There has always been a lot of pressure for women to look a certain way. You can’t escape the websites and social media outlets filled with gorgeous, flawless women with the ‘perfect’ eyebrows and contoured cheekbones. They are beautiful and effortless and I will never be able to recreate their looks. For the longest time I thought the only way I could be feminine enough, that I could be pretty enough was to wear a certain amount of slap. I had convinced myself that I was too masculine without make-up and my skin was too uneven in tone to be seen without a coating of concealer.
In actual fact, I have always been very lucky. I have never suffered with acne, or with spots or pimples of any kind. My pores may be considered large, however they have remained fairly clear of black or whiteheads. My cheeks redden easily, I blush and when I become hot I flame up magnificently. This always caused me a lot of embarrassment and anxiety. I believed coating them in foundation and loose powder would keep them porcelain white.
Generally I am considered youthful looking, and am often mistaken for being several years younger than I actually am. This is something of a compliment as I age, I may look young, but I still look just about old enough to avoid being constantly asked to produce ID. I can live with that. Since ditching the make-up people have told me I look much fresher, and younger.
At the start of the Summer 10×10 challenge I decided to ditch the make-up during the challenge and let the outfits do the talking. During this period I thought a lot about how I felt about myself with a bare face, and how I felt others were perceiving me. I also became much more keenly aware of the other women in my life, and the make-up they chose to wear.
I was pleasantly surprised that during the challenge, no-one commented (or even seemed to notice) that I was no longer wearing concealer, foundations, lose powder, eye-liner, mascara and lipstick which had been my staple face paint every day. My other half noticed, however his response was “I’ve always preferred it when you don’t have make-up on. I think you look beautiful”- which is always nice to hear.
So after the challenge I have not gone back to putting on the make-up every morning and have been thinking about the benefits in order to reinforce the decision (as i’m only human and often question my motives, wanting to run back to the familiarity of hiding behind products that present a carefully created picture of myself). The pros though outweighed this fear:
- Not having to think about make-up (application, checking, reapplication and removal, along with remembering to buy products and ensuring I take products with me) has freed up a lot of time for doing other things.
- I save time in the mornings, which either ensures I get to work early, or that I can spend a cheeky extra 10 minutes in bed! It really surprised me how much time applying make-up took, as it really is 10 or 15 minutes every morning that I am saving.
- Lets my skin breathe and be it’s natural self. The products were clogging my pores (no matter how carefully I removed it at the end of the day) and causing a few more spots than usual. I was also struggling with blocked oil glands and tear ducts around the eyes, which were not being helped by the make-up I wore.
- Saves me money – make-up is expensive!
- Less pressure to ensure I am confirming to certain looks or styles, I don’t have to check my make-up hasn’t run and that I am looking ‘perfect’.
- I can touch my eyes and face without being coated in products or displacing my make-up. I can rub my eye, scratch my nose or wipe my mouth without getting streaks and smears across my skin.
So currently I just wash my face with water (no products, even one’s that are supposedly good for skin or gentle as they are often very drying and harsh), apply a light facial moisturiser with SPF 15 in it such as Boots simply sensitive day moisturiser (it’s important to protect your skin from UV rays and stay hydrated. Something light to not clog the pores too much or leave the skin greasy) and a lip balm to soften the lips (I use Burt’s Bees Coconut and Pear lip balm which is a limited edition, however I love any of the Burt’s Bees balms). I use the Boots essentials cucumber wipes to freshen up on the go, but try not to use these too much, as i don’t want to dry or tighten the face on my skin, which is very sensitive.
All in all the experience has been very liberating. I feel that I have gained confidence from the experience, getting over my fear that people are judging me if I am not doing the adult thing and wearing make-up. People are actually concentrating on what i’m doing or saying, rather than staring at my face, silently mocking me for not being grown-up enough to put a bit of lippy on, or looking like a shiny, red little boy!
But if you did want to stare at my face and think that – this is what the happy, healthy, confident, make-up free me looks like:
Whilst i fully acknowledge that make-up is fantastic, and there are some very, very talented people out there who can do incredible things with a face, that’s just not me. I’m bare, i’m natural, and i’m loving it!
*The links in this post are only being used as an illustration of products I use. I have not been asked to promote these products, this post is not sponsored and I received no financial or other gain from providing these links.