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Betting it all on beauty

06-11-12 Portrait of stylish woman with retro hairstyle holding dice, studio shot

The other night, I had my bangs trimmed by a stranger. My bangs were ridiculous and kinda ruining my whole appearance, similar to how my eyebrows do when I’m in need of a wax. I was seriously desperate for a trim and, well, it’s just a bang trim — you can’t mess that up, right? I mean, the only other time in my life that I was dumb enough to ask that same question, it worked out surprisingly well, so…I can risk it again, right?

I know now that when I was asking myself this, I was like the person in the horror movie who says she is going to go out to the garage for more beer despite the fact that there is a killer on the loose. The audience is all screaming “NO!” and she’s just heading to her death like it ain’t no thang.

So, anyway, you all know how this ended: I left the salon pretty upset. But the whole thing got me thinking about how willing I am to take risks and trust complete strangers when it comes to beauty. If I’m searching for foundation, I’ll let one of the Sephora employees get in my personal space and touch my face. I never do a patch test when I get a new skincare product. I’ll get a pedicure without doing a background check on the salon and manicurist even though I’m acutely aware that I could get a nasty fungal infection. I’ve wasted tons of money on beauty products or treatments that I believed would change my life. And even though I try to stay loyal to waxers, I’ve moved around enough that I’ve had many a terrified moment as a complete stranger puts hot wax on my upper lip and my, uh, lower lips.

Even though I’ve had some pretty bad experiences (I’m no stranger to crying in the salon chair), I’ve gotten lucky — I haven’t had any major side effects or done anything that wasn’t reversible. So even though I’m upset every time I bet on the wrong beauty horse, I keep on doing it.

While you might think I’m simply a risk-taker, I assure you, I am not. I am ridiculously terrified of everything that I see on the evening news. I wear SPF, use lots of bleach, shop around for the best deal, and don’t walk alone at night. I don’t gamble, smoke, or have any desire to go zip lining. In many ways, I’m quite prudent.

Birchbox

But for some reason — vanity, presumably — I throw caution to the wind and put my looks and health in the hands of total strangers when the prize I’m playing for is looking beautiful.

Do you take beauty risks? Why do you take them?

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Rachel Wilkerson
By: Rachel Wilkerson

Rachel Wilkerson writes the blog The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson, where she covers those "getting it" moments when a light bulb goes off and suddenly everything makes sense. Whether it's a new way to get motivated to work out or the new gadget she never knew she always wanted, she loves sharing her lessons with other people in a straight-up, no-BS kinda way. Her work has been featured on Shape.com and she is a panelist for U by Kotex's Real Answers. When she's not writing, downward dogging, drinking tequila, or writing about downward dogging and drinking tequila, she works full-time as a community manager for a hip little online entertainment company in Houston. She and her boyfriend recently bought a juicer and are officially addicted.