Let me just start this post by making it abundantly clear that I love makeup. In fact, “love” feels like too small a word to capture the sheer joy I get when I walk into a Sephora. For me, makeup is right up there with other life essentials like coffee and oxygen; and I’ve been wearing the stuff on an almost-daily basis since I was in high school. At the ripe old age of 34, however, I’ve started noticing a lingering forehead line (or two), and I’ve wondered just how much my cosmetics addiction has affected my skin. What would happen, dare I ask, if I stopped wearing makeup for an entire week?
Well, ladies… I decided to find out. But before I bare my soul face to the world, let me at least begin my experiment with a starting photo that shows me with my makeup on:
This is the kind of picture I’d slap a filter on in Instagram when I’m feeling a little #thirsty; but the truth is that this makeup-enhanced photo hides the reality of my face. My complexion is constantly blotchy from breakouts, and my eyebrows are lopsided after a series of eye surgeries as a kid. But just pointing out these differences doesn’t prove anything, because we live in a visual society… and that’s why I’ve documented a week’s worth of no makeup for your viewing nightmare pleasure.
What Happened When I Stopped Wearing Makeup
I started my experiment on a Saturday, and I planned my schedule so that I wouldn’t need to leave the house for any reason whatsoever. Out of chocolate? I’ll live. Alien invasion? I’ve got CNN. I will not be seen with leftover red marks from acne of recent days past, thankyouverymuch. Usually, I’d cover my blemishes with some concealer even if I were just taking the dog out for a walk, and I felt almost powerless without it.
My boyfriend said that I should go without makeup more often. (Are guys not the sweetest?) That night, I slathered on some lotions and potions to make my skin look better. I felt like if I could just fade the red marks, this whole thing would be much more bearable — pun intended.
I think I overdid it with the lotions. I woke up with a giant indentation on my face from sleeping on my stomach, and a pimple developed on my forehead overnight. I resisted the urge to pick at it, but that in and of itself was a serious exercise in self-control. I sat barefaced while watching QVC’s beauty presentations as an outlet and even resisted placing an order, but what I wouldn’t give for a BB cream right now.
Could I really go a full week without even a tinted lip balm? More importantly, how long could I live without chocolate?
Interestingly enough, my skin looked better this morning; but the thought of mingling with people made me incredibly nervous. I’m a freelancer, so I don’t have to go into an actual office; but I still have enough human interaction throughout the week to bring on a heavy dose of anxiety. In order to cope, I curled my hair and parted it to the side to conceal my blemishes.
That night, I discovered that I could live without chocolate for exactly three days, so I ventured out to buy a king-sized candy bar at the store near my house. The woman who rang me up didn’t seem to care about my asymmetrical eyebrows or blotchy skin. Instead, she smiled at me and talked about the weather. I feel calmer about this whole no-makeup thing. Maybe it’s because of the chocolate.
I’m constantly wearing my glasses instead of my contacts now. They effectively hide my lopsided arches, and going without contact lenses feels “spectacular.” (“See” what I did there? Sorry. I’ll stop with the puns.) Seriously though — it’s refreshing to not have to remove gobs of mascara from my eyes each night; and I’m pretty sure I look younger without it.
Maybe I’m imagining things or just wearing glasses with the wrong prescription, but I think my skin is… glowing. In the coolest breakthrough so far, my face is starting to look healthier, which is really amazing considering that I’ve always relied on expensive highlighters to achieve the same effect in the past. Is it possible that the beauty industry is selling us things that we don’t really need?
My evening concluded with a long series of conspiracy videos on YouTube and a visit to Above Top Secret.
Not only has my beauty routine changed, but my skincare routine has completely improved. I always wash and moisturize my face before hitting the sack, but I’m also guilty of analyzing my blackheads for far too long under fluorescent lights and picking at them accordingly. Now that I can’t hide behind a layer of foundation, I have to just leave my skin alone entirely after my moisturizer is applied.
On the plus side, I’m getting to bed earlier.
Personally, I think my skin looks and feels 100% better now than it did in the beginning. But the most interesting development for me is that I’ve gotten more used to seeing my makeup-free reflection in the mirror. My morning face used to be the face I instantly covered up; and the fact that I didn’t spend the week comparing it to a done-up version of myself made me appreciate my natural features so much more — lopsided brows and all.
I’m not going to lie, though. I’m really, really, really excited about wearing makeup again.
How long can you go without wearing makeup (or eating chocolate, for that matter)? Keep the conversation going in the comments!