Vanity, for many years, has been perceived as two class systems; high-maintenance and low-maintenance - in which women have been stuffed squarely into one of two camps.
The low-maintenance girl is portrayed as someone who sticks to more of a man’s beauty timeline; someone who never takes longer than a boy to get ready, and who is devoid of products except for perhaps a half-used chapstick rolling around in the bottom of their bag.
The low-maintenance girl is cool, and easy going but is always already perceived as beautiful by conventional standards. Someone who is totally unaware of their effect on people, despite being constantly reminded about it.
Whereas the high-maintenance women are almost always painted out to the villainess, mean girl. Enter; Regina George - someone who indulges in so much adornment to almost an obsessive degree.
Folklore and cinema are partly to blame for this classist categorization, which, although is entertaining and satiric, is not without consequence. As if the movies hadn't already put enough pressure on women, who are expected to always look perfect and put-together, but with the least amount of cosmetic help possible (of course). Then, social media happened. Arguably the worst thing to happen to woman confidence, since, forever. I try to adhere to one strict policy when it comes to social media usage, namely; don’t follow anyone who makes you feel like you should be somebody else, and I strongly suggest doing the same.
When I was younger, I had to be low-maintenance because I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair or wear makeup until I was in my final year at school. I got into the beauty game later, and I guess that suddenly having control over everything to do with my appearance, which had previously been contraband, was empowering. Fast forward to six years out of home, and I would now certainly fit into the ‘high-maintenance’ camp.
While the aspiration of being low-maintenance is not an issue, the idealisation of it severely misses the point. Whether or not you decide to partake in beauty treatments that you benefit from, or are trying to benefit from, or you don’t, the amount of time you put into your beauty is no one's business but your own. Judging someone for wearing too much makeup or any other narrow-sighted celebration of natural beauty is unfair, and serves no purpose other than to stigmatize taking control of your appearance - YOU DO YOU.
The obsession with natural beauty and ‘no-makeup makeup looks’ is that it actually encourages a whole lot of other more drastic measures. Microblading, Botox, and fillers may seem ‘extreme’ to some, but the rise in demand for them probably stems from people wanting to champion their daily beauty routine without wearing makeup. Hence being ‘low-maintenance’, with a premium.
Girls, we’re not appliances and you don’t need maintenance. But low or high, it shouldn’t be considered as any form of vanity or ‘lack’ of natural beauty. As Dolly Parton famously said “if I’m gonna have any looks at all, I’m gonna have to create them”, and from one high-maintenance gal to another - I salute you.