A House in the Hills contains some contextual affiliate links. An affiliate link is a link in which advertisers have agreed to pay a commission should a purchase be made from that click-through. I do not post anything that i haven't or wouldn't purchase myself.


All images on this site are taken by myself or Lou Mora, unless otherwise noted. We're happy for you to share for any non-commercial purpose but please make sure to link back to the original post and give credit where it's due. Conversely, should we feature an image of yours that you see mis-credited or would like taken down, please let us know and we'll take care of it right away! Good interweb manners are always appreciated. Cheers!

« milos, greece... a little peek | Main | quinoa, black bean and avocado tacos »

lady maintenance, i don't get you

my mother wasn't the type to teach me to how to do my makeup, talk to me about skin creams or advise me on other aspects of beauty and grooming.  this is amazing because when i was younger those things then mattered so little to me, it allowed me a freedom from worrying about superficial things at a young age. but it also left me a little in the dark.

as i got older most of what i learned about these topics was picked up through reading seventeen or cosmopolitan. and as a young adult, and into a good chunk of my twenties, what i read didn't interest me all that much. what i think of as "lady maintenance" (eyebrow shaping, makeup application, skin care regimes, spray tans, hair extensions, manicures and pedicures, waxing, etc.) seemed so tedious with the ultimate result of perfection unattainable anyway. completely overwhelmed, i quit before i started. i've always been pretty bare bones with all of that, picking up a few tricks as the years passed. i can now keep my nails painted, my eyebrows in line most of the time, and put on my makeup well enough to not look like i've just come from the beach.  i've got the basics of grooming down, but beyond that, it all gets a little fuzzy.

when we were in greece i went to put lipstick on (something i have only been wearing for the past two years) and the heat of the day had caused it to soften. so it slid all over my lips, and then outside the lines onto my face, as if it had a mind of it's own.  and in that moment i was so critical of myself, wondering what the hell is wrong with me, why as a woman in my 30's don't i know what to do with warm lipstick or how to put it on without looking like a tipsy hag?  i feel inadequate when it comes to these kinds of things. i don't own a single bottle of perfume, there are only five items in my makeup bag, most days i forget to put on face cream.  does this seem as crazy to you as i imagine you would think it is?  

maybe it's because I've spent the past decade in southern california where to so many, appearance is everything.  it's made me self conscious- i feel like everyone else knows what they're doing, has a skin care routine, an appointment to get waxed every three weeks and a medicine cabinet full of potions that i would have no idea what to do with.  and i'm just skating by with the two tricks i've got up my sleeve hoping no one notices.  so tell me the truth, DO you have a medicine cabinet full of potions and are you equipped to handle slightly melted lipstick?  or do you feel the same way i do, completely overwhelmed by lady maintenance and like at any second you could be exposed as that kid in the class that likes to eat glue?  it's a constant state of fake it till you make it, with the understanding that i'll never "make it".

i love hearing from you all when i do these kinds of posts, it reminds me that so many people feel the same way, that we all struggle privately but are so far from alone.  i appreciate your comments so much, they really do mean the world to me.  i know there are a million other things you could do with your day besides reading my blog and taking the time to write something kind, then battling a captcha robot to leave a message for me.  and i hope that you read what others have written and it inspires you the way it does me.  *insert spice girls GIRL POWER quote here*  but seriously, thank you so, so much.

*image from la perla

Reader Comments (42)

I'm definitely on the same page as you more often than not. I grew up in Colorado with a mother who doesn't know much more about make-up outside of mascara. I relocated to southern California 5 years ago and sometimes feel like i'm barely staying afloat in a world of designer faces and perfectly trimmed bodies. What i've come to learn though is that i'm much happier when i'm not trying to figure out how the latest miracle product is going to fit into my routine.... being low maintenance fits who I am. As cheesy as it sounds, i've come to realize that the best part of life is discovering yourself... and I'd hate to have to dig through a bunch of layers to do it.

Great post Sarah!

09/27/12 | 8:6 AM | Unregistered CommenterKim

I have no idea what I'm doing with that kind of stuff either. I can put on like bronzer and mascara but that's pretty much where I start and finish. I've never even worn lipstick, never mind knowing what to do if it melted!

I'm still young enough that I can get away with it but I do wonder if I'm supposed to have some wrinkle-fighting regimine like all the mags say. But I'm so overwhelmed but it all that like you I quit before I even begin.

At this point, I'm just going with moisterize, drink lots of water, get enough sleep. Though I'm still working on that last one...

09/27/12 | 8:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamie

@kim @jamie yay! i'm so glad to know there are others who don't own separate creams for under their eyes! :)
you're entirely right kim, time is much better spent devoted to developing your character rather than your beauty routine. and jamie- your plan sounds good to me!

09/27/12 | 8:15 AM | Registered Commentersarah yates

Haha! This is definitely me! I do coverup, blush and mascara, that's it! My mom just gave me a wrinkle cream (that must have been a hint) she also complains that I don't wear sunblock everyday. Oops! I don't wear perfume, in fact it makes me gag! But I do love keeping my eyebrows in shape. And on other days I'm lucky to have remembered the deoderant!

09/27/12 | 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterSara

i am the SAME way. i never grew up wearing makeup. the most i would do would be plucking my eyebrows and wearing lip gloss. even now as a 27 year old, i own concealer, tinted moisturizer, mascara, and blush. and i put them on less than 20 times a year.

i get self conscious, too. if everyone is wearing makeup, maybe i should, too. maybe i look awful. but, this is the thing that always makes me reconsider my self-consciousness: growing up, my dad always told me not to wear makeup. that pretty girls don't need it. and now as a married woman, my husband says the same thing. i do enjoy being girly and wearing it occasionally, but i guess i just can't find it in myself to care on a day to day basis.

09/27/12 | 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

I'm totally the same way. I'm a 3 product makeup girl with a bottle of acne free skin cleaner and a neutragena moisturizer i forget to put on 1/2 the time. Like you, my mother wasn't superficial at all, her obesity left me with many different thoughts on what beautiful really means and though i would play dress-up and makeup as a little girl, my college days were spent with the just rolled out of bed look and my twenties, also in socal, were spent with a beachy glow and salty hair. Though I do wish I do more to take care of my too-much-time in the sun skin, I don't mind not caring about primping. My husband likes the natural look, so that works out well. I haven't had a full length mirror in 10 years and I rarely ever look in the mirror throughout the day, except to see if I have a little broccoli in my teeth. It's quite freeing not being bound by the superficiality that surrounds us.

09/27/12 | 8:28 AM | Unregistered Commentererin

I definetely feel the same mom didn't teach me any of these things either, and it wasn't until college that my sorority sisters helped me out with things like eye brows, face cream and makeup. I still get overwhelmed, and have yet to even try the regular lip stick thing (lip gloss is put together enough). Hang in there... I've come to just put enough makeup on to feel bright (from the inside), so I go out into the world a little more confident.

09/27/12 | 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

I am so with you!!! Outside of lip gloss and lipstick, I have the slightest clue how to apply makeup. That allows me an extra 10-15 minutes of sleep in the mornings, so Im cool with that. My facial products come from the drugstore and I just got my first facial about two years ago. I'm with Kim - sleep, drinking lots of water and keeping stress to a minimum works best for me and keeps everything in check! Plus I honestly believe that a natural person is the most beautiful person.

09/27/12 | 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterTiffany @ Savor Home

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>