DURING my super fun puberty years I wanted a Wet Brush. It was supposed to glide easily through hair. Detangling and making beautiful the knots of the shower in fun and girly colors. I was told no, no, no on trips to the drug store; those brushes were flash-in-the-pan types–the JIFFY to the all-natural peanut butter that was spread across our sandwiches. My house was not the one with the Capri Suns; Nutella was the most party the pantry ever got. Even worse, my mom used to wash out and reuse plastic sandwich bags before it was green or cool or something that Jessica Alba was doing. Back then, it was embarrassing.
“Why does that sandwich bag look so old?” classmates would taunt me at lunch. Because it is old is what I would think, but never admit. I’d shrug or say something stupid to divert the attention from my rumpled and no longer transparent baggie, toward someone else’s sad brown sack.
What I really wanted though, more than a cool lunch with Gushers, more than a different mom, what I was convinced that the Wet Brush could give me, was different hair. Blonde like my sisters. Straight like my friends. Not the curly Shirley Temple mop that crowned my countenance. All my friends who had great hair and sly smiles, and eventually the breasts I would never grow, despite my regimen of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret brexercises, had Wet Brushes; the association was an obvious one to me.
I thought the Wet Brush would fix everything. If I had the hair, I would get the boy, I’d make the moves, and life would be inspired. This thinking was the obvious manifestation of pre-teen insecurity and the delusion attached to pre-teen girl thinking– all a natural part of growing up–but I spent so much time thinking about myself and my damn hair it’s amazing I made it out of middle school at all.
Today, Wet Brush is back on the scene with The Selfie Brush, “the easiest, most convenient way to have your best hair in every selfie.” Available in pink, black, and purple, the brush and mirror which, double as a cell phone case, ensure that you can “seamlessly take selfies while looking your best.” The brush is also super easy to find in your purse. Bonus.
But beauty in a brush. That’s what I thought I could get a decade and a half ago, and that’s what the company is still hawking. Except now, instead of just bristles, they’ve packaged their product as a plastic tool that not only contributes to the ever-warming nature of our planet, but also the endless list of insecurities that young women face.
On their site they list tips to take the perfect selfie. These include: looking up which will create a more “slimming angle, whereas looking down can create unwanted creases,”(they’re called wrinkles, and they’re normal), and finding the right filter to “hide your blemishes and show your best features,” (not the ones on your actual face). In other words, try everything you can to create a perfect you, a perfect selfie, a perfect lie.
Because there is no such thing as a perfect selfie in the same way there is no such thing as a perfect woman. Some products are cheap and flashy and have no place in a young girl’s bathroom, or an adult’s for that matter. The Seflie Brush is one of those products.
Which means, as usual, my mom was right all those years ago when I dragged my knuckles across the market linoleum and threw pre-teen tantrums as she’d load everything but the one thing I wanted into the basket. No, not the sandwich bags, though that would have been nice.
And while I’m still holding out for a fridge stocked to the gills with Capri Sun Fruit Punch, I no longer want a Wet Brush.
The only thing that needs detangling is their messaging.