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Revisiting My 2015 Magnificence Manifesto: What I Obtained Proper, What I Obtained Fallacious

As I shared final week, April is the NINTH anniversary of Frugalwoods! To have a good time, I’m typing down reminiscence lane with reflections on a few of my most influential outdated posts. 9 years is a very long time to do something and I’m curious to see if I agree with my outdated self or if my ideas have modified within the intervening years.

Previous Me vs. Present Me: A Showdown

Frugalwoods Household Easter Picture April 2014

The primary publish I need to replicate on was an actual zinger when it got here out and generated fairly a little bit of controversy and dialogue (288 feedback!). Revealed July 27, 2015, it’s my oft-cited “Much less Make-up, Extra Confidence: My Frugal Magnificence Manifesto.

Once I wrote this, I used to be 31 and didn’t have any children. Re-reading it now–at 39 with two younger youngsters–my ideas have modified. To start with, the writing is unhealthy. It’s painful to take a look at one thing you thought was AMAZING 8 years in the past and notice it’s MEDIOCRE AT BEST. I used to be nonetheless discovering my voice, I hadn’t but learn “The Artwork of Memoir” and it reveals. Transferring on…

I opened this piece with:

I’ve stopped sporting make-up completely. Properly virtually completely–I nonetheless don mascara and the occasional lip gloss, however in any other case, my face is make-up free

True or False in 2023?

Largely true. Since adopting a pixie lower in 2021 (with no plans to return to lengthy hair), I discover myself placing on eye make-up (liner, shadow and mascara) for out-of-the-house and video name excursions. With out eye make-up and hair merchandise, I appear to be a younger Justin Bieber. Not in a scorching approach.

Frugalwoods Household Easter Picture 2023 (taken this previous Sunday)

I nonetheless don’t put on any on-the-face make-up as a result of I can’t stand the best way it feels on my pores and skin and it at all times makes me get away. I wore some on-the-face make-up for the marriage I went to in February and it was itchy. It did look good with my fire-engine purple lipstick from Walgreens, however not one thing I’m going to do on the common.

Consequence: largely true, with me truly sporting extra eye make-up now than in 2015.

Subsequent I wrote:

I cringe after I consider simply how a lot of these two valuable sources–money and time–I wasted on one thing as insignificant as my bodily look. My devotion to how I look was spurred on in equal components by insecurity and the pressures that our tradition mercilessly levies on girls to achieve more and more unattainable ranges of perfection.

I largely agree with myself right here. I used to be/am insecure and our tradition is certainly cruel to girls in nearly each approach doable (and appears to search out new methods on a regular basis!).

→Nevertheless, I disagree with myself that bodily look is “insignificant.”

Sadly, I believe it’s fairly darn important for most individuals once they’re attempting to get a job, hold a job, discover a associate, command respect, not be harassed/bullied for his or her identification or look and… ya know, be an individual on the earth. I believe it’s supremely privileged to deign bodily look as insignificant as a result of for many individuals, it’s a vital determinant of their means to maneuver up in socioeconomic class/standing, advance of their careers, discover a associate, specific their gender identification, and many others.

Me + Frugal Hound the day I began Frugalwoods

I’d like for bodily look to be “insignificant,” however that’s one thing solely a conventionally engaging particular person can say. It’s type of like when a wealthy particular person tells you that cash doesn’t matter. In case you’re scrambling to pay lease and feed your children, then YEAH cash issues.

I can, nonetheless, relate to my outdated self and my nascent subjugation of my look. I’d spent shut to fifteen years at that time hyper-focused on my look and I bear in mind on the time feeling that I wanted to do an entire detox. Similar to the “lean Frugalwoods years” I outlined on this publish, I wanted to return to zero earlier than I may discover tenable center floor.

Consequence: I agree that I wasted numerous time worrying about my look, I agree that magnificence requirements are unattainable and serve to make individuals insecure. I disagree that look is insignificant. I believe the nuance right here is that it’s important in lots of cultural contexts; however every day, every particular person can select to relegate or amplify its significance relying on what they’re doing that day.

The Privilege Of Standard Attractiveness

One other factor I missed in 2015 was the truth that by not sporting make-up, I used to be placing myself just one commonplace deviation away from society’s standard magnificence requirements of: white, skinny, tall, cisgender, and heterosexual. I used to be nonetheless all of these different issues. Me not sporting make-up wasn’t going to begin a revolution. However once more, it was revolutionary for me as a person and my conception of my self-worth.

→It’s attention-grabbing now–with the good thing about hindsight–to nestle my private expertise throughout the broader societal context of magnificence expectations.

Subsequent We Take pleasure in 5 Paragraphs on Pimples:

With our first child, Kidwoods, in 2017

I’d say that is extra paragraphs than anybody needs to examine zits. Count on possibly dermatologists. Shout out to my dermatologist readers–this one’s for you!!! The zits scenario cleared up as soon as I finished sporting on-the-face make-up and went by way of the hormones of birthing and breastfeeding two youngsters. Professional tip: in the event you undergo from zits, clear it up by way of the one bizarre trick of being pregnant and breastfeeding! Unwanted side effects embrace: you now have youngsters. Congratulations!

In all seriousness, I’m glad my zits’s gone because it did plague me from age 13 to age 34, which looks as if an excessively very long time for zits to plague an individual…

Consequence: I agree, zits stinks! It’s attention-grabbing to take a look at outdated photographs of my acne-covered pores and skin and notice how fortunate I’m to now not have it. It’s humorous how shortly I forgot how a lot I hated that zits.

→As quickly my zits disappeared, I began specializing in a distinct concern: burgeoning wrinkles… If I enable myself to go down that highway, I’ll by no means be content material with my look. I’ll at all times discover one thing else to fret about or dislike.

Then I Stated:

I decreased the period of time I spend preparing every day and slowly, I eradicated magnificence merchandise and regimens from my life. As every new routine fell by the wayside, an attention-grabbing factor occurred: I started to love myself extra. Gone was the self-inflicted distress of pinching fats and scanning my pores and skin for breakouts. It was changed by a newfound sense of confidence, pleasure, and integrity about who I’m as an individual–and notably, I’ve found I’m not a problematic bag of beauty points.

…..and with each children in 2019!

Okay yeah, I largely agree with this. When it comes to reducing my getting-ready time, I believe it could be extra correct to say I’ve completed a U graph of preparing. A lopsided U, which fairly carefully follows the define of:

Pre-Frugalwoods Hedonistic heyday→Lean Frugalwoods→Upkeep Section Frugalwoods

Hedonistic Heyday (the spendy years): included an in depth magnificence/preparing routine. Every thing was completed. All of the make-up. Nails, hairspray, fragrance. Identify a chemical; I used to be placing it on myself.

Lean Frugalwoods (the uber frugal years): nothing in any respect, anticipate possibly some mascara. No nails, no hair merchandise, hair cuts completed by my husband, no new garments, not showering every day with the intention to save water and cleaning soap.

Present Frugalwoods Upkeep Section: glad center floor! I really feel like I’ve settled at a sustainable center spot, however I’m additionally not deluded into considering this’ll by no means change. That’s what being virtually 40 has taught me: every time I believe one thing’s set for all times, it modifications. I’m much more comfy with uncertainty now that I’ve confirmed my means to adapt and flex.

Right here’s my present magnificence routine:

  • Haircuts at an costly salon each 3-5 months to take care of my pixie:
    • I’ve my stylist lower it fairly quick to permit extra time between cuts.
    • I did, nonetheless, go too far final yr after I had her shave the again of my head. Whereas this enabled me to go 7 months earlier than my subsequent lower, I didn’t like the excitement–it seems so cute on different individuals, however simply wasn’t for me.
  • Good hair merchandise used every day (except we’re snowboarding):
    • Advantage of quick hair: I exploit little or no every day!
  • Eye make-up: if I’m going to see individuals on display screen or in actual life (except we’re snowboarding):
    • To fight my Justin Bieber look
  • Weekly: tweeze and trim wild eyebrows myself
  • Garments: jewellery, a gown, a cardigan and leggings (except we’re snowboarding):


  • Paint my very own nails (possibly quarterly?)
  • Put on on-the-face make-up (possibly twice a yr)
  • Purchase new garments (varies; I’d say most likely quarterly)

And Now, A Part on Criticizing One’s Personal Self

Again in 2015 I wrote:

It was truly Mr. Frugalwoods who took me to activity about my behavior of self-berating mirror-gazing. He identified that after I criticize my determine, I’m projecting negativity onto everybody round me.

Me and my ladies in 2019

This stays the most effective interventions by my husband thus far. If different individuals can hear you, you’re not simply criticizing your self or “speaking to your self.” You’re amplifying society’s objectifications and judgements for everybody round you. I’m tremendous pleased with myself that I’ve stopped criticizing my physique, my look, my garments. Out loud, not less than. The inner monologue may at all times use extra work. However on the very least, I’m grateful I’m in a position to mission and mannequin confidence for my daughters.

The Subsequent Part is titled: “Concentrate on Well being, Not Superficiality”

I can see what I used to be attempting to do on this part but it surely comes throughout kinda preachy:

Reasonably than losing time on efforts that yield no intrinsic dividends (like sporting make-up or blow drying my hair), my focus has shifted to substantive, nourishing, and enriching actions. The search of well being grew to become my outlet for a way I take into consideration my physique and the way I understand myself.

A lot of my self-worth was wrapped up within the frivolity of my look and as soon as I set that apart, I had a wealth of power to pour into extra fulfilling and significant pursuits. Therefore, I’m not advocating complete disavowal of caring for oneself, relatively, I now focus on issues that make me really feel good–not simply on issues that make me look good.

I invested this displaced power into maintaining a healthy diet meals and exercising. I added muscle, I misplaced fats. I take my nutritional vitamins. Humorous how that works–as quickly as I finished exerting my consideration in direction of the superficial, I began doing higher issues for my physique.

Mountaineering with the women in 2020

This tone rubs me the unsuitable approach. Sure, I agree that train/motion is nice, however I appear to be implying that you need to quit worrying about your exterior look with the intention to be more healthy, which I don’t agree with. An individual can like to put on make-up AND get pleasure from doing nourishing issues. I believe I oversimplified the sophisticated relationship all of us have with our our bodies and our appearances. However, it’s exhausting to unpack and metabolize all of that nuance if you’re in the midst of figuring it out for your self. I don’t assume I may’ve written this any in another way eight years in the past. I used to be within the early levels of this life transformation and I needed to swing from one excessive to the opposite. I used to be a pendulum ready to search out its middle.

Sadly, I believe I used to be 100% appropriate within the part titled: “Entrepreneurs Need Girls To Really feel Badly About Themselves”

It begins in adolescence with zits and migrates all the best way to wrinkles and gray hair. On this approach, producers hold girls as rapt customers for his or her whole adults lives.

My edit now could be so as to add “girls and women-identifying individuals and likewise simply all individuals all over the place.” I don’t disagree with this and it’s nonetheless one thing I take into consideration quite a bit.

However then I ruined it by saying:

I don’t must spend cash so as to be ok with myself or to be stunning.

I perceive the foundation of what I used to be attempting to say, however I believe that is an oversimplification. I recognize that I used to be divorcing myself from the patron carousel of magnificence merchandise, however once more, there was a center floor I hadn’t but explored.

Do I must spend $1,000 a month on skincare merchandise to really feel stunning? No. Do I select to spend $82 on a haircut a number of occasions a yr to really feel stunning? Completely.

Halloween 2022

Okay truly, I stated it fairly effectively a couple of paragraphs later:

I believe it’s doable to strike a stability between disavowing our client tradition’s fixed stream of negativity in direction of girls’s our bodies and an entire absence of caring for one’s look.

Okay, not unhealthy, outdated me. That’s fairly good!

Isn’t this, like, a brilliant frivolous factor to write down about?

Sure and likewise no. Prefer it or not (I largely not prefer it), we’re all swimming in culture-infested waters. We’re all topic to a pursuit of perfection offered to us day by day. And regardless of fascinated by it, writing about it and re-writing about it, I nonetheless get caught obsessing about my look. I lately purchased a hoop mild so I’d look higher on video calls. I’m not immune to those societal expectations and pressures. I don’t assume it’ll ever be doable for me to fully ignore “magnificence” in all its kinds, however I don’t assume I need to, both.

Acknowledging that I can’t ever totally “remedy” that is most likely one of the best, most trustworthy factor I can do for myself. I appeared to assume I needed to fully resolve my emotions round it again in 2015; as evidenced by my writing:

I’m a a lot happier and safer particular person now that I’ve dismissed the almighty import of outward look in my life.

I believe I’ve decreased its significance in my life. However dismissed? I don’t assume that’ll ever be doable for me. Then I doubled down and stated:

 I actually don’t care if individuals decide me.

I believe it’d be extra correct to say “I don’t care as a lot when individuals decide me. Though it nonetheless hurts as a result of I’ve emotions am not, in reality, an automaton or a boulder.”

Current Day: What I Wrestle With Now

Lunch date with my littlest Littlewoods

I might like to let you know that I’ve by no means considered getting botox, however that may be a lie. I haven’t gotten it and I seemingly received’t, however each time I hear from a up to date that they’re getting it (most lately Nora McInerny from Horrible, Thanks For Asking who is strictly the identical age as me), I’m like, “rattling, is that what we’re all doing as we glide into our 40s???” It’s exhausting to not marvel if I’m lacking out by not doing it.

I’ve additionally entered a perpetual tug of conflict between my retinol wrinkle-prevention cream and my generic walmart moisturizer. If I exploit the retinol stuff an excessive amount of, my pores and skin will get dry and purple. Then I declare I’m by no means utilizing it once more and I am going again to my moisturizer. Per week later, I discover all of the wrinkles round my eyes and dig the retinol cream out of the again of the cupboard. Sooooo, yeah…

Is there something WRONG with my wrinkles? Do they make me a BAD particular person? Do they make me UNATTRACTIVE? I’d say no to all of these, however then once more, I’m a girl on this society and I do take into consideration what different individuals take into consideration me and my wrinkles. In all probability they don’t even take into consideration my wrinkles in any respect. However possibly they do???????? In all probability you’re now all fascinated by them.

As I famous above, I used to observe this identical obsessive course of round my zits. So I’ve swapped zits for wrinkles.

The distinction is in how I really feel about it. I don’t intensely fear about my wrinkles the best way I did my zits.

Maybe what I’ve completed is flip down the quantity on my internal magnificence critic. That voice continues to be there, however I’m quite a bit higher at shutting it up. I don’t have the bandwidth to care as a lot as I used to and that looks like progress.

→Over time, I’ve tried to focus extra on what I’m doing versus what I appear to be.

Look will at all times be a thought bubble in my life, however I really feel extra assured and content material at 39 than I did at 31.

This nine-year retrospective mission received’t neatly resolve the problems I wrote about prior to now, but it surely does assist me interrogate my beliefs and the way they’ve–hopefully–developed over time. In spite of everything, if we don’t change our minds about stuff over time, we’re most likely not increasing our experiences, ideas and perceptions.

 How have your ideas on magnificence requirements and look modified? What different Frugalwoods subjects would love me to revisit?

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