Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My week without make-up...

A few months back, I heard about  "The Naked Face Project".  I think I may have spoken of it before, although perhaps only on This Healthy Girl's FB page.  Two women (Molly Barker, the founder of Girls On the Run; Caitlyn Boyle, founder of Operation Beautiful) decided to go 60 days without make-up.  Without shaving.  Without primping.  60 days of denying the conventions of "beauty" that society tells us make us beautiful.  If you ask "why?", I can tell you that these women didn't have a clear hypothesis to prove.  They weren't trying to make a particular "feminist" statement.  According to their web page, their goal was simply to "live in our own space of authentic beauty and be more intentional in our actions."  

"Huh."  That was pretty much my response.  I thought, "But I like make-up!"  "I like straightening my hair!" But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, I kind of didn't.  I have been a slave to my cover-up for many years.  I know I've talked about my problems with my skin growing up, and it definitely caused me to feel very dependent on make-up.  I used to wake up early when I worked at camp, before the kids got up, just to go put on some foundation and feel "comfortable".  I had a fear of getting wet... but it was really a fear of getting my face wet.  If my face got wet, everyone would see what was underneath my mask.  I was embarrassed by myself.  

So as I followed the journey these two women were on, I wondered if I could have that kind of courage.  (Isn't it sad, that I just used the word "courage" to describe living my life in a natural state?)  The idea of waking up and not putting my safety blanket on my face terrified me.  I suppose, in the end, my fiance insisting that he likes me better without make-up gave me that extra push to give it a try.  "A week," I thought.  Just without make-up, baby steps.  

Here is what DIDN'T happen my week without make-up:

  • My face didn't fall off.
  • No one unfriended me on Facebook.
  • No one said, "Wow, you look terrible!  What happened?"
  • In fact... I don't think anyone really noticed.  Or cared.
  • I didn't go to sleep with make-up on because I was too lazy to wash it off.  
  • I didn't constantly check my face in every mirror or window I came across.
  • My fiance didn't break up with me.
Here is what DID happen my week without make-up:

  • My skin felt like it could breathe.
  • I forgot I wasn't wearing it.  
  • It took me less time to get ready to go places.
  • My face got a little sun.
  • I swam without worrying that I got my face wet.  
  • I felt good.  
  • An intentional act turned into an effortless act.  
Yesterday, after 8 days without make-up, I decided to wear just a little powder.  It honestly felt strange.  By the end of the day, my skin looked greasy and I was dying to wash my face.  So, will "make-up free" be a permanent change?  Probably not, as sometimes make-up is a fun way to express myself (and as a theatre person, it's illogical to pretend I've given up make-up for good).  There's also the fact that I'm getting married later this summer, I'll be wanting a little pizzazz!  But I have a feeling- I'll be going without it a lot this summer.  Just being me feels pretty good.  

"The way women are portrayed in so much of what we see in the current popular media (and further reinforced by the comments made anonymously by those beneath many of these articles) goes beyond just appearance and whether a woman is pretty or not.  A woman’s worth is often tangled up in her ”sexual-willingness” and her desire to please others."  ~ Molly Barker


  1. I love this post! I went hiking on an all-women's trip a few weekends ago and knew I'd be the social outcast if I even attempted to pull out some powder, so I left it at home - along with some self-confidence. However, by the third day of the trip I completely forgot I had makeup on and I loved it!

  2. Thanks, Meagan! It is a pretty freeing feeling once you adjust to it and realize... people don't care!! (Nor should we care if people DO care!)