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Girl Wash Your Face: Summary & Review (5/10)

In Girl Wash Your Face Rachel Hollis exhorts readers to move past their limiting self-beliefs and embrace more empowering mindsets. Hollis empowering mindsets include a sense of ownership, the belief that we can change our condition, and that the Lord will find a way for us.

Bullet Summary

  • We have all been fed a bunch of lies on what we can or can’t do
  • Wash your face and wake up to the reality of life: you’re in charge and can do whatever you please
  • People will treat you like you allow them to: demand the respect you need and deserve

Full Summary

Girl Wash Your Face is based on paragraphs relating to each one of the “lies” that the author lists.
But I didn’t find all of them deep enough to warrant a review, so I will give here a summary of what I felt were the most interesting takeaways:

Choose To Be Happy

Rachel Hollis powerfully stresses the idea that we need to take responsibility for our life and for our own happiness.

She talks about people -and herself- who travel and move looking for an elusive “change”, oping to stumble on happiness.
But moving, she says, doesn’t change who you are, only changes the view outside the window.
You must choose to be happy, grateful and fulfilled.

Also read:

Moving doesn’t change who you are – only the view outside the window.


Build People Up, Don’t Tear Them Down

Rachel Hollis tells the story of a former classmate of hers. She was popular and cool. And when she said she shaved her toes, Rachel couldn’t resist making fun of her and gossiping behind her back, even arriving to say “what kind of person shaves her toes”.

The crazy thing?
She shaved her toes too!

Hollis uses the story to reflect on the tendency most of us have to put people down and exhorts the readers to resist all urges of gossiping, spreading rumors and demeaning and devaluing the people around us.

I couldn’t agree more and I talked at length about it on this website. Also check:

Respect Yourself To Have People Respect You

Rachel Hollis tells the story of her first boyfriend and how she was so into him while he instead took her for granted and rather mistreated her.

She was too naive, she says. She really thought they were going to get married and start a family and called him his boyfriend publicly.
Until… He made it clear they were not in a relationship.
She says:

I naively believed that if someone had seen your boobs and regularly went to dinner together, it meant we were a couple.

Meanwhile, this man didn’t even believe we were dating.

Eventually though she sobered up. She called him one night and told him that they were through.
She reminded him of his “friends” thing and told him she didn’t want to be friends with him at all because she deserved someone who treated her properly.
Then told him to disappear from her life and hung up.

And what happened right after that? He showed up at her door to be together. This time “for real”.

However, she says that her story is an exception.
And she wasn’t even angry at him because, and I really liked this:

People will treat you with as much or as little respect as you allow them to. And our dysfunctional relationship started the first time he treated me badly and I allowed it.


And she says that sometimes, even if it breaks your heart, walking away is the biggest act of self-love you can have access to.

Also read:

Don’t Make Yourself Small To Make Others Comfortable

Rachel Hollis talks about the tendency of some women to make themselves small and diminish their own achievements and ambitions.

She says that God didn’t make you the way you are and give you your special talents so that you could “hide” them from the rest of the world.

And she encourages women to also pursue their careers if they so wish because a “woman’s job” is not solely to tend to the family. That’s a duty that is shared by both partners, she says.

Rachel Hollis says that something that helped was the “willingness to offend”, not in the sense of being rude, but in the sense that not everyone could approve of you and someone might end up not liking what you do. And that’s OK.

She also says that, after a bad review, she stopped reading reviews altogether.

My Note:
I personally disagree with this.
Growing and maturing also means embracing emotional vulnerability and having the courage to stare naked at our inadequacies. Even when they hurt.

Girl Wash Your Face Lies

These are all the lies Rachel Hollis shares in Girl Wash your Face:

  • Something Else Will Make Me Happy
  • I’ll Start Tomorrow
  • I’m Not Good Enough
  • I’m Better Than You
  • Loving Him Is Enough for Me
  • No Is the Final Answer
  • I’m Bad at Sex
  • I Don’t Know How to Be a Mom
  • I’m Not a Good Mom
  • Should Be Further Along by Now
  • Other People’s Kids Are So Much Cleaner/Better Organized/More Polite
  • I Need to Make Myself Smaller
  • I’m Going to Marry Matt Damon
  • I’m a Terrible Writer
  • I Will Never Get Past This
  • I Can’t Tell the Truth
  • I Am Defined by My Weight
  • I Need a Drink
  • There’s Only One Right Way to Be
  • I Need a Hero
girl wash your face

Girl Wash Your Face Quotes

I was so nervous. I was worried if he would try to hold my hand or kiss me or… BOTH??

“I hope you’re not one of those girls who’s afraid of eating on a date” he asked me. “it annoyed me (..) I responded by eating more than half the pizza we were sharing”

For clarity sake, let me spell out: at that point, we weren’t having sex. But honestly, that was a technicality.

Sometimes choosing to walk away, even if means breaking your won heart, can be the biggest act of self-love you can have access to.


Comparison is the death of joy, and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday

You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are

Real Life Applications

Demand The Respect You Deserve
Rachel’s happy marriage showed that sometimes people are good… As long as you demand the respect you deserve. But if you allow them to disrespect you, then even good people can turn bad.

Demand and Accept Help
This is something that I need to work on. Especially for men, who value independence, asking and accepting help is a skill to master that can help us go much farther.

Embrace The Good of Whatever Bad Happened to You
Rachel Hollis shares Tony Robbins’ wisdom that if we can bear wit the pain of what happened to us, then we can also admit of what good it did to us.
She says that, indeed, it’s not easy sometimes because it makes us feel bad to admit that something came out of tragedy.
But also became stronger after she found the body of her brother dead.
That was very deep and I prefer this way of dealing with pain as compared to the darkness of David Goggins’ Can’t Hurt Me.


God Has Perfect Timing…?
Girl Wash Your Face is a Christian book –albeit it’s been criticized by the Christian community-.
I don’t question the religious bits, but the “perfect timing” to me is an example of the “personal God” who intervenes in people’s lives. And I think that can be a harmful belief. What if the timing doesn’t work for you? Then God is not helping you?
No, if there is a God, I don’t believe in a God who micro-manages people’s lives.

I Made It.. So You Will Make It Too
At times it feels like Girl Wash Your /Face falls into the mantra common to many self-help books that seems to say “look at me and how successful I am. And if I have done it, rest assured the same will happen to you too”.
That’s bogus of course.

Simplistic “Feel Good” Psychology
Rachel Hollis says that all lies have been perpetrated by “society”, “the media”, “our families” and even “the devil himself”.
What about biology, psychology, evolutionary psychology and sociology? People care about their weight because other people do, yes, but that’s not a lie, that’s the truth.

Sometimes Felt Like Shallow Self-Help
Connected to the above, telling people that all the limitations we feel are “lie” is a cop-out.
Honest improvement often must start with a realistic, sometimes brutal assessment of reality.
Yes we need a strong and antifragile ego to do it, but anything else is the equivalent of spray-panting a tu… You know what I mean.

Too Long On Some Personal Life Bits
I loved Rachel Hollis sharing the stories of her dating and marriage. But the part when she goes into all the details of her adoption efforts, not as much. I found it too long winded and sometimes even too complaining.
But then again, that’s also probably because I write about dating and I am interested in it but have little interest in adoption.

Her Digital Reach In The Millions?
Rachel Hollis says that her “digital reach” is in the millions. Yet her website is only marginally more popular than this website -and only after “Girl Wash Your Face” went viral.
So that seemed a bit of an exaggeration -also read “How to Lie With Statistics“.


Positive and Uplifting
Girl Wash Your Face is a positive and sort of uplifting book -in its own way, if you agree with that view of the world-. It can be effective both for motivation and deeper mindsets.

Girl Wash Your Face Video Summary

And here is a 5 minutes recap and review of Girl Wash Your Face:


Rachel Hollis says that the principal message of “Girl Wash Your Face” is that we are all responsible for who we become and for what happens in our lives.

That’s a strong message, and she delivers it in a prose which is both vulnerable, deep and even entertaining.

On the other hand, there is nothing new here.
And I can’t recommend it to an audience that is looking for an hedge and for self-development that is both effective and time-efficient.


Stef and gbe have reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
  • We have all been fed a bunch of lies on what we can’t or can’t do

  • you mean can or can not do

Thank you, Stef! Fixed it.

This is part of a series of "summaries dump" I've done, from the main website, to the forums.

Some of these books were OK, but I didn't consider good enough to be here.
I'd rather have fewer great summaries than dilute the content with more "just OK" books.


Stef has reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Yeah decluttering the main blog and polishing it sounds like a great idea to make the golden content shine even more!

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano