August 11, 2017

How High Maintenance Are you?

This past week, I took a little time out for myself and spent a much needed afternoon of grooming and self maintenance. My friend and I were texting last night and laughing (but not really) about how time consuming and expensive it is to keep up with all the maintenance it takes to be a woman, especially as you get older and especially when you live in an urban city.

Haircuts and color, skincare maintenance, brows, exercise, manicures and pedicures (whether at home or at a salon) and for some, the list can be longer. This might sound like a shallow conversation, but for many of us, it’s the norm. This is not even including all the serums, oils and creams I use on a regular basis. Truth be told, I actually enjoy *most* of this stuff. No, I don’t necessarily love washing my face at night, in fact, that part is a downright chore. However, it’s knowing that I’m doing what I can, to be the best (physical) version of myself. It’s what makes me feel good and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

Side note: several days ago, I was chatting with another friend who recently had her second baby. We were both comparing notes on how much our bodies have changed after pregnancy (and nursing) and she bashfully looked at me and said “I’m going for a boob job and lift.” It was as if she was embarrassed about even having these thoughts!  My response “good for you!” I’m a firm believer in “whatever makes you happy.” No judgement at all. I also have some girlfriends who don’t wear a stitch of makeup, never paint their nails and have wash and go hair. I don’t judge them for that and I would never expect them to judge me for doing the things I do. To each their own!

Went off on a little tangent, but during my day of self maintenance, I got my hair done for the first time in several months. Instantly, I felt like a new woman! I wish I could be somebody who felt great with their natural hair color, but I’d be lying if I said I did. I feel drab and my entire face feels washed out. I’ve gone to so many of “the best” color places in NYC, but have never left 100% happy. I’ve left too dark, too light or had a crappy grow out process. A great color job should always grow out beautifully! After numerous recommendations from friends in the industry, I went to David at FOURTEENJAY and have never left happier. To be completely transparent, color with David is very expensive, but pretty much the norm for top stylists and top NYC salons. Fun fact: he also does Kate Bosworth’s hair. I definitely found “my guy.”

After my color, I booked an appointment at Lash Lift NYC after hearing Erin talk about lash lifts for months. I messaged her on the side and said “seriously though, do I need this in my life?” and her response was a big “YES!” She’s based in Canada, so she was going to a completely different person, but I did my research, asked around and landed on this place. I’ve done lash extensions in the past and didn’t want to go that route anymore. They made my own natural lashes break and the maintenance was just to much for me. A lash lift is a safe way to lift your natural lashes, essentially what an eyelash curler does, but it will last for 6-8 weeks, depending on the person. You guys. HOLY CRAP. I’m going on day three of it and I wake up with open eyes. As a heavy-lidded person, this has opened up my entire face. Rather than explaining the entire process, I found this short 2 minute video that breaks it down way better than I can in this post. I HIGHLY recommend it and if you’re in the New York area, I highly recommend Lash Lift. This is not sponsored at all, just sharing the info.

I have no makeup on in this photo! Just lash lift and tint. 

So how about you guys? What beauty procedures do you do? Which do you skip? Do you consider yourself to be high maintenance or not? For me, I know I don’t have a high maintenance personality, but I do love trying new things, new products, I love having my nails painted, etc. I guess some would call me high maintenance when it came to beauty, but I’ll blame it on the industry! After all, I do have to make sure I’m on top of my game!



  • La Bijoux Bella | by mia

    I love ❤️ the simplicity concept of life and also applied to my personal traits too. I always love a clean fresh looking manicure ? Pedicure. I prefer to do it myself, it’s a learning curve not to get the paint elsewhere, it’s fun and it’s a little exploring adventure when you start to treat and do everything yourself. Take charge and live your life simply and creatively! 🙂

    ??LA BIJOUX BELLA ??| By Mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • sylvia arroyo

    Funny you bring this up Helena because me and my sister always talk about how hard it is being a woman. Aside from being mothers. Keeping up with maintenance is alot of work and I feel like women have it so much harder than men. I get a mani/pedi once a month and have a long night routine every day. This does not include giving myself a blow out twice a week.

  • Caitlyn

    I just love you Helena. Thank you for giving us permission to be high maintenance! I often feel quite guilty for being so. I teach yoga and ride motorcycles, so I feel like i should have that sort of hippie vibe, but I’m also a professional in an urban center and really value a fresh mani and beautifully colored hair! I sometimes get crap from my yoga friends about how much I pamper myself. But it’s what allows me to be my best self and serve others. Now, we just need to find a way to cut that time in half! It’s so time consuming trying to look good 😉

  • chrissy gali

    Oh Gosh, being a woman is so expensive lol! Now that I’m thinking about this topic, I guess I am considered pretty high maintenance. Between skin care products, microdermabrasion, gel manicures/pedicures, haircuts/blowouts, sephora (lol), waxing, equinox and soulcycle, I could probably have put a pretty nice down payment on a house 😀 LOL!!

    Great post!!!!

  • Natali

    I’m possibly one of the low maintenance women around. I keep everything to minimum and simple but I don’t judge or find anybody who does differently a weirdo or something. Just like you said, to each their own as long as woman looks presentable and “taken care of”.

  • Amber

    This is a tough one for me, especially after reading Naomi Wolf’s book “The Beauty Myth”. I absolutely adore beauty, makeup, glamour, and self-pampering but I really hate the fact that the beauty industry makes trillions of dollars based on marketing campaigns designed to make me feel less than worthy, ugly, fat, or that there is something wrong with me. I keep my products to a bare minimum and the ones I use are very high quality. I use LaMer for moisturizing and also Biossance rose oil. For my body I use coconut oil. I do my own manicures and I have a haircut that I can cut myself so I only go to the salon 3x a year. No judgment whatsoever on ladies who are high maintenance (or perceive themselves to be), I simply think our crazy consumerist culture affects me negatively and perhaps more than most people.

  • Sharon

    Such a great post. I think I am low, maintenance I hardly ever where make up and throw on clothes, but I love nice clothes, shoes and bags. So I do have a pinch of high maintenance. But I cut my own hair and hardly ever get mani/ pedi’s but I actually want to change that. I guess I’m a little mixed. Your eyelashes look great! I dm’ed you the other day about it and now after seeing your results I want to get mine done again, it’s been a couple years since I did it. Thanks for sharing, I hope you have a great weekend!

  • Maricela

    I truly enjoy reading your posts, you keep it real, I can relate to you, I just don’t get that same feeling with other bloggers, I appreciate the content of your site. About your post, I would consider myself normal, because I am willing to do all that I do in order to keep myself feeling and looking great. Looking a certain way makes me feel good about myself. This takes a substantial investment via time and money, I am ok with it. I don’t judge those who are not interested in doing what I do, we are all different and life is more interesting with people who are different around us. Keep up the great content!

  • Lelita

    O. M. G. TOO many to name!!!! Between my cleansing regimens, which include everything from oil cleansing and oil pulling to using serums, moisturizers, retinoids and other maintenance such as chemical peels, in addition to trying ANYTHING once (microdermabrasion, fraxel lasering), I do my own brows, as I’ve been really good at it since I was 12-14. Add to that, giving myself B-12 shots (they’re addictive) and various supplements I take…it’s a wonder I ever make it out that house!

  • Fatou Diaw

    I love this post!

  • Gabrielle

    Amen to this post! I love your posts and honesty on your beauty routines and suggestions! Keep em coming! 🙂 I am 6 month preggo now and missing a lot of my beauty routine that is “on hold” until I’m done breast feeding! But when I am back in full swing I won’t feel bad about it at all: A woman’s gotta do what she has to do to make herself feel great, refreshed and put together (and make her man happy). As much as I don’t have a high maintenance personality, my husband calls me a Ferrari. (thats bc he only has a brother and doesn’t know what woman have to do to maintain lol). I get my nails (gel) done once a month, I have straight hair so I blow dry and curl myself – so no blowouts; I do my own makeup for all events and daily; Botox is only 2x a year (if that); brows every 3 weeks; and color/cut every 3-5 months; and my bedtime routine is about 30 min and I enjoy every min. of it – especially considering with baby coming in 4 months that will probably be taken from me haha.
    Your lashes look gorg! I hated lash extensions, they totally ripped out my natural long lashes. Will have to try this out now! 🙂

    xo! Gabrielle

  • Rachelle

    I’m somewhere in the middle, I just don’t want maintenance to take too much of my time but we all have to do whatever makes us happy.


  • Teah

    I definitely consider myself high maintenance. My regular beauty routines are nails, pedicures, waxing and I go to the hair salon twice/month. I also love make up and high end beauty products because they work better and last longer. I’m ok with this because I work hard and I like looking my best. It makes me feel good about myself and my husband appreciates it as well 🙂

  • alexia

    Oh wow! Major difference! Love this!! xx

    See my latest post:
    // being intentional
    born bred BE – a blog by Alexia

  • Kathy R

    I hardly have time for beauty procedures during term time! Last week I had a manicure and pedicure for the first time this year and it felt really good, as if I was a new person too! (we aren’t allowed to pain our nails in med school) I love your do whatever makes you happy note 🙂

    • nicole Sioui

      Great read! Brought me to reflect on my routine and how it came about. As a young girl I had breakouts and my mother wouldn’t let me use the tinted Clearasil because she considered it make-up! I was miserable and self-conscious. Then one summer I spent a month at my cousin’s who made me up for the first time. I was mesmerised! I actually slept with a full face of make-up; trying hard not to smear it off and ran to the mirror first thing that morning to see if it was still intact. (I was young lol) That experience had me hooked and intrigued in beauty products and couldn’t wait until I was old enough to do my own thing. I love caring for my skin and am light-handed when applying make-up. Sometimes my husband thinks I put too much time into my routine but when he sees some of my friends that are the same age or younger than me, he says “keep doing what your doing!!!” One thing I can’t go without is doing my brows because they never grew back the same after cancer/chimo. xxxx

      • nicole Sioui

        Oups, for some reason my comment registered as a reply to Kathy R.

  • Flavia Dos Santos

    I few days ago me and my girlfriends were having that very same discussion on how high maintaince women are these days. But we all agree that it makes us feel better after a good hair cut, color, manicure, pedicure and now the lashes:-).
    As a mom of a two year old it makes me feel that I still have some control over my life.

  • Brittany

    I absolutely have to get my hair colored every 6-8 weeks (blonde) everyone here would agree if they saw me with my natural color. I absolutely HATE getting my nails done so I gave that up long ago. I get a gel pedicure every 2 months or so in the summer but in winter I take it off and use a normal polish since it’s not really being seen. I have decent brows… and i kind of just let them go as I also don’t love doing that chore. I did start doing botox…. I LOVE IT. LIKE WHOA. I had SO much movement in my forehead before and was starting to get fine lines, this has saved my forehead… hahaha (and only 2 times a year – i can definitely find time for that)

    I also got my teeth zoom whitened for the first time this year… and i also do love it. I am more into the long term procedures that last than the weekly maintenance. I have soooo may gal pals that do more and less, It’s totally personal preference.

  • SeL

    Hi Helena, your post mentioned that a friend of yours is considering having a breast augmentation. Please, if anyone is considering any form of plastic surgery – please, please do your research. My son was born with a raised and painful skin deformity that covered the back of his left leg (medical term haemagenoma). To remove the raised growth, his specialists had to insert tissue expanders underneath his skin in order to grow extra skin, extricate the growth and suture the new skin. The process is identical for a breast augmentation. A tissue expander is inserted so that extra skin can be grown to accommodate the implant. He had 3 skin tissue expanders inserted on three separate occasions. He lost two of the tissue expanders to infection. He endured surgery to remove the infected ones and then, again, endured surgery to reinsert them. He was on oral antibiotics for the duration of the tissue expansion (three months) and had weekly injections of saline solution to expand them. The weekly injections were painful and the stretching of the skin was uncomfortable. When he was 17 he had five major surgeries in 10 months – surgery to insert expander, surgery to remove infected expander, surgery to reinsert expander, surgery to remove fully expanded expander and growth on leg. The fifth surgery happened two hours after the growth on his leg was removed – he was bleeding internally and went back into the operating theatre. The surgeries took a physical and emotional toll on him – they depleted him. It took his body a year to recover. Why am I writing this, because after seeing what my child had to endure I believe that unless surgery is absolutely necessary for a medical condition, avoid it. Complications and infections do occur very frequently and you don’t know if you will be one of the unfortunate ones to have something go wrong. If I have offended anyone, I apologise.

    • SeL

      I’m sorry that my post above focused so much on my son. What I wanted to get across is that having any form of surgery (irrespective of whether for medical or cosmetic reasons) deserves serious consideration as there are major risks – risks associated with anaesthesia, the surgery and infection. In this image conscious society, it bothers me that plastic surgery is deliberately glamorised and presented as something that is of little consequence/risk. Having lived through my son’s surgery and complications, I plead with anyone thinking about plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons to research the bad and ugly associated with their particular procedure. Ask doctors to outline in detail the risks associated with the surgery and anaesthesia, ask them about patients that have had complications occur – what happened and what remedial action was taken, ask what is the success rate, complication and failure rates. A doctor that has integrity and is concerned about the welfare of his patients will share such information in detail and will not sugar coat the risks. Run from a doctor that won’t share such information and treats the risks as trivial/insignificant. Every surgery carries serious risk and then there is the risk of post-operative infection – particularly concerning given that antibiotic resistance is high. I have no medical training but I am a mum whose son had 10 major surgeries between the ages of 11 and 17 to remove a growth on his leg that was painful and growing. Doctors explored all avenues possible to remove his growth without having to resort to surgery, but surgery was the only option. I understand that there are numerous individuals who go through surgery without complications and it is a success. But there are just as many individuals where this is not the case and that is something that needs to be taken into consideration. One doesn’t know if a surgery that they choose to have will be without complications. Please, anyone thinking of having surgery for cosmetic reasons thoroughly research and consider the risks – they are not insignificant or trivial.

      • Helena

        Hi Sel, please don’t apologize!

        I’m sure seeing your son go through that was gut-wrenching and I’m terrible sorry to hear he had to go through something like that. You’re 100% right – I didn’t mean to write it as it’s something so subtle and not significant and your insight and personal story is very appreciated. I cannot agree more. Doing your research and going into it with complete knowledge of the doctor, the risk and everything in between is imperative. Thank you for that reminder.


        • Sel

          Dear Helena, I didn’t mean for my post to make you feel uncomfortable. I have been a reader for a long time and through your posts it is very evident that you have integrity and are a compassionate, caring and non-judgemental individual. Please don’t think that I thought you were flippant – you most definitely were not. You were being supportive of your friend. It’s just that when I hear or read about people choosing to have surgery for cosmetic reasons, I worry because the cosmetic surgery industry is very much glamorised. I hope that your friend has been fully informed and I hope and pray that everything goes well for her. Take care, xx

  • Alina

    I don’t consider myself high-maintenance, but I try to never skip the basic beauty routines to keep my skin fresh and healthy.

  • Tasha Juli

    You’re so right! I guess I’m pretty high maintenance. My hair is really crazy, so its keratin treated and cut frequently. I get bi-weekly manicures, and recently got Botox to smooth out the lines on my forehead I’ve had since I was 19! There’s no shame in having something done, as long as it doesn’t turn into a plastic surgery obsession!
    Tasha Juli

  • Lera

    After having my daughter two months ago, I’m glad when I have a minute to brush my teeth in the morning! But I am usually pretty low maitanance, and wish I could do more but I’m kinda lazy 🙂

  • Francine

    Hi Helena,

    Love your (and your readers) honesty!

    I’m definitely on the mid-high maintenance side. I have several “must-do’s” but then just as many “I can’t be bothered with” items.

    I spent time and money on skin care (retin-A, serums, sunscreen, masks, scrubs, oils daily, and botox every 3-4 months) and hair care (base color every 3 weeks, highlights every two months, brazilian blowout every 4 months; Latisse for my lashes). BUT, I do my own mani/pedi, eyebrows, self tanner, shave – not wax – work out everyday, take supplements and try to eat well.

    I work hard, have three young boys and make no apologies for any of it! No one should!

    (Yesterday, the barista at my neighborhood Starbucks said I was a “cool mom.” I’m not gonna lie….a compliment from an 18-year old high school girl is pretty awesome!)


  • MiTH

    Let’s see:I spend thousands of dollars at the dermatologist for fillers and super complex lasers on my face. Other than that I get my long hair highlighted twice or thrice a year. Blow out on occasion. I’m not really into fancy skin care. So I guess – low on actual maintenance time but high on the cost?!

  • Amy

    I agree – if something makes you happy! I know for me, I love fancy manicures and always having my nails done. I try to to balance out costs but a trip to paintbox is a fun treat and I don’t think that’s high maintenance!

  • Katie elliott

    I am amazed at how much more difficult regular beauty maintenance is now that I’m a mom! With you on all of this! On the lash front, mine are awful, short and a light brown. I started the Rodan and fields lash boost in may and it is amazing. I don’t sell it and never would, but it is worth the money and just paying a little more on amazon so you don’t have to find a rep….unless you already know one. My lashes have legit doubled in length and seem thicker.

  • insta downloader

    Very informative blog article.Really thank you! Much obliged.

  • membership plugin wordpress

    I am amazed at how much more difficult regular beauty maintenance is now that I’m a mom! With you on all of this! On the lash front, mine are awful, short and a light brown. I started the Ronda and fields lash boost in may and it is amazing.


    How much are lash lifts and with what frequency should one get them?

    As for procedures, I wash my face a LOT(I get metal all over it at work), I moisturize occasionally with an anti-aging cream(I’m 24) and daily use fresh cut aloe to moisturize my face(it’s really helped my acne!). I get Brazilian waxes but shave my legs, armpits, and peach fuzz. There’s also regular plucking to be done! Blech! That’s before even considering exercise!

  • Michela

    MIKI X

  • wordpress membership plugin

    I prefer to do it myself, it’s a learning curve not to get the paint elsewhere, it’s fun and it’s a little exploring adventure when you start to treat and do everything yourself. Take charge and live your life simply and creatively! ?

  • maria r.

    Love your blog, and I loved this post. It’s funny I’m not high maintenance, but like you I love skincare products. I’m a mom a 4 year old, and it’s still a challenge to feel put together, but a manicure/pedicure is a non negotiable for me. I get gel mani and pedi every 3 weeks, no matter what!
    I get my cut/color done every 12-16 weeks, a and eyebrows done whenever I start looking like Chewbacca. I have to try the lash lifts, yours look amazing. I don’t really get facials, because I love using new products all the time. I am really liking drunk elephant products, the face oil and the glycolic night product are amazing. . I enjoy your blog so much! Wish you continued success.

  • Aimee

    I love this! I always think I’m going overboard with everything I ever do! My mum has never really had a skincare routine and as a result, I didn’t really have one until the last few years or so when I found my love for makeup so it’s good to see people with the same passion for skincare and upkeep as me!

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