Beauty Salon Denver CO
Haircut / Style, Hair Color, Highlights / Lowlights, Manicures, Pedicures, Facials, Massage, Body Treatments
Haircut / Style, Hair Color, Highlights / Lowlights, Manicures, Pedicures, Facials, Massage, Hair Removal
Haircut / Style, Hair Color, Highlights / Lowlights, Facials, Body Treatments, Hair Removal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Haircut / Style, Pedicures, Hair Color, Facials, Highlights / Lowlights, Massage, Color Correction, Body Treatments, Permanents, Spa Packages, Body Waves, Hair Removal, Wave Relaxers, Make Up, Manicures, Make Up Application
Lakewood-West Denver, CO
Arvada-Westminster-Wheat Ridge, CO
Balancing Act - Outer Beauty, Inner Peace
By Barbara Hey
When my mother asked me to paint her toenails, I got nervous. She was confined to a hospital bed at the time, sick with cancer. For as long as I’d known her, her grooming regimen had been minimal, to say the least. She’d apply a slash of lipstick somewhere close to her mouth, and shave her legs every couple of months as if blindfolded, leaving stripes of stubble.
She had always considered any attempt at self-beautification frivolous. So why at this juncture in her life—she had only a couple of years to live—the sudden interest in the superficial?
But I didn’t ask questions. I did what she asked, weaving tissues around each of her toes to keep them separated and applying several coats of blood-red polish. She accepted my ministrations without a word—also not her usual style.
As I focused on her feet, holding each one lightly while I brushed on the polish, I began to understand her request. My mother—not one for physical demonstrations of comfort or affection—was feeling vulnerable, anxious, and alone. She was asking for care in the only way she could. In sickness she was yielding to her need for touch, which in health she had resisted. As her body failed, she sought some tangible sign of vibrancy and control. Painted toenails were the best she could do.
Since that day, I’ve looked at the various grooming activities—polishing nails, having hair washed and styled, getting facials, massages, and herbal body wraps—with a fresh eye. I used to think they were all about vanity. Now I see that these activities do, yes, fancy you up a bit, but they also fulfill a deeper function. I see the evidence among friends, some enduring the stresses of the day-to-day and others the worst of what life can throw at you, all of whom feel just a bit better if nails are kept up, gray roots hidden, skin tended to, makeup applied.
These pursuits are sensually and aesthetically pleasurable, both while they’re being done and afterward. They’re acceptable ways to tend to the self and to be touched by another person. And though we do these things for ourselves, they’re also a way to connect with other people, both by being touched and by doing them along with other people. (And, some might argue, by taking care to offer our best face to the world.) Witness the interplay at beauty salons, where conversations about life occur among strangers while hair is being styled or nails held under the purple glow of the quick-dry lights. The conversations initiate you into a kind of informal tribe, one that recognizes other members by coloration—either natural or applied—just as if we were from another species.
Grooming rituals, in fact, are part of what link us to our animal ancestors. “Among primates, grooming is critical for social alliances,” says Marc Bekoff, a professor of animal behavior at the University of Colorado in Boulder. “It serves two maintenance functions—cleansing the body and maintaining social relationships.”
We’re hardwired, it seems, ...
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