Bogus Beauty Myths to Stop Believing
Our beauty culture is full of bogus social constructs and harmful binaries and stereotypes that are incredibly limiting. Most of these beauty “rules” are based around hiding or correcting our “flaws,” working their way into our belief systems without us even knowing it. Our faces have been mapped, our colors have been forecasted, and we know what we can and can’t wear to flatter our particular body shapes. What fruit are you? What’s your season? Read our 7 bogus beauty myths below.
We are often told that we are assumed to look a certain way in order to be beautiful, while at the same time said to love ourselves just the way we are. And also we are shamed for worrying about how we look and shamed for not caring enough. Also, there’s no way to win. According to studies only four percent of women consider themselves beautiful, and it is time for us to raise that number.
The Women’s Liberation Movement did its best to call to question the double standards and injustices imposed on women — and the people who perpetrate them. Today, I call to question the industry that presumes to decide “what beauty is” without regard for the health and well-being of our bodies or our souls.
So what is beauty? What does it mean to be beautiful? These questions are complicated, but we are going to take a crack at answering them by debunking seven bogus beauty myths!
1. Big Girls Can’t Have Short Hair
We checked in with a few stylists from Vain and Coven, two of Seattle’s best salons, and asked them their thoughts on beauty rules as they relate to hair. The consensus was unanimous: all rules were made to be broken.
“I hear all the time, ‘I’m too fat to wear a pixie cut,’” says Vain stylist, Jeanne Ploetz. “Well, I’m a size 16, and I look fabulous with a pixie. People make all kinds of excuses for why they can’t do things that they truly want to do. My job as a hairdresser is to translate whatever style you want and make it work for you. You can wear a pixie — you just have to own it.”
Big girls are always gorgeous, so don’t let anyone fat shame you out of a great pixie cut. If short hair makes you feel great, then you will wear it beautifully and with confidence! Besides, you can rock anything with the right attitude. Gossip frontwoman, Beth Ditto has been rocking the pixie cut off and on for years, and she always looks perfect. Still on the fence? Check out this Tumblr for more inspiration.
2. Bangs Are For Kids
Many of us had bangs as kids, cut by our parents in a desperate attempt to keep our hair out of our eyes, mouths, and food. This memory can bring on a healthy fear of fringe, but we promise there’s nothing to be scared of.
The great news is, bangs come in many forms. In fact, they can look incredibly sophisticated depending on the cut. “Any haircut can be customized to fit any face shape by an experienced and skilled stylist,” says Vain stylist, Jordan Rosenberg.
3. Red isn’t For Everyone
“Some clients carry outdated ideas about themselves,” says Rosenberg. “A stylist told them 20 years ago that they could never have red hair. But, if they tried it, being a redhead could bring out a whole new them!”
There are many harmful theories about who can and can’t dye their hair red depending on their skin tone. Well, there are thousands of shades of red out there to choose from, and the magic of a good hairstylist is that they know how to blend and customize these shades to find the perfect one to suit you.
Whether you’re going for a hue to complement your skin tone, or to make a statement, we want you to know this: you can absolutely be a redhead if you want to be. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
4. Shampoo Everyday
Shampooing is an ingrained part of the personal grooming habits of American women. But, a few years ago, people started discussing that we (gasp!) may not need shampoo at all.
“I grew up shampooing every day to have squeaky-clean hair,” says Vain stylist Sam Brown. “As we now know, this only dries your natural oils and makes you overproduce sebum, making you greasier faster!”
There are a lot of known harmful chemicals in shampoos that compromise the integrity of your hair. I gave up shampooing four years ago, and I haven’t looked back. If you want to make a change, we suggest reading up on the no-shampoo movement. I’m a big fan of using baking soda as a cleanser and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. The pH in these ingredients keeps your hair and scalp balanced, which means less work and better hair in the long run. If that seems a bit intimidating, try the ShamPHree shampoo-free system, a DIY kit that makes the baking soda-ACV method much easier. Purely Perfect is also a wonderful shampoo alternative, if you want something simple and streamlined.
5. Age Appropriate Hair
Why do women feel the urge to hide their grays? Aging is a beautiful and natural process in a person’s life, and gray hair (at least to me) is a powerful sign of strength. As we grow older, we are told to mask the things about ourselves that show our age, i.e., cover our dark circles, wrinkles, and dye over our gray hair. A lot of women also feel pressure to succumb to shorter styles they don’t necessarily enjoy because somewhere down the line, someone claimed that long hair wasn’t appropriate for older women…
Well, enough is enough! Silver hair is striking and beautiful, and your age doesn’t dictate the length of your hair. Silver hair is even becoming trendy amongst younger women, so why not embrace the natural?
“I love long hair on my older, silver clients,” says Rosenberg. “The forced pixie for over 60 is outdated and irrelevant in these modern times.”
6. Fight Frizz
Some of us have naturally frizzy hair. We know what it’s like to be at the whims of the weather and realize that when we try to reckon with nature, we’re fighting a losing battle. Why compare our frizz with the smooth-hair standard we see everywhere? Natural texture is gorgeous!
“As a biracial woman and a hairstylist with lots of curly clients, I often give people permission to have frizzy hair by telling them like it is: ‘Sometimes, your hair is going to be frizzy,’” says Coven stylist Alexis Robinson. “But, instead of seeing that as a problem that must be fixed, if you accept the frizz and stop trying to fight it, then you can start enjoying the fact that it adds a soft and romantic halo to your head — and that is beautiful!”
The solution is to experiment with different products and routines and find what works for your hair. “That saying, ‘The grass is always greener is total malarkey when it comes to hair,” says Vain stylist TT Amen-Asia. “Your grass could be just as green if you spend the same amount of time nurturing it your way like your neighbor does their way.”
7. Blondes Have More Fun
This is one of the most bothersome beauty myths around, and I’m here to tell you (as a blonde) it’s entirely not true. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of how harmful this beauty myth is, why don’t we focus on the incredible variety of hair colors we have access to and how fun all of them are on any person of any size, color, or shape? Blonde is great, but how about having some real fun with unicorn hair? Now that cotton candy hair colors are mainstream now, the rainbow is our limit. “Have fun with your hair. It’s only hair, and it will grow back!” says Amen-Asia.