Posted on: March 30, 2017
The goal of waking up and looking flawless is so elusive, there’s a fairy tale devoted to it. In Sleeping Beauty, a princess emerges from a century of slumber, exuding so much loveliness that a total stranger falls in love with her on the spot. It’s a dreamy story that doesn’t quite square with reality. Frankly, we’d rather not imagine the state of our eyebrows after 100 hours of neglect, much less years.
And how do you project an aura of sweet repose when you’re rocking a stress-induced zit? (Or two. Fine, three.) Throw in the fact that most women would honestly prefer an uninterrupted nap to an unsolicited kiss and this classic fantasy starts to veer into parody. That said, our present-day notions of effortless beauty provoke satire, too. Amy Schumer’s viral skit “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup” sarcastically insists that all we need to look beautiful in the morning is our “inner natural glow” — plus tons of product. And shortly after Beyoncé declared, “I woke up like this” in her feminist anthem “Flawless,” Lena Dunham suggested that the song referred to an impressive case of bed head. Around-the-clock perfection has always been regarded as a castle in the air.
A growing number of women are investing in pricey beauty treatments that allow them to roll out of bed and breeze through their morning routines. The approach requires regular visits to salons and doctor’s offices — but it does eliminate the daily tasks of penciling in brows, extending lashes, styling hair, painting nails, and breathing fresh life into dull complexions. For insight into what’s driving this trend, just consider that exhaustive list.
In the grip of a tight schedule, it’s easy to interpret any service that ultimately saves time and energy as a necessity rather than a luxury. That’s why these treatments, once reserved for celebrities and special occasions, are becoming mainstream affairs. Even women who don’t earn exorbitant salaries or have tons of disposable cash are committing to them, prioritizing convenience over cost. There’s the full-time babysitter who invests in weekly blowouts, the executive assistant who throws down for gel manicures, and the makeup artist who prefers intermittent laser treatments to the daily task of applying concealer.
One such laser, the Clear + Brilliant, is a gentle, low-energy Fraxel that visibly improves tone and texture by creating microscopic wounds in the skin that spur new collagen growth. At several hundred dollars a session, it’s a costly way to capture a glow but worth it to some. “I can’t tell you how much it has changed my life,” says Maria Maio, a makeup artist in New York City who decided to try the Clear + Brilliant as an alternative to artfully perfecting her skin each morning. Now, Maio says, she’s out the door after a casual swirl of mineral powder.
Another time-strapped demographic fueling this offhand movement? Anyone who is charged with keeping another human alive — or is about to be. “We get lots of calls from pregnant women nearing their due dates,” says Tirzah Shirai, the founder of Blinkbar in Los Angeles, which specializes in lash extensions. “They want their lashes done before they go into labor.” Considering the labor-intensive nature of lash extensions themselves, there’s built-in irony to this phenomenon. The entire process involves bonding individual hairs to the lash line and requires 90 (or more) minutes of pure physical stillness to complete. But the surreal, fluttery results last up to eight weeks and deliver more length and fullness than several coats of mascara. For women who expect to be deprived of sleep, investing in an instant wide-awake look simply amounts to good foresight.
But there’s more than pragmatics at play here. Somewhere, embedded in our deep thinking like the thorn of a rose or a magic bean (choose your preferred fairy-tale reference), is the undeniable appeal of effortless beauty and the wish to obtain it. That’s why these treatments are quickly shedding their cheesy, Real Housewives of Wherever reputations in favor of a natural-looking aesthetic. The vast majority of clients seeking lash extensions, for example, aren’t interested in the mile-long, slightly cartoonish fringe worn by, say, the Kardashians. And the same rolled-back attitude applies to hair extensions. “Women just want to wear their hair down and not have stringy ends,” says Lauren Mae Haggard, an extension expert in San Francisco who seldom gets requests for waves that ripple past the waist.
It’s this new emphasis on restraint that can make even more intensive cosmetic procedures, such as semipermanent makeup, feel less intimidating and almost commonplace. Microblading, a technique used to fill in scanty eyebrows, is a nuanced and friendlier version of a tattoo. It involves a group of extremely fine needles that form a “blade.” That blade deposits pigment in the dermal layer of skin so it’ll stay for 12 to 18 months — which equates to a year of not having to pencil in your brows.
While we’re sure there must be some psychological benefit to skipping past the mirror instead of fixating on it each morning, fans of these treatments may still be in for a rude awakening. Nonstop beauty tends to backfire when we get a little too accustomed to it. Once that glow-y, showy image starts to fade after a week, or a month, or a year, we could end up more dissatisfied with our appearance than ever.
It’s possible we all need the occasional imperfection to keep us down to earth and rooted in reality.
Original Article: https://www.allure.com/story/low-maintenance-beauty-myth
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