A little vanity never hurt anybody. At least that's how I see it after penning well over 1,500 beauty columns. Plus, studies have shown that there are real advantages and benefits given to those who are well-groomed and take pride in their appearance.
But brushing your hair and applying lip gloss is a far cry from desperately seeking validation based on looks alone, like the thousands of (typically very young) women who have posted "Pretty or Ugly" videos on You Tube. Or those looking to sites such as PrettyScale.com, which calls upon "complex mathematical computations performed by a blind computer program" to rate users' prettiness on a scale of one through 10.
Young women may be going too far in an attempt to be told they are beautiful but women of all ages are sometimes guilty of going too far in the pursuit of beauty. Like worrying about your earlobes, which, according to Allure.com, a dermatologist can make "prettier" via injection of hyaluronic acid fillers into the lobes. Your ears look fine. Do they work? That's a huge bonus.
From ears to toes, other women are opting for "The Cinderella Procedure," a preventive bunion correction procedure that yields a narrower foot. Developed by Dr. Ali Sadrieh, a Beverly Hills podiatrist, the procedure involves shaving the bones on both feet and straightening the toes.
And then there's the Vajacial, a name being used for a host of beauty treatments marketed to women and their ... vaginas. Because clearly you aren't completely ready for the world until you've made sure that every inch of you is picture perfect. As a side note, posting Vajacial selfies on Instagram is not recommended.
Those who really want to get beat up in the pursuit of beauty can try a Face Slapping Treatment. (Luckily, this one's not a Vajacial. Ouch!) A San Francisco business called Tata Massage offers the service to keep wrinkles at bay and tighten pores. The 15-minute treatment features a facial slapping massage at the steep cost of $350. Talk about adding insult to injury.
To get a better understanding of some of these new beauty trends, I logged on to PrettyScale.com, uploaded my picture and attempted to get my official "rating." Unfortunately, the site seemed not to be working. The end result? I earned a rating of "0" along with a note that read "You cannot be that ugly! Did you adjust the lines? Try again." And so I did. Uploading my picture again and again, attempting to get my official "score." But try as I may, I couldn't get the site to confirm my beauty, or lack thereof. Which, on second thought, doesn't seem that strange at all.
Carolyn Brundage is the founder of TampaBay.PrettyCity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet Up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty