5 things I learnt from a (mostly) make-up free week


Last Saturday morning I found myself away from home and without any make up. I usually wear eyeliner and mascara every day without thinking about it, but a day of having to go without made me a) realise being make up free is not a big deal and b) wonder if I could  do it for a week.

Here are some things that I learnt from the experience:

  1. It’s nice not to worry about smudging. It was pretty windy on Monday and my eyes were watering while I was cycling to work. I caught myself worrying what my eye make-up looked like when I remembered, “Wait, I’m not wearing any!” So that saved me two minutes and a tissue. It’s also pretty awesome to be able to rub your eyes (or is when you spend as much time staring at a computer screen as I do) and wash your face a few times during the day.
  2. You get used to it. I don’t really like the way I look without make up. This doesn’t really affect me in a big way because my self esteem comes from elsewhere. But I probably needed the weekend (two days of the only people seeing me without make up being the people who are used to seeing me without make up) in order to recalibrate my perception of how I looked in the mirror before going make up free to work.
  3. Some people are worth breaking rules for. So okay, I did put some eyeliner and mascara on to go out with my boyfriend on Tuesday evening. Obviously it wouldn’t matter to him in the slightest and he’s seen me plenty of times make up free, but I wanted to make some kind of effort with my appearance, and make up is part of the ritual of getting dressed up.
  4. You don’t get that used to it. I’ll be wearing mascara again tomorrow. It might be better in the summer but right now I’m so pale every time I catch a glimpse of myself I think I look washed out and ill.
  5. Despite looking washed out and ill, it didn’t affect my confidence. I actually forgot about it most of the time. I bet most people didn’t notice I wasn’t wearing make up, they certainly didn’t treat me any differently (why would they?), further reinforcing my theory that most of our neuroses about appearance exist entirely in our own heads.

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