High school me would have been horrified at the thought of being seen without a full face of makeup by anyone other than my parents to be a harbinger of the apocalypse. My mother always had “her face on” and I it never occurred to me not to be done up at every moment. Reading all those magazines did not help. How could all those issues of Seventeen be wrong? Why wouldn’t I want to know what was the BEST mascara of all time while only in 9th grade?

Now that I am way too far away from the 9th grade, I find the allure of makeup diminishing. High school was certainly not the last time I used almost every brush in my deluxe Bobbie Brown brush kit, but those days have basically always been reserved for date nights, formals, one or two galas and even a rare appearance on stage. Lately, I find myself eschewing even a “5-minute face” and having no-makeup Sundays. Hubs is now used to me announcing that today is a makeup-free day and then mumbling to myself about how I’ll probably wish I had my face on, but it’ll be good to give my skin a break.

So one day as I was mumbling, I wondered why I felt the need to make this grand announcement and go through my ritual of justification. No one really cares if I wear it or not. My husband certainly doesn’t care, although he does love my dark green eye shadow, which makes my eyes seriously green. That’s definitely date night eye shadow, complete with green eyeliner and smudged bronze for a smoky green eye that is very dramatic, but I digress…

Why do I feel obligated to verbally opt out of make up? What do I feel like I need a break from? Here are a few ideas, I generated in less than 5 minutes of mulling those over:

  1. Most of the people I know wear makeup every day.
  2. TV, movies and magazines almost never show women without makeup.
  3. I hate the way I look in fluorescent lighting, especially my dark under eye circles.
  4. I want to look the best I can.
  5. I want people to think I care about myself and the way I look.
  6. I don’t want people to think I’ve let myself go. (See #5)
  7. I want my husband to find me attractive. (See #5 again)
  8. I don’t want people to judge me negatively. (There’s #5 again)
  9. I want to appear professional and pulled together. (Hmmm..that looks a lot like #5)
  10. Everyone else is doing it. (This answer always made my mother cringe.)

In case you didn’t see that pattern forming, there’s a whole lot of social pressure to keep your outward appearance as flawless as possible. The oddest thing about this is that my current situation is the least pressured situation I’ve been in yet, with many women foregoing makeup daily and even embracing their graying hair. While this was completely shocking to me my first day at work, it may explain my sudden desire to shirk the pressure and throw down my mascara altogether.

So that’s just what I’m going to do. I’m going to see how long I can go without wearing makeup. I’m going to extend my makeup-free one day a week and turn it into my make up–free marathon. Call it a 30-day challenge if you like, I’m simply going to call it an experiment and leave it at that.

You’re welcome to join me. Don’t knock yourself out, though. Take baby steps. Try one day a week at first or if you’re up for it, start chucking eye shadow in your bin and dive right in. There’s no judgment here. Just a good ol’ let’s see what happens.


This is a photo of a common Barbie or Disney Princess Doll without makeup. Read more about artist Nikolay Lamm’s Lammily project here: http://nickolaylamm.com.

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