A Week With No Make-up

June 5, 2020
This is what a week with no make-up looks like

Southern Women raised me. This may feel like an irrelevant statement but when it comes to make-up it made all the difference. You see at an early age we started wearing make-up. Not because it was necessary, but because it was fun. We watched our mother get ready in the morning layering colors on her face, fixing her hair and putting on her outfit. We’d sit with our grandma as she reapplied her lipstick and always had a full face of make-up on. In our world, this was the way you got ready for the day, putting on your mask to take on the world.

This was the way you got ready for the day, putting on your mask to take on the world.

In the 5th grade, we were allowed to wear make-up with one contingency–we could wear as much as we wanted as long as dad couldn’t tell we were wearing any. This meant mascara and maybe blush to start. As we grew older more products were added to our Dopp kit and our morning routines grew the slightest bit longer. I learned quickly that you didn’t leave the house without make-up on, not even to the grocery store.

The Challenge

I followed these rules all through my life, never thinking anything of them. It only took me 5-minutes to get ready in the morning and have a mask to take on the world. A friend challenged me to go for a month with no make-up and it got me thinking. “I could never do that,” was my first thought. A statement like that meant that I needed to see what was there for me, and why could I “never” do that? Was it that I was afraid of what others would think of me? How I would see myself? 

A month of no make-up sounded like a nightmare. Instead, I chose to do a week with no make-up and see how I felt. If I was anything like my friend who did this challenge, I may choose to never wear it again. During the time of this challenge, I was stuck to the confines of my home, which I feel is important to mention. It made this challenge a bit more approachable seeing as I wouldn’t be in front of real people aside from my husband and few friends for walks.

A Week With No Make-up

The first day was hell. I hated every minute of not wearing make-up. Even on days when I’m just doing yard work, I’ll still put on foundation and mascara. Having nothing on (okay I still wore mascara, sue me) made me feel naked. Exposed to the world.

I learned that pretty much no one noticed I wasn’t wearing make-up. In some ways, this almost felt like an insult.

The days following weren’t much better. I actually missed my routine of putting on make-up. It never took me much time and I like the habit of it. I learned that pretty much no one noticed I wasn’t wearing make-up. In some ways, this almost felt like an insult. Clayton (my husband) repeatedly told me he couldn’t tell when I was wearing it and that it really didn’t matter to him. Friends and co-workers noticed something was different, but couldn’t put a finger on it. My family of course noticed, but that’s because I was raised by Southern women. It’s in our blood to be wearing make-up.

The Outcome

This is really what I learned at the end of my week with no make-up. I love make-up. It’s the ritual of putting it on and I have it down to a science to not take much time. I love to choose colors that speak to me each day or drawing lines that accentuate different parts of my face. There is something artistic about applying make-up every day and I love it. This is the mask I wear to take on the world. Just as a hunter or military man will wear face paint to blend into their surroundings. 

I also realized that make-up for me was a way to stay connected to my family lineage.

I also realized that make-up for me was a way to stay connected to my family lineage. My grandmother wore lipstick until the day she died. My mother who I’ve never seen leave the house without make-up (even on camping trips). Even my sister who I would get ready with day after day of growing up together, doing out make-up together in the same bathroom.

You by no means NEED to wear make-up. You may even find that you love going without it and that it’s the freedom you’ve been looking for. The beauty is, there is no right answer. The feminist answer is that you have the right to choose and don’t need to validate your choice. It’s already valid. Whether you prefer a make-up free face or you’re like me and decide that your make-up is the armor you wear to take on the day, the choice is yours and you are beautiful either way.

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