For about as long as I can remember, my dad was, for lack of a better description, “Mr. Mom.” Let me explain: he bought me my first Barbie doll; he sometimes braided my hair; and he bought me my first pair of patent high heels. I loved those shoes; they were shiny, they were chic, and they were most certainly my first glimpse of lady-hood.
Enough about shoes. Beyond stressing the significance of a great pair, my dad taught me more about beauty than anyone else. He grew up watching his own mother primp and pamper at her vanity night and day, and what seemed to be idle observation turned out to be useful stuff in the long-run.
Who knew that I would be born to a mother who didn’t know the different between mascara and eye liner, much less use the two?
Thank you, Dad. (I most certainly did not have YouTube during the formative years of my life. To you video-savvy younglings: you’re a lucky, lucky bunch.)
Here’s what I learned from my father:
- Steam, steam, steam. My dad would facilitate my morning routine. Shower, check. Hair wrapped in a towel turban that never fell (this trick I’ve never mastered), check. Teeth brushed, check. Face washed, done and dusted. It was very specific, his methodology: wash with warm water, always. Soak a hand towel in hot water, wring out excess water, and lay it over your face until the towel cools for some steaming action, before finishing with a splash of cold water to tighten those pores.
- Same goes for the shower. I was always told that the steam was good for my skin, and I believed it as little kids do when adults tell them things. (It’s a good thing, then, that my dad was always right.)
- Papaya: good for you, good for your skin. And hair, too. My father would regularly whip up a huge glass of papaya smoothie (skim milk or soy milk blended with chunks of fresh papaya, nothing more and nothing less) and insist it was one of the best things I could ever do for myself. Again, I took his word for it because Adult Logic is usually Right Logic in the mind of a seven-year-old and I drank that stuff religiously. (It was good, for the record, so no child was harmed in service of The Greater Good.) Twenty-two year-old me now knows the benefits of papaya are plentiful. For starters, it has more Carotene than most fruits, and when used directly on the skin as a DIY treatment, boasts hydrating, smoothing, softening, and exfoliating properties. Unfortunately, papaya isn’t always in season – that’s where the Papaya Body Lotion comes in handy.
- Avocado’s another one of the good ones. Avocado smoothies were also commonplace in my home. Any scraps left in the shell would be promptly scooped up and smooshed in my hair or my face. As a neat-freak child this never failed to drive me crazy, but I do remember not being able to stop petting my hair post-mess.
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