Bella Hadid looking #flawless. Image Source.
I arise from my bed at the crack of dawn, no alarm needed of course, and run through my personally customised yoga routine, wearing my crisp white mulberry silk pyjamas and screaming the day’s positive affirmations. My life coach says the screaming is essential, so my neighbours are just going to have to deal with it. I make my way to the kitchen where I consume my mandatory glass of warm water and lemon, a pile of steamed kale, 37 different multi-vitamins, and a litre of Kombucha. Once breakfast is consumed, I reply to 248 pressing emails, throw away everything in my lounge that no longer gives me joy, including the couch, and head to the bathroom. I luxuriate in the claw-foot marble bathtub, apply a 24-karat gold foil face mask and take seven different conference calls simultaneously. Once out of the bath, I untie my hair and it immediately cascades down my chest into beachy waves, no product or heat required. I contemplate steaming my vagina à la Gwyneth Paltrow but remember that I have my bee sting facial treatment later this afternoon — there’s only so many extreme treatments a gal can handle in a day. I apply a little snail slime to my face (it costs $7000 for a tester sized jar so I try to be sparing with it), a touch of La Mer moisturiser over top, swipe on Glossier Boy Brow, slip on the outfit my stylist sent me, and I’m out the door, ready for my 7am chakra realignment.
Shockingly, this is not a play-by-play of my morning routine. But how many times have you read a version, albeit slightly less ridiculous, of this ludicrously jam-packed and nauseatingly aspirational celebrity morning routine? Most people I know, myself included, roll out of bed a good twenty minutes after their alarm goes off and are lucky if they can scarf down their toast before jumping in the shower, slapping on some assortment of makeup and attempting to put together an outfit that suggests they have their shit together much more than they actually do. Who has the energy to perform elaborate self-care rituals and clear their near-bursting inbox when every fibre of their body would rather remain in the warm cocoon of their bed? Moreover, who the hell actually drinks hot water and lemon every single morning without fail? Celebrities, that’s who.
The general public has long had a fascination with the lifestyle and beauty routines of the glitzy and glamorous, and it makes sense. Who wouldn’t want insight into someone like Jennifer Aniston’s skincare routine? She’s barely aged since the Brangelina fiasco went down in 2005, and if having a very public breakup with someone who was widely considered the best looking man alive doesn’t rapidly age you, I don’t know what will. Taking it back to a pre-Brangelina time, in 1952 Pageant Magazine ran an eight-page spread on Marilyn Monroe’s daily routines, detailing her bizarre choice of breakfast food (a glass of milk with two raw eggs mixed in), the bust-firming weight exercises she swore by, and her aversion to tanning. This article was an early form of what would become common magazine fodder from the 1990s onwards — the celebrity morning routine, the celebrity fitness routine and, most significantly, the celebrity beauty regime. While the fitness and morning routines of the slimmest and trimmest are of interest to many, it’s the celebrity beauty regime that really pulls a number on us all. Scanning through many of these regimes can be a disheartening experience. The seemingly never ending quest to remain ageless, flawless and red carpet ready is undoubtedly problematic, but what I take more of an issue with is the way celebrities pretend that looking the way they do is a solo effort, all thanks to the right nightly serum.
Time and time again, celebrities insist that they don’t wear much makeup and just let their hair dry naturally, and that all they need to look the way they do is an expensive cleanser, a Mason and Pearson hairbrush, and maybe a swipe of lipstick. And herein lies the issue. Women are expected to be low maintenance whilst actually being extremely high maintenance behind the scenes. The world’s collective fascination with the effortless French girl beauty routine is a testament to the pressure women feel to maintain this façade. More often than not, we’re left feeling like we’re doing too much but failing to look the way we want, or, mostly, not doing enough. If you’re low maintenance you’re probably stressing about your lack of a proper skincare routine and inability to apply liquid liner, while if you’re someone who enjoys spending a good chunk of time on their makeup, you’re most likely worried about people, men in particular, perceiving you as being superficial and high maintenance. As is the case for women in so many areas of life, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
While I’m the first to admit that I love skincare and makeup and spend whatever I can on it, I can’t afford to regularly see a hairdresser, by celebrity standards my teeth are a shocking shade of yellow, and I can scrape together enough pennies to get my eyebrows done maybe once or twice a year. Do I look like a celebrity? Despite my long held aspirations to be Drew Barrymore, absolutely not. But do I look pretty good considering my limited funds, lack of sleep and absence of experts on speed dial? Sure I do. But so do so many women. Almost every day I’m floored by how great the women of the world look. I’m not talking about women who are Instagram famous or are actually models, although they obviously look wonderful too. These are your regular, everyday females; your friends, colleagues, family members, the checkout girl who served you at the supermarket and that lady who gets on the same tram as you every morning. These are women who get up every day, do whatever beauty routine makes them feel like the best version of themselves, put together a killer outfit, and head out to face the day. We are all our own one-woman glam squad, doing our best and looking fabulous without the help of fifteen experts, thousands of dollars, and daily hot water and lemon drinks, and to be honest, I think we’re all doing a bloody great job of it.
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