Beauty DIY vs. Pro

Yesterday I was reading this post by Garance Dore, when her post script got me thinking. She mentions that most French women color their own hair, but most women in the United States pay professionals to do it, along with manicures, waxing, etc. I’m wondering if that’s true and what beauty regimes you outsource.

Personally, I’m willing to spend a bit more on my hair. I think a really good hair cut is worth something. (Although I admit to touching up the cowlick that forms at the nape of my neck with embroidery scissors between cuts.) When it comes to hair color, I’ll only let a professional do it. I have a horrendous DIY dye-job story from college. And after a recent bad dye job from my regular stylist, I might only let a “colorist” do it from now on.

I’ve only ever had two professional manicures, but last summer I indulged semi-regularly in professional pedicures. I loved the way my toes looked all cleaned up with cute polish. But that ish is expensive, and I should save my money this summer. I’ve never had a facial, but I’d like to some day.

So what beauty and skin care things do you pay a professional to do? Are there one or two things you’ll pay a little more for on a regular basis and do the rest yourself? Only pay for beauty treatments on special occasions? Or do you outsource it all?

Style File — Beauty Secret

Women’s magazines are constantly and obsessively turning out articles on how to retain youth in new and complicated ways. But the best beauty secret I ever heard is incredibly simple.

When I was in college, I interned at a museum in Massachusetts for a summer. In order to make ends meet, I also worked part time at the mall just across the New Hampshire border. Our manager, was a very young-looking 40 something, and all of us employees were fascinated with how youthful her skin was.

So naturally we asked her what her secret was. She told us she washed her face twice a day, morning and night, and moisturized every single time. That was it! Washing and moisturizing diligently. A simple routine, which yielded skin with few wrinkles and looked like that of a woman in her 20s. She even admitted that she used to smoke, yet her skin showed no tell-tale signs.

It is a lesson I internalized. Sure, when I was 21, wrinkles weren’t a major concern. But by starting that routine early, I hope I’ve set my skin up for a healthier life.