Diamond-Cut Life is about being rich in what matters, like joy, creativity, loving relationships and integrity. We can grow these things in our lives, rather than, for example, buying into media-driven ideas of how we should look, and the vast number of things we should buy in order to look that way.
The Beauty Experiment by Phoebe Baker Hyde is the funny, honest story of a woman who feels the same way, and did something about it. She spent a year without any beauty products, new clothes or salon haircuts, and almost no jewelry. And she gives us snapshots of her current life, five years later, which is less austere than the year of the experiment, but much simpler and happier than her beauty-obsessed life prior to it.
This book is so good, I’m not just adding it to my Good Books page. I’m giving away a copy to one of my readers. To get into the drawing, subscribe by email to Diamond-Cut Life, to your right. I’m doing the drawing January 31st.
Examples of the ways Ms. Hyde, age 36, broke outside the box of our culture’s costly beauty norms:
- She stopped shaving her legs – and wore shorts when taking her daughter to the park.
- She partied at an upscale bar dominated by the pretty people – in plainface.
- She covered all the mirrors in her house for a month - and had a huge upsurge of creativity.
Did you know the average woman in the U.S. spends $15,000 on makeup, alone, in her lifetime? Who among us has not toiled and fussed unhappily in front of the mirror, changing our hair and clothes and makeup before we exit the house, hoping to be evaluated positively by the world? What are some other ways of breaking outside the confining beauty-box of mainstream culture, short of going cold turkey as Ms. Hyde did?
Well, some of you know that I had a vanity crisis last spring, at age 52, when a child on a playground asked me if I was someone’s grandma. My panicked trip to Nordstom’s make-up counter, plus hearing the Dalai Lama speak here in Portland on the exact values I’ve been writing about since 2007 here at Diamond-Cut Life, led to my writing Dealing Well With Aging. (I’ve never received as many impassioned comments as I did on that post.) My vanity crisis was valuable because it landed me here:
I’m determined to age gracefully, and focus on who I am and what I do with my time on earth, rather than how I look. For example, being of service to other people pulls me blessedly out of my vanity. The homeless person searching for his next meal is more important than my prettiness quotient. So are children born with cleft palates, who will grow up in social isolation without the simple surgery that will give them normal faces, and lives. I now give $40/month to Operation Smile, which does cleft palate surgeries in developing countries. (Phoebe Baker Hyde also does some philanthropy as an outcome of her simplified approach to beauty).
Conserving the earth’s precious, finite resources can be an equally good motivator for breaking outside of our culture’s beauty box. The more we simplify our closets and collections of beauty products, the more lightly we are treading on the earth.
The Beauty Experiment is the tale of Ms. Hyde’s bravely breaking outside our culture’s beauty-box to become richer in what matters: joy, creativity, integrity, time and energy for loving relationships and meaningful work. It’s a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it.
Get into the drawing for a free copy of The Beauty Experiment by subscribing to Diamond-Cut Life, below. Be sure to click the verification email you’ll immediately receive. I will never share or sell your email address.
Coming up this winter and spring at Diamond-Cut Life: How To Deal With Hoarding, and How To Find Work You Love.