Human grooming by Daniel Laberge
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Mirror usage

Grooming in front of a mirror

Using your sense of sight
overwhelms your feeble sense of touch
that grooming depends on

No mirrors in trees

Grooming is done without looking.
One of the ideas behind grooming is that there are no mirrors in nature.
About half of your body, including your face, remains out of sight.
You can distinguish your reflection on water, but the image is distorted.
With no mirror, you wouldn't know what you look like and would have to rely on others or use your sense of touch on yourself.

Grooming and the senses

Grooming depends entirely on the sense of touch.
The first primate was possibly a nocturnal animal and perhaps couldn't see that well in the dark.
Grooming was developed without using vision at all.
There is a competition between the senses and, when you use one more, the others decreases in ability.
Over millions of years, primates have improved their sense of sight and it is now one of the best among all animals.

Grooming and vision

As soon as you use your sense of sight, it takes precedence in relaying information to your brain.
Even when you are grooming correctly and relying on tactile data, the simple fact of taking a look at your hand shifts your perception back to visual immediately.
So what applies here to mirrors also goes for looking at yourself while grooming.

Grooming at night

One has to admit that you feel much more secure about your actions in front of a mirror, mostly when you're a beginner.
When I started grooming, I was first confronted with what we can call «blind grooming» when I felt an urge to work on my forehead while in bed in the middle of the night.
I was scared I would strike blood and wake up badly wounded.
To my surprise, all the grooming I had done during the night was helpful and my skin presented no ill effect.

What happens when you
look at your grooming finger

Grooming involves feeling minute sensations coming from within your skin, so you have to concentrate on them.
As soon as you look at your grooming work, your actions change.
Your sense of vision can only give you cues about the surface of the skin and these are misleading since what you are working on is inside of it.
You start relying on the wrong sensitive information and your grooming becomes so slow you will never get to the bottom.

The 5% mirror usage rule

Relying on a mirror is an easy habit to take, so I warn you against it.
Stay away from the mirror.
If you use a mirror more than 5% of the time, you are not really grooming.
You think you are, because your actions are similar, but you are not led by the right sensorial data.
Your visual perception is so strong it annihilates your small touching experience.


How to use a mirror
while grooming

This being said, mirrors are still very practical tools.
Some people shy away from looking at themselves.
Here are a few ways to use mirrors while grooming:

Visual inspection

Your goals are to:
• Examine your skin visually anytime you can.
• Construct a mental database of all your skin's imperfections and their evolution.
• Check how your grooming is progressing.
• Look for signs of wear-and-tear.
• Verify if you haven't forgotten any regions.

Lost on your skin

While grooming, it's easy to get lost on your own skin because you don't see.
Your hands move all over it, while trying to free it, and you lose track of where you are.
You confuse the left with the right, the top with the bottom.
• Occasionally checking your position with a mirror is instructional.
• You can make the link between what you feel and what you see.

The «Spot & Move» method

I put the title orange to attract your attention to this funny, awkward but effective grooming method.
This procedure exploits both senses for their strengths, while accepting their mutual exclusion.
You first use your sense of sight to pinpoint a location in the mirror, then abruptly remove any visual stimulus by turning away from it.
You then keep on grooming normally, using your sense of touch, but you know exactly where you are.
• Spot the place you want to groom visually in the mirror.
• Place your nail exactly on it.
• Move away from the mirror.
• Groom.

Finding a friend in the mirror

You may have developed an arduous relationship with your mirror.
Since your looks are continuously on the decline, seeing yourself becomes also more painful.
If you groom, you will find a new person staring at you.


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