When you start Brazilian jiu jitsu, much of what you thought to be important about beauty is going to go out the window.
You might be used to keeping your hair, nails, makeup, and even your hands a certain way. I know I was. But when you start jiu jitsu, you will probably have to let some of that go. And that’s okay. I can actually be amazing. As you train, you will become more comfortable with your natural self, and you’ll come to find out that beauty is more than skin-deep.
Below, this post is going to cover five common beauty sacrifices women make in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (and how to deal with them.)
1. Your Hair Will Break Off
Ever heard the phrase “jiu jitsu hair, don’t care?” This meme floats around the BJJ world for good reason. When you begin your jiu jitsu journey, you quickly realize that hair breakage is just the name of the game. Your hair will get stepped on, ripped out of your head, and soaked in sweat. Every single day.
Gone are the days of immaculately kept hair. In this world, you’ve got to embrace your inner wild woman sometimes.
Of course, there are hairstyles to protect the integrity of your hair. But in this high-contact sport, there’s no way to completely save it from damage. Don’t worry, you’ll learn to manage it.
2. Your Nails Will Need to Stay Short
When you start jiu jitsu, you’ll have to bid farewell to long, elegant, or even painted nails.
Long nails can cut or injure your training partner while you’re grappling, and they will probably break off or bend back hurting you anyway. Keeping your nails clipped and filed makes you a good training partner and shows respect for your teammates.
If you’re training in a gym with lighter colored mats, you’ll want to lay off the nail polish. There might even be a rule against it. Nail polish acts like crayon on jiu jitsu mats and can be really hard to remove. You don’t want to be the person who ruined the mats in your immaculately kept gym.
Plus, all the grips and hooks you are making will make chipping inevitable. You will get a manicure one day only to have it completely destroyed the next.
My recommendation: if you really want to keep your painted nails, invest in some gel polish. It won’t stain the mats and stays a little bit longer.
2. Avoid Makeup During Training
When you’re covered in sweat, or smushed and tangled in strange positions with your partners, you’ll find that makeup won’t serve you much. It’s probably giving you a racoon look or smearing across your training partner’s gi (and you definitely don’t want that!)
Make sure you tuck some makeup wipes in your jiu jitsu bag so you can remove it before class. But many women will abandon their makeup routine altogether when they start jiu jitsu. It’s just easier to not have to worry about it before they head out to train.
Ditching your makeup might feel scary at first, especially if you’re not used to going out in public without it. The idea of showing up to class and having everyone see my bare face made me deeply uncomfortable. But in truth, you’ll gain confidence when you realize you’re beautiful with out it.
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4. You’ll Be Covered in Bruises
Jiu-jitsu will give you the weirdest marks in the weirdest places.
Women who train jiu jitsu are pretty familiar with concerned looks from coworkers or friends when they spot the constellation of bruises on your body. It can be shocking how beat up you get from some light rolling. But get used to having bruises, fingerprint marks, and scrapes all over you.
Let the people who care about you know you’re into a new sport and roll on. You’ll probably start to feel proud of your battle scars.
5. Your Hands Won’t Stay Dainty and Beautiful
Most people who play these guards end up with inflated knuckles and constant open burns on their fingers. Of course, there are some useful ways to protect your hands and fingers when you practice BJJ (tape is your friend). But as they build muscle, suffer injuries, etc., it’s only natural that their appearance will adapt.
Fortunately, you don’t have to view the changes in your hands’ appearance as a negative – if anything, it’s a symbol of your newfound strength!
The Takeaway on Beauty Sacrifices Women Make in Jiu Jitsu
Letting go of your beauty routine can feel daunting, and it’s completely natural to feel some hesitation at first. So many of us feel like our appearance is our safety blanket. But as you step into your power, you’ll release the idea that beauty only looks like made up hair, nails, and skin. You’ll realize that when you’re sweaty, laughing, working hard, failing, and having fun; you are the MOST beautiful.
You’ll find that your body is a natural gift allowing you to master your environment. And your confidence will soar as you find out how capable, fierce, and powerful you are – even without the beauty routine.
Have you made any of these beauty sacrifices or have tips for other women practicing BJJ? Leave a comment below to share your experience!