Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Week Without Makeup

I've recently read a couple articles citing Audre Lorde and bell hooks to argue that makeup can never be considered feminist. As a big believer that makeup can be extremely empowering to women, I found this interesting. The basic argument is this: wearing makeup, whether it's to please yourself or to please the public, cannot let you reclaim your body and your beauty as it is still playing into ideals of beauty established in a patriarchal society. I am not going to get into my personal opinion on this argument as this is neither the place nor the time, but these articles did get me thinking about whether or not I could go without wearing makeup.
I don't wear makeup everyday. This isn't a statement or anything. In all honesty, it's just because I'm kind of lazy. However, I do love a good bold lip color and some mascara to make my fine eyelashes a little more proportional. So, I challenged myself to go a full week without makeup of any kind. No tinted lip balm, no concealer, no eye brightener, nothing. I photographed myself each day and wrote a little reflection on how I'd felt that day. I didn't find anything revolutionary in the process, but some of what I found did surprise me.

{photo via Carissa Gallo}

Monday: This is already kind of hard; I wanted to wear lipstick today! I felt kind of self-conscious in situations when I felt under-dressed.

Tuesday: I actually had extra time in my morning routine, so I caught up on some reading instead of spending that time to do my makeup. I felt self-conscious today and didn't want to look at my reflection in the mirror.

Wednesday: I had a bit of a late start, so I felt comfortable going makeup-less because I wouldn't have had time anyways. I've been spending a couple extra minutes on my hair in the mornings. I just want to feel presentable!

Thursday: I wonder if anyone else notices I'm not wearing makeup. My eyes feel tired and I'm worried it shows.

Friday: I used to think I only used makeup to add to my look (i.e. with statement lipstick and winged eyeliner), but I'm starting to figure out a lot of my makeup routine actually focuses on hiding what I'm self-conscious of. Some days I'm particularly self-conscious of my stubby eyelashes, my too-small eyes, and my undefined lips. Wearing makeup really can make me feel better about my appearance sometimes.

Saturday: I didn't recognize myself in the mirror today. I guess I need some of the enhancements of makeup to feel like myself. That seems like a bit of a slippery slope to me. I feel like I need longer eyelashes, bigger lips, bigger eyes, and smoother skin to feel the most comfortable in my own skin. But the more women like me rely on things like serums and extensions and makeup, the more the unrealistic standard of beauty in society is enforced. I don't want my daughter to feel like she has to spend hours on her appearance just to feel comfortable around other women. Maybe hooks and Lorde are right.

Sunday: I think I feel comfortable without makeup, but I don't feel pretty or stylish. I don't know how important it is to me that I find inherent beauty in my naked face, though. The only time that would serve to be convenient is when I don't have time to put on makeup on days that I really wanted to wear makeup.

Well, 7 days without makeup was certainly interesting... But I'm going to have to make up for it in the next 7 days. Stay tuned to see what I do next week!


  1. The idea that make up is anti feminist bothers me, but they make a great point. I'm glad you challenged yourself and got some reflection!

  2. Wow! Way to go. I don't think that I would be able to go that long without makeup. It has become so ingrained into my morning routine I think it would be interesting to see what happens if it were suddenly gone. I'm sure you discovered a whole host of things about yourself in this single week.
    Thanks for sharing
    - Ana Luiza
    Evergreen Evergrey Everyday

  3. You look INCREDIBLE without makeup! You really don't need it anyway :)

    Makin' it with Marissa