Saturday, October 25, 2008

Frugal but frumpy.

I'm funny looking. Always have been, always will be. I also have no sense of style, preferring to live in jeans and flannel shirts when given the option. My hair is generally a mess. I made my peace with this at twelve, pretty much walked away from any thought of being feminine or pretty, and I'm ok with it.

Usually. Now I have fourteen year olds giving me a running commentary on my appearance every morning in homeroom. I don't care that they mock my slacks and cardigans. Nope, my shoes are not as cool as your Jordans. No big deal. I could, however, do without the daily updates on the state of my skin. Yes, my breakout has gotten worse. No, despite all of your mocking claims, it isn't herpes, just bad acne, probably exacerbated by the stress of dealing with you charming children every day.

It doesn't matter that it makes me look ugly, but I'm getting sick of looking so young. When I went to picture day, the photographer asked what grade I was in, even though I had my best no-nonsense updo and slacks and blouse that in no way resembled the school uniform. When I swung by the art teacher's room on prep period to get my face painted for homecoming, there was a chorus of complaint about his insisting I should cut in line until one of the kids I know yelled out, "Shut up, she's a teacher." Last night I went by Wal-Mart after the football game, and the checker noticed my school spirit t-shirt and asked if I "go there".

So every time I go to the store, I have to talk myself out of buying more soaps and potions, reminding myself that I already have plenty at home. If they were going to help, they would have. I've been tempted to buy make-up as well in some foolish attempt to look a bit more mature.

I was vehemently anti-cosmetics throughout my adolescence, refusing on principle to support an industry that can exist only by making women feel dissatisfied with their appearance. I was the only teenage girl I knew who had fights with her mother about not wearing make-up. Then when I started college my aunt marked the occasion by mailing me a box full of Clinique, and I began to relent and wear the darn stuff for interviews, weddings, thesis defenses, and other such occasions. I gave the mascara to my mom, but the tube of lipstick and tiny trial sized blush and eye shadow got me through four years and aren't quite out yet. I discovered that a dab of concealer, a quick swipe of powder, and some lipgloss could make me look a bit more presentable on ordinary days when I was feeling blah.

But, alas, I left all that at home when I moved. Buying everything I want to replace would easily run $25, and I can't justify spending that on vanity, not when my retirement account has lost almost a quarter of its value. I need to suck it up, accept that this is what I look like, and get on with my life.


Anonymous said...

I don't know what you look like -- but perhaps a more adult haircut would make a difference, if you don't want to shell out for an entire wardrobe/makeover/etc.

(PS -- What does it matter that your retirement account is down in funds? You're not retiring for thirty or forty years!)

Frugalchick said...

I agree with possibly getting a more adult haircut--I look about 12if I don't do something "grown up" with my hair.

And if you really want to replace some of your make-up, try the drugstore! While I love the high-end make-up I do have, there are tons of cheapie gems at CVS and Target that will get the job done beautifully (Jane mineral blush, Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse and Pure foundations, Revlon Super Lustrous glosses). Plus, you can always find them on sale (B1G1Free, etc).

Revanche said...

My haircut is the only concession/effort I make. And yet, I'm still bad-hair-girl at work. *shrug* I might do a dab of gloss/balm, whatever's on hand, to make sure that I'm not all chapped. It's ok, as long as you're clean and tidy.

MoneyDummy mentioned an interesting skin care regimen recently that seems low maintenance. That might be worthwhile, more so than all those lotions and chemicals at the drugstore.

Mary Sue said...

If all you're looking for is a little color, I suggest the Wet n' Wild line of cosmetics. My second favorite lipstick ever is one of their crayon-style lipsticks, and their eyeshadow is comparable in formula, colors, and lasting power to very expensive brands.

The lipstick-crayon costs like, $2, and I think I spent $4 on the eyeshadow pallette. I also bought a $2 Jane Be Pure™ mineral lip balm that's tinted and smells yummy.

For the record, my number one absolute favorite lipstick of all time is "O" by M.A.C., and at $14 a tube I only trot that out for vendor meetings and blah days.

Craig said...

Go see a dermatologist. The soaps and creams in the supermarket are very basic and probably not strong enough to help you out. Then you won't have to worry about wasting money on them anymore.


Anonymous said...

Hello there,

I'm in the process of applying to Teach for America, and I found your wonderful Blog! I've been really enjoying all of your posts! Your blog makes me so jealous of your personal finance savvy, and really makes me feel guilty for being so dependent on my parents for everything! So kudos.

Regarding your skin problem - have you ever considered or heard of Accutane? If your acne is recurrent and annoying enough, Accutane might be really worth it! If you don't know what it is, it's basically a pill you take for 6 months that completely cures acne. It's a strong Vitamin A derivative that decreases the size and output of your oil glands.

Depending on where you research online, many sites will describe it as a vile poisonous drug that has nothing but bad effects. Speaking from personal experience, though there were some side-effects during the treatment (dry, delicate skin), none were severe, and the treatment ended up changing my life! I never knew it was possible to have such nice skin! Everyone will react differently to drugs, and even though some people have bad experiences with Accutane, I think it's worth a try if it's available to you. It's a very pricey drug without insurance, but most insurance plans cover it.

Anyways, I just thought I would chime in since I understand how frustrating acne could be and the conscious/subconscious effects it can have on people.

If you had any questions, feel free to contact me at

Keep up the great work!

- Rob