I'm trying to determine if I am a perfectionist. The reason I question my own perfectionism stems from my interest in people who attempt to obtain a "perfect" look. I'm not referring to the extreme measures a person might take to look "perfect" -- spending hours and dollars in a gym, quality time with a plastic surgeon or hours frying in a tanning bed.
This kind of perfectionism produces a certain kind of pretty person indeed, but the average person striving for perfection, it's in the details that they work on from day to day and minute to minute; the guy who spends an awful lot of time fixing his hair, the girl who spends an hour doing her makeup and freaking out if someone should see her without it.
This is why I don't consider myself a perfectionist. I am more of a control freak. I don't care if something goes perfectly, just as long as it goes my way. Beauty blunders are such a bastard - those little things that pop up, sometimes through your own fault but other times completely out of your hands.
And whether you're striving for perfection, trying to stay completely in control or you're just an average go-with-the-flow Joe, you should know the tools and tricks to prevent and repair those beauty blunders.
First up: the blemish. Whether this blunder occurs through acne, stress or improper skin care, it is always unwelcome. Especially when they appear at key life moments, such as right before an amazing first date, as every of sitcom that has ever been made has shown. Everyone also knows how to prevent them on a basic level -- a regular skin care regimen fit for your skin type. But what to do about making it go away?
It's the Little Things
Well, first gross piece of advice is, when a blemish pops up, don't pop it. Sure it's tempting, but it punishes you by keeping it around longer. If you really can't fight the urge, use clean hands, preferably covered in tissues. Your hands can carry bacteria, which just intensifies the problem. Next, add something that dries and heals. A salicylic-acid based product will show you it is working with its intense burning. For something more organic, you can try tea tree oil. I've heard of people crushing up aspirin to put on the spot or covering a pimple in toothpaste. When in doubt, don't stick anything on your face, especially an area already so sensitive, unless you're certain of its effects.
As the blemish begins its departure from your face, you may notice lingering redness.
This is especially true if you've used a salicylic acid treatment. An ice cube placed directly on the spot for as long as you can stand helps, but not right away. You won't be back to your regular color within the hour. For more widespread redness, try a cooling concoction with half a cup of cold water and half a cup of cold milk on ice. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and put it on your face, refreshing whenever needed. This will help soothe the skin.
Skin can also be irritated through improper shaving techniques. Razor burn and ingrown hairs are painful and unsightly. From a guy's face to a girl's legs and anywhere hairy in-between, there are a few steps a person can take to prevent these troubles. I've discovered lately that lots of girls aren't eager to shave consistently. While not walking around au natural, they aren't breaking out the razor every time they step into shorts or a dress. Apparently, a few days growth is acceptable? Perhaps this is the one time the beauty perfectionist in me appears; I'll always be the freshly smooth-legged girl. And here's how:
First, one should never shave dry skin. The first step for any sort of shaving is to exfoliate the area. This removes any dead skin cells that could build up and potentially dull a razor. If time does not permit for this step, you should at least have the hairy area in warm water for five minutes or more. The heat and moisture soften the hair. It's important to use some kind of lubrication. A shaving gel or foam obviously works best. Once you finally pick up your razor, whether it's one of those old fashioned single blades or a multi-blade razor, make sure it's sharp.
Much like a pair of jeans that can be worn more than once between washes, a disposable razor blade can be used more than once before disposing. As razors can be costly, it's important to find the right balance between being financially sound and scraping your face or legs with dull metal. There's no strict rule to how many times you should use a razor before tossing it, although a general rule of thumb is no more than five times. But the bigger the job, the fewer times you can repeat on that particular razor. The key to avoid razor burn or ingrown hairs is that a blade be sharp.
Once you take the blade to your body, move it in the direction opposite to which hair grows. That is unless hair is particularly coarse, in which case you should shave in the direction it does grow. Slow and steady wins this race; speed will only make you sloppy and potentially covered with nicks. Slowness also ensures you're getting everything the first time around. Shaving over what you've already shaved can increase future blunders.
After you've completed said shaving, follow up with a moisturizer adequate for the area of the body you de-furred. Should you neglect the proper steps and find yourself in a burning or bumpy situation (Wow, that sounded a bit like an STD lecture there for a second) salicylic acid or aloe works wonders. Ingrown hairs should be treated similarly after being plucked.
Who Gives a Pluck?
Know what else is hairy and needs regular plucking? Eyebrows. Ladies and gentlemen should be taking to the tweezers regularly or at least hitting up a talented waxer. Because waxing should not be performed on sensitive skin, those prone to breakouts or on sunburned skin should know the tricks to a good eye brown plucking.
First off, and most obviously, you should have two eyebrows. This is directed mostly to the gentleman. This is really all that you need to accomplish when taming your eyebrows. Sure, there are guys who take it a step further and shape theirs; I'm sure it works for a few men. Maybe. But really guys just need to keep it natural. And natural means not having a unibrow.
As for the girls who are shaping, to keep it blunder free, there are some guidelines to follow. The eyebrow should start right above your tear duct and should end angling slightly out from the corner of your eye. This can easily be determined by aligning your tweezers in the correct place and marking with a white eyeliner pencil. The arch in the brow should line up with the pupil. Using a white eyeliner pencil, you may choose to draw the eyebrow shape you want, allowing for easy altering before actually removing any hair. In fact, several cosmetics companies make an eyebrow trace so that you don't have to free hand it and you can be sure it's symmetrical on both sides. Once the outline is in place, pluck or trim any hair that falls outside the line.
Determining what direction to take your eyebrow is in your hands. Currently it's trendy to have a very full eyebrow, more Audrey Hepburn than Groucho Marx. But it really is about what looks best for your face shape. And take it slow, as it's easier to remove more hair than it is to wait for it to grow back. If it does. Eyebrows, unlike other areas of the body where hair is removed, don't always grow back.
But what if you do over-pluck? Do not draw on them! If you have a problem, locate an eyebrow pencil in a shade similar to your hair color. Lightly color the eyebrow effect you need and blend using an angled make up brush. This is also a good fix if you have naturally light eyebrows or have asymmetrical brows. This can work until they grow back and even after.
I've just touched base on the some of the grossest things people do to care for themselves. Besides bodily functions and flossing, these are generally the things we never want a significant other to see. We don't want them to know we have blunders. We want them to see us as perfect.
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