Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 144: Reporting Back on Makeup Free Monday

Yesterday was my first official attempt at a Makeup Free Monday.  This seemed like a great way to push myself a bit further along on this journey of self-image, and facing my fears about letting go of appearance obsessions.  As I explained in my last post, wearing at least a bit of makeup most days has remained a bit of a security blanket -  albeit one that I enjoy mostly via memory and imagination.  (Though I've begun looking forward to smelling the scents of my various beauty products each morning.... egads! perhaps this is a sign that No Makeup Mondays have arrived just in time!)
Original image found here.

What can I say?  My day was mostly uneventful, but here are a few highlights:

1) I was faced with some decisions.  Namely: what, exactly, counts as "makeup"?  For example, is it fair to decide that my SPF15 makeup primer shouldn't count as makeup because it isn't tinted (back on Day 22, the sales-rep at Sephora promised that it would help both "brighten" and "even out" my skin tone.  Right.). Or how about curling my eyelashes?  Certainly that shouldn't count as makeup.  I stared at the sheet hanging over my bathroom mirror, and wondered (hoped!) that the prior day's waterproof mascara was still stuck to my lashes.  With this in mind, I hesitated before washing my face: greasy skin + eyelashes, or clean skin + invisible-lashes?  Sigh...   I went ahead and washed my face, and then applied the sunscreen/primer, curled my lashes, looked longingly at my makeup kit, and then dabbed Aquaphor on my lips.  My face FELT okay, but without mirrors, the whole thing was really anti-climactic (yet nerve-wracking).  Oh, and I felt like a freak for missing the smell of my foundation.

2) I fantasized about eating a lot of berries with breakfast and accidentally staining my lips and cheeks in a brilliant shade of makeup-free raspberry.  No berries in the house.  Somehow banana-stained lips didn't sound quite so apPEELing (get it?!?)

3) What to do with the saved 5 minutes of my morning routine?  I must have been desperately craving contact with some non-makeup cultural symbol of femininity.  Or maybe I just needed a scent-fix.  Anyway.... I sniff-tested all of the perfume samples I've collected over the past few years and decided to spray myself abundantly with something called Touch by Tocca.  It smelled great in the sample sprayer, but not so much on me.  According to Sephora, the core scent notes of Touch should be "Gardenia & Balsam" (at least that's what they were back in 2006 when they still sold this stuff!). Anyway, the sample sprayer smelled like Gardenia (heady romantic floral), but I just smelled like Balsam (a resinous pine tree).  I spent the next few minutes unsuccessfully attempting to wash the scent off of my wrists and neck.  Overall time saved: negative 3 minutes.   Oops.

4) After all of this I was REALLY nervous to leave the house.  Not only was I bare-faced but I smelled like a pine tree.  But then... big surprise... NOBODY NOTICED.  Or, at least nobody said anything, or acted differently.  I guess this doesn't surprise me on a logical level, but on an emotional level I'm still suspicious that people were just being nice.  Then again... maybe that's all that counts?  What do you think?

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  1. Well it's pretty hard to fake not noticing something, so if you didn't perceive any noticeable reactions, then it's probably true that nobody really noticed, or at least no one thought it was strange enough to cause them to have a noticeable reaction. (Does that make sense?)

    And I have to say, Good for you Kjerstin! You know I rarely wear makeup, so I was impressed to read about you going "clean" for a day. I don't think it's wrong to wear makeup - like you say, it's a way we have of expressing ourselves - but I do think we should only wear it when we WANT to, not because we feel like we NEED to. You don't need it girl, but if you feel like wearing it, rock on. :)

    One last thought...these posts have made me think about why it is that I never really got into makeup. I've decided that it must have been a combination of bad experiences where makeup was involved (poorly chosen foundation dripping off my face in embarrassing streams of ORANGE as I sweat during gym class freshman year of HS) plus good experiences where makeup was not involved (getting hit on in college minutes after waking up while wearing flannel pajamas - hadn't even combed my hair yet or put in contacts). I think I just figured that amount of products used didn't really correlate to social outcomes, so I developed a "what's the use" kind of attitude. It seems to have stuck with me over the years.

  2. Yay for you, Kjerstin! Hopefully you will embrace your inner beauty even more :) I rarely wear makeup during the week because since I'm a dental hygienist and wear a mask all day, my face have blemishes EVERYWHERE if I tried to keep foundation on. I try to persuade myself to put mascara and eyeliner on every day, but most days I'm too tired, and since my eyes are a key part of my job (aside from my hands) I'd rather not have eyelashes clumped with mascara falling into my eyes while I have a mask, safety glasses, and gloves on. It's not worth it.

  3. How interesting to read this. I've not worn makeup on a regular basis in over 30 years, so in my case it would be noteworthy to wear makeup and I am certain that people would comment about that.

  4. ha! you said aPEELing. awesome! i love this project. i'll be following you on this!

  5. Another "I don't wear makeup" responder... the funny part is you're right that people don't notice. I have had friends I have known for years, who see me regularly, stare at me in shock after I point out that I don't wear any makeup - ever. They don't believe me sometimes. LOL

  6. i definitely feel like people notice! i've had a comment here and there. i was like sheesh people gimmie a break!

  7. I don't know if this is advice you want, but you can actually dye your eyelashes. It would skip your mascara step, and you wouldn't need to worry about clumping or anything else. I haven't tried it (long and dark natural lashes) but if the reason you wear mascara is so that your lashes are viable you might consider it. I use my mascara for thicker and longer lashes because I spent years with girls who wore false lashes all the time.

    I also have read all of your blog in the last two hours.

  8. Eyelash tinting is great and saves time in the mornings. I rarely ever go out without makeup...

  9. I love to wear make-up, more for the fun of experimenting with colors and applying it (my face is blank canvas and I am an artist LOL), but I don't wear it as much anymore now that I'm a SAHM. I make sure I put moisturizer with spf 15 on my face/neck and that's it. I might add mascara and a little blush if I have time and my little one doesn't wake up early from his AM nap.

  10. Just discovered your blog after an article about you was posted on the website Wish I Didn't Know. I also rarely wear makeup. I'm a massage therapist and I tend to get hot and sweaty while working, so I'd end up wiping it off or it would just fade away. I do think I look better with makeup, but I don't care enough most days to bother. I'll be interested to follow your blog, as I, like many women, suffer from body image issues. This is truly an interesting experiment!

  11. I have just come across this project through YAHOO! and have to say I find it very intriging. I have never been one to dawdle on self-image. I look in the mirror long enough to make sure I appear presentable (abt 10-15 sec) and on the days I choos to wear make-up, that time increases to about 2 min.

    This project can go one of many ways. One way is that when you do look in the mirror for the first time you will smile at the good you've missed about your body and not even notice the flaws, you could be horrified at what you see because you only see the flaws, or, after going so long avoiding mirrors, only notice the mirrors at home and be completely complacent at when you do see them out, or become aware of EVERY mirror you come across and lose focus of what the project was meant for in the first place. It will be interesting to find out.

    I do believe, you can mentally prepare yourself to respond a certain way. It's not unheard of in psychology. But regardless, I'm pleased to see that, for the most part, you have remained positive through it all.

    I say, let anyone and everyone take pics of you during this time. Or have someone make a picture journal during your project for you to go back and reflect on the success or failure. If you can go back and look at daily pics of yourself at the end of your project that chronicle everyday. Your feelings about those pictures will go a long way in determining if you truly reached your goal. Will you say "I Can't believe I looked like that, what was I thinking?" or will you say "wow, I never realized how happy I could be or how wonderful I looked". Will you focus on the clothes you wore, how well you applied your make-up, your body, or will you focus on the emotions in the picture, the beautiful smile, or the sparkling eyes?

    Just a thought....

  12. From the age of 6 my daughter has asked me why I wear makeup. I tell both my daughters that I didn't take good care of my skin when I was younger so I use makeup as concealer. I occasionally pick a day to not wear it just to show them that a girl 'doesn't have to'. I have begun going with less makeup just to be a good model to my girls.

    I appreciate your perspective. My motto is "all things in moderation". You are finding the balance between what is right for you personally and professionally. No makeup Monday? I'm considering it today.

  13. Hi,

    I stumbled across your blog this morning and I'm finding it really interesting... About three years ago I stopped wearing makeup because I realised that foundation was damaging my skin and not even covering the awful blemishes I was covered with; and because I hated the way I looked even completely made up. The first time I left the house without a full face of makeup for approximately 10 years was to meet a friend at the cinema. Even in the darkness I was afraid that people would be staring at me! Over the next few months I gradually gave up makeup altogether as I slowly realised that nobody thought I looked hideous or liked me any less. Over the past few years I have come to like my natural face and shy away from makeup that just masks it; I feel a lot healthier about my own self-image. These days I wear my favrite lip gloss most days and full makeup only for Weddings (were there will be lots of cameras, insecurities are still there) and job interviews (were a first impression really counts).

    Good luck with the project!

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