symmetry and fitness to reproduce are the metrics maintained by the collective subconscious, okay?  That doesn’t mean we have to subscribe, but if we want to improve our appearance — and most of us do, whether we admit it or not — then it would be insane not to acknowledge that symmetry and fitness to reproduce represent our aesthetic starting point.

The best part is, you don’t have to figure out how to make that translation.  It’s just like: everyone everywhere IS making that translation, unknowingly, when they say ‘this looks better’ or ‘this looks worse’.  The point I’m making is that beauty and aesthetics aren’t, actually, the revolving door of trends and hemlines and fads and fashions that you might believe.  Yes, different embellishments come and go, but the entire process is anchored down by one thing: you.  You, looking slightly better or slightly worse — ie, looking slightly more symmetrical and nubile, or slightly less.  It doesn’t matter what’s in fashion or not; what matters is hacking the mystery of your personal aesthetic, and then improvising along those lines.

Guess what’s always in fashion, and at every age?  Radiant health.  Guess what’s always off-putting?  Evidence of affliction or poor health.  Guess what most beauty products and services seek to do?  Cover up or compensate for our poor health.  Guess what’s the one area in beauty where we can’t find good help?  Diet, exercise (and spiritual health which affects our appeal deeply but which this blog doesn’t cover).  But for the diet and exercise part, where I recommended you DON’T, actually, consult a professional, do this instead: go plant-based and learn to barbell.  I have scads of blogs explaining why I think that’s the greatest combined life hack and beauty hack of all time, but let me also recommend the documentary Gamechangers, about vegan pro athletes, and the startingstrength.com site for an immersion into an exercise paradigm that isn’t insane, and actually does work.

I’ll talk about that a little more, and then move on I promise.  I feel strongly about these two things because I’m lifelong veg and new to the barbell.  As a lifelong veg, I’ve observed that I’ve pulled away from the herd of my peers with really zero effort.  At 44, I look better, I feel better, and my body functions better than people otherwise similar to me, and even people younger than me, who consistently eat meat, irrespective of their efforts regarding local, organic, or whole foods.  And if you watch Gamechangers, you’ll see why.  That documentary does a much better job than I can of putting it together, but there’s just no contest for the vegan diet.  There just isn’t.  There’s one good diet out there, and a bunch of shitty compromises, and that’s the truth.  This has everything to do with physical thriving, and therefore everything to do with beauty.

My stubborn female fat deposits melted away within about 3 weeks, after I went vegan — and that’s having been lifelong veg before!  So you can expect change fast, there.  But the positive effects keep coming, for months and years, so switch to plant based and then immerse yourself in documentaries and plant based books, so that your lizard brain doesn’t get scared back into submission by the fake news of diet.  I’ve seen that happen and it’s sad.  You’ll get what you need, and a lot more.

I would post some before-vegan pics for you, so you can see the difference, but I don’t even have any floating around anymore.

Re: being new to barbell — about two years now — and a sort of cardio athlete type before, been through the military, I know how to get smoked with just a milk crate, all of that — I was never, like, an exercise slouch, but the scintillating clarity of barbell, particularly for women, is what I want to briefly share with you here, in a way I’ve never framed it before.  The body, relative to fitness versus activity, is exactly the same as a house, relative to structure versus furnishings.  So, an activity is like running, walking, tennis, golf, racketball, wrestling, cycling, etc.  Furnishings are like choice of paint color, trim, decor, lighting, fabrics, etc.  No one’s out there thinking furnishings can compensate for a structurally compromised house, but almost all of us are out there thinking fitness activities can compensate for structurally compromised bodies.

We need to dedicate time to strengthening and reinforcing those aspects of our physical selves that otherwise weaken and atrophy — our muscles and bones.  These represent our house, our foundation, our lumber and concrete.  There’s no point, ladies, putting hair and makeup and rhinestones on a condemned building.  And don’t mistake running, walking, or cycling for the solution — those are ways to ENJOY your body’s integrity, not to build it in the first place.  The body is muscular, it’s meant to be muscular, and the good looking, highly feminine models you see in magazines actually strength train a LOT more than you think, and probably take some PED’s as well.  That’s the big disconnect right there.  We’re all feeling bludgeoned by people who look so good, while having the facts of their lifestyles concealed from us; while being actively directed elsewhere for our solutions.  Remember: long before tits and ass and hips and legs were these culturally sexualized things, they were…omg…muscle groups.  They’re muscles.  You can make them look better, by remembering that they’re just muscles.  And you train muscles by training muscles, not by hanging new curtains.

40 yrs old, no barbell but frequent cardio and body weight exercises. Abs work several times per week. Dedicated intermittent fasting; otherwise mindful but not super rigorous about diet. Vegan, portion control and avoiding fried foods etc. type mindset.
44 yrs old, ~one year of barbell only: squat, deadlift, bench, overhead press, some power cleans. ZERO cardio or abs except by random accident. ZERO “diet” mindset — actually a fucking Dionysian disaster, foodwise — entire vegan pizzas before bed, gas station pastries, a lot of Taco Bell. These pics taken in the middle of fire season so I had the worst diet possible, and ate a lot of it. Not my preference to eat that poorly but sometimes you have no choice. Barbell made it all okay, thank god.

Sorry for posting undie pics of myself on the internet, had to be done.

Barbell will make everything bigger that should be bigger and everything smaller that should be smaller.  It makes people who are too skinny larger, and people who are too large skinner.  It’s like magical fairy dust, that makes everyone have more of the thing they need, and less of the thing they don’t.  As far as speed of results, it’s more like learning to play a musical instrument than anything else.  You can pick up a guitar and hack out some John Denver 3-chord songs by next week, so that’s a fast return.  You can also spend the rest of your natural life getting better and better.

So, I’ll just say that I think it will be immediately satisfying to you, and will turn the aging process on its ear.  With a good barbell program, you’ll be putting deposits into the beauty bank, rather than seeing time take them out.  You actually can be fitter and sexier than you’ve ever been before, at whatever age, honest to god truth.  I am.  I’ve never been this fit and sexy, and I’m 44, and was reasonably committed to diet and fitness my whole life.

So then, let’s get back to this cadre of aesthetic experts.  Whatever it is that you look at all day, you’re gonna get real good at quickly assessing.  A hair  stylist looks at a million heads of hair.  An aesthetician looks at a million people’s complexions.  A cosmetic dentist looks at a million people’s smiles.  A cosmetic surgeon — stay with me here! — looks at a million people’s basic facial and bodily proportions, for grace and symmetry.  A permanent cosmetics artist looks at a million people’s features.

Okay, let me take these one by one, with a caveat: I’m not saying go spend money at each of these places.  I’m saying: you have no idea how you actually look.  None of us do.  GIVEN THAT you address your health and fitness, preferably in the form of plant-based diet and barbell, then it would behoove you to get out of your own head, beauty-wise, and consult multiple experts.  You shouldn’t go to just one, because they’ll each only “see” their one thing: just your hair.  Just your smile.  Just your big weird nose.  Whatever.  You need to do a survey, get their honest opinion — what’s the closest alligator to my boat?  If I was going to give you my money, what would you most recommend I address?

Compile that data and then see how you feel, and where it makes sense to spend your money.

So, first off: a hairstylist.  You want to get their help in creating a long-term plan for your hair, that’s relatively low maintenance, because trust me, you need your money for other shit.  A cut and a color that flatters you.  I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but tell that to the charlatan hairstylists out there.  If your hairstylist doesn’t get angry and tight-lipped with you when you do something stupid or cut your own bangs, they’re not invested enough.  Oh, also don’t go to your appointments, or certainly not your initial ones, looking drab.  Wear something that represents you at your best, so they have some idea of what you’re going for.  And don’t just take whoever the receptionist suggests, certainly not the first available.  Get an appointment with the one who doesn’t have any availability.  Ask the receptionist, or whoever answers the phone, for the best best best person they’ve got.  Stop just being assigned shitty hairstylists, by chance, and because you didn’t think to ask for a better one.  Get a good one, and then work with them long-term.

Perm result with a shitty stylist (left) vs a good stylist (right)
Color result with a shitty stylist (left) vs a good stylist (right)

Okay, then an aesthetician, preferably with some medical spa type experience, or even a dermatologist.  You don’t just have to get sun damage and then look like a wrinkled purse and then eventually die.  There are all kinds of crazy things they can do these days, and I don’t know what all they are, and I don’t need to know, because I have a really good aesthetician, so when I have a question I just ask her.  It would be great to see this person once per month but maybe you can’t afford that, so just work out a long term plan together.  Don’t always go to different people — try to find one good one and stick with it.  Be totally honest and realistic about what you do, or don’t do, about your skin, so they can at least plan accordingly.  Like, with mine: I go to her after every fire season and she says, “Good lord.  So what have you been using?”  And I just laugh, and she says, “That’s what I thought.”

Trashed skin after fire season etc, left; after professional facial + actually using good products on a regular basis and caring for my skin for a couple weeks, right. A little breakout on my chin, wth, but otherwise good.

Then, a cosmetic dentist.  I recommend Dental Laser in Nogales, Sonora — you probably thought you couldn’t afford cosmetic dentistry, or any dentistry, but guess what: you can.  You can afford braces, whitening, veneers, whatever you need.  But the thing is, you don’t know what you need, so just go have a free consult.  Best thing would be, have a consult with a cosmetic dentist close to you, take careful notes, and then call Dental Laser and price that out.  You’ll save 80% and get great care — I’ve been going there for six years and counting.  You’re so accustomed to your own smile that you don’t know how much better it could be, so get a consult and just see what they say, right?  Doesn’t commit you to anything.

My jaw was misaligned since childhood, because of poor access to dental care, and frankly just being poor in general. Middle pic is braces in my 40’s — 2 years of care in Nogales for $1400. Pic on right is after braces and some cosmetic dentistry, also Nogales! Love it.

Then, a cosmetic surgeon.  A lot of us just immediately correlate the thought of cosmetic surgeons with one thing and one thing only: huge fake boobs.  Get that out of your head.    Maybe you’re not ever interested in any kind of elective, cosmetic surgery — that’s fine.  But I tell you right now, there’s no one on the planet who’s better at quickly and realistically assessing your beauty barriers, relative to symmetry and grace.  There are all kinds of small things about your face, neck, jowels, skin, fat deposits, etc, that even the most perfect diet and exercise can’t touch — but a good cosmetic surgeon can, and no one at work will even know the difference.  You can just look a little better, a little more well-rested.

Before and after chin implant. Sounds extreme, right? Looks very natural — no big deal.
Before and after blepharoplasty (removal of loose eye skin). A lot cheaper and more effective than all these fucking creams they try to sell you!

Even if you received the advice of a cosmetic surgeon but weren’t in position to follow through with it, it will tend to prevent you from spending a bunch of money on dumb shit that’s intended to address what you’re sort of, but not really, seeing is “off” about your own appearance.  And trust me, you can afford it — just maybe not in the US.  I’ll always revisit Dr. Carmona, probably for the rest of my life.  That guy’s eye is just incredible, and his insight and artistry has optimized my appearance more than I thought possible, and in very subtle ways.  Just working with the good features I already have, you know?

Okay, and then a permanent cosmetics artist.  So, even if you’re not interested in permanent (tattooed) cosmetics, here is why a consult is a good idea: regular makeup artists are thinking in terms of dramatic flair, like the smoky look and cat’s eyes, and that’s fine.  But permanent cosmetic artists DO NOT do trendy stuff, or if they do, they’re not the right person for you.  In fact they will not allow you to get permanent, unnatural effects, which you should do with makeup.  What they’re looking for is — not to be redundant, but — symmetry and grace.  They can optimize your eyebrows, your lash line, and your lips.  Again, no one will know, but you’ll just look subtly ‘put together’, all the time.  They look at a million people’s faces and trust me, they can look at yours and know what you got and what you need.  I recommend Pam with Faces Artistry in Tucson.  Realistically this is a thing you can do just once a year, so it doesn’t have to be local to you.

Before any permanent cosmetics (or cosmetic dentistry — or really anything, a long time ago), left, and with healed permanent cosmetics but otherwise no makeup, right

Then, I did want to mention a little about clothing.  Like most women, I adore clothes; however, they’re a lot less important in this whole deal than you’d probably assume, in my opinion at least.  I mean, your goal is to get where you can look delicious in a burlap sack, IN KEEPING WITH your age, sense of style, vibe, demographic, all that.  And then, nice clothes are the frosting on the cake.  But frankly there are too many women barking up too many wrong trees, in regards to clothing.  Just like running, cycling, Zoomba — clothing doesn’t fix much, okay?  It’s just a way to enjoy your body, enjoy your beauty.  It is good to know basically what colors and styles work on you; it is good to know basically what to avoid; it is good to differentiate between what’s fashionable versus what’s sane or insane for you personally.

Now, if you think that your “style” is dark, matte fabrics that drape, with a blousy cut, and accompanied by tunic-length vests etc. — that’s not a style, that’s just you trying to hide your fat.  Which is totally fine!  We all should know how to hide our fat, when we get fat or feel fat.  But changing your whole wardrobe to conceal how fat you are — and you’re really not fooling anyone — is so much less satisfying than truly investing in your own beauty, from the inside out.  There is no age, there is no body type, there is no genetic type, there is no person who doesn’t have the power to become a more aesthetic version of themselves.  Health is at the center of it, and symmetry and grace (ie significations of nubility) are the spectrums of how we interpret and negotiate that health.  Don’t be at war with it; just enjoy it, play with it, and don’t slap extra coats of paint on that condemned building.  Start with a plant based diet and barbell, like yesterday, and assemble a team of aesthetic experts for the long term.

Okay, now back to this idea of the self you hold in your mind’s eye, that is totally distorted, as is your impression of your actual physical self.  So, they’re both distorted, but the interaction between the two of them produce your actual beauty baseline.  We have unconscious baselines that dictate the amount of abundance we’re willing to receive in every area — beauty, money, love, stability.  Our baselines regulate our behavior and our behaviors reinforce our baseline.  That’s why it’s hard to change our baselines!

I’ve improved my beauty baseline — ie my expectation and acceptance of how pretty I’m able to look — quite a bit, over the years, and that’s regardless of aging, regardless of having jobs that expose me to the harshest elements in the harshest ways, regardless of having my occupational and general environment NOT reflect back to me any value for beauty, or the pursuit of beauty, whatsoever.  I like experimenting on this dimension, and I can tell you, it takes some bravery.  It’s scary to try something new, with our appearance.  We risk the scorn of our peers and loved ones — not only did you admit you care about how you look, by trying something new — that’s the most humiliating thing of all, right? — but not everyone will like the result!

I guess it feels important for me to mention this because I’ve gone out on all kinds of limbs — egregious tattoos, cosmetic surgery, permanent changes to my hair texture, permanent changes to my smile, permanent cosmetic tattoos — and I LIKE my results, and my appearance.  So I’m happy.  Works for me.  But I just want to say, not one single person in my life, outside of my wonderful team of long term aesthetic partners, has encouraged me to go the way I wanted to go.  And I just went anyway.  I only say that because people don’t know how to think about it, and their way of being supportive is always to tell you you’re fine the way you are.  And of course that’s true; you are.

But anyway, you’ve got this visualized self in your head, and that’s where you’ll become fascinated with changes and improvements, first, and that’s where you should entirely indulge yourself.  Try things on — I mean, even major changes — in your mind’s eye.  You still won’t really know how it looks, but based on the feeling of it, you’ll either become captivated or not.  Once you make the change sort of a done-deal in your mind’s eye, that’s the green light to go ahead and give it a shot.  But I really wouldn’t skip that step if I were you — the step where you alter your own appearance in your imagination, over the course of weeks or months.  And I definitely wouldn’t skip the step of being cautious in who you go to for that improvement.

Finally, I did want to mention some products I’ve discovered and found to be extra helpful:

An epilator.  I just think shaving is a way to spend most of your life having stubble, personally.  I don’t like it.  Emjoi makes a good one.

Goodie Co. complexion care.  Definitely my favorite face stuff ever, kind of a unique approach.

New Wash replacement for shampoo and conditioner.  It’s neither, and it works better.  If we washed a shirt as much as we wash our hair, the shirt would be in tatters, and so is our hair.  We have to stop using detergents, and they’re pretty much all detergents, unless you break out of that paradigm completely.  So I love this stuff, would def recommend.

Hanacure weekly at-home facials.  I’m new to this one but since I now live on a different continent from my aesthetician, I had to find a workaround.  So far so good!  I do one every Friday.  It’s basically just two things you mix and then paint onto your face, let it dry for 20m, then scrub off.

Spell and the Gypsy Collective clothing — not for everyone’s aesthetic, but the best example I’ve ever found of mine.  I always wanted to just make my own clothes, before, because I never found anything good enough or in line with what I wanted.  Now I don’t feel that way because Spell’s stuff is better than anything I could ever conceive of in a million years.  A major passion — but not to be mistaken for beauty-building; clothes are only beauty-celebrating!

And finally, my mom’s advice, ever since I was a kid: just be clean and neat and basically well dressed, with hair that’s basically brushed and groomed, and nothing too crazy going on.  Women’s worst beauty enemy is our tendency to do crazy shit.  Crazy makeup, crazy outfits, crazy shoes, crazy nails.  Enjoy it if you want but don’t be offended when people don’t interpret it as “beauty” — because it’s not, and they won’t.

Okay, that’s about it!  That is all I know about beauty to date.