I have had a long love affair with makeup. Every since my first metallic blue Wet and Wild eyeliner, I’ve enjoyed messing around with my face. From my Morticia Addams phase to my no-makeup look, to my recent attempts to look my age (but AWESOME for my age), I’ve always wielded mascara and lipstick like it’s my job.
However, makeup is not my job. Makeup is the opposite of a job in that, instead of earning me money, it takes money away from me by the fistful. While I would like to try and buy every product spotlighted on the Sephora app, I would also like to eat on a regular basis and, I dunno, put money aside for my kids to go to college. Adult stuff. That is why I’ve become obsessed with reading about beauty hacks that deliver high bang for low buck.
Among the odder trends in the world of beauty hacks are the surprising frequency of alternate uses for products initially designed to be applied below the belt.
I guess it makes sense that creams and gels designed for the sensitive tissues of your labia or rectum would be gentle enough to use on your face but, honestly, I’m not sure it would have occurred to me to try that without significant prompting.
But prompting I received, so come along. Join me in the beauty adventure I’m calling “Head up your ass? How about ass up your head!”
What? It’s funny.
The first stop on this journey is a hack you probably already knew about: hemorrhoid cream for eye bags.
We all first heard about this when Michael Caine lunged at Sandra Bullock in the dressing room in Miss Congeniality and told her Preparation H would reduce eye bags.
There’s real science behind this one. Preparation H is a vasoconstrictor — hemorrhoids are basically bulging veins that get irritated, and the cream tightens them up, so they don’t bother you as much. Eye bags are also highly vascular skin with a lot of fluid accumulation, so Preparation H can shrink them up the same way.
I’ve been doing this for years. I don’t even use the brand name anymore. Store brand butt cream for my eyes, baby! It’s cheap af and really works. The before photo below was about 10 minutes before the after photo, and hemorrhoid cream is literally the only thing I put on my eyes. Just a little dab on my ring finger that I pat gently under my eyes, and away I go!
This stuff runs about $5.90 at Target, and a tube will last you for ages. I don’t even know what regular depuffing creams from cosmetics companies cost because it’s been so long since I used them.
This hack is a time-tested winner.
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Next up, we turn to the world of hair. I have curly hair and follow the Curly Girl Method. If you don’t know what this is, there are all kinds of places to read about it, starting with Lorraine Massey’s book called The Curly Girl Handbook. You can also find all sorts of websites and Facebook groups dedicated to sharing styling tips for curls.
One of the tips that I kept reading was to use lube in place of traditional hair gel.
Yes. Lube. In your hair. The kind you usually use for sex. Normally, you want to keep the fluids involved in sex out of your hair, but maybe there’s an exception for lube?
Since part of the whole Curly Girl philosophy has to do with avoiding alcohols, silicones, and parabens in hair products, while still finding products that provide moisture and hold, lube makes a lot of sense. Vaginal tissue is seriously delicate, so lube has to be correspondingly gentle. No fragrances, no irritants, certainly no products that would create build-up. This seems like a good idea, right?
Yeah, wrong. At least for my hair, it was wrong. I grabbed the tube of Astroglide in my medicine cabinet, scanned the ingredients to make sure it really was Curly Girl friendly and started slathering it on my head. However, I willfully ignored one particular ingredient: glycerin.
There is nothing inherently wrong with glycerin. It’s a perfectly fine ingredient and works nicely on penises, vaginas, and on some people’s hair. But not my hair. See, it’s a humectant, which means it attracts more moisture from the environment, which causes my hair to go frizzy or limp and stringy.
Slathering my head with glycerin based lube (I used as much Astroglide as I would for a regular hair product) turned my hair into — well, see for yourself. The first photo is how my hair usually looks. The other photo is my hair lubed.
This is not a look that’s going to catch on.
If your hair doesn’t hate glycerin, this might be a hack to try, but I won’t be doing it again. Astroglide is available at Target for about $3.60. Compared to the $15.29 I’d fork out for Curly Girl friendly Kinky Culry Knot Today gel, the lube would be a bargain, but I wouldn’t want my hair to look like that again at any price.
This hack fails hard.
The final hack on the list is Monistat anti-chafing powder gel for primer.
I know! You’re thinking: “What the hell? This sounds utterly bizarre.”
That’s what I thought, too. In fact, I was ready to dismiss the whole idea because I haven't used primer in years.
I used to splurge on the Smashbox Photo Finish primer, but that fell by the wayside a long time ago. I stopped using primer altogether and didn't really feel like I was missing anything.
But this whole idea of using a feminine anti-chafe gel on my face was so compelling that I decided to investigate further. I looked up the ingredients for the Monistat and then the ingredients for the Smashbox Photo Finish and HOLY SHITBALLS! IT IS BASICALLY THE EXACT SAME PRODUCT!
See? Apart from a few fragrances in the Smashbox, we’re talking the same product.
Since it’s effectively the same stuff, the Monistat works about the same way as a typical primer. You rub a little glob on your face and then apply make-up over it. Honestly, you can’t see a real difference in the way your makeup looks compared to slapping it on unprimed skin. The actual proof is how much longer the make-up lasts. Case in point: the photo of me with my eyes closed. That was taken at 10 pm as I was about to take my makeup off. You’ll notice that I still had makeup on my face! Usually, it all melts away during the day, but I still had a nice wash of eyeshadow glamming me up right up to bedtime.
THIS HACK IS BLOWING MY MIND!!!!
So there you have it. A good hack, a hack fail, and the hack to end all hacks. Now, go forth and enjoy the benefits of my experimentation. I’ll be on the Internet looking for more weird but cheap beauty ideas to try.