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Monday, 27 August 2012

Goth beauty: the very basics

Well, darklings, this is a post I never really thought I'd feel the need to write, but after a frankly concerning conversation with a young Gothy-type of my acquaintance I thought perhaps I should. Please note that I have no doubt that the vast majority of you are very much aware of the basics of hygiene! But. Let's face it, there's already a huge amount of stereotyping regarding teens (especially males, sorry boys) and soap avoidance, and unfortunately this stereotype as applied to young Gothlings is rife amongst those with little understanding of dark culture. 

In fact, there's even a special derogatory term used, in the UK at least, for black-clad types:

sweaty; often used by the tracksuit-clad yob classes to refer to Goths, punks, metal/rock fans or indeed members of any subculture fond of black clothing in summer, particularly the long-haired males. Intended to imply that said spooky person has not washed; possibly originated due to a combination of black clothing and hot weather causing some poor Gothling to go all melty around the edges.

Personally, I strongly feel that there is absolutely no reason to help propagate this stereotype by violating the basics of simple cleanliness and good hygiene. Deodorant is cheap and baths are not just for special occasions.

Raquel Reed
Source
Cleanliness is the foundation for all good grooming.

  • Washing! Twice a day please; if you don't have time to take a bath or shower use a sink, a washcloth and most importantly some soap. (Gothy soap, over yonder!) At the very least wash your armpits, bits (you know which bits), neck, hands, feet and face. Don't use harsh soap on your face, though - get a specially formulated facial cleanser.
  • If you don't always have time to wash your hair, invest in some dry shampoo so you don't go out looking all greasy. Or pull it back off your face into a ponytail or bun; greasy hair will make your face greasy which feels absolutely disgusting. Spare yourself.
  • Deodorant and antiperspirant. Available in sprays, sticks and many other varieties; organic and chemical-free varieties can also be found. Apply after washing daily and re-apply as necessary throughout the day, especially in summer. Please be sure to dab any white marks off your clothes with a damp cloth.
  • Brushing your teeth is also pretty much a necessity. Even if you don't think your breath smells, the people around you DO. Trust me. (They also can see your furry teeth. Eeeeuuurgh.) Again, twice a day, morning and night. (You may also find it useful to carry some breath spray or mints for after meals, especially if like me you are partial to spicy foods and garlic!)
  • There is very little more gross than dirty fingernails. Yes, black nail polish hides the sin but you don't know WHAT could be caked under those nasties. Would you want to be handed food by somebody with grimy hands? Exactly. Wash your hands with soap regularly; use a nail brush at the first sign of dirt.
  • Care for your hair properly; dirty hair can smell and both feels and looks unpleasant. Wash your hair with shampoo every other day (some people do choose not to wash their hair with shampoo, but you should at least give it a good rinse with water to avoid product build-up and keep your scalp healthy). If you have dreadlocks, use a good dread soap regularly to avoid smells.
  • Underwear and socks need changing MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK. (You can tell from my distressed all-caps that I'm serious here.) If you don't have enough underwear, BUY SOME NEW. Go to the supermarket, it is not expensive. Also, if it gets grimy, goes grey, has holes in, or otherwise starts to look the worse for wear, BIN IT.
Dearest darkling; don't be a sweaty. Befriend the soap. Befriend the toothbrush. Do your fellow batlings proud.

17 comments:

App'y said...

I take it that was not a tongue in cheek post. I must loose Goth-points as I am known locally as the Gardener with the Cleanest Hands…..Oh dear. Also there is a really fantastic Soap Shop in Whitby, on the way from the town to the steps. It has soaps that look like cakes and things. Just one more great thing about Whitby,

Amy Asphodel said...

Oh, I wish :-S I had a highly alarming conversation which led to an overwhelming urge to write this... washing is not optional and not something that should only take place once a month. Eek!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I know a person who could use such advice. His ex even had to point out once that "[Name] actually showered today! With soap!" as if it were a special event (it is for him). Ugh. Funny thing is, he's always telling other that they need a shower or breath mint. Self-awareness is lost on him.

SkeleDuck said...

Reminds me of a head-desking conversation I saw on a pagan forum once...
Befriend the soap. =3

Nightwind said...

Good advice, Amy!

Joanna Wagner said...

I confess, I read Marie Claire and Harper's monthly which frequently contain articles on grooming and hair. Unlike HuffPost I've heard no one recommend daily shampooing. Their advice is directed to an audience that has some form of treatment like COLOURING that can damage hair. The emphasis is on conditioning and treatments. I've taken away from it, wash your hair when it needs it, not before. Use shampoos formulated for colour treated hair and condition like crazy! I wash hair 2-3 times weekly depending and use a cleansing conditioner.

theEmocarebear said...

Basic proper hygiene is essential; especially for those of us with alternatives styles - with all the fun make up and hair dye we/some of us use, we need to wash daily to keep dirt, acne and germs at bay.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I've always perceived goths as being *very* hygienic, at least most. It never occurred to me that being dirty was a stereotype.

Anonymous said...

I really wish I could shown this to a guy I went to college with.
He was also a gothy type and would spend so much time playing video games that he would 'forget' to shower or brush his teeth. He had waist-length hair that was always greasy and dandruff-y (showed up lovely against his black clothes), bad breath which you could smell from two metres away (I wish I was joking) and what appeared to be yellow fuzz on his teeth.

Shame, because he would have actually been quite an attractive guy if he practised basic hygene.

Daniel_8964 said...

Myself I usually have showers everyday and I do sweat when heading back from walking down to the town to get some food, games or other items wearing mostly my 8 hole Doc Martens and I didn't expect this sweaty stereotype to exist.

Pale Lady said...

Hear, hear! Unfortunately it's not only young Goths that need this advice. :-(

Xanthy said...

...I honestly didn't know "not washing" was a goth stereotype.

Anonymous said...

Just about the underwear being cheap, i guess it depends on where you live because here even the cheapest kind, which falls apart after a month or so, costs about 10 euros. Which is the amount of money i make in a month...

Lucy said...

I've always been told that washing more than just your face twice a day screws up your skin, something to do with natural oils? o.o

Lilly Peppermint said...

Lucy, I've suffered from very dry skin all my life, so I'd learnt a few lessons.

Washing your skin more than twice a day (ESPECIALLY on your face) strips the naturally occuring oils and this can cause dryness, so is best followed up with a good moisturiser. If you have oily or normal skin on your face, then the over drying will cause the skin to over-compensate and produce more oil, resulting in blemishes and skin problems.

I'd personally recommend, apart from your hands which need to be kept clean, only washing twice a day at most and following up with an appropriate moisturiser to maintain the balance.

xxx Lilly

Nana said...

Oh thank you! I firmly believe that every group of culture/people has this alarming problem. Not just teenagers too! I've some across some pretty greasy girls and boys who were will into their 20's and 30's. Just because one dresses fancier than the mainstream does not put them above taking baths. D:

I've committed the ugly dry hair sin more often than I want to admit. Mostly due to heavy chemical damage (bleaching was the worst hair decision of my life. Next time I want to go platinum I'm buying a wig). But it can make it look like I really don't know much about taking care of my hair. As gross as it sounds I go two days without washing just so my hair can collect enough oils to start looking/feeling like normal hair again. ;_; Thankfully that is my only hygiene dilemma. I'm pretty strict about things like deodorant and toothbrushing (how can someone not brush their teeth?).

Jess said...

Hi Amy. What's "every other day" means? As in I should wash my hair every day. Or as in every two to four days a week? I've been washing my hair everyday, but would that hurt my hair?

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