• Courtney Phillips

I woke up like this: semi-permanent beauty procedures

Originally published June 4, 2018

#IWokeUpLikeThis swept the nation a few years ago when beautiful young girls started posting selfies in full makeup in bed or with their coffee claiming to have woken up in their gorgeous, perfect state. Partially, I think they did this to make themselves feel better about whatever it is that bothers them about their own self-image. And, partially, because they are trying to intimidate other women—maybe subconsciously.

I used to jokingly post on my story “I didn’t wake up like this!” Or laugh with my best friend, Katie, about how ridiculous these posts were. And I do still believe that they are just that ridiculous. However, now it’s not odd to see these posts, and I no longer make fun of them. They are the norm. What was once a viral happening has now become part of the American culture.

As someone obsessed with makeup, beauty and self-care, I can definitely attest to spending way too much time in front of my makeup mirror primping and pampering myself to a fault. In the last few years, I have finally had a few experts help me out to shorten my primping time, get me out of the door faster and actually make me look a bit more polished and put together.

I’ve had my eyebrows microbladed to cut down on having to draw them on every day. I’ve had eyelash extensions added, since my eyelashes are basically clear – ah the joys of being a blonde! I’ve had some short-term injectables done to slow down the AHEM aging process… wink, wink. I wear clip-in hair extensions when I have events. I take part in self-tanning regularly and have for many years, since I stopped tanning in the beds. I even whiten my teeth regularly. All the shame proudly typed in one paragraph!

My “semi-permanent” beauty procedures that I implemented to help get me on my way suddenly did have me “waking up like this!” How could this be? Was I one of those Instagram girls that woke up fabulous? Well, no! I didn’t start posting selfies proclaiming my amazing, natural beauty to the world – because it wasn’t natural folks! And, two, I’m not that self-centered. I did, however, start waking up just that fabulous! And, it does feel amazing!

Here’s some details about some of the amazing things you too can do if you want to wake up every day feeling like God made you a natural beauty. (Hint: no one actually wakes up that way! But, it does feel amazing to only need a little lotion and concealer to leave for the day.)


This is a semi-permanent tattoo on your eyebrows under your actual eyebrow hair. They do this for each individual hair and from someone standing even one foot away it looks like natural fluffy brows. I literally feel like I am slaying the eyebrow game ever since I first got mine done.

The downsides: It’s pricy - usually $600-1000 for the first time and $150-300 for annual touch-ups; It has to be redone every year to 18 months as they begin to fade; You’re stuck with the same shape for a year if you want to change the shape (which I do not). These are not downsides for me. I love this procedure! Here are my amazing before and afters:

Eyelash extensions:

This may seem super self-explanatory, but to me I wasn’t really sure how it worked until the first time I actually had them done. They actually glue each individual extension to each individual lash. So, if you have a boatload of lashes, you will have amazingly full and long lashes, but if you only have a few, then your extensions could be lackluster.

The downside: They’re super pricey compared to strip lashes - usually around $150-200 for the first time and $70-100 for refills; The upkeep is kind of crazy since they fall out fast and have to be refilled every two to three weeks; If you’re a business professional, you cannot take them off and be less glam when you have major business meetings… yea you are just wearing super dope feathers on your eyes with the executives you have to brief: think about it!

Sadly, I couldn’t afford the cost of upkeep or the time to do it, so I don’t have them on right now. I’m in a “breathing” period on my lashes and I feel so much of an ugly duckling. I literally didn’t even feel the need to wear eye makeup half the time to work and still felt glamour! Now, my clear eyelashes are back and feel so much squattier than before somehow! Here are my before and afters:


Ok, ok, ok, I get it! I’m young! I don’t need this! Why am I wasting my money! Yea… yea… yea… You think that about me, because I’ve had these procedures done in the first place! I’m almost 35 years old. And my best kept secret is the one I tell everyone about. I have an amazing RN who does beautiful injections that look natural – and allow your face to still move naturally! A little Botox and maybe some filler can help keep you looking younger and also slow down the signs of aging as the relaxed muscles atrophy a bit. That’s my ultimate goal at least!

The downside: It can be very pricy - Botox runs from $10-15 a unit and fillers run from $450-750; The results don’t last that long with Botox only lasting about two and a half months and filler around 18 months; If you don’t have someone who knows what they’re doing you can come out looking totally wackado!

Spray tanning:

They say tan fat looks better than pale fat, right? Well, I’m not proponent for being fat or for calling anyone fat, or for not loving the body you have for that matter! But, one thing that I do know is that having a healthy glow – not a Cheeto colored one – will always look better than a pasty one! I did come up during the Britney Spears, low-slung jeans, tanning bed generation after all! So, having a nice suntanned glow is key to looking great and waking up beautiful. When I have a great spray tan, I don’t even need to wear foundation. I can literally walk out the door with some lotion and concealer. BAM.

The downside: The cost is usually around $35-60 a session; It doesn’t last that long usually a week to a week and half at best; If you don’t go to someone you trust, it will look orangey!

I do have a hack for this one, if you don’t have a pageant or a major event. I use St. Tropez’s express foam self-tanner. It’s around $45 for a bottle, but it lasts forever. If you put it on with a mitt, you will literally have zero streaks and it looks almost as good as a decent spray tan. Use the mitt! I know it looks weird, but it works. Also, yes, $45 is a lot for an at home self-tanner, but if you think about it, you were going to pay $45 for one session with a pro. So, if you get 6-10 sessions out of one bottle, then you’ve gotten your money out of it in spades. I have tried to go cheap, and I’ve turned out looking like one specific Commander-in-chief that we all love to joke about his tan….

(This is not a political commentary only a tanning and albeit a funny one!!!)

Teeth whitening:

Hello? Who doesn’t do this? With coffee, red wine, tea, and goodness knows what else, our teeth are constantly being stained all day every day. I am a coffee fiend! I can’t function without a cup in the morning and one in the afternoon. I live my life with teeth whitening strips and toothpaste, and if I don’t do this, I start having yellowing of my teeth pretty quickly. This should be on everyone’s list.

The downsides: It quickly adds sensitivity to your teeth, if you do this too much and is an added cost. To me, it’s the cost of doing business for my daily coffee fix!

Hair extensions (aka my weave):

And last, but certainly not least, I don’t wake up with these, but most people do: hair extensions. Mine are clip-ins. My hair extensions make me feel whole! Is that nuts? As I’ve gotten older, and with this stupid hard water situation in D.C., my hair has hit a growth limit just past my shoulders. It is already very thin and frail. Without my extensions, there is sadly just not enough! I always joke that I have about five hairs on my head. A former coworker said that to me one time and I laughed so hard and decided to adopt it. I literally have maybe 12.

The downside: They take forever to put in; They are expensive even the clip-in kind range from $90-250 for human hair; They will damage your hair, if you do get the semi-permanent kinds. Sadly, my frail hair will not maintain the semi-permanent kind, or you know I would have those guys! So, I have to settle for clipping in my weave every time I get ready, but it’s worth the extra time! See my before and afters:

© 2018 by Spinning through Life.

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