5 Most Disastrous Internet Beauty Tips (Tested)
Pinterest is the website embodiment of your high school's cheerleading squad, minus the mean girls and the dummies. Picture the beautiful cheerleaders who were also smart and also nice and would go out of their way to volunteer at the food bank while you couldn't be bothered to help your mom do the dishes. Or picture Mother Teresa, but hot. Either way, Pinterest is where perfect people post pictures of their perfect lives and the rest of us repin their perfection dozens of times a day. It's sick. Here's my page.
Among the Nutella and peanut butter milkshake recipes, inspirational quote macros, and hundreds of ways to distress your own furniture (my favorite is to tell it you're pregnant), Pinterest hosts thousands of tutorials for becoming beautiful. In one day, I tried all of them.
Use Straw Curlers (to Look Like Napoleon Dynamite)
Before continuing, I suspect you already have questions. You're probably wondering: "Use straws to do what?" And "Why straw curlers?" And "Drinking straws or hay straw?" And "What's wrong with you?" My answers are "Curl your hair," "I don't know," "Drinking," and "I super don't know. I probably drink too much." All I can say is that, like an addict who tries a new drug just to see what it does to his body, I tried the drinking-straw hair curler tutorial just to see what would happen to my hair. The analogy especially works because when I took out the straws, my hair looked like each individual strand had been on a decade-long meth bender. But we'll get to that in a moment. Let's start with the tutorial itself.
According to the dozens of pictures I saw of this hair hack on Pinterest, it should have been easy. Before you go to bed, you divide your wet hair up into sections, wrap them around a straw, tie the straw in a knot, then go to sleep and wake up to a head full of curls. Yes, there was a 50 percent chance an errant straw end would gouge your or your lover's eye out in your sleep, but who are we kidding about lovers when you look like this:
Beauty hack or human/straw hybrid? You decide.
There were a few red flags I should have paid attention to before I tied plastic drink tubes into my hair. First, a lot of the tutorials were for African-American women, who have a different hair texture from mine. I'm pretty colorblind, so I missed that note the first go-around. (Thank you, '90s era United Color of Benetton ads.) Second, most of the Caucasian women who demonstrated the tutorial had really long hair, and mine is jowl-flap length. I'm pretty lengthblind, so I missed that red flag as well. What happened next will make your jaw drop (in fear).
There's good news and bad news. The good news is that the straw curlers really did curl hair, so that's a WIN for Pinterest. The bad news is that they already recast Annie and Quvenzhane Wallis got the part, so that's off the table for me. Which is a travesty, because I've been working on those songs longer than Quvenzhane's great-grandparents have been alive. Whatever. I'm over it. You know who else is over it? The one lock of hair that tried to make a run for it as soon as I took the straws out.
Approximately 30 seconds after taking the straws out of my hair, I realized something else: School wasn't out. School wasn't out, and I had to take a child to school about 15 minutes after taking the picture above. Good thing Pinterest teaches you how to fashion scarves into turbans! If only there was a Pinterest tutorial for how to conduct yourself during an emergency end-of-year parent-teacher conference while looking like a Gypsy.
Driving with a crystal ball balanced on your lap is harder than it looks.
I wasn't sure of the correct Gypsy accent, but Dracula always works in a pinch. "Vat is ze vinal grade in Englishsszzzzz?" I asked while tucking away the little runaway tendril and letting my sunglasses gently graze my chin bone. Keeping a straight face during the conference less than an hour after pulling straws out of my hair is how I ended up with my second Oscar. The first was for special effects. (It was me who did Star Wars.)
Use Concealer to Conceal Your Humanity
Five minutes into the Hair and Beauty section of Pinterest, I find out that other girls are messing with their faces in ways previously only used at Cirque du Soleil and LA casting calls. They're using different colored makeup to contour their faces into perfection. I don't mean using dramatic eye shadow or lipstick to look fancy; I mean using different shades of flesh-colored cream to give the illusion of a skinnier face. Like this:
Stop being so hot, Pinterest.
Unless you live in a never-ending loop of tribal initiation rituals, you probably aren't seeing many women walking around with different colored lines on their faces. That's because the next step after applying the concealer is blending it in so the unsuspecting public never knows you're face-tricking them. My friend Katie Willert made the observation that once you've applied your makeup in this particular pattern, there's no reason to blend. After all, why bother with a skinnier face when you can shoot for LION? It's a great point, but once I put on the contouring makeup, I felt less like a lion and more like a clown melting in the sun.
On to the next parent-teacher conference!
Believe it or not, I've never streaked brown eye shadow down my neck in order to create the illusion of an hourglass neck before. That "blush" is also brown eye shadow. Those "eyes" are brown eye shadow. Everything is brown eye shadow, and color is an illusion. I am Lion, and nothing else matters.
Use Baby Powder for Eyelashes (That Look Like Spiders)
Once I rethought my stance on blending the white and brown streaks on my face, it was time to decorate my eyehair. If eyes are the windows to your soul, Pinterest eyes are windows that are wearing Las Vegas showgirls for curtains. Finding a subtle eye makeup tutorial on Pinterest is like finding subtle eye makeup on a pig's butt. Look all you want, but you're probably wasting your time. Speaking of butts, one of the cheapest hacks for getting fancy eyes is tangentially related to baby butts, but I'll get back to that after an explanation that leaves you feeling uncomfortable longer than necessary.
Too late in the game for "Baby's Got Back" jokes, too desperate to stop myself.
Women who want thicker, more bangable eyelashes have a few options, each more horrific than the one before: eyelash serum, which could be nothing but semen in a tube, for all I know; false eyelashes, which require overcoming the fear of permanently gluing your eyes shut; or eyelash extensions, which are exactly what they sound like and cost more than a week's worth of groceries for a family of five. But according to Pinterest, there's another option for lush lashes: All you have to do is apply a powder usually reserved for baby butts to the hair surrounding your eyes! Dangerous? Maybe! Worth it? Probably not!
Never say I didn't put baby powder in my eyes for you.
According to the tutorial, all I had to do was put on a layer of mascara, then use a Q-Tip to apply a layer of baby powder to my lashes, then do the mascara again, so my eyelashes don't look like they're full of cocaine and that I'm the world's dumbest drug addict. The tutorials don't tell you to do that routine six more times, but I did anyway, just in case they meant to say "Repeat" but forgot. By the time I was done, my mascara wand was no longer able to penetrate the black jungle of tangled gunk that framed my eyeballs.
"For my next number, 'Here Comes the Story of the HAIRICANE,' by BOB Dylanfrizz."
For anyone keeping score, my hair was in revolt from both my scalp and nature itself, my face was semi-streaked with what could have passed for poop under the wrong lighting, and my eyes looked like they were surrounded by thousands of black caterpillars making love to spider legs. I never felt more beautiful.
Use Listerine as a Foot Soak (While Dyeing Your Feet)
As someone who can't be bothered to bend over to untie and tie my own shoes, I'm the first to say that people who earn their living beautifying feet are worth every cent they get. I earn my living from home, which means I spend about 23 hours of every day shoeless, which is how I got my nickname, Shoeless Joe Kristi. It's also why my feet are not what most people would call "beach ready" or "presentable" or "entirely human."
For those of you who don't think twice about the undersides of your feet and have no idea what I'm talking about, people who get regular pedicures pay tens of dollars to have their feet soaked, scrubbed, massaged, and painted until crackly old dead skin is transformed to glass-smooth sexy skin.
And this is absolute torture for people who are ticklish.
I'd rather resign myself to having Hobbit hooves than commit to letting strangers scrub the undersides of my feet on a regular basis. The good news is that Pinterest has a foot soak recipe that will do the dirty work of sloughing off dead skin without all the unnecessary pain that comes with a typical pedicure.
"This is crazy."
According to the tutorial, all you have to do is soak your feet in a tub of Listerine, vinegar, and hot water for 10 minutes. When your feet emerge from their bath, everything will be right with the world, and no one will judge your orange-ish rubbery soles again. Here I am soaking my size 7s in a foil roaster that will definitely go in the trash and not host a turkey when this is all over.
Psych! Thanksgiving dinner will come from this roaster.
And here I am 10 minutes later, realizing that there is now a solid blue line of demarcation on my sole, my toes and toenails are green, and all the dead skin is still there -- but tingles. Almost as if it just took a bath in mouthwash.
It tingled all day.
And here I am realizing that sandals are off the table for me for the next day or so, that I should stop being so gullible, and that I probably crossed the line from brave to straight up ignorant hours ago and gangrene toes are my justly deserved punishment.
It tingled all day.
There's no point in stopping now. Might as well finish what I started and end this slapdash day of beauty with something that I can't possibly regret.
Draw Your Own Ill-Advised (Temporary) Tattoo
Everyone on the planet falls into one of three categories, tattoo-wise: Tattoo People, Tattoo People Who Regret Being Tattoo People, and People Who Are Inexplicably Proud of Being Tattoo-Free Like It's Some Kind of G-D Virtue. (It's not.) People care that you're tattoo-free in the same way that they care about the shows you don't watch -- they don't. Which is why my New Year's resolution was to stop introducing myself as Mrs. Kristi No Ink. I'll never make any friends if I don't stop.
For my last Pinterest tutorial, I decided to go bold and get a discreet but temporary tattoo. The rules of this beauty makeover day required that I not spend any money, so it was important that I find a tutorial that only used stuff I had in my house. Pinterest had just the ticket.
Meaningful, yet delicate.
All I needed was a Sharpie marker, hairspray, and my old friend baby powder. Flushed with the excitement of finally looking as dangerous and sassy as I am in my head, I locked myself in the bathroom and gave zero thought to what I was doing before I started drawing. Previous highfalutin notions of using my body as an introspective canvas went out the window as I drew the very first thing that came to mind:
Translation: Rihanna :P
Looking back now, I think I see where I went wrong. It wasn't a fine Sharpie pen, but a big fat blue Sharpie marker. And I shouldn't have sprayed the tattoo immediately, because the wetness made the ink bleed into my skin more than it would have otherwise. Oh, and I probably should have sketched out a few ideas before playing the word association game on my own skin. It turns out that in my head Tattoo = Rihanna Silly Face. Maybe because Rihanna has a bunch of tattoos and I felt silly for drawing on myself? Or maybe I wish I could be the goofy version of Rihanna but I forgot Miley Cyrus exists? These are all questions I'll ask my therapist when I remember to get one.
The good news is that this sweet ink was already blending nicely into my still-green toes, so I started thinking about my next tat, which I wanted to be illustrative while representing who I am as a woman. Five seconds later, the deed was done.
Looking back, I probably should have fully internalized the lessons from the first tattoo from the minute before. Just because I know how to draw a house doesn't mean that this was a good choice for a tattoo (even though I clearly know how to draw a house). And just because house-drawing is something that I'm really good at doesn't mean I need to brag by semi-permanently advertising my skills on my wrist. Architect College is not an option for me right now and I don't have time to start another career as an excellent house-drawer. Who knows how many millions of people will ask me to draw their house based on this column alone?
By the end of the day, the bleeding haunted cartoon house on my wrist was the only beauty hack I was happy with, and even it washed off when I couldn't stand my redfro, eye junk, insanely clogged pores, and blue feet anymore. Do I feel cheated? NO. Not counting the day I was born, this was the best day of my life. And I'd do a Pinterest tutorial-a-thon again in a heartbeat if you send me your favorite Pinterest tutorials on Facebook. Don't think I won't.