I’ve always gone back and forth on how much time to devote to my appearance. On one hand, I like to look attractive and put together. On the other, I try to resist the somewhat ridiculous beauty standards that advertising and beauty magazines set. For example, one magazine I borrowed for a friend recommended seven different types of makeup to help you “Be a Natural Beauty.” Personally, I feel naturally beautiful when I eat nutritious food, sleep well and get enough exercise. In contrast, this magazine suggested (among other things) Dolce and Gabbana mascara and something called “airbrush spray” as the ticket to natural beauty.

For many women, the majority of their beauty routine is spent on their hair. A CBS article from July 10 says that women spend, on average, 23 minutes a day “drying and styling” their hair, almost ten minutes more than they spend on their makeup. I feel like this study may be overstating the numbers a little bit; for example, they claim that the average women spends seven minutes a day “moisturizing” (I barely spend seven minutes eating my morning bowl of Cheerios).

These numbers, however, are just an average. Each woman’s routine is going to be a little different. I know my routine even varies from one day to the next. While I generally scrunch product through my hair and let it air dry, in the winter I may take the extra fifteen minutes to diffuse it. Straightening my hair, however, is an hour-long process involving at least three styling tools, at least that many products and another person. I generally just “scrunch and go” because it’s quick and easy, and it works well with my hair type. There’s always the curly girl’s mainstay—the messy bun—to fall back on if I hit snooze one to many times.

Spending a lot of time on your hair (or spending no time at all) isn’t inherently good or bad. Context is important too; heading to the library may not require a careful coif but a Friday night date generally encourages me to whip out the hairspray. Whether I’m headed to favorite study spot or out for a night on the town, I try to maintain a routine that makes me feel beautiful while not letting the beauty standards I’m exposed to every day hold too much sway. I’ve discovered that beauty isn’t defined by the amount of time it takes or the number of products I employ, but by what gives me the most confidence as I go through my day!

Stay Curly,