Hot and Cold Beauty Advice

We all have our porn. Mine is reading cosmetics reviews in fashion magazines and then either rushing to get whatever is being recommended or feeling extraordinarily smug for already owning the product in question, thus being ahead of the curve. The high-end fashion bibles I religiously peruse (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Tatler) are very good with their advice, and veer towards insane only every so seldom (I loved the recent advice to “wrap croissants in a Hermès-scarf” to transport them from the boulangerie to one’s apartment, but then decided against).

From a feminist point of view the annual media-cycle of women’s magazines is of course very interesting. There are not many months when we are not made to actively feel bad either for the food we’ve just eaten (Christmas) or will soon be eating (summer holidays). When we are not getting beach-ready, it’s time to shed the holiday pounds and again look svelte for autumn’s festive season. 

So as not to directly body-shame women, many magazines have taken to camouflage some of their slimming tips as “pursuing that lit-from-within look” or “resetting your system” -bullshit. Some of the advice is good, but mostly their point is to make us readers look slimmer. I regularly read the Porter Magazine, because it is really good. The interviews are top, there’s a healthy balance between the amount of adverts and actual editorial content (possibly because the magazine itself is a catalogue of Net a Porter) and it has a good mix of wearability and fantasy.

Porter’s beauty section is always a favourite, because we’re talking about pages and pages of edited beauty content – a rarity in fashion magazines. The latest issue is dedicated to the gut, or, more precisely, how to get rid of it. There’s a good bit of reading about the digestive system, which is always interesting and useful. I mean, who isn’t bloated all the time (I am)?

On the fitness-side I’m happy to share that the good old sit-ups are totally ​passé, because the high authority of abdominal muscles, the US Army, is apparently phasing them out from its training program. If the men have so decided, what else is there for us girls to do, but to move to twists and rotations in our exercise regimes in order to get army-worthy six-packs?

Moving on to the more blatant weight-loss agenda pushing, there are reviews of European spas that offer “revitalising super-boosts”. The German option of “strict daily routine of morning apple-peel tea, enemas, massage, weighings, broth for supper and early bed times” does not exactly sound like a fun mini-break,  but fear not: we are assured that “by day three the headaches go”. The spa is said to heal guests with depression as well, and the only thing I can think of is that if you don’t havedepression before you go, six days of broth and enemas very likely will give you one. I mean, how is this a revitalising boost in any way? If this is not a crazy-expensive fat-camp (€2600 for 6 days), I don’t know what is. 

I moved on to read about six steps to better digestion, which did sound more interesting. You’d be as surprised as I was to find tips about freezing one’s fat* on the same page. Move over herbal teas and supplements, it’s all about freezing the lard this season! Again, my conclusion is that the main point of any of the above advice is to make us lose weight and look slimmer, as opposed to merely help us ​banish the bloat. 

Gutted (pun!) I went to the internet to see whether Atelier Doré would offer something interesting to read. Still shivering from reading the details of the fat-freezing procedure, there was a post about steaming one’s vagina staring at me. Why, I asked myself, but decided to read the article. Turns out, there is no reason. The only thing the author could come up with, was to “spend some quality time with her vagina” while she was having it vaped.

Squatting over a pot of boiling concoction of rosemary and some bogus “lady herbs” (I mean for the love of god) in the back-room of a day-spa might make your genitals “radiate positively” if you’re in the market for that. However, coming from a country where people go to sauna several times a week, I was wondering whether me and my fellow countrywomen were actually way ahead of the trend of having our bits steamed. 

So, to combine the beauty trends of the season, herewith my tip: Sauna session with a freezing-cold beverage. It might not rid you of your stomach or make your uterus sing for joy, but speaking from experience, a sauna session, especially if shared with a friend, is much more likely to reset my system in a positive way than having a Dirndl-attired nurse serving me “mineral-rich water” while having a  tube up my arse at a secluded Austrian clinic.

Dry-brushing the skin is also very good. 

* Not to be tried at home, obviously. There are references to clinics where people are at the ready to “vigorously massage our semi-frozen flesh” (apparently feels like thawing chicken breast). 

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