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Women & The Art of Personal Maintenance

Women are the most amazing species. We work, we cook, we carpool, we run companies. Our tastes and styles are as unique as our fingerprints, yet there are some needs we all share. Earlier this week, I wrote about the importance of regular mammograms, but most of us also perform a whole different class of constant personal maintenance – and also see them as real lifesavers.

Let’s start with the basics.

Haircuts and hair coloring happen about every eight weeks (unless you’re a natural blonde or blessed with some spectacular rich brown hue). Haircuts – not just trims – are for those who want that short Clare-Underwood-House-of-Cards look. Sharp, smart cuts can make a woman look ten years younger. They can also cost a woman a small fortune.

Interesting little fact: During the 2008 recession, women continued to splurge on expensive hairstyling and coloring while forgoing new clothes, shoes and other staples. Layoffs meant we needed to look good for job interviews and that translates into keeping the hairdresser on the reduced payroll.

Many women have manicures and pedicures about twice a month. There’s nothing like putting your feet in warm swirling water. And if you’ve found one of those extraordinary nail salons that offer them, you also get a deep foot massage before the polish.

Body waxing, bikini waxing, leg waxing and face waxing are also monthly appointments most women do not enjoy. Waxing is aptly described in detail in the film The 40 Year Old Virgin and Steve Carell’s reaction is viewed by some as underplayed. The outcome of body waxing is usually everything one hoped for but it always hurts. Always.

Brow trimming-waxing-tinting is also on the monthly maintenance plan. Someone, somewhere once said that eyebrows are the most important part of the face since they frame it. Whoever said that was obviously an investor in Benefit; a multi-location beauty retailer well-known for their attention to the eyebrows (and, of course, for selling oodles of cleansers and creams).

Women all over the world know what a wallet-drainer skin creams can be. Dry skin, oily skin, young and old skin – there are creams for every type of skin, along with cleansers to use before the cream. And let us not forget the sunscreen and sunblock we’re are told to apply every hour (a near impossibility).

Women with a large amount of discretionary income (and time) also schedule Botox and CoolSculpting sessions; the latter being a non-invasive treatment to release fat cells and most often performed often in a dermatologist’s office.

My two-cents on the Art of Personal Maintenance is pretty straightforward.

Haircuts make you feel good – inside and out. Even an inexpensive trim at SuperCuts gives you a lift. Looking down in a meeting and seeing your nails trimmed and polished gives you a shot of confidence when it’s your time to contribute to the discussion.

From coloring and cutting to shaping and massaging, these appointments also offer busy women a chance to set aside a little time that’s just for them.

Most women generously give up the majority of each day to all the other people in their lives; their children, their partners, their elderly parents. Women rarely use the word “no” when asked to volunteer at the food bank or homeless shelter, even though it might absorb the only free time they have during the week.

So, as you book that appointment for your haircut or pedicure, tell yourself everything is all right. You’ve earned and deserve this time. Enjoy it.

What’s your favorite part of the monthly beauty regimen?  Who provides the best service in your city? Share your thoughts in the Comments section and help keep America beautiful.

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Lee Ann Monfredini

Lee Ann Monfredini

Lee Ann Monfredini is the founder of 360Women and a life-long advocate of women’s issues, political activism, social volunteerism, organizational accountability and personal responsibility. A graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in Non-Profit Management, she’s not only served on the boards and executive teams of some of the most respected health organizations in the Bay Area, but built a successful second career as one of the most respected realtors in the market. She can be reached at leeann@360women.net.

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