My 4 Grossest Beauty Habits I Can't Stop Because I Do What I Want

Some of my most rationally "gross" habits are ones that I will fully defend because I do what I want.
Publish date:
April 1, 2016
beauty, habits, gross habits

My room is getting to be such an issue. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 19, and although I usually am able to calm my mind through coping mechanisms, organization exercises, or a glass of wine or two in a pinch — when work and life both get hectic at once, my higher level executive functioning is the first thing to go. This means that my room starts to look like an extremely unhinged person with a seltzer water addiction has taken up residence. I've always argued that I'm not dirty, I'm just messy. I don't leave half eaten food around, and I wash my clothes and sheets with a normal frequency, but God help me if I can find my keys.

However, recently, it's been brought to my attention that — although I steadfastly maintain my tendency towards messiness is not disgusting — some of my beauty habits could be classified as slightly on the "gross" end of the spectrum.

But, if you'll allow me this opinion, I believe there are different types of gross beauty habits. First, there are habits that you know are fundamentally lazy, uncouth, or vulgar – but you can't stop yourself from doing them. Then, conversely, there are the far more contentious objectively "gross" beauty habits that you believe in. I do a lot of strange things for beauty (and for the stories), so I will admit that at some point I may have lost touch with what is considered unpalatable by the non-beauty-writer folk of the world. But, some of my most rationally "gross" habits are ones that I will fully defend because *beauty* and because there are legit reasons behind them and because I do what I want.

Below, I've admitted my grossest and most disgusting beauty habits and why they are bad (but sometimes, why they are also good!). I'm admitting these because admitting it is the first step towards making a change, right? RIGHT?

I Sometimes Sleep with My Makeup On

This one is pretty much unforgivable. Everyone knows this is a bad thing. It can cause acne, dry out your skin, and get stains all over your sheets which is also, just gross. Makeup artist Brenda Colon confirms that even if you love your makeup look, sleeping with it on doesn't allow your skin to breathe overnight, and your naturally-produced sebum is trapped by your makeup and built up in your pores -- which can lead to whiteheads and grossness. I've fallen victim to this one far more times than I want to admit – usually aided by alcohol, exhaustion, or my old friend, laziness.

I'm trying to break this occasional failing by keeping makeup remover wipes by my bed in case I can't be bothered to get up and wash my face. Jury's still out on if it's working.

Pictured: A photo I can't believe I'm actually putting online of me the morning after a "happy hour" that ended at 4 AM....

I Use My Fingers to Apply Makeup and Lotion

This one is one of those contentious ones. It's debated whether it is better to apply foundation and makeup with your fingers or with a brush / sponge – brushes and sponges soak up a lot of product, which can be wasteful, and some makeup artists prefer the control they can get with their bare fingers. However, where it really gets dicey is when you apply lotion or makeup that comes in tubs or palettes with your fingers. Why? Well, germs. I personally prefer the control and consistency I can get when I use my hands and fingers to put on my makeup and lotion, yet I am the first to admit that I definitely do not wash my hands before every single time I stick them into my tubs of lip butter, cheek stain, lotion, foundation, or highlighter.

This habit wouldn't be too icky, if it wasn't for the fact that I consistently ....

...Leave My Makeup Containers Open

This is a constant, longstanding failure of mine. My roommates in college used to make fun of me incessantly for the fact that I can never seem to remember to put the caps back on things (I'm a moral failure, I understand). The problem here is that putting unclean hands into jars and tubs of product and leaving them open all the time makes them potential breeding grounds for bacteria and that is so, so gross. In some cases, however, closing the tubs may actually increase the likelihood that bacteria will grow.... so I'm going to call this one a wash and try to use (clean!) makeup brushes and spatulas to dispense product whenever possible.

I Don't Shower Every Day (and I Wash My Hair Even Less Than I Shower)

Whenever people talk about how much one should shower things tend to get heated. Studies have shown that daily showers aren't always healthy for your skin or your hair -- but whenever it is mentioned in some corner of the internet that showering daily could actually be bad for you, well, people tend to freak out.

I look at it this way — Mary Douglas, badass author of Purity and Danger, famously wrote that dirt can be looked at as simply "matter out of place."

"If we can abstract pathogenicity and hygiene from our notion of dirt, we are left with the old definition of dirt as matter out of place. This is a very suggestive approach. It implies two conditions: a set of ordered relations and a contravention of that order. Dirt then, is never a unique, isolated event. Where there is dirt there is a system. Dirt is the by-product of a systematic ordering and classification of matter, in so far as ordering involves rejecting inappropriate elements."

That's a ton of words I haven't used since I read this book in college, but I personally take this to mean that what we consider "dirtiness" is based on societal conventions. "Dirt" doesn't exist in a vacuum; "dirt" is a social construct. A ton of literature has followed that basically boils down to the same basic concept, and all of which I will gladly use to defend my decision to not shower daily (or even every other day!).

So, to summarize, in my humble opinion, the only reason people feel like it's gross that I don't shower every day is because our US society defines cleanliness in a specific way.

Besides, according to John Barrett Hairstylist Halli Bivona, washing your hair every day can dry out your hair and strip it of moisture, leading you to overproduce oils and get into a fun cycle of needing to wash your hair more because you are already washing it so much. I'll pass, thank you.

So those are my gross beauty habits that I (mostly, sometimes) defend. Tell me, what are your grossest beauty habits, and are they defensible?