The 80/20 Beauty Rule

You know what sounds like a fabulous idea?  Taking economics and turning it into a (likely untrue) hypothesis about how to stay beautiful.  

“The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity)[1] states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “...the 80/20 rule…” in a podcast, I would have enough money to buy myself a bottle of gel polish (or half a sheet of jamberry).   So it was only a matter of time before the light bulb went on and I realized what a gold mine this term was.  Mostly in validating...exonerating (?) my extremely complicated beauty regime.  //cough cough//

So here goes…


Your beauty products should work for you, not vice versa.  

If you’re spending 45 min doing your hair, but you live in a climate where it takes less than 3 hours before it looks worse than when you started… then the 80/20 rule is here to save your life (or at the very least give your more time in your day).  Currently, the trending beauty wisdom revolves around specific tips, but everyone is different, so the 80/20 rule is a system wide perspective vs a detailed one.  Pick the hairstyles, hair colors, makeup etc based on the intersection between your personal values and effectiveness.  Your body knows this even if you don’t, so listen to it.  Also, if you find yourself always skipping over a certain eyeshadow or mascara or lipstick, but you keep thinking you’ll still wear it?  Toss it or put it in a separate bag reserved for costume parties and small children.  You’ll have fun scrubbing off of the walls at some future point.

I ignored this to my detriment last week when I spent an obscene amount of time beating my hair into submission for a family portrait the beach.   Poseidon in all his fury wrecked havoc on my wanna-be Repunzelness in less than five minutes. may have been a record breaking 30 seconds, but I was in denial.  

Which leads me to my next point.  

It’s ok to have long hair that you only wear down when the President comes to town.

 Maybe this is dumb, but it was an epiphany to me.  It’s ok to have long hair you wear up 80% of the time.  Historically/anthropologically etc this wasn’t so unusual (You wouldn’t want to get suckered into weaving gold or anything because you forgot to put your cap on), but these days it seems like you need to defend long hair otherwise the temptation and pressure to cut it off gleams like shiny green grass on the other side of the fence.  So in case you needed an excuse for keeping your hair long even if you normally keep it in a ponytail or messy bun: It’s just the magic 80/20 rule at work.   

Only abuse your body occasionally

I love high heels, feel comfortable in high heels and would wear them all of the time if I didn’t live barefoot 80% of the time (are you catching a theme?).  I've noticed though, that feet tend to take on the shape of whatever shoe you force it to live in.  They’re like an old married couple where they gradually look and act so much like each other, they start to resemble each other. So don’t wear the same shoes all of the time unless you like pointy shaped feet with bunions.  Mix it up, go barefoot or wear something something structurally healthy.  And then wear killer high fashion whenever you feel like it...make that 20% count.  You win. Your feet win. Everybody wins. The same goes with your skin.  It's hard to keep your skin happy when you're constantly slathering it with dozens of products containing everything from ground wart hog eyelashes to the dw off the newborn skin of an endangered Colombian newt.  So you end up with the same dilemma: use organic makeup that costs twice as much (and you're pretty sure is just campfire soot mixed up with coconut oil) or feel guilty for ruining the environment and polluting your body's biggest organ (your SKIN! in case you missed the memo).  But feel guilty and stress out no longer.  With the 80/20 rule, feel free to go minimal and satiating most of the time and pull out the polyjuice potion for the 20%.  Ensure your face lasts a good 30 years longer.  Make your 20% work for you.   


(The 80/20 rule is one of those things you see everywhere once you know about it, so feel free to enlighten me.   I'm sure there are many more shortcuts to add.)