A Dermatologist Answers Your Questions About Acne and Masks

I’ll keep it real. Wearing a face mask isn’t comfortable for me, but I do it anyway because I want to protect myself and others from the coronavirus. I’ve tried several masks, and most were flops. I wasn’t trying to look cute. I simply wanted a mask that was reasonably priced and comfortable. Unfortunately, some that I tried were too hard to breathe in, while others caused “maskne.”

What’s maskne, you might be wondering? It’s acne that you can get from wearing a mask. I know you thought you were done with blemishes after that long (and horrendous) stint during your teen years, but acne can come back with a vengeance when wearing a mask. Cue Debbie Downer. If you’re experiencing a similar problem, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about maskne, including what it is and what you can do to remedy it.

Acne from masks, defined.

Dr. Elizabeth Mullans, a board-certified dermatologist, shared with Scary Mommy that face masks absolutely can cause acne. She reported that masks “trap sweat, skin oil and saliva against the skin, therefore disrupting the protective skin barrier and causing irritation.” It gets worse. “Bacteria can then penetrate the skin barrier and cause pimples, while skin oil and products can clog the pores,” she shared. This chain-of-events can lead to pimples, pustules, and blackheads. Ew.

Summer and mask-wearing can cause double trouble.

Plus, it’s summer. Dr. Mullans told us that thicker masks can cause a person to sweat underneath and around the mouth. Given the heat and humidity, which is downright oppressive in some areas, she suggests we opt for a lighter-fabric mask that has breathable material. She also says we should avoid masks made of synthetic materials, especially those of us with more sensitive skin. Aim for a mask that’s made of 100% cotton, because it absorbs moisture and is less irritating than other typical mask materials.

Work to find the right mask for your skin.

The season, plus your skin type, plus your mask materials can make for a trifecta of failure, which is why it’s important to heed the advice of professionals. You may need to drop some dough to find the perfect mask for you, being aware that as the season (and weather) change, you may need a different type of mask. Those of us who wear glasses also need to experiment with different masks due to lens-fogging. Whatever mask you wear, make sure it covers your mouth and your nose. Wearing a mask only over your mouth is defeating the purpose.

Wear the mask.

I shouldn’t have to tell you this, again, but please wear the mask you choose. Though all this maskne talk and experience is gross, you aren’t getting a skip-wearing-a-mask pass. Many public arenas, churches, and medical facilities are requiring that entrants wear a mask and keep it on for the health and safety of everyone. After each wear, you need to wash your mask.

Wash your mask properly.

Dr. Mullans shares that it’s important to properly wash your mask in hot water using a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent. Every time you wear the mask, it will need to be washed afterward, since masks attract dust and bacteria. This means, of course, that you need multiple masks for each family member. It’s a good idea to have multiple masks anyway, in case one gets lost or damaged.

Sun protection matters.

One question you might have is about sun protection. If you wear a mask, do you still need to wear sunblock? The answer is yes. Dr. Mullans shares that the mask only covers part of your face. Some people are concerned about the heavier, thicker sunscreens causing acne and discomfort, which is a legitimate worry. Dr. Mullans suggests looking into facial moisturizers, many of which contain a 30 or higher SPF, which she recommends everyone wear daily. It’s never a good idea to ditch the sun protection and increase your cancer risk. Plus, there’s no guarantee the mask is providing you the necessary SPF in the area it’s covering.

Carefully choose your cosmetics.

Some of us already struggle with adult acne. Doesn’t wearing makeup under our masks only make the problem worse? Dr. Mullans says yes, and suggests skipping on putting on makeup under your mask, particularly products you might layer, like foundation. When purchasing makeup, do your research. The best choice is cosmetics that are labeled non-comedogenic. If you need an alternative to heavier products like foundations and powders, she suggests finding a tinted moisturizer.

Wash your face.

Just in case you need to be reminded, wash your face. Doing so means taking a proactive approach to maskne. Wash your face twice a day using a gentle cleanser to get rid of dirt build up and clogged pores. She also suggests looking into a biotin supplement to help overall skin health. Don’t wear your makeup to bed or when exercising, says my own dermatologist.

Experiencing acne at any age is no fun, but luckily there are steps we can take to ditch the maskne that may crop up. None of us want one more issue to deal with right now, including the redness, bumps, and inevitable too-much-concealer that comes with zits. We have enough on our plates with the pandemic.

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Baking Your Skin To A Crisp Is Not Cute — It’s Dangerous

We need to have a chat about tanning. I guess I knew that people are still purposely subjecting themselves to UV exposure for the sole purpose of darkening their skin. I’ve just been a pale, sunscreen-loving, hang-out-in-the-shade kind of gal for so long that I had almost forgotten.

My summertime Instagram feed has provided a stark reminder. I can’t even count the number of ads coming across my social media feeds for products designed to make your tan deeper or more intense.

Everywhere I turn, I see images of shiny, browned legs baking in the sun, bottles of suntan oil tossed casually in the corner of the photo. (I’m not going to gloss over the fact that many of these are taken on crowded beaches. Hello? Pandemic. Knock that shit off.)

I don’t know why we are still doing this in 2020. Tanning is pretty dangerous, y’all.

I admit I did some stupid tanning-related things in my teens a few times. Who didn’t? But I’ve learned a thing or two since then. Nobody in my adult life has ever described my summertime skin as bronze or glowy or golden. Genetics gave me skin that tans easily, but I choose to keep my natural skintone year-round.

I’m not the only one who keeps it pasty around here. My kids inherited my blond husband’s fair skin, and I am serious about protecting every one of us. I’m really careful about sun exposure for my entire family. We might be pale even in July, but we are doing our very best to keep our skin healthy.

I know that we are all pretty conditioned to the idea that pale skin looks nicer with a “healthy glow” from sun exposure, but the reality is that using UV—from the sun or a tanning bed—specifically to get browner skin is actually not healthy at all. Of course, we should enjoy the sunshine and spend time outdoors in the fresh air, but we should also respect what UV can do to our skin and be smart and safe.

As we all know by now, tanning is a great way to get yourself a deep, rich skin tone—and a nasty case of skin cancer.

There are a zillion types of skin cancer. None of them are good news, but malignant melanoma is especially dangerous, and it’s linked in many cases to sun exposure.

You might have read about Bethany Greenway on Scary Mommy a couple summers ago. She had to have a pretty significant part of her face removed as a result of melanoma. She chose to share photos of her journey through the melanoma process.  They are difficult to look at—so imagine how much more difficult it was to live it.

Greenway’s message after her ordeal was clear: “Please stop sun bathing and going to tanning salons. A tan isn’t a healthy glow — it’s damaged skin.”

If you missed Bethany’s story, you might remember our article about Mallory Lubbock, who had to have a cancerous spot removed from her upper lip due to tanning bed usage.

“Is tan skin REALLY worth it?” she asks. “This will scar, and this HURT. I am now the mom at the beach with the umbrella, and my spf 100 HEAVILY applied. Never, ever, ever did I think this would happen to me (who does?)”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my eyebrows and mustache waxed a time or two, and it hurts. The face is a sensitive area. Even a big zit can get a little throbby. I don’t want to imagine the pain of having a chunk of my face removed, or the terror of wondering if I would survive skin cancer.

I had a scare with an ovarian mass a few years ago, and the weeks I spent waiting for surgery and then holding my breath for test results were the scariest time of my life. My mass was benign, but the experience humbled me completely. If I can reduce my risk of skin cancer just by choosing to be unfashionably pale, sign me up. I never want to look back with regret, wondering if my bronze glow was worth it.

As scary as these stories are, these two brave women had happy endings. They caught the cancer at a time when it could be treated. They lived to warn the rest of us.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in the United States in 2020 over 100,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed, and around 6,850 people are expected to die from the disease.

Almost seven thousand families will lose someone they love this year from melanoma. That’s scary and hard to think about. And it’s plenty of reason to avoid tanning and take care of our skin in the sun.

Tanning seems like a grown-up issue, but sun protection during childhood is so important.

According to the American Cancer Society, research suggests that melanoma is linked to intense sun exposure or sunburns as a child and teenager. “This early sun exposure may damage the DNA (genes) in skin cells called melanocytes, which starts them on a path to becoming melanoma cells many years later.” Yikes.

Chronic sun exposure throughout the course of a person’s life (like, ya know, laying in the sun or a tanning bed for long periods of time on purpose) is the second way UV is linked to melanoma. They warn, “tanning booths might help either kind of melanoma to develop.”

It’s time to toss the tanning habit out the window. Enjoy the sun with your family, but do so safely. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for everyone (regardless of skin tone!), every time you’re going to be in the sun.  They also recommend relaxing in the shade, and wearing clothing that protects the portions of your skin that will be most susceptible to UV exposure.

While nobody can prevent skin cancer completely, protecting yourself from the sun and tanning bed can contribute to your chance at a full life with cancer-free skin.

Once and for all: Baking your skin to a crisp is dangerous, and not cute.

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Owning My Blackness, Hair and All

Black women and our hair, the act of getting it done, spending hours (typically the better part of an entire day, or say 5+ hours) at the salon, the waiting, the routine of it all, it is an activity that has in some ways, defined us. It has inevitably allowed us to create a kind of community among us, a haven of sorts where we can figuratively wash away the troubles around us.

As a child, going to the salon was a family affair. Every other Saturday morning, I’d drive with my maternal grandmother, aunts, and cousin and we’d sit for long periods. We would ping pong between the dryer and the hairstylist’s chair, waiting our turn to get our ‘do done. For myself and many other Black women, it was one of the ways we found a space to explore our own identity.

For so many years, more than I’d like to admit to, I fought against getting the hairstyle I have today, sisterlocks. In the ’80s I donned a Jheri curl. In the ’90s, it was a svelte cropped cut, which I’d sometimes swap out for long synthetic braids which were interlocked into my hair. Then in the ‘00s came the flat-iron.

By 2011, I’d had enough of my trips to the salon, enough of traveling the winding road to find another hairstylist because I’d moved to a new city. I was ready to embrace who I was, and root myself a little deeper into my Blackness, not to mention save money. I decided to do the big chop and wear the hair on my head exactly as it grew out of it: no alterations or any modifications of any kind.

As my hair grew out, so did my confidence. I had more money in my pocket, opting to take on the responsibility of my hair maintenance on my own. I also grew into my skin more. I began to own my Blackness in a way that I’d never done before. Not only did I have hair confidence, but confidence in my body too. My thighs, the same ones I thought were once too big and jiggly, I appreciated more for carrying me. And I chose to view my nose and my dark skin as badges of honor, finally appreciating them for the beauty. 

My wife, on one of our very first dates, asked me “Have you ever tried dreadlocks? I love them!” The disgusted look on my face and the explanation which followed turned her question into a yearly one, but one she would never let go of. After my twin daughters were born, I could not bear giving myself five minutes to even take a shower let alone commit two hours needed to twist my hair every other day and maintain it the way it needed. The idea of committing to something as permanent as sisterlocks became more of a reality with each passing day. So I spent twenty-seven hours in my new hairstylist’s chair, known as a loctician in the sisterlocks community — with a sore butt and all, kind of like what your ass feels like after your first spin class when it was all said and done. I then paid her close to $1,000 for her work and had 520 mini locs to show for it. I was all in; there was no turning back now. 

With my hair done and a slight fear that I would not like it tomorrow when I looked in the mirror, this ‘do was something I said I would never actually do. So why now, in 2020, did I decide to finally lock my hair? Why did I find myself losing countless hours on YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest searching up “sisterlocks” or “natural hair” or drooling at the sight of Naptural85’s loose luscious curls or Jess_inprogress_’s gorgeous locks? This hair community, albeit online, was now my community. I could “be” in the salon with thousands of other black women, with sisterlocks or natural hair, who for so many years, I would have given the side-eye to.

Now, I am one of them. Not only were they introducing me to different hairstyles or ways of life, but they were (without even knowing it) reintroducing me to myself, to who I am as a Black woman, hair and all. With each swipe left or right on Instagram, I felt empowered to live more confidently in my skin. I began to pack up the notion I’d told myself over the years, that dreadlocks and sisterlocks would make me “too Black.” If this was the story I told myself, then wearing my straightened ‘do meant that I was not Black enough, didn’t it?

What I truly know now, as a 38-year-old Black woman, is this: I am me. I am a work in progress. I am not searching any longer for something on the outside to make me whole on the inside. All I need is right here within my Black body, hair, and all.

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New Hair Color Trend: The Homeschool Hombre

Fashion in a pandemic can be really challenging. You can’t get your haircut, your stache waxed or your roots dyed, so what do you do? Wear a helmet? No! You rock your roots! Subscribe to Scary Mommy: https://bit.ly/3bBD9VI

Let those grey hairs fly like they love to. They’ve always had a mind of their own, so let them be free. Especially since you can’t right now.

Women across the country are proudly showing their roots. While we’ve been sheltered away, our hair has come out to play. From greys to dark roots, we’re letting it all out. Nothing goes better with your home sewn face mask than two inches of un-dyed hair. Think of your roots as a timeline for how long you’ve been on lock down. Who needs calendars?

When you’re at home all day, who cares if your blondes go black? If you used to pay for an ombre at the hair salon, well, now you got a reverse one for free! Silver linings. Literally this time.

Maybe your kids have been wondering why your hair is growing in funny or why those white hairs always point in weird directions. Well, now you get to answer these questions. Make it educational. When you’re homeschooling your kid, you can use your hair as a way to teach about hues and color blending. Sure, they might laugh and point and maybe your family drawings are starting to showcase your hair color as two toned, but at least it takes them a little longer to color and that’s more time for you. Love your true colors. Every single strand.

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I Got Under-Eye Fillers And Here Are 5 Things To Know

I got under-eye fillers last month, and honestly, I’ve never felt more confident. But I did keep it a huge secret from everyone, including my husband, who had no idea because it was a gift from a family member. I also hid it from my best friend, who just generally embraces every line and wrinkle as a natural part of aging. I’m not exactly embarrassed about this, but it did feel kind of vain and it is a lot of money for something not everyone sees value in.

But now, I’m coming clean and sharing what you actually need to know about my experience with this process. I would definitely do it again.

1. Fillers took away the deep redness and hollow look, at least somewhat, that I had under my eyes.

I Got Under-Eye Fillers And Here Are 5 Things To Know: Woman before eye filler
Courtesy of Lauren Rozyla-Wong

Before I got this done, my under-eye area was so red without concealer. People just kept telling me how tired I looked. It was really starting to bum me out and all the water and eye cream in the world wasn’t helping. Under-eye, or tear-trough fillers, really brightened this area for me and helped me look more awake. Instant confidence for this exhausted mama. (But also, can people just stop telling moms they look tired? Trust me. We know.)

2. It didn’t really hurt, but you may be uncomfortable.

I Got Under-Eye Fillers And Here Are 5 Things To Know: Woman before eye filler
Courtesy of Lauren Rozyla-Wong

There’s nothing comfortable about having needles anywhere near your eyes. However, you really can’t feel anything. You’re totally numb in that area of your face during the entire process. There is a small numbing injection you get on each side, near your cheek, but that’s it. Pain is minimal in my opinion.

The doctor made one small entry point near each cheekbone to place the filler using something called a cannula needle. You can feel things going on in your face but it isn’t pain exactly. It’s more like pressure and I’m not going to lie— it is pretty strange.

You can also experience some swelling or bruising afterward, but I didn’t.

3. It’s expensive.

I Got Under-Eye Fillers And Here Are 5 Things To Know: Woman side by side before and after eye filler
Courtesy of Lauren Rozyla-Wong

I got about a “dime-sized” amount of the filler Restylane-L under each eye. That amounts to one small syringe total. There was some kind of special for the month of January in the office, so the procedure cost $550. There’s no way I would be able to afford this on my own, but a family member gave this to me with a gift certificate for the holidays. I’m told prices vary on what product you use, who is doing it and where you live.

4. I went to a board-certified physician.

You don’t want someone not certified messing around your eye area. End of story.

She also had me come back two weeks later to check everything and do any additional smoothing if needed.

5. No one noticed or said anything to me afterward.

I Got Under-Eye Fillers And Here Are 5 Things To Know: Woman after eye filler
Courtesy of Lauren Rozyla-Wong

Overall, my under-eye filler is supposed to last for several months. Literally no one has said anything to me about it in the hours, days and weeks afterward. Not even my closest family and friends! Which perhaps is a good thing. However, I see a huge difference in the mirror every morning. I also feel better going out the door without makeup.

For me, that’s had a snowball effect for confidence after months of feeling blah. And really, isn’t that the most important thing?

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Why Going Gray Is Right For Me

My mom started going gray in her mid-30s and like most women of her time, she began dying her hair right away. I remember her bathroom sink perpetually stained with hair dye. It seemed like she was always having to re-dye her hair or touch up her roots. It was a real pain-in-the-ass and she would even mention here and there that she wished she had the courage to just say fuck it and go gray.

In my latter teen years—during my “au natural” hippie phase where I shunned make-up and even stopped shaving my legs and pits—I decided there was no way in hell I was going to dye my hair once I started going gray. Screw that, I thought, I’m not going to be like my mom and try to defy my age. I’m going to embrace my gorgeous God-given gray locks.

Eventually, the extreme phase of my teenage hippiedom passed. I started shaving my legs and pits again, wearing make-up occasionally, and just generally conforming to the beauty norms of the culture a little more. In my early 20s, my first few gray hairs appeared and I even remember plucking them out right away. It wasn’t that they looked terribly bad: I didn’t like what they symbolized. I wasn’t ready to be “old” yet, for crying out loud!

Still, those gray hairs were few and far between, and I was able to avoid the question of dying my hair until just a few years ago, when I hit my mid-30s, and—just like my mom—the gray hairs started multiplying all over my head.

Courtesy of Wendy Wisner

At first, I didn’t make a decision about whether or not to dye my hair. I still have that hippie, rebellious streak in me and I don’t like to make beauty decisions based on what society says I should be doing. I use makeup when I feel like it, wear whatever the heck makes me happy, and groom myself in whatever way I see fit. I’m all in with the you do you approach to this kind of stuff.

I decided I would see how I felt at each moment as the gray hairs started to come, and if at any point, I wanted to dye my hair, I would go ahead and do it. If not, I wouldn’t.

Soon enough, my grays started to appear in photographs, white streaks against my jet-black hair. I’d find white hairs on my pillow, or mixed in with the hair I’d rescue out of the shower drain. At first, the gray hair kind of freaked me out. Again, who wants to be reminded of how they are aging? It’s kind of creepy when you realize that your body is becoming less and less capable of doing seemingly basic things, like producing melanin.

Courtesy of Wendy Wisner

But I also found that I was starting to fall in love with the gray—or at least make friends with it. My 42nd birthday is coming up now. I’m by no means all gray. At a distance, I still look like a woman with black, wavy hair. But if you look right at me, there’s no mistaking the fact that I’m a salt and pepper kind of gal.

And guess what? I realized the other day that I’m all in with the grays. I’m loving each phase of the way my gray hair has taken over. Of course, the possibility still exists that I’ll change things up and dye it someday. Maybe one day I’ll want purple hair—you never know.

But for now, I’m loving watching the gray-haired-me take form, and I’ve been eyeing those older women who are rocking a head full of silver locks. To me, they look awesome and hot AF. And I want in.

Courtesy of Wendy Wisner

Aging is a very strange thing. So many of us do everything we can to get away from it. Dying our hair is probably one of the top things we do—and the majority of women do this, pretty much as soon as their first gray strand appears. I totally get that, and I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to dye your hair—or looking into botox, getting a facelift, a tummy-tuck, whatever floats your boat.

But for me, embracing my age has been freeing. I have loved getting older because it means I’ve lived life, learned from it, gained wisdom. I have so many fewer fucks to give, and they diminish each and every year. For me, my gray hair goes along with all of that. The grays are beautiful to me and give me a refined sense of beauty.

I don’t want to hide my age: I am proud of it, and I want the world to see that I’m a 42 year-old badass silver-haired lady who takes no shit.

Again, I’m all about the “do what works for you” mentality when it comes to choices we make about our looks, our bodies, our fashion choices. As for me, I’m saying fuck it, going gray, and loving every last second of it.

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I Get Botox And I’m Not Ashamed To Admit It

I just turned 44. I really freaking like my age and never hide it. I feel better than I did in my 20s, I’m smarter than I was in my 30s, and I can still do cartwheels and roll my eyes like I did when I was a teenager.

I like my body. I like my face. I have parts that are different than they were just months ago. I have areas that are better than ever — maybe this has something to do with acceptance, I don’t know. What I do know is maybe a little bit of being too busy mixed with giving attention to the things that matter the most to me these days is good for the soul, so I’ll do my best to keep it up.

As an aging woman who has birthed three kids, I also have parts of me I don’t like. I have loose skin, there’s sagging, and I have so many “what the fuck” moments going on during that time of month, I’ve given up on keeping track.

I don’t sleep well, and I wake up in a wash of sweat every morning. This takes my resting bitch face (something I’ve always kind of liked) to another level.

If I have a glass of wine, my face shows it the next morning, especially in my eyes. If I don’t drink enough water, I look like I want to hurt people.

Long gone are the days when I could stay out late, eat whatever I wanted, and fall into bed without washing my face with zero consequences. These days, I love getting facials and taking the time to keep my skin care routine tight. It feels like I am taking care of me, which is important because I love all of me. I embrace this body which has served me well for 44 years, and I accept the things I can’t change.

However, there is something I can change, so I recently did: I got fillers and Botox. And I make zero apologies for it. Yes, my kids know, but I don’t think it’s going to make them grow up with a warped definition of beauty. I teach them how to love themselves and how to be kind to themselves. But I also teach them if there’s a situation they don’t like, and they can change it in a way that’s not harming others, they should.

After talking with a frown line-free friend from high school, I asked her what her secret was. Is it good genes or an amazing product?

“Oh, I get Botox twice a year. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.”

There you have it.

That was the push I needed to get a little injection help, and I’m not afraid to talk about it.

I didn’t do it because I feel pressure to look younger for anyone either; this was a gift from me to me. I did it because I wanted to and because I can. I did it because I knew it would make me feel better about myself, the same way getting my hair colored and having a good brow job does.

I’d been wanting to get Botox since I turned 40. I was tired of walking by a mirror and seeing “my 11s” and the lines that ran from my nose to my mouth. The reflection looking at me didn’t match how I felt inside. My reflection looked sad, mad, and frustrated. Not older than my age, just not like the happy, energetic person I feel I am (on most days anyway).

So, a few weeks ago I got comfortable in a white leather chair and had the creases between my eyes dissolved. I got the smile lines plumped and smoothed. I walked out of there after happily handing over my money and feeling like a better version of myself.

I sat in my car and looked in the rear view mirror, totally smitten with the happy person who was looking back at me. There you are, I thought.

I like not looking like I’m frowning when I’m not. I like not having two creases between my eyes that make me look like I’m squinting when I’m not. I like not looking like I’m pissed off at the world when I’m humming along happy as can be on the inside.

I don’t want to look like a different person. I like my face. I just want my outside to match my inside, and now it does.

People can say it’s vain and shallow to get injections in your face to improve your appearance. They’re entitled to their opinion, but it in no way affects me. I get to do what I want with my body and face. I have a healthy relationship with both.

Some say they don’t notice a difference at all, and that’s fine too. I notice a difference, and I’m the only person I’m trying to impress here.

I love my face without Botox and fillers, but I love it more after a little tune-up. The phrase “self-care” means different things to different people. To me, this was a big one — something I’ve been wanting to do for years — and I don’t know why I waited so long. I look better, which makes me feel better.

My looks aren’t the only thing that determines my mood, of course, but they do matter to me.

So, my fresher face makes me happier. And when I’m happier, it overflows to the people in my life. I like that part just as much as I like my smoother face, and I’ll happily share the truth about what I do to my face because there’s no shame in doing something that feels good to you.

The only opinion that matters here is mine. While other people are rolling their eyes at me, I’ll be proudly removing the lines from around mine.

The post I Get Botox And I’m Not Ashamed To Admit It appeared first on Scary Mommy.

Mullets Are Making A Comeback And We’re Not Sure How To Feel About This

I got my first mullet when I was seven. I remember sitting in the salon, my feet suited up in white ruffly ankle socks and a pair of Mary Janes that had the tiniest heel. It was a  big day and I was dressed for the occasion.

I’d seen a picture of Farrah Fawcett in a magazine, tore it out and had carried it around in my Hello Kitty purse for what felt like an eternity before my parents okayed the ‘do. Short in the front, long on the back.

Then, my sister tried to mimic my look but, honestly, I wore it better. I still believe that hairstyle got me my first boyfriend and was the reason I won my 5th grade talent show. I refused to change my hair until the one-length bob hairstyle became trendy in the late ’80s.

Now, when I look at any picture of myself from those days, I feel ashamed. My kids remind me how horrible I looked and ask me to explain myself. Maybe there was power in the mullet then, but I believe I’ve used it all up and I’m not interested in giving it another try.

In the ’80s, I don’t even know if it was called a mullet. If I recall, we called it feathering our fucking hair and I felt fabulous with long cascading locks sliding down my back, and having my sides chopped and layered so they’d take my curling brush and aqua net hair spray like a pro.

GIPHY.COM
It was the hairstyle to have. The guys had it, the girls had it, the teachers had it, the parents had it.

It’s true what they say — everything comes back around– and mullets are no exception, it doesn’t matter if we’re ready for it or not.

No, I’m not talking about getting your genitals waxed, and leaving your butt crack furry, although as a single woman, I’m pretty sure that’s a mullet-trend that’s happening right now, but let’s save that for a different post, shall we?

I’m talking about the famous business-in-the-front-party-in the back gloriousness that can be achieved with the hair on your head. People are taking it back for real and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

On the one hand, it’s nostalgic for sure. I mean, who didn’t have a crush on someone from the ’80s with a mullet?

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Second, it definitely offers some variety. You can still sport a pony tail, it’s a great way to keep your hair out of your face, and if you’re like me and enjoy styling the front of your hair and saying “fuck it” to the back, this option is very appealing.

Billy Ray Cyrus really took the mullet to an extreme place. I’ve never seen anything quite like this — it’s perfectly coifed on the top and doesn’t move, but look at those carefree waves tho.

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In 2013, Rhianna gave zero shits about whether the mullet was in or not. I have to say, she rocks this in a way few of us ever could.

I don’t care who you were, if you watched Saved By The Bell, you had a crush on Slater hair and all.

However, many people just aren’t feeling the look and think it should go away and die with all the pay phones of the world.

But, if you are on team #fuckmullets, then I’ve got news for you: they are back, baby. As hairdresser Jackson Acton told The Guardian: “You can’t go wrong with a mullet. I’ve done a lot of them in the last year for both girls and guys.”

Excuse me, WHAT?! Really?

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It sounds like whether you dig the look or not, it’s coming back. The reason? Popular television shows like  Stranger Things are inspiring people to give the ’80s iconic hairstyle a second chance.

So, if you are looking to change things up a bit, want a shorter style and don’t want to fully commit, or care to give your young child the scissors and tell them to have their way with your hair so you can take a breather one Friday night, we can’t recommend the mullet enough.

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3 Ways To Make Sunscreen An Easy Part Of Your Skincare Routine

Applying sunscreen on our kids should come with prize money. After all, it’s kind of like a sport — with its obstacle course of squirming limbs and defensive line of tears and bargains. There’s never a need to actually pay for a gym membership when you have a tiny human and harmful rays to block. 

But what about our own mom bods and lady faces? When it’s crunch time, we let it go. Because we’re jammed up in hallways, just trying to get through doors or telling our kids to STOP as they hit the ground running. 

Plus, we have some requirements — that sunscreen can’t be gross and greasy, it shouldn’t smell like science, and it definitely can’t clog our pores. This means we’re looking for a multitasking sunscreen that applies fast, has some kind of dual action going, and protects our skin without destroying the environment. You know, basically the Mother of All Sunscreens. 

Stick It To Ya

If you’re anything like me then you’re loving stick skincare products. From face wash to moisturizer, sticks have been having an extended moment. I adore skincare sticks because they make traveling so much easier — they take up less room and, with no pump, it’s not like you’re going to find a liquid explosion all over your clothes. Plus, and I don’t know how they do this, skincare sticks seem to make everything go faster. 

In the past, I skipped sunscreen sticks. I didn’t see the value in adding yet another layering product into my skincare routine. I have 10 minutes each day, and it’s so important that each product I use doubles as something else. But most of the foundations with sunscreen I’ve found have limited SPF coverage, and tinted moisturizers with SPF are far too expensive. “Why,” I asked the skincare goddesses, “is sunscreen and foundation in a stick so hard to pull off?!” We have flip sequins and burgers made of vegetables that taste like the real thing, WE CAN DO THIS. 

Multitasking Like A Motha’

Earth Mama has done it y’all, they went ahead and cracked the code creating not only a tinted mineral sunscreen stick that’s safe for pregnant women and our oceans but also a sunscreen + foundation stick that’s affordable. And check this out: the tinted titanium dioxide in Lady Face may also block ghastly blue light from our computer screens — there’s some evidence that blue light might be contributing to increased redness and pigmentation in our skin. Lady Face, honestly, I bow down. 

Earth Mama’s Lady Face tinted sunscreen stick comes in two buildable shades: Light/Medium and Medium/Dark tint. Both are sheer enough to use on a range of skin tones, and yet they’re also buildable for custom coverage (think contouring with a sunscreen stick) to target blemishes. Lady Face is made with premium skin-loving ingredients like moisturizing organic shea and cocoa butter, and comes with an eye-popping and much appreciated 40 SPF. Plus, Lady Face is free of toxic chemicals, which means it’s reef and breastfeeding safe. 

Yes, You’ve Got Time For That

There’s so much to love about Earth Mama’s Lady Face, but I’ll start with how much time and space it’s saved me. As a 3-in-1 product, Lady Face meant I wasn’t dragging my own product weight around on a recent vacation — I was able to swipe and go. And, I wasn’t constantly thinking and saying to my fam, “I feel like I’m forgetting something.” Which is the slowest of tortures until you realize what it is, and then you just go ahead and live through the pain of loss. Thank you for saving me from that nightmare, Lady Face. 

But my absolute favorite thing about Lady Face is the buildable formula. This tinted sunscreen works when I need to pick up my kids, and I’m committed to my loungewear but not committed enough to look like a scrub. 

It’s a fine line, folks. 

We’re never going to get that prize money we so rightfully deserve for medaling in tiny-human sunscreen application. Now, though, we’ll have more than protected palms. We have a full-on protected lady face. Eat it, sun. 

Earth Mama Organics believes that mamas need one another because we’re all in this together. Lady Face is a new multi-purpose, sheer and blendable sunscreen stick safe for reefs, breastfeeding moms, and everyone else just trying to get out the door already. 

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6 Learned-The-Hard-Way Lessons I’ll Tell My Daughter About Body Hair

Many a moon ago, long before I or the collective conscience of Pinterest had embraced body acceptance, I had deep insecurities about my body hair. From my dear father, I inherited an abundance of wit and highly productive hair follicles. From its unwelcome initial emergence to the quantity and location, the dark tendrils confounded me throughout adolescence and young adult life. “I would have slayed in the Paleolithic Era,” I brooded — a simpler time when regulating body temperature was fashionable.

Since la prehistoria wasn’t in the cards, at the very least I could have realized early on that social constructs about appearance don’t always hold weight, right? Not so, Wednesday’s child of 1984. On my journey toward this realization, and fresh on the heels of my first big-girl job and credit card, I explored various methods of professional hair removal, including laser treatments and good ole waxing. Because of these experiences, I feel I have hard-won insight to offer my daughter, should she wish to pretend she’s not mammalian.

1. Resiliency is so hot right now.

Listen, kid, 1980s hands-off parenting is not en vogue anymore, and no one has ever accused me of being a laid-back parent. We need to level up your psychological resilience however we can. This means that hypothetically you will be minding your own business in sixth-grade band class when Zane Fletcher announces to the room that you have more arm hair than David Grimes. You’ll turn in slow motion, clarinet reed in mouth, eyes imploring Zane to leave you be.

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Spoiler alert, my little bird, he’ll just guffaw with the brass section and make Chewbacca sounds in your general direction. Daughter o’ mine, this is an opportunity to make lemonade out of dying inside in front of your peers. Lean on your kindreds and cool-but-responsible adults for support, and find a glittery Chewbacca shirt that speaks to you. Over time and with practice, you might just realize the opinions of yourself and your besties in percussion are of greater value than those of the mean-spirited trombonists of the world.

2. ‘Tis the pubes that bind us.

Given your familial history, your twelfth year will likely feature the unholy fury of puberty hormones. If your story at all resembles mine, your otherwise amazing Silent Generation mother may at this time completely opt out of explaining the finer points of hedge trimming or any other coming-of-age related topics. An informative pamphlet will not mysteriously appear on your pillow.

The resulting bush visibility may leave an opening for gregarious Aunt Gayle to slide into your puberty DMs and gently approach you at the waterpark while you are cold, wet and vulnerable in an arguably too-small swimsuit. She will earnestly offer support and much-needed guidance about shaving your bikini line. Theoretically, daughter, this will be your life’s most ideal opportunity to perfect the art of recoiling one shoulder inward and away from a loved one’s heartfelt touch, avoiding eye contact, and mumbling “yeah-okay…dunno” over and over until the encounter sputters out with a defeated side hug. Don’t bypass the rare opportunity to meaningfully connect with your loved ones by Googling crucial but embarrassing information in peace and privacy.

3. You get what you pay for.

There could be a time, my dear, when you find yourself in an early-20’s conundrum. You have an unruly crotch curtain, but you also have an empty bank account. It may seem an ingenious idea to seek the services of an unlicensed esthetician at the local beauty college. “Turn back!” your cerebrum should — but does not — beg as you confidently glide into the inexpert coven. “One Brazilian please!” you enthusiastically chime to the bored teen with headphones working the front desk. Your naïveté overrides all the clues that this could end poorly.

I’ll cut to the chase, honeybear. This story concludes with a tearful, shaky, and apologetic student cutting ensnared wax strips out of your nether-crevices. The only way you will survive this encounter is pure psychological dissociation. You will emerge a hardened version of your former self who visits the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology licensing directory before every future wax appointment. The takeaway: skip a few lattes to pay for the real deal.

4. A plague on both your forearms.

You may, dear one, decide you would like a more permanent solution to hair maintenance by utilizing hyper-excited electrons to obliterate your hair follicles. Might I, however, offer a potential scenario for your consideration? You may feel confident and empowered about your decision and stroll into the medical spa ready for a professional stranger to work their laser magic on your private areas. Once in the treatment room, however, you may discover that your former sorority sister turned successful physician assistant is the individual who will systematically be killing the root of your vaginal hair.

Mind you, my boodle-bug, that this sister was not of your offbeat, Jeanine Garofalo-inspired pocket of confidants who helped you limp through the social expectations of Greek life. This person had impossibly perfect triple-barreled hair and was soundly in the faction who served on leadership committees and made top ten freshmen. You will be forced to exchange pleasantries and life updates, namely your messy mid-20s divorce and decision to do something about your unruly vagina hair.

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I would love to tell you that the laser journey ends there, but theoretically, sweet daughter, you could have an allergic reaction to the treatments, rendering your forearms and vag-burbs swollen, poxed and gruesome. Maybe – and I’m just spit-balling here – the highly attractive Marine Corps corporal you’ve been e-dating is on leave the one weekend after you decide to acquire aforementioned rash. Your whirlwind romantic getaway to Dallas just turned into 48-hours of faking your period and sweating through unseasonably long sleeves without explanation. Not only did his biceps have that vein thing, dear one, but he also liked Prairie Home Companion. Don’t let society’s ideals about grooming steal your uniformed NPR enthusiast.

5. You’re the Michael Phelps of pain intolerance.

My sweet angel, your Olympic-level discomfort intolerance is comparable only to your grandmother’s, who rates her pain the frowniest face level for a stubbed toe. You literally passed out in front of all your guests and their horrified families at your third birthday party when you fell out of your chair. We paid ER money for the doctor to give us a handout about breath-holding. You pull a fainting goat with every Band-Aid removal, so I’m fairly certain laser-blasting your mons pubis is out of the question.

Should you decide that traditionally uncomfortable methods of hair removal are right for you, I will so be there for it, as will the eight doulas it will require to see you through it.

6. You’re beautiful.

Bush? Beautiful. Bare? Beautiful. Chewbacca? Works on so many levels. As a product of the 80-90’s, I am so on board with how far your generation is moving the needle toward radical body acceptance. You are a collective masterpiece of your flaws and scars and strengths and wild energy.

In the moments you don’t remember that, find evidence and confirmation from people who never forget it. Come to your father or me with anything, and we will teach and answer you as honestly as we can. Nothing is off limits, sweetheart, except for the word penis, which I will never be able to say with a straight face.

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