The Gross Beauty Stuff That Brings Us All Together

Oh, how I love it.
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Kate F.
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Oh, how I love it.

Two summers ago, I took an internship in the beauty department of one of my favorite magazines. After three months, I was transformed, but not for the reasons you'd expect. 

The lipstick drew me in, but the mind-bendingly repulsive conversations the other interns and I had behind closed doors made me stay.

I’m a firm believer that, as much as most of us try to hide it, humans are inherently pretty nasty creatures. But we tend to only reveal said nastiness in the presence of those we’re really, truly comfortable with. 

popping a pimple

How do I get rid of this thing?!

Cue recollections of your older brother burping in your face, or the moment you realized you were OK with passing gas in front of your romantic partner. If the ability to show our true, un-groomed colors to someone equals a close, comfortable relationship, then there’s no denying that being in beauty forces a particular group of people to get really close, really fast.

You see, the second you commit to beauty, you realize that it’s mostly about solving a number of “problems.” 

What’s the best way to pop a zit? How can I hide my cellulite? How do I reverse my orange hair dying mistake? What product should I use to slough all the dead skin off of my feet? When you're working amid loads of "solutions-oriented" products, you talk about all of these gorgeous little issues with your coworkers. 

extractor tool for blackheads and zits

Zit popping solution: the ever-satisfying extractor tool.

I am 10,000 percent FOR this kind of honesty. When I think about my favorite people, so many of them are in the beauty industry. In addition to sharing an undeniably fun, creative passion for beauty, our bonds were forged over some very intimate topics.  

For example: That time I was cleaning out the beauty closet and found a little gem called Subtle Butt: Disposable Gas Neutralizers. 

Um, yeah. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Instantly, three of us were laughing our heads off at both the absurdity of this item and, of course, our own wonderfully humiliating fart stories.

subtle butt gas neutralizer

Photo courtesy of Subtle Butt

Then there’s the tale of the facial peel that literally makes your dead skin come off in satisfying, balled-up rolls. In a very public realm, someone I worked with spread it across the back of my hand, giggling with glee, “This is about to blow your mind!” And it did. We watched the skin on my hand roll off as if it was 1997 and we were seeing Titanic for the first time.

Sometimes this breathtaking ability to be entirely honest edges on downright brave. 

One of my greatest beauty pals, Kaleigh, wrote a story for Yahoo Beauty about coping with Netherton Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that hits not only the skin and hair, but also the immune system. (This is not to say that the effects of this disorder are “gross,” by any means.) Kaleigh was courageous enough to divulge this information to me fairly quickly in our friendship, most likely because we were gabbing away about the best ways to treat dry, sensitive skin.

kaleigh fasanella nethertons syndrome

My brave (and gorgeous!) friend, Kaleigh.

Though there are social norms that we’re all, on some level, expected to adhere to, the pressure on women to be perfect, dainty fairies is especially daunting. That’s why I’m so quick to shut down people who try to call the beauty industry frivolous or unimportant. 

In my perfect beauty world, it’s all about sharing our quirks and becoming more empowered women as a result.

looking in mirror

Don't freak about this moment! You've got a community behind you.

And that’s why I brag about the xoVain community so much. Writers like Trista fill me in on fishermen that pop back acne without warning (for real!). Tamara is honest--and unapologetic--about her “beard and 'stache situation.” 

And you, readers, we’ve discussed everything from giant whiteheads to pubic hair, and I love you all the more for it.

blowing kisses to the gross ladies

Kisses for all my beauty friends.

So, now more than ever, I’m dying for your input!

  • Had any disgusting beauty convos lately?
  • Fill me in on all your stereotypically “nasty” issues!
  • And, of course, what’s your favorite thing about beauty?