Nice to meet you, finally.
My name is Carissa, I’m 38 and a mother of 3. I started this blog in 2007- back when people didn’t really know what blogs were- and this is my face.
Let me back up a little.
When I started HOB there was no disguising my face, I filmed YouTube vids like this one, by setting up a clunky tripod with my little camcorder in plain daylight and went for it. I’ve regularly erased comments in the years since I’ve posted it like ‘why would we take beauty advice from you?’ or my personal fave ‘you look like a man.’ Needless to say I dipped out of posting those vids pretty quickly after experiencing some of that brutal YouTube culture. Around that same time I was on a local TV beauty segment for 4 years which was easier knowing I wasn’t responsible for the production value, but still intimidating. (THIS was my very first appearance. I can barely hear my nervous little voice cracking to be heard) I was already a few years into Botox, so I’d freshen that up and hope for the best with that unforgiving HD, but for the most part I wasn’t half as concerned about my appearance as I was what to say. I was also filming videos as the Beauty Expert for Walmart.com over a span of 4 years reaching an audience of millions, usually concealing workout pants and slippers under my desk. I was in my early 30’s, kid (and wrinkle) free in a time when everyone’s face was their own. Ah, those were the days.
It’s so different now. Instagram introduced us to the single biggest lie that social media junkies all tell, and filters be thy name. You no longer need expensive equipment to present beautiful content to millions and become a star overnight. Perfectly flawless images which were once reserved for magazine covers are now the norm thanks to apps that can turn an average face into one that’s thin, young, and professionally made-up. It’s no wonder that Instagram, the most popular social app in terms of length of daily engagement, is also pretty low in participation with just 5% of users having more than 50 pictures (source). Maybe people would post more often if they felt secure in their appearance compared to so many Insta-celebs who have millions of followers, a seemingly endless wardrobe, and camera-ready makeup every day. It’s all an illusion though, it really is.
This technology has gotten so ubiquitous that most of the images we see are a pollination of real and fantasy, rarely pure or un-doctored in some way. As a Makeup Artist, I’ve often posted my work that in comparison looks shotty and unpolished because the actual texture of the person’s skin is *gasp* showing through. We’re so used to seeing this weird pore-free mannequin skin that we wrongly ask ‘why doesn’t my skin look like that?’ instead of ‘why doesn’t that look real?’ Even after taking the side by side below, I literally was like- ‘oh shit, I can’t post this. Maybe I’ll try it again in better light?’ I wanted to filter my face in a story about filtering. Clearly though, I didn’t.
In the last 4 years I’ve had 3 kids which means 3 weight gains (50, 55, and 35lbs respectively), followed by weight losses, with some serious melisma, and too many sleepless nights to count. If ever there were a perfect recipe for aging, this would be it. The importance of nursing Lola trumps Botox right now, and I’ve been derma rolling instead of getting expensive laser treatments. Improvements are being made, but it’s slow going and – let’s face it- nothing is going to zap away that look of exhaustion any time soon.
Of course it’s worth noting that there’s nothing wrong with the way I look, it’s not like I’m filtering out leprosy but when I mention that I look tired, or am trying a new serum for wrinkles I’m sure people who see these perfect looking pictures I post are just thinking I’m crazy – like why would I need those things? After 20+ years of helping women navigate in this strange beauty industry with honesty and humor, I can’t hide a pretty important part of this whole equation- my own face. I can’t leave you wondering why you use everything I’ve recommended and don’t have perfect skin like it seems like I do. And while it’s intoxicating changing my face to smooth perfection so easily, there’s a component of honesty missing somehow. So here I am, without filters or lighting or makeup- the things that make me feel comfortable showing myself to thousands of strangers.
And although I won’t be giving up filters any time soon, I’ll probably ‘go naked’ every now and again. And if you’re comparing yourself to these illusions- stop. Comparison really is the thief of joy. Strive for healthy, happy, honest, and maybe even transparent. You never know when something so simple might be the most inspiring thing you can do for someone else.