Point/Counterpoint: Hair vs. Makeup


Welcome back to Point/Counterpoint—everybody's favorite, intermittent beauty debate column. Given this showdown only comes around once in a blue moon, let's have the big conversations. Let's figure out which category reigns supreme: hair or makeup. On one side of the aisle, we have makeup neophyte turned acolyte (and paying member of RhymeZone.com) Mattie Kahn. On the other is Emily Ferber, who was born sitting in a shampoo bowl. This is Point/Counterpoint. Fists up, folks. We're about to sling some mud.

Point, from Mattie: We all owe a lot to Meghan Markle, but what I appreciate most is that she made this point for me in such a chic and visual fashion. The fact is that applied makeup is better than “done” hair, and Meghan proves it.

Earlier this month, Markle stepped out with a prince on her arm and a haphazard bun on her head. Even more accessible than her department store coats and $30 sweaters is this bun, all the components of which are available to most of us at this exact moment. Grab an elastic and a sense of joie de vivre. That’s it!

Well, kind of. The truth is that most of the time, even when our buns are a bird’s nest curated just so, we don’t look like Meghan Markle. Or maybe I shouldn’t generalize. I don’t look like Meghan Markle. It’s not because I don’t have a nice head. It’s because no one stippled me with her radiant complexion or smudged kohl liner. It’s because no one dabbed me with Puff or the superlative pink lipstick. It’s because I was 15 minutes late to work, and there was no one at home to make me look like a future duchess.

But last month, it was different. For the first time, I had a series of events that demanded professional makeup. And thanks to the fine people at Blushington, I had it. At last! I felt a fraction of what Meghan feels. What Gal Gadot feels. What Beyoncé feels. Once, I had fake lashes. I looked, let me just be honest, incredible.

Not since I wore a Power Ranger costume for almost a full month in Pre-K have I elicited so many double-takes. And my hair? It was irrelevant. Could have worn it in pigtails. Could have chopped it off. Instead, I tied it in a loose bun. I felt like a fucking queen.

Counterpoint, from Emily: Not to be one of those people who constantly quotes Nora Ephron instead of thinking of her own whimsical and well-phrased ideas, but I’m pretty sure Ms. Ephron already won this Battle Royale. (You made it a royal thing, Mattie, not me.) “Twice weekly blowouts are cheaper than psychoanalysis and much more uplifting,” the You’ve Got Mail writer said. She also wrote When Harry Met Sally. I get blowouts roughly every two weeks and haven't seen a therapist since college (when I couldn't afford blowouts). You do the math.

But what's more pragmatic than mental health is technique. How easy is it to reach your face? Go ahead, right now. Reach for it. Was that hard? No. Your face is very easy to reach. Queue up a YouTube video on "How to do a smoky eye" and you're golden. Self-reliant and well-kept.

Now try to blowdry the back of your head—pantomime works if you're at your desk right now. It's akin to doing a tricep workout with a barbell. Not comfortable, enjoyable, ergonomic, or visual. Should you choose to blowdry your hair at home, you might be getting along just fine—you've got the tautness just right on your round brush, your roots are smooth and your ends aren't fried. That is, until this point. Once you get to the back of your head, you're gonna wish you sprung for that blowdry.

I hear your qualms with “done” hair—that pageant-y, coiffed look. But done hair no longer means “done” hair. Not in the slightest—just go to Drybar, ask for the Cosmo Tai, sleep on it, and see what I mean. Healthy, shiny, bouncy (to the extent that that's your thing) and for as long as you can withstand not showering and not going to Soulcycle. Soulcycle is the enemy of the blowout. It's why I do Pilates instead. And if you can make that blowout last around 5 days (don't ask me how long I go), you're looking at less than $10/day in cost per wear. Again, you do the math! And if you don't feel like it, perhaps His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge can convince you.

Photo via ITG.

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