Book notes: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis book review summary and key ideas.

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis


“As the founder of the lifestyle website and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the 20 lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.

With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.

With unflinching faith and rock-hard tenacity, Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle – and how to give yourself grace without giving up.” -Audible

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Opening thoughts:

I think I picked up this book because it had a high average and high number of ratings, the usual. And I thought it would be a good, motivational and inspirational type book to help me take action on my 2019 goals.

Key notes:

  • One important truth/takeaway from this book: you and only you are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are
Chapter 1: The lie – Something else will make me happy
  • You must choose to be happy, grateful, and fulfilled
  • Things that helped:
    1. Stop comparing yourself
      • Comparison is the death of joy, and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday
    2. Surround yourself with positivity
      • You become who you surround yourself with
      • You become what you consume
    3. Figure out what makes you happy and do those things
      • Very few people intentionally choose the things that bring them joy
Chapter 2: The lie – I’ll start tomorrow
  • When we’re at a loss, we reach for the lowest bar
    • The lowest bar is typically our highest level of training
  • The one thing standing between you and achieving your goals is the ability to build on past success
  • Things that helped:
    1. Starting with one small goal
      • It’s much easier to add a habit than take one away
    2. Be careful with your commitments
      • Slow down your yes
      • Only commit to things you know you can accomplish because they’re incredibly important to you
        • Otherwise you set yourself up for continued failure
    3. Be honest with yourself
      • Look at what you cancel on and see how you’ve been training yourself to behave
Chapter 3: The lie – I am not good enough
  • Sometimes our sicknesses and symptoms are a physical response to an emotional problem
  • Things that helped her:
    1. Go to therapy
      • There is a connection between your childhood insecurities and your adult accomplishments
    2. Hustle for joy
      • Work just as hard for the fun moments as you do for everything else
    3. Re-order your list
      • Your bullet point priorities usually stay the same, but the ordering is what changes
      • You yourself should always be at the very top, focusing on self-care physically and emotionally
Chapter 4: The lie – I’m better than you
  • The stones we most often try to fling at others are the ones that have been thrown at us
  • Realize that nobody is immune to judging others
  • Recognize that just because you believe it, doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone
    • Judgement comes from a place of feeling as though you’ve somehow got it all figured out when they do not
  • Judging others actually makes us feel safer in our choices 
  • Holding each other accountable comes from a place of love
    • Judgment comes from a place of fear, disdain, or hate
  • Things that helped:
    1. Non-judgemental friends
    2. Police yourself
      • Instead of judging, force yourself to stop and think of compliments about that person
    3. Deal with it
      • Usually judging comes from a deep well of our own insecurities
Chapter 5: The lie – Loving him is enough for me
  • Things that would have helped:
    1. A sounding board
      • Be careful if the only words of advisement is your own
    2. Be prepared
    3. Someone else’s shoes
Chapter 6: The lie – No is the final answer
  • When it comes to your dreams, no is not an answer
    • The word no is not a reason to stop
    • Instead, think of it as a detour or a yield sign
  • Perception means we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are
  • Nobody gets to tell you how big your dreams can be
  • One of the greatest lessons: the only thing worse than giving up is wishing that you hadn’t
  • Nothing that lasts is accomplished quickly
  • You are a warrior because of through the trials you are going through, but don’t squander the strength you have earned just because the acquisition of it was painful
    • Those are the most important stories to share
  • It’s not about the goal or the dream you have. It’s about who you become on your way to that goal
  • You won’t get there by saying yes. You’ll get there by not giving up when you hear the word no
  • Things that helped:
    1. Audacity
      • Keep your eyes on your goal, regardless of what gets in your way
    2. Alternate paths
    3. Keep your goals in plain sight
Chapter 7: The lie – I’m bad at sex
  • Things that helped her:
    1. Redefine sex in your own mind
      • She now saw it as a fun experience that would always be more compelling than whatever else she could be doing
    2. Figure out how it can be an earth shattering experience
      • If you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re not having good sex
    3. She read Hebrews 13:4
    4. Embrace your body
    5. Commit to your orgasm
    6. Figure out what turns you on
    7. Commit to having sex every day for a month
Chapter 8: The lie – I don’t know how to be a mom
  • To all the current and future moms: you don’t have to have it all figured out
    • You don’t have to know everything
    • The mechanics of keeping a new born alive are fairly simple
    • A new mother should focus on two things:
      1. Take care of the baby
      2. Take care of yourself
  • Things that helped:
    1. Find a tribe
    2. Stay away from Pinterest or social media
    3. Getting out of the house, every single day
    4. Talk to someone about your feelings
Chapter 9: The lie – I am not a good mom
  • You need to truly care that you are raising your babies to grow up to be good people
    • You need to do the work today to ensure that it happens
  • You have to make a conscious choice to not compare your family or yourself with others
  • Things that helped:
    1. Look at the evidence
    2. Make friends with the other moms
    3. Focus on quality
Chapter 10: The lie – I should be further along by now
  • Our own, negative self-talk can be more damaging than the emotional abuse heaped onto us by a hateful parent and far more insidious because there’s nobody to stop it
  • Faith is the belief that your life will unfold as it was meant to
    • Even when it unfolds to something painful and difficult to navigate
  • Focus on what you have done and the baby steps you’ve taken 
  • Celebrate the small moments
  • Nothing is more important than today
    • God has perfect timing
  • Things that helped:
    1. Make a list
      • Write out everything you’ve accomplished today
      • Write yourself a letter about your tenacity
    2. Talking to someone
    3. Set goals, not time limits
      • Big goals shouldn’t have expiration dates
      • As long as you’re working towards the things you hope to accomplish, it shouldn’t matter if it takes you a month or a decade
Chapter 11: The lie – Other people’s kids are so much cleaner, better, organized, more polite
  • Embracing chaos might be the path to finding peace
    • There’s beauty in the chaos and freedom in not trying to fight against the tide
  • Give yourself some grace
  • Things that helped:
    1. Friends like you (same life stage)
    2. Priorities and knowing what yours are
      • Sit down and decide what’s really important to you
    3. Boxed wine (or something or some activity that helps you unwind)
      • Find something in your life that feels like a treat or indulgence
      • When you’re feeling frazzled, you should be able to go to your happy place and reset
Chapter 12: The lie – I need to make myself smaller
  • Things that helped:
    1. A willingness to offend
    2. A bold statement
    3. An encounter with a guru
      • Start consuming content that speaks to that specific area
Chapter 13: The lie – I’m going to marry Matt Damon
  • Your ability to imagine your dreams in intricate detail is one of the biggest reasons you’ll be able to achieve them
    • Having a clear vision will give you something to focus on
  • Seriously, write down your goals
  • Things that helped:
    1. Writing it down
    2. Saying it out loud
      • When you name yours, say it in a powerful and affirmative present tense
    3. Create a vision board
Chapter 14: The lie – I am a terrible writer
  • Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business
  • Can you create your work and art because you have a God-given ability to do so
    • You create as a gift to yourself and to the higher power that blessed you with those abilities
  • Things that helped
    1. Stop reading reading reviews
    2. Write for yourself
      • If you have it within your power to keep a piece of your creativity just for yourself, it is truly a gift
    3. Indulge in silliness
      • Reach for silly, creative endeavors that serves no real purpose other than joy
Chapter 15: The lie – I will never get past this
  • If you don’t look for the good that came out of what you lived through, it’s all wasted
  • Things that helped:
    1. Going to therapy
    2. Talking about it
      • Not just with a therapist but also a close friend you trust
    3. Make yourself think about it
Chapter 16: The lie – I can’t tell the truth
  • When things are hidden, we give power to the fear, the negativity, the lies
  • Things that helped:
    1. Taking the plunge
      • Finding the courage to be honest about who you are or what you’re going through
    2. Seek out other truth tellers
      • Surround yourself with people who have also gone through the hardship of being honest about their feelings
    3. Research stories similar to your own
Chapter 17: The lie – I am defined by my weight
  • Things that helped:
    1. Mantras
    2. Edit your media
      • Stop consuming certain types of content that make you feel terrible from comparison
    3. Preparation
      • Prepare in advance for anything you want to do well
Chapter 18: The lie – I need a drink

Reader’s note: I love how open and honest this book is. It covers topics I’ve never heard other books talk about. She really communicates well and gives great insight for people who may also be struggling with these issues.

  • The difficult seasons we walk through are how we learn to build up strength to manage any situation
    • The strongest people you know have probably walked through hard roads and built up the skills necessary to be emotional giants
  • Don’t turn to distractions
    • Food, water, shelter, and healthy relationships are the only things you need
    • Anything else you insert into that category becomes a dangerous crutch
  • Things that helped:
    1. Learning about habits
    2. Acknowledge your reality
      • Self-awareness is one of the most important skills to acquire in the world
    3. Remove the temptation
Chapter 19: The lie – There’s only one right way to be

“When you know better, you do better”

Maya Angelou

Reader’s note: I love that she talks a lot about her faith and her background so we can understand where she comes from. As a Christian myself, I think this is very important and I would love to do the same in my own book. It makes the most sense to talk about my faith which is such a huge part of my life. This is why I’m so glad that she is setting a good example for hopeful authors like myself.

  • Every day, you get to choose the way your world looks
  • Things that helped:
    1. Change churches
    2. Acknowledge your position
      • Admit to the problems and your flawed ways of thinking so that you can change for the better
    3. Ask humble questions
Chapter 20: The lie – I need a hero
  • Only you have the power to change your life

Main ideas / Themes:

  1. You and only you are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are
  2. The lowest bar is typically our highest level of training
  3. Self-care (your physical & emotional well-being) should always be at the top of your priorities
  4. Judging others comes from our own insecurities
  5. The only thing worse than giving up is wishing that you hadn’t
  6. Accomplishing a goal is all about the person you become in pursuit of it
  7. It is important to figure out how to have good sex
  8. You don’t have to have it all figured out
  9. Always surround yourself with the right people
  10. Have faith and celebrate how far you’ve come
  11. Embracing chaos might be the path to finding peace
  12. Give yourself some grace
  13. Have a clear vision for your goals & write them down
  14. Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business
  15. Look for the good that comes from your pain
  16. When things are hidden, we give power to the fear, the negativity, the lies
  17. Prepare in advance for anything you want to do well
  18. Self-awareness is one of the most important skills to acquire in the world
  19. Every day, you get to choose the way your world looks
  20. Only you have the power to change your life

Closing thoughts:

So many things I loved about this book. I loved the honesty. I loved the vulnerability. I love how she covers so many topics that both men and women face. I love how she doesn’t hide her faith but embraces it. I love how she talks a lot about hope and finding the good through the pain and struggles. I love how she gives concrete, actionable steps that have worked for her to get through these lies.

This definitely jumps up to my top 10-15 books I’ll recommend to others. It has all of the elements of a good book, and is PACKED with great themes and lessons.

One Takeaway / Putting into practice:

This is tough because there are so many good takeaways from this book.

Two of my top ones that I WOULD adopt immediately but already do are:

  1. Create a vision board / write down your goals
  2. Start small / commit to only your most important goal

However I think I’m going to choose:

  • Find your tribe

I chose this one because I don’t think I utilize this principle enough. I’ve found that sometimes the fastest and most effective way to reach a goal is to surround yourself with like-minded people who are on the same journey as you. That way you can learn from each other and keep each other accountable.

Some of my activities/interests I want to find tribes for are:

  • Dancing (freestyle & choreography)
  • Fitness / working out
  • Podcasting
  • YouTube comedy production
  • Life coaching

I just wrote these down so this’ll be one of my “side quests” for the year.


Rachel Hollis shares the things that have helped her overcome the lies that many of us face in our lives.



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