A Year without Makeup

Posted in: Deeply Pretty, Fifteen | 2

A Year without Makeup pic

Inspired by all my Lovely FACES Girls

I have a theory.  It goes like this:  Women are sometimes so concerned about looking good that they keep themselves from doing things that will actually make them look good in the long run.  So you can get the basic idea of what I mean by that, I’ve listed some examples below:

  1. When a women feels self-conscious and insecure, or even just overly self-aware, she smiles less and her movements are more robotic.
  2. When a women is given the opportunity to use her body in a healthy and active way, she often opts out or doesn’t involve herself fully, for fear of messing with her look. For example, when women go swimming you’ll often see them cautiously avoiding getting their hair wet instead of actually playing and being active in the water.
  3. When women wear makeup, not only does it contribute to the issue of avoiding activity and fun, but it also prohibits women from reading the cues that their body is giving them. For example, dark circles under your eyes could signal that you’re stressed, anxious, or needing more sleep.  But instead of dealing with this issue head on, the tendency is to cover it all up!

I often think back to this moment in grade 12 when some boys decided that it would be funny to hold up numbered cards to the girls as they walked down the hallway.  I don’t think their intent was to shame anyone.  In fact, they were very generous.  I was given a 9.5.  And I felt good.  My heart knew that judging human beings based completely upon their looks is never a good thing, but another part of me felt great.  Confident.  Celebrated.

All of that confidence came to a halt after the two girls who had been walking behind me sat down beside me in class.  They had both received perfect 10s.  Suddenly I was beating myself up a little.  They weren’t necessarily any prettier than me, I reasoned.  If only I would spend a little more money on clothes and a little more time getting ready in the morning, maybe invested in a push up bra… then I could have been a 10 too. Why couldn’t I just get my act together?

Looking back, the reality was that I didn’t have any more time to spend on my appearance because I was more concerned with learning the material I was being taught at school.  I was concerned with being a loving sister and with being there for my mom and dad when they needed my help around the house.  I was concerned with really understanding my religious beliefs and knowing what I wanted for my future.  With all of that going on, how was it in the least bit appropriate for me to criticize myself for not taking more time to make myself look sexy?

Here are some things I’m feeling done with:

I’m done with looking around a room and comparing myself to every other woman to find out if she’s better looking than me… wondering if I should have done more to myself that morning to up my rating a little bit.

I’m done with examining myself in every single surface so that I can fix or adjust the flaws that always seem to be there.

I’m done with feeling afraid that when I move in certain ways or try new things in front of people, my body will look ugly or unnatural.

In Conclusion…

If living my life to the very fullest including doing my best to be truly healthy and participating in a regular grooming routine gets me a 6 out of 10 on the beauty rating scale, I’m okay with that.  I’m okay with that because I don’t want to be judged singularly on how I look.  I’m okay with it because I don’t want my opinion of myself to be based on how I look.  I’m okay with that because I feel the most happy when I’m laughing. I feel the most energetic when I succeed in a physical challenge, and I feel the most love when I’m able to make someone’s day. All of those things, in my opinion, look good… and none of them come from a place of comparison or of feeling inadequate.

So how do I get out of the habit of obsessing over the way I look? How do I stop comparing myself to other women?  How do I succeed in living the kind of life that I really want?

I don’t have all the answers, but one way I’m trying to answer these questions is by going without make-up for an entire year.

I’ve chosen to do this for so many reasons but one is because I want to look like the kind of “good” that relates directly to the things I actually value in life.  I hope that by not wearing makeup, at least for a while, I can understand what that means for me.

Wish me luck!


P.S. For those of you who know me and are thinking:  “What are you even talking about?  You didn’t wear much make-up before anyway!”

…This is about freeing myself from thinking I should always be doing more.  It’s about realizing that it’s okay to have zits; they happen.  That it’s okay for my eyes to be puffy and red because I’ve been crying.  That sometimes I’m going to look pale and tired but that I don’t have to immediately fix it. That it’s okay to look exhausted because I’m pregnant with baby number 3! Basically, that I’m allowed to look the way I look and be the way I am  🙂

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2 Responses

  1. Jess

    …I’m going to do it. I have been thinking about going makeup free since seeing Alicia Keys do it a few months ago. Talking to you at super Saturday and reading your blog has helped give me the push to just do it. I am nervous!! I have always been self conscious that I look like a boy, so I have relied on makeup to feel feminine. BUT, and it’s a huge but, I know I am beautiful and I want my face to match my heart – real, raw, uneven, full of hope, joy and love. I strive to live with authenticity and I think this is the natural next step.

    Thank you for the inspiration!!

    • Jen Bowden

      “Real, raw, uneven, full of hope, joy, and Love.”
      Yes! THIS is what I’m beginning to see as beauty! Learning to appreciate my own face free of make-up is starting to make it so much easier not to compare myself to the way other women look. A covered up, made-up face is really only judged on one thing- visual (or usually, sexual) appeal… whereas a bare face is multi-demensional, ever changing, reflecting both the hardships and transendancies of this human existance. So now, instead of feeling inadequacy when I see I well made-up face, it just makes me think: She seems really beautiful. I just wish I could see her face.

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