DECODING BEAUTY RITUALS

Me-time can actually prove to be taxing, discovers Prashant Rajkhowa.

_ The last thing I want to do is call a bunch of my guy fliends and ask them if they want to join me for cln afternoon devoted entirely to pampeling ourselves. Even if it was for the greater good of understanding these rituals, it had to be done alone and within the holy sanctity of my home. At the end of the t'-vo hours I had kept aSide, mankind would be closer to declypting the mystery behind the "me-time".

step#2: prepare souffle.
The hair souffle is a greyish gunk made of coconut, almonds, rosemary and jOjoba. For my guy friends: it's a shrub native to the MOjave Desert and Rajasthan. Have you ever seen a cactus with anything but visibly soft and nourished thorns? "Apply a generous quantity to hair for 10-1.5 minutes." By the way, the only hair on my head is between my chin and nose. Plus, 1.5 minutes did seem excessive but who am I to question the miracles ofjojoba? So I began lathering the goop onto my beard. By the fifth handful, it began to dribble down my neck and form lumps on my tea-oil soaked T-shirt. And I was only three minutes down. I bent my head back, looking up at the ceiling to keep the goop from running down my chin. By the eighteenth handful, I had nose hair souffle. If I sneezed, I'd bave bathroom mirror souffle. I began snorting after every dollop. By the twentieth dollop, I had cornea souffle. I'd had enough. I fumbled for the tap and began rinsing the goop off my face and out of my nose and eyes. Time taken to rinse each and every speck of souffle off my face: 10 minutes. I peered closely at my beard. No viSibly soft nourished hair. And my nose was offiCially on strike.

step# 1: ape my grandmom.
I raided mv wife's beautv cabinet for candles, tea tree oil, hair souffle and a face pack. The instructions are deceptively simple. I placed the ccl11dles all around the bathroom maki.ng sure that the towels could not catch fire. Then I poured three capfuls of tea oil into tlie bucket. The bathroom smelt like an old woman's house and vvithin 10 minutes I began smelling like one. I panicked. Wasn't it supposed to make me feel the exact opposite? I grabbed the bottle, upsetting a candle. My towel was now on fire. Distressed, I threw a mugful ofwater on it. The water splashed my clothes and the old woman ensem ble was complete. My skin was now wrinkled and I smell like an alcoholic florist. Hmmm ... the first step to beautiful youthful skin is to give yourself a glimpse of what things are going to be like in another 2.5 years l Very beautifying, very therapeutic!
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The last stage involved applying a thick layer ofthe face pack on my face, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Thank god for small mercies. I began the process. I had my face covered. I was supposed to wait till it dried. Then it happened. Searing hot pain! Unimaginable, white hot heat and burning! I grabbed the bottle. "May cause burning sensation due to effective ingredients." Effective? .M y skin was melting! I dunked my head into the bucket. The water was pretty much vinegar by now. Furious scrubbing. It began melting-the pack and my face. I gingerly touched the place where my nose had last been, being attacked by grey goop. It was there. Dare I look in the mirror? My face was intact. Bright pink but it was there. I was done. And nowhere closer to understanding how any of this is supposed to make me radiant, young or beautiful. My beard was traumatised. My eyes were burning. My face was pink and I cOllld only breathe through my mouth. And women do this seven times a week? I flushed down the rest of the face pack and the souffle. The toilet backed up. I re-read the bottles. Interestingly, "beauty" was not mentioned even once. There was nothing about frequency of use. And not once did it say anything about applying it on humans-women or men. IntereSting thought.

step#3: send my face packing.

step#4: call a plumber and visit a shrink. _

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COSMOPOLITAN APRIL 2007