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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Entering the Barbie Years

My dad always said I would be the first female linebacker in the NFL. To say I was a tomboy is a bit of an understatement. My pops was most proud of me when I was kicking ass, being strong, and taking up space. My sisters got play makeup sets for their birthdays and paid careful attention to dance of attracting boys. I got footballs and bad ass Pat Benatar albums and repeated my father's favorite saying, "You need a man like you need a hole in the head."

All of this means that I entered my adult years with zero girly girl skills and a profound disdain for all things expected of women. Why should I have to do my hair and makeup when all Joe in accounting needs to do is throw on some khakis, comb his hair and show up? Fuck you, patriarchy! You can't tell me what to do!

Like most folks, I mellowed with age. And then something odd happened--I hit my Barbie Years, somewhat late in life. I found myself enjoying girlying up. I didn't feel as compelled to kick ass (not that the two are mutual exclusive, my warrior beauty queens). Unfortunately, I entered these years without any skills. I'm still in the process of learning. This makeup and hair shit is complicated, yo. Women who can use a round brush while blow drying their hair really should win some kind of award. Every time I've tried it I've nearly had to cut the brush out of my hair. I officially threw in the towel on that one.

I'm soon to hit 41, and the Barbie Years are in full swing. I live in dresses, dye my hair a version of its former youthful self, and delight in playing with makeup. It seems I've gone from telling the patriarchy to suck it to embracing this dance I used to think was horseshit. (Well, I still think it's horseshit, but it's fun.) Thankfully, both life stages have delighted me, and my self-esteem has taken a massive boost as of late. One major problem though: Fuck You, I Ain't Wearin' No Makeup is a lot cheaper than all this Barbie Years crap. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to incorporate my "consciously frugal" ways into an industry that is laden with toxic shit. The genuinely "natural" products are mind bogglingly expensive (seriously? $50 for foundation? Do I at least get some oral sex with that?).

My product trove includes the following, beyond basics like shampoo (not doing NoPoo' y'all. Prices are averages): leave-in conditioner ($20); leave-in argan oil ($6); occasionally some mouse ($4); hairspray ($4); foundation ($23); blush ($8); mascara ($8); eye shadow ($5); lip grease, generally 2 varieties ($8-$16); powder ($1); and don't even get me started on the moisturizing products. Granted, a lot of this stuff lasts forever (e.g., eye shadow) and I don't subscribe to the "throw it out every 6 months or you'll die from an eye disease" philosophy, but still. Going from virtually $0 spent to all this noise? Hard on a frugal girl.

I make my own makeup remover/facial cleanser by combining different oils. My skin LOVES it, it lasts forever and doesn't cost nearly what the fancy dancy cleansers cost. I have all the tools (brushes, eye lash curler, etc.). I discovered the $1 Elf line, but I have no idea what the hell is in it or how it is made. Kenya over at Be Well {Groomed!} has great natural, responsibly made products, but dayum, they are 'spensive!

Wow, this is a really long rambling post that essentially says: I don't know how to do this consciously frugal thing in regards to makeup and hair. I want to support small businesses that produce their products responsibly. I'd prefer not to put toxic shit on my face and hair. But given the sheer amount of products this song and dance requires, I can't really afford to go balls out in the expense category. Anyone have any ideas?


EcoCatLady said...

You had me chuckling all the way through this one. I was a total tomboy most of my life. Then I hit the big 40 and suddenly decided to embrace the girly shit.

I went out and dropped a small fortune on makeup - seriously, I found a company that makes stuff just for redheads and figured it was a sign. I also went out and bought a bunch of dresses and shoes - fortunately all at the thrift store.

Turned out it was pretty much just a dress-up phase for me, and 7 years later I'm back to my slovenly unkempt ways - though oddly enough I seem to have funneled some of that energy into cycling... still trying to figure that one out.

But I think for me the key was realizing that I did actually have the power to do pretty... and that was a pretty empowering thing. So I say, You Go Girl!

And I have absolutely no advice to offer on eco or green makeup, because mine is all packed away in a drawer that hasn't been opened for several years!

Lines of Beauty said...

Dear Barbie,

You are so entertaining.

The best thing the cosmetics industry ever did for themselves was tell people to throw products out after 6 months. Paranoia will destroy ya. I never throw out make-up until it's gone, even mascara.

You are so right about eye shadow lasting forever. I still use one of mine that I have had since college and that was 30 years ago!

Rachel said...

Dunno about makeup - I have yet to hit my Barbie years - but I can pass on a tip from a friend about moisturizer: Whilst out in London, she got handed a promotional freebie little sachet of olive oil-based moisturizer. On closer examination, it turned to be just olive oil. It's a pretty good moisturizer, apparently, and cheaper to buy in bottles than in sachets. If you melt some beeswax into it, it'll set solid for lip grease.

Demandra said...

ECL, sometimes I think we are sisters and just don't know it! I hope I catch your cycling buzz, because that would be rad.

Ms. Beauty--egads! I didn't even think about it that way. Of course! It's a sales technique. The only time I toss makeup is when I've destroyed the case and it starts getting all over my makeup bag. I tried that mineral foundation crap. When I started to sweat (which is anytime I breathe or think), it went this weird cakey way. Maybe I'll just stick to the toxic shit and call it a wash?

Rachel--I use olive oil (with other oils) for a cleanser, and it's divine. But it doesn't seem to work well for moisturizing for me. Maybe I'll try coconut oil? I don't know if it's a consistency thing or what. Hmm... And I bet those little sachets were $10 a pop, if not worse. Duped! We are forever being duped.

EcoCatLady said...

On the moisturizing front... first of all I'll start this off with the caveat that I'm probably not the best person to be taking advice from because my face tends to be oily not dry.

That being said... jojoba oil is supposed to be the oil of choice for moisturizing purposes. Apparently it's really a liquid wax not an oil?? Don't really know what that means, but it's supposed to have some magical quality where it moisturizes without clogging your pores. It's supposed to work more like the natural sebum that the skin produces.

I used to use it for shaving because my legs would get dry and itchy if I used soap. It worked wonderfully for that purpose... so wonderfully that I decided to buy a bunch in bulk from eBay because it was much cheaper... at least until it all went rancid! Hmm.... maybe that's why they sell it in tiny little bottles.

Anyhow, that's all I know of the topic of oils, but the other natural thing I've used as a moisturizer is something called Na-Pca - which is actually some sort of salt that is naturally produced by our skin and somehow attracts water out of the air into the skin... or something like that. It comes in a little spray bottle and I've used it because I don't want anything oily anywhere near my face. It worked great.

I haven't used anything in years though because I stopped using soap on my face (I just wash it with warm water now) and my skin problems all magically went away.

Sorry to blather... that's the sum total of my knowledge on moisturizers.

Mountain Man said...

I do hope you continue to blog because this is funny stuff girl! I am not a Barbie type either did go thru some years after my first divorce where make up and dress up was the thing to do but I just recently (last three years) threw away all the dresses and shoes(6" heels that I just about killed myself on)and this winter threw all the make up out as I hadn't used it in three years....After living in an area where they collected one of the many products(Bentonite Clay) to make cosmetics this just verified why one would not want to apply it to ones face! Signed Mtn Man's Wife

Demandra said...

ECL--the cleansing oil I use has jojoba in it. Jojoba, vitamin E and olive oil. Stuff is glorious. I used to put castor oil in it as well, because I heard that was the best at cleansing, but it was way too harsh. I'll check out that other oddly name thing you mentioned. My skin is dry, dry, dry, so pretty much nothing I use moisturizes enough. Fun times!

Mtn Man's Mrs--I about crapped my pants at first, 'cuz I'm thinking...a dude is talking about 6" heels? GO FRUGAL CROSS DRESSER GO! But, alas, the Mrs is speaking. ;) bwhahaha

og said...

I have no help for you. I don't even walk into Sephora anymore -- too tempting.

I don't use organic/natural stuff so can't help you there. There are a lot of reasonably priced good drugstore make-up, skin care, etc.. and some big brands have 'natural' products too. You could check out Allure's "Best Of" issue where they list favorite products (editor/reader voted).

Stephinie said...

i like mad hippie for face care. that's all i got. i have the same silver eyeshadow i bought at cvs like seven years ago and i've barely made a dent in it. my daily routine is moisturize, curl eyelashes, pluck stray eyebrow hairs. i guess i haven't hit my barbie years just yet :)

Demandra said...

I love you people! The guilt has left me. I'm just not going to make this a priority. Also, Stephinie? You are stupid hot! Have I seen a photo before? Oh my. Jealous!

FreshGreen Kim said...

how did I miss your triumphant return to blogging? Well, here are a few of my favorite cheapies...

Shea butter moisturizes everything. Face, it feels greasy, but goes a long way and really helps the skin.

Witch hazel is a gentle astringent.

Apple cider vinegar is the world's best "conditioner". I swear by it for years now. (Here is an article I wrote years ago abt it).

And dare I incur your wrath, a lot of eco-friendly cosmetic companies will send you make-up in exchange for an honest review. The bulk of my minimal makeup collection has been acquired exactly that way.(you'd probably have to change your heading though... *grinning*)

Demandra said...

Ha! No wrath. Just no interest in doing so. And I probably should just delete the header, since the d-bags never pay attention to it anyway. Endless emails, even when the blog was silent! Jackasses.

I'm a fan of coconut oil for moisturizing too. Unfortunately, the oils don't seem to penetrate that well. I have to use them *and* other stuff. I am one dry girl! I'll try combining it with shea butter and see how that goes.

If you bleach your hair, you can't use apple cider vinegar. But! I do use it as an astringent. My mama swears by it. Says one of her patients was in her 80s with glorious skin. Said her mama always made her wipe down with ACV and water before coming in the house--to get rid of the ticks. Turns out, it made her skin loverly! But I totes forgot about witch hazel! Jes.

Now I want to go to a spa...

Stephinie said...

Lol! I think it's a lucky picture.... I mean I took one of me before coffee but it wasn't so good. It might scare people away from my blog! I just found this makeup place - they seem pretty cool and their starter kits are super reasonable! $50 for everything....

Demandra said...

Just take the damned compliment, woman! :P And thanks for the link!

Janeen said...

Can't give recommendations on "green" make-up products, because this is just one area in my life where I don't spend a lot of time. But, I try to keep things simple. I'm a huge fan of Cetaphil to cleanse, then use a foundation/corrector with sunscreen (all in one) on the old face. I've learned that all this crap won't help the bags under my eyes unless I get some sleep:-) And, we all look pretty droll without a smile and energy:-)

Demandra said...

Janeen, I'm pretty convinced that a smile is the key to everything. I've been reading a lot about how horribly some of my plus-size brethren are treated, and it's so far out of my experience, I kept wondering--WTF? Do they live in horrible places? Not to discredit size discrimination or blame the victim, but I also want to shout--LADIES, stop looking for pain. Smile and expect kindness. I swear, it changes things.