After wearing makeup every day since the age of 15; relying on cosmetics to make myself feel pretty, I decided I should set myself a little challenge.
I wondered what it would be like if I went for a week without wearing a shred of makeup on my face. No foundation to even out the colour of my face, no concealer to hide blemishes, no eye liner or mascara to frame my eyes and no blush, gloss or bronzer.
I won’t lie; the prospect of a whole week without any of my favourite beauty products was terrifying. Although I remove my makeup every night before bed, no one had really ever seen me with none on at all. I was interested in this as a social experiment, as well as a personal challenge to test myself and ultimately my self esteem.
Here is how it all went.
Day 1 – The Apocalypse
In the bathroom, crying. Usually after my morning shower, I look forward to seating myself at my dressing table mirror and plastering my cosmetic shield across my face, making myself ready to take on the day. Today, there would be no such shield.
After washing every shred of yesterday’s makeup off my face, I took a long hard look in the mirror and mentally listed the faults. Blotchy skin, small tired eyes, chapped lips and wafer thin eyelashes. I did not feel pretty.
And so I left the house, nervous and vulnerable and made my way to work.
I hadn’t told anyone in the office about my experiment as I wanted to see what a genuine reaction to my makeup-less face would incur. I walked into the office and headed straight to my desk with a muffled ‘Morning’ to anyone in the vicinity.
Throughout the day I was asked many times ‘Are you OK?’ ‘You look tired, late night?’ I answered politely that I was fine and well rested and I could see on their faces that they couldn’t quite place what was different.
By late afternoon, a female colleague said to me ‘You know, you look quite different with no makeup on, were you in a rush this morning?’ I replied that I wasn’t and that I just couldn’t be bothered to do my face. She looked at me as if I’d just strangled the office cat with my bare hands, she then muttered something polite and wandered off.
(image created using Jing screen capture of vlogger – Jenna Marbles.)
Day 2 – Tired & Emotional
Confidence knocked, I forced myself to repeat the no-makeup morning routine, all the while staring at my face in the mirror whilst dressing, muttering vicious things at myself.
This time, there were various people concerned ‘Are you not well today? You look really pale.’ I resisted the overpowering urge to run to the bathroom and just put a little mascara on.
I did note how pleasant it was to touch my face throughout the day, without groaning straight after and wiping smudged makeup from my hands. My skin felt smooth and natural, which was an unnatural feeling for me. I still missed my foundation though.
This evening’s challenge would be meeting my girlfriends for drinks at a local cocktail bar after work. When I walked in, they certainly did a double take. They are good enough friends not to pretend they haven’t noticed and immediately asked me what I was playing at. I explained the challenge to them and while they were supportive, there was a resounding ‘Rather you than me’ tone.
I wondered why such good friends of mine had never actually seen my makeup-less face.
Then I had a few too many cocktails and no longer cared.
Day 3 – Post Booze Face
This day was tricky as I was suffering from a mild hangover and whereas, before I would heavily rely on my makeup to cover up the post booze face, this wasn’t an option this week.
I put extra moisturiser on, hoping that it would feed my skin in some way and rehydrate me. It did make me feel a little better but I knew I was just lying to myself.
It was a long day. I kept myself to myself, head down and got on with it, waiting for 5pm to come and save me.
I then crawled home and plastered a mud mask on my face, realising that my face being covered in mud, actually looked better than it had done all day. I also realised that I was coming round to idea of no makeup. This was me au naturel, and I’d seen far worse to be honest.
Image by Sfllaw
Day 4 – Whining But Coping
This morning I was late and for the first time, glad that my usual makeup routine wouldn’t be slowing me down further, I made it to the office with minutes to spare and had no time to think about my bare face.
By lunchtime, I began feeling self conscious again but remembered that there was only one day left of my challenge and that on Saturday I could wear as much makeup as I liked. I even made a cosmetics shopping list as I felt that I deserved some new makeup, as a reward for the horror of this makeup-less week.
I jest, slightly. But I missed my makeup, even if I didn’t mind being without it too much.
Day 5 – HE LIKES ME!!! Make Up Goes Back On Tomorrow Though…
Today at the office, a guy I’ve flirted with for months told me that I looked lovely without makeup on. I swooned, grinned and muttered unintelligibly then rushed back to my desk and pondered the possibility of never wearing makeup again.
I felt slightly disappointed in myself that it had taken a compliment from a man to make me feel better about the situation but it made me realise that I wore makeup for me, not for anyone else. I knew I looked more natural and more myself with none on at all (and by the way, at this point I was able to look at myself in the mirror without frowning).
My makeup routine is also a part of who I am. I choose shades and styles to suit moods and occasions and I enjoy sitting and making myself feel pretty with an abundance of products that look and smell nice.
While this challenge taught me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s also a lady’s choice to wear or not to wear makeup. I won’t ever be one of those brave ladies who don’t ever wear makeup, but I think I’m OK with wearing it because I want to, not because I feel I have to.
I shall have one make-up free day a week. Obviously it’ll be Sunday when I don’t really go out anywhere anyway, but still… Baby steps!
I would encourage any makeup addict to try this challenge. If only to test your fortitude and how you really see yourself. If you dare, do it and report back in the comments section!