Mayim MishegaasMayim Mishegaas

A tomboy’s guide to ‘Beauty’

Mayim’s minimalist, head-to-toe approach
By Mayim Bialik     Published on 09/16/2015 at 7:06 PM EDT

I am not a particularly feminine female. I just want everyone to know that right off the bat. Never have been, never will be.

While my mother tried to get me to get manicures and facials and wear more delicate clothing, I bit my nails down, picked at my cuticles, rarely washed my face and wore Doc Martens every day for most of my teen years. Even now, I tend to be a tomboy, I wear sneakers 95% of the time and I don’t know what’s trendy or hip. I most certainly don’t understand beauty trends.

Since the Emmys are coming up this Sunday and people must be wondering just how far I can take this tomboy thing when I am so much in the public eye, I figured I would share some notes on beauty-related things.

We’ll take it from head to toe, how’s that?


I don’t wash my hair every day, and you’re actually not supposed to. When my hair looks greasy, I wash it. Usually. As you know from my post about loving the environment, I actually wear baseball hats most days since I try to go to the gym most days and it covers a variety of sweaty hair sins. I tend to sweat a lot; when I go to the gym, I come out looking like I have had a shower. (Perhaps this is why I became a tomboy – it seemed the only solution for females who sweat like that!?) I used to make my kids’ shampoo out of castle soap and essential oils when they were babies because it saved money and didn’t have chemicals. Now they use some store-bought paraben-free shampoo. I use something similar. I don’t like the ritual of showering in general, though, so I am in there four minutes, tops, to shampoo and maybe condition my hair and get the heck out. Plus, that saves water.


Every time I have gotten a facial, they ask me “What’s your skin regimen?” and I laugh. I don’t really have a face regimen. I sometimes remember to wash my face, but my grandmother was Hungarian and she had amazing skin and so does my mom and her sisters and I’m told Hungarian skin rocks and needs very little care. So maybe that’s it. I am vegan which is very good for your skin. True story: animal products contain things your body perceives as toxins and those toxins often exit via your skin. Many people report having their skin clear up remarkably (and their body odor decrease too!) after going vegan. So aestheticians have told me being vegan is also to credit for my happy skin that doesn’t need much care.

Mayim wearing eye masks
Came to ‘The Big Bang Theory’ set with puffy red allergy eyes. Linda made me put these eye gels on. They feel slimy.

I also have moisturizer with sunscreen which I try to remember to wear. My make-up lady at The Big Bang Theory, Linda, gives me stuff for my eyes since they are sensitive and after a few weeks of make-up, they need some extra love (see photo above). But that’s the extent of my regimen. I try not to wear make-up unless I really have to. Part of it is because I am lazy, and part of it is that I think it’s important for people to see what women look like without make-up, so I am starting that revolution single-handedly. I do love lip products – think glorified Chapstick. And nothing with petrolatum, that word sounds like petroleum and that freaks me out. (Editor’s note: Fun fact…that’s because the substance was originally refined from residue found on oil rigs.)


I have started wearing sunscreen on my arms every day since I am starting to get little sunspots on my arms and that’s freaking me out too. The dermatologist is all, “It’s normal!” but then I look at every single woman in Hollywood my age that I know and work with and no one has them, so I say to that dermatologist, what…ever. So yeah. Sunscreen on my arms. Why not the rest of me? Because, more often than not, I am covered up. I only wear skirts outside of the house and they always hit my knee or below. It’s a modesty thing. I never wear shorts ever, ever, ever, even at home. I look ridiculous in shorts; my “athletic” build is not made for shorts, and even though people say I look cute in them, I refuse to believe them. My kids say I look absurd in shorts, so there you go. I even wear “modest” bathing suits, which are long skirts and 3/4 length sleeves.

I do wear sunscreen on my legs and arms and face of course when in the sun, and I implore you to use sunscreen that is a physical blocker, rather than a chemical blocker, of the rays of the demon sun. That means you may look like a ghost a little bit, because physical blockers literally interfere with the sun’s abilities to penetrate your skin. Stop being vain and just look into a strong sunscreen that makes you look ghostly. Because you know what looks worse than looking a tad ghostly? Skin cancer. Skin cancer is gnarly and I know many people close to me who keep having things cut off of their faces and bodies and it’s avoidable. Please wear physical blocker sunscreen!!! (For more information about effectively using sunblock, visit


I don’t get manicures. Last one I got was, gosh, I don’t even remember. At least 15 years ago. I hate sitting there, I don’t have the patience. I hate people having to work there inhaling all of those horrible chemicals (read “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers” in the NY Times, about a group of women who kept having health problems and miscarriages because of the chemicals they were inhaling in the salon they worked in). I also am not really big on people “doing stuff” to me. Like, I feel weird. I feel bad. I can paint my own nails if I really want to, or if my stylist makes me, which she does for things like the Emmy Awards. I have been a nail biter my entire life with a few months here and there of exceptions. We are in an exceptional period now and they have not been this long in years. Also, because I am a piano player, I never mind them being short but I have not played the piano since my father died, so my nails have just kept growing. We will see if I can keep that going for the Emmys!

I use vegan nail polish that hasn’t been tested on animals, and I like dark colors like black and indigo. I also like red, but I’ve had stylists tell me that if I wear red, I have to shape my nails or have a manicure where they make them kind of shorter and more square and that’s when I stop listening, because my nails grow how they grow, does the shape even matter!? Can’t I just celebrate the fact that I don’t have 10 bloody stumps for fingernails and paint them Taylor Swift red and be done with it? Do you see how exhausting this is!??!


I don’t shave my legs. Never have. It’s not a big deal. I wrote about it here. I know many cool well-adjusted women who also don’t shave, including underarms. And no, not all women who don’t shave are lesbians. That’s so lame to even joke about so don’t even go there! One of my friends, writer Avital Norman Nathman, even goes so far as to dye her underarm hair colors. Yeah. So anyway, I have found that as I get older my legs are a tad dry so I try to remember to moisturize them. I really cringe any time I have to do stuff like that, honestly. It’s such a “ick, that’s not my thing” vibe for me.


I’ve been blessed with nice toes. I rarely compliment myself but I am just being honest here: I have nice toes. I do a fine job of painting them when I paint them. Again, I favor black or dark blue or bright red. (Like any good tomboy, I despise pink.) My feet have more need for moisturizing as I get older, so I do try to remember to do that. Someone got me this exfoliating foot thing where you soak them in it and three days later your feet slough off dead skin but honestly it kind of scares me, it sounds dangerous and knowing my allergy history, I’ll be the one who gets some infection and has to go back to the dermatologist about it.

I don’t begrudge women–and men–beauty regimens if they like them. I often envy the women going off to get mani-pedis (it makes me LOL to just even type that!). I envy women who value their bodies enough to take time out of their lives to do that. And although I’m rarely prone to say, “If it makes you feel good, do it,” I suppose if it makes you feel good, do it.

I hate to think that a lot of the beauty things we are told to engage in are driven by profit or creating trends by a consumer industry, and in some cases that’s true. But in other cases it’s not.

All kinds of women like beauty regimens, and all kinds hate them. I’m not better than anyone because I’m a grungy tomboy and no one’s better than me because they spend lots of time and money on beauty products.

All of us have inner beauty that can shine any time, anywhere we choose to let it out. And for that, I’m super-grateful.

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