The Five Burning Man Beauty Principles                      

By Rula Al-Nasrawi                                                                                                                       

For those of you unfamiliar with Burning Man and its heinously aggressive yet beautiful environment, let me enlighten you a little bit. Burning Man is held in Black Rock City, Nevada— a flawless fantasy metropolis that springs up once every year for the event, only to disappear again like a mirage. The land there was once a lake bed, which means that burners are now all left with dried up alkaline playa dust that leaves everything you own looking like it’s coated with some kind of hellish dandruff. Combine the playa dust with the occasional whiteout and heat wave and you’ve got a pretty hostile environment. 


After spending both 2011 and 2014 going completely bat shit at Burning Man, I can safely say that I’m slowly learning some beauty tricks on how to look less like a mummified cat on the playa and more like the desert flower I was born to be. Here are my five burner beauty principles for all of the Burning Man virgins trying to stay cute out there. 


Rock the Braids

Seriously people. Braid your goddamn hair or seriously suffer the consequences. Take it from a girl who wakes up with George Washington hair every day in a standard living situation. Tying your hair up and leaving it alone for seven days is probably the best thing you can do to it. The playa dust will turn your hair grey and threaten to dread it instantly, so just beat that bitch to the punch and throw some yarn or leather in there. Or literally just give up and wear a wig. 


Playa Skin Care

Dude, it’s like tiptoeing around the surface of the sun out here. Wear some sunscreen or you’ll end up looking like a dried apricot by day two. Besides just the general SPF tips, other weird shit will definitely happen to your skin out here. The dryness will make your hands and legs feel like they’re made out of tissue paper, so try to bring lotion and also carry some bandaids in case someone slices your hand open just by shaking it. Also, believe in the power of the baby wipe shower.


Radical Fabulousness

Glitter and face paint and pasties are all very real here so rock them all or GTFO. This is literally one of a select few chances to run around dressed up like a naked unicorn or to parade around the street on top of a giant dildo, so take advantage. Now is not the time to waltz around in a t-shirt and cargo pants y’all, don’t piss me off with your lack of creativity in the most creative city on Earth. 


Stop Shaving

Seriously though. Just. Give. The fuck. Up. Accept the fact that you are going to look and feel like a hedgehog for the week and enjoy yourself. No one actually cares if you have hairy pits out here because you are at BURNING MAN. Hello? Did you think you were going to Elton John’s Oscars After Party and make a wrong turn? Everyone has tumbleweeds under their arms so no one is looking at your stubble bitch, calm yourself. 


Just Let Go

The most important thing I’ve learned at Burning Man is that you will never truly enjoy yourself if you’re too busy worrying about what you look like. Regardless of what you bring or do, the playa WILL make you look relatively insane. Your hair WILL dread, your skin WILL crack, and you WILL find playa dust in your clothing for years and years. And when you finally make it out there, and you’re standing in the middle of a whiteout with your furry goggles on, and you can feel the dust particles enveloping your body and setting in to your hair and skin, and you are screaming at the top of your lungs, that is the moment when you will truly feel the most beautiful.