Let's talk about preening


Originally drafted January 2012

Let’s talk about preening for a second. Look so, I’m a tom boy and really don’t like sitting around with attendants filing away at my phlanges or anything. In fact, my mom made me get a “mani-pedi” when I was 12 and I hated it so much that I learned how to do it on my own so I would never have another manicurist touching me ever again. 

I’m pretty much over that tween disgust of it all, but I don’t indulge because it costs money to do it in NYC and it never crosses my mind to say, “Hey guys, something is missing from my life. I need a pedicure.”

During my "culinary walk-about" in the Philippines I was minding my own business when my cousin said the nail lady was here to do everyone’s nails. Huh, what? Home service in the Philippines? Door to door? How…uh, I dunno. I thought it rude to refuse. I prefaced it with, “Does she even…want to touch my feet? I mean…I’m gross!”

And she did. I watched her file and clip away until it was time to pick colors. Oh boy oh boy! I refused to paint my fingernails because I would be cooking this week but for my feet I asked for two different colors. The confusion on her face was priceless, worth the sitting time until that point. So here I am, with Katy Perry toe nails.

It's been almost 2 years since I wrote the above and I've sort of shifted in my feelings about beauty products and grooming. I'm still in the process of finding the right routine for me, but I keep it fairly minimal.

My hair is thick and bountiful, so it can pretty foofy with its razored edges and high maintenance, curt bangs. I blow dry my bangs downward first before anything else or I will be cursed with a cow lick for all eternity. Once those are dry, I use a spritz of Living Proof Weightless Styling Spray to keep it in place. I blow dry the rest lightly, careful not to get caught in the dryer itself (because long hair, how does it work?). When there isn't any obvious water dropping from the ends, I use a little Living Proof Nourishing Styling Cream to keep things under control. I keep my hair down for the most part or out of the way with a DIY Topsy Tail. When it's really in the way, I'll braid it to the back or to the side or tie it in a messy knot on top. Maybe braided pigtails. Uppy-dos for fancy nights, but otherwise....down.

I'm pretty fierce in the kitchen so it should be no surprise that I have burns on my face.  I caught an errant ember in the cheek last summer and a pop of hot bacon grease about a year later. They're really subtle but I'm very self conscious about them. I don't even like make up but I took the plunge just for concealment. Tiny dab of BareMinerals concealer on both scars with a small brush and then blended in with a bigger brush, Medium Tan all over color. Tiny touch of rosy blush on both cheeks. Short swipe of Hard Candy shimmer under each eyebrow. Done, that's it. I really dislike mascara and eye liner but if I need to be fancy that night, then FINE, I'll do it.

When it comes to smell, I've been very careful. My mom would put on really fragrant Bath & Bodyworks stuff in the car and I'd feel nauseated. I've never been a fan of bold perfumes or colognes. In high school, I got Pleasures as a gift and felt obligated to use it. I discovered that I really like Marc Jacobs' Daisy. I travel a good bit (or rather, think I stink after a day of work and before I'm about to go out), so I buy the rollerball version.

For moisture, Aveeno all the way. I'm not allergic to it, I don't itch with it. It's been working for me since high school so I've never tried anything else. My mom used Keri when I was a kid and I thought it was too thin, I kept having to reapply it. In desperate Winter months, I may use Eucerin on patches and stuff.

Nails! This is the most frivolous and most changed thing about me since 2 years ago. I suddenly care about my nails. I won't get manicures but I'll do them myself. I guess its because my hands are in photos and videos so much, it's just really distracting if the paint's peeling. I'll take a break and not wear any polish for two weeks just to regrow anything that's chipped or split. I joined Julep's monthly Maven program. Two new colors every month, if I want them. There are sometimes that I don't want them and that's ok.