My Three Best Beauty Decisions

In the interest of trying everything at least once, I’ve made some regrettable beauty decisions. There was that time in 6th grade where I thought matching my lips to my face a much as possible was a goal. Then I went through a phase of skunk like blonde highlights and fake tanning. For a good portion of 2009 I had almost no eyebrows. But I’ve learned. I’m older and wiser and more in touch with who I want to be and how I want to look. I am the master of my own beauty destiny, a blank slate that I can mold into whatever I want.

Here are some of the best decisions I’ve made for myself:

Keratin treatment

My hair is of the wavy disposition. Smooth hair was only something I could achieve with a slavish devotion to a flat iron. For years I would wake up an hour early and burn my hair into submission, but those days have passed. I have a ten step skin care routine now, I don’t have time for my hair. If “styling” my hair consists of more than brushing it and throwing some product in it, I’m just not interested. This would be all well and good with my natural hair, if I could leave it the fuck alone for five minutes. I can’t though. The hair that grows out of my head and the hair that I feel is “me” in my heart are worlds away. And those worlds just happen to contain buckets of dye and bleach, the hair’s natural predators.

Since my hair was having such a hard life, I took the plunge last June and tried a Keratin Treatment. After being chronically broke for…ever, I was making a lot of money for about five minutes and decided to seize the day. I wish I could tell you which particular treatment I had, but I don’t remember because I was in a money-spending haze. It was the kind where you can’t wash your hair for two days. Put the treatment on and just flat iron your hair into oblivion. It was pin straight for the first time in my life. I have to say I didn’t really care for that part. I felt like a different person, which is cool if you’re into that sort of thing, but I just wanted to be me. Me before starring in Hair Wrecks 2: The Bleachening, anyway.

After I washed my hair one and a half days after the treatment because rules are made to be broken, I fell in love. It was the hair I always wanted. Soft, smooth, and frizz free. They’re doing the Lord’s work, those Brazilians. It was initially a bit straighter but slowly the wave came back. After maybe three months it was back to its original wave pattern, but sleeker and shinier. The hair I always wanted. Treatments are supposed to last from four to six months but I’m happy to report that with regular use of Keratin infusing products (Keratin Complex Color Safe Shampoo, Conditioner, and Replenisher and Hask Keratin Oil) it’s lasted for nine. I am just now starting to feel like I need to do another treatment. If you never want to think about your hair again, this is a great choice.


This drug gives me life. I’ve struggled with sensitive, break-out-prone skin for over 10 years and tried everything to alleviate my biggest frustration. I even risked taking Accutane and while that helped the situation tremendously, it didn’t eradicate it entirely. Tiny spots I can deal with, but I was determined to rid myself of the painful cysts. I visited several dermatologists but their solutions were repetitive and lackluster.

Desperation was the mother of invention, and so I started to look into less popular solutions. A friend of mine from esthetician school had a perfect porcelain complexion, and credited the drug Spironolactone for correcting her hormone imbalance. There are many causes of acne, but since my particular case revolved around my period it seemed to be a safe bet that mine was hormonal. Spiro works by blocking androgen receptors in the body, preventing cells from absorbing androgen hormones and limiting hormonal fluctuations. I talked to my doctor and started taking 25mg, then gradually increased the dosage to 100mg. I did see improvement immediately and my skin was completely clear in four months. If I skip a dose or two, I will get a break out but otherwise my skin has been clear for two years. Unlike Accutane, you can stay on Spironolactone indefinitely so long as you get frequent blood tests. This drug has absolutely changed my life.

Acrylic nails

My long nails are my pride and joy. I was recently on the subway when a little girl stage whispered to her mother “that girl has scary witch hands” and I felt the most beautiful sense of validation. Aside from scaring small children, my nails keep my hands looking “small” instead of “unnaturally tiny,” as a good thirty percent of my finger is nail. While I’ve been genetically blessed with nails for days that grow like weeds, keeping them from breaking has been the eternal struggle. I tried all of those strengthening top coats to no avail. I was doing the gel manicures for awhile, but those, too, were an imperfect solution. The gel would start to peel and my fingers got much too dried out from soaking them in acetone.

I always associated acrylic with the plastic square tips I had in high school, but you can apparently use it to coat your real nails as well. This has been the perfect solution for me. My nails are practically unbreakable, and I don’t have to worry about polish chipping. I get them filled in once a month and I am good to go. In between salon appointments I just put a little glitter in the gap where my nail is growing out and it looks brand new. I understand getting bored with the same polish for a month, but I just add top coats to change the color slightly after a week or so. There is some speculation that this process can ruin your natural nails, and that might be something I would care about if I ever intended to see my natural nail again, but I don’t. I just want them to look nice, honestly. The only thing I would suggest is to get a fresh set once every 3 months to prevent fungus. Try this out if you’ve had it with nail breakage.

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