Posts Categorized: beauty

Already Prettypoll: Style Compliments

Over the seven years that I’ve been writing about style and body image in this space, I’ve brought up the subject of compliments dozens of times. Since I believe that caring about your appearance is a valuable part of general self-care – and that you have a brain AND a body, and shouldn’t ignore one and favor the other – I enjoy both giving out and receiving compliments about my personal style. Words of praise from strangers and friends have bolstered my confidence at times, and I try to pay that forward.

But I have found style- and appearance-related compliments to be a surprisingly contentious topic here. Although many enjoy both giving and receiving compliments, others feel that any comments on appearance are invasive or unwelcome. Some would prefer to be praised for accomplishments or strengths over biology or taste. A few are unnerved by compliments like, “You look lovely today” because the underlying message may be that today is the exception not the rule. Others have had traumatic experiences with catcalling and street harassment and just prefer to avoid any interaction that centers on discussions of appearance. And many more have offered nuanced and personal reasons and preferences surrounding praising style and appearance.

Every so often, I feel the need to revive this conversation and probe a bit deeper. So: How do you feel about being complimented on your style or appearance by peers, friends, or friendly strangers? Do you offer compliments to others? If you enjoy these interactions, why do you find them pleasant or valuable? If you avoid or dislike them, what upsets or unnerves you?

Related Posts

If You Want to, You Should Totally Chop Off All Your Hair

pixie haircut

Like many, I’ve got a Pinterest board dedicated to hair and hairstyles. Although I don’t personally have enough to braid, I pin braids and updos. I pin textures and colors I’ll never have.  And I totally get that Pinterest is a place for bookmarking things we actually want to try, and also things that we may never try but like to fantasize about. Really. I get that.

But I’m going to be a little nervy and blunt, here. Because I’d say that around 70% of the hair-related pins I see in my feed are short, spiky, pixie-style cuts with comments like “Someday I’ll work up the nerve” and “Love this look, but just can’t pull it off.” Short hair, wishful thinking. So here it comes:

If you want to, you should totally chop off all your hair. You should. And even though you may already know them, I’ll give you a whole bunch of reasons why.

It grows back

In most cases, the hair you cut off will grow back eventually. This is one of a very small handful of life decisions that is TOTALLY REVERSIBLE. You can play around with short hair now, and in a few years you can play around with long hair again if you want to. And yes, growing out a pixie can be a long and difficult process. But who’s to say you’ll definitely want to grow it out someday? You could become a lifelong short-hair convert. Either way, you can make this change now and it will not permanently alter you. Big picture-wise, it’s low risk.

Short hair won’t make you any less attractive

And anyone who says it will? They can swing by my house later today and I’ll give them a long, stern lecture about the patriarchy and hetero-normativity and controlling the beauty paradigm. Just as women who are short and tall and fat and thin and old and young can all be attractive, so can women with long or short hair. Partners and parents can be pushy and vocal with their opinions about your hair length, but the choice is yours. It may take them a while to get used to the new you. Heck, it’ll probably take YOU a while to get used to the new you. But you’ll be just as gorgeous and lovely and sensual as you were with longer hair. Promise. Your hair is only one aspect of your appearance, which is only one aspect of your self.

You don’t have to have a specific face shape

Those charts showing which face shapes suit short hair and pixie cuts make me want to set things on fire. You know how certain dress styles work fabulously with certain figures? Well, lo and behold, certain short hairstyles work fabulously with certain face shapes. You don’t have to go buzz-cut or pixie short to play around with shorter hairstyles. There are plenty of chin-length or shorter options that can ease you into the world of short hair. If you’re not sure about the style you’d like to try, consult your stylist. If your stylist offers no or crummy advice, tinker around with hair makeover tools like this one. And if you’re still undecided and worried? Try going short in stages. Do shoulder length, a long bob, chin-length. Once you get there, you may be able to move your hair around a bit more to see what it would look like in various super-short configurations.

You don’t have to be thin

This is the one that really gets me. OK, they all do, but I’ve actually had women tell me that they’d love to try my hairstyle but not until they lost a bunch of weight. Will having super short hair make your face look rounder? Maybe. Will it reveal more of your face? Probably. Are these things bad? No, although everyone will have her own comfort level. Faces come in all shapes and sizes, and although balancing your face shape with hair, accessory, and glasses choices can be great, it isn’t actually necessary. If you’re fat or not-thin and want to try short hair, I would encourage you to go for it. Because the whole can’t/shouldn’t-based-on-body-size-or-shape thing? It’s bunk.

Being afraid of “ruining” your looks can be very stifling

Another thing I totally get: Fear of looking weird for a long time. I have a fantastic hairstylist and a magazine-sanctioned face shape, so it’s all well and good for me to say these things. But I do understand that a drastic hair change means a big risk. If it doesn’t work out how you’d like, you may feel “stuck” or “ruined” or like you’ve made a horrible choice. And if that fear is stronger than your desire to take the plunge, please don’t think I’m saying you absolutely must cast that fear aside and chop away. But, again, in the vast majority of cases your hair will grow back. So if you cut it all off and don’t like the end result, you can – over time – change it back. And breaking free of the idea that your looks should be consistent and as close to perfect as possible at all times? That can be freeing. Nothing you do will ruin your looks. Nothing. And you have every right to make active decisions about the aspects of your looks that you can change and control.

Short hair is more expensive to maintain. It can take a while to hone in on the perfect shape and cut for you. And it is risky. But if you’ve wanted to go short for ages and just haven’t been able to muster up the nerve, I hope I’ve furthered the mustering process somewhat. Because lemme tell ya: I love my short hair so very much and can’t imagine ever growing it out. I feel more like myself with short hair than I ever did with long hair, even though everyone in my life fawned over my long curls. And every time I open Pinterest and see a string of darling pixie cut images and accompanying captions of stifled longing, I wish I could project my voice through the computer to that pinner and say, “Go for it.”

This is me whispering to you.

This post first appeared on Huff Post Style

Related Posts

This Week I Love …

500

crystal deodorant. YES IT’S TRUE I DO.

So the claims that aluminum content in antiperspirants causes cancer are somewhat overblown, but as this fabulous Hairpin post aptly points out, “rubbing a body-function-altering chemical into a crevice of my body every morning” might not be the best idea. And aside from aluminum,  you’ve got parabens. Studies are still in process and of course I expect you all to make your own decisions, but I’ve been experimenting with natural deodorant solutions for some time and since I know from Twitter and Facebook discussions that this topic is of interest, I thought I’d share my findings.

A bit about my skin and body chemistry

I have sensitive, fussy skin all over my everything, though my pits are relatively hardy. No breakouts or rashes from any deodorants I’ve tried, natural or unnatural. (Or supernatural.) I am naturally both sweaty and smelly, and even an hour without some sort of underarm product will lead to a locker-room-y odor. That said, I do not sweat through my clothes unless it is beastly hot and do not smell strongly unless I’ve worked out hardcore. Just sharing this to give you a baseline of comparison. If you don’t tend to sweat/smell, some of what failed for me may be perfect for you. If you sweat/smell more, my favorite find might not be strong enough for your needs/preferences.

What I tried

  • Trinknitty made me some of this stuff. It just plain didn’t help my stank that much, and definitely didn’t curb sweating.
  • Weleda Citrus Deodorant Spray: Man, I’m a sucker for citrus scents and this stuff smells amazing. It only does that, however, when I am sitting stock-still in a cool room. I still spray it in my pits sometimes just so I can walk around smelling orange-y. For five minutes.
  • Several Tom’s of Maine solid/sticks. My armpits LAUGHED SO HARD at these.
  • Same for two now-discontinued Body Shop options.

Why I love the crystal stuff

  • So we’re clear, I’m using the Crystal Essence roll-on pictured above. Can’t say it smells super lavender-y, but I’m OK with that. I remember trying the Crystal stick stuff ages ago, and it didn’t work AT ALL for me.
  • I hate to say this, but wiping a cream into my pits with my fingers? Not my favorite. The roll-on format is quick and easy to apply.
  • I can get it at the grocery store. Or the drug store.
  • It doesn’t cost a bundle. Around $5.
  • For me, it works. Unless it’s unbearably humid and I’m jogging,* I don’t sweat a ton and I don’t smell at all. And for the record, when it IS unbearably humid, when I’m about to hit the gym for a serious workout, or when I know I’ll be super nervous (TV and press appearances, etc.) I switch back to a traditional deo/antiperspirant. I love my crystal, but it doesn’t work 100% of the time.

Brands I’ve yet to try

  • Soapwalla gets RAVE reviews from everyone I’ve talked to.
  • Kiss My Face has gotten a few thumbs up from friends and colleagues, but I haven’t sampled it yet.

And there are many, many more options out there, including concoctions you can make at home so you can be absolutely certain they’re totally natural. I’m delighted to have found a formula that works with my unique body chemistry, but, of course, there’s no guarantee it’ll work with yours. I tried the other options because trusted sources stated that those formulas worked fabulously. And for some people, I’m sure they do! As with as any cleansing or cosmetics routine, I can only say this works for me, not that it will work for all.

Naturally (PUN!), I’d love to hear from all of you about your deodorant preferences. Anyone else seeking natural options that work well? Which brands and scents have you tried? Made any from scratch? Do you feel like the various studies about aluminum, parabens, and other potentially harmful ingredients are conclusive enough to make regular deo and antiperspirants feel perfectly safe? Or do you sweat/smell enough that nothing natural will ever work and you’d rather just stick to the products that do? Share your thoughts and resources in the comments!

* OK, OK, I don’t jog. Walking quickly? Walking quickly away from someone who makes me nervous?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

Related Posts