I’m Giving Up On Being Effortlessly Beautiful

I have nice hair. I’m not bragging: it’s just a fact. I know my way around a curling wand and can give myself a salon-level blowout from the comfort of my bathroom (I do my best work while swaddled in my dingy bathrobe). I can list off a number of things about my body that I strongly dislike but the pride I feel for my hair is akin to that of an overzealous dance mom.

Of course, I’m only just now allowing myself to admit that out loud.

When faced with hair-related flattery, I spout an excuse (“Oh, it’s naturally wavy!”) that dispels any possibility that I dedicated a good 30 minutes in front of the mirror that morning. Let’s be realistic: if perfectly undone waves were so easy to achieve, Jen Atkin would be out of business.

My hair is nice because I choose to make it that way.

I know exactly why I’m reluctant to admit that I work hard on my hair (or any other facet of my appearance, for that matter). Women are constantly forced to prove that having an interest in beauty or fashion doesn’t render them incapable of being well-informed on other things. Also not encouraging (and likely not unrelated) was the ubiquity of I-woke-up-like-this looks on the runways for what seemed like an endless amount of seasons. Call it what you want — rich girl hair, French girl beauty, deconstructed chic — it’s all the same. It’s a reluctance to concede that we, as human beings, sometimes like to put in the effort to groom ourselves. Maintaining that disguise of indifference is exhausting. Why can’t it be as cool to put some elbow grease into throwing together a good ~lewk~ as it is to stroll out the door without running a brush through your hair?

Mindy Kaling said (tweeted?) it best: “Effortless is for Tom Ford and maybe like two other people. No one else can pull it off, so just show you cared.”

The spring runways made me feel hopeful, though, that the tide is turning. At Rodarte, models were each fitted with an ornate flower crown fit for gothic woodland fairy queen. The ponytails at Rochas were prim, proper, and bow-adorned. Gigi Hadid herself rocked custom-dyed neon extensions at Versace. It was all luxe and fussy and beautiful. It took effort and it showed. There will always be space for glorious, fresh skin and untouched tresses on the runway but I’ll take excess over minimalism every time. If we can’t enjoy beauty for the fantasy and fun it provides, then what the hell is the point?

As winter slowly thaws into spring, I’m giving myself permission to own my identity as a beauty perfectionist. The next time someone compliments my hair, I’m going to resist the urge to brush it off and say, “Thanks, I spent forever on it!”