I was obsessed with makeup.
I wouldn’t step out of the house without a bit of foundation (or a lot), whether it be to school, to the gym, a family event or a gathering with friends.
The first time I wore mascara (other than on stage) was one lunchtime at school. A good friend of mine thought it might be something fun to try out considering both my eyebrows and eyelashes are naturally blonde and barely visible. After a few minutes of anxious blinking and smudges around my eyes, I received many compliments and was pretty pleased with the impact such a small adjustment could have. I think I wore it every day henceforth.
Makeup has a transformative power to, at least superficially, turn a person in to someone with a newfound confidence. This might stem from the fact that by painting your face with colours, liners, pastes and concealers, you’ve suddenly gained a protective layer that acts as barrier between you and other people and nerve-wracking situations. Makeup can be a mask, a barrier, and can help to stimulate a ‘character’ or ‘persona’ for you to ‘wear’, (one of the reasons it is used in theatre and on stage).
Makeup has many benefits. As I’m naturally very pale, makeup also helps to brighten me up a bit, and I’ve often been told that I look washed out or unwell when I’ve ventured out au naturale. Makeup also helps me to look older, which as I’ve mentioned before, is somewhat comforting and reassuring after constantly being told I look 16 years old.
Regardless, over the past few years I’ve become pretty comfortable going to uni or out to see friends without that protective layer. Makeup is fun, and there is an art to good makeup application and a beautiful look, I just no longer feel like I have to hide behind walls of Maybelline matt mousse and bronzed-up cheekbones to feel comfortable in my own (facial) skin.
This is all well and good, yet I know many girls (and boys?) struggle with the notion of going about their days makeup free. It can be confronting at first, and you may feel vulnerable, exposed or uncertain. I’d like to say it’s easy to give up the powders, bronzers and blush, but I personally found it challenging. However, if you’ve been thinking about going makeup free and are working up the confidence to do so, or you’re looking for a reason to give it a go, I’ve got a terrific motive for you.
Makeup Free Me is encouraging women across Australia to take on the challenge of going without makeup for 24 hours. With a mission to empower women to develop and nurture positive body image, Makeup Free Me wants to help create a world where women love and celebrate who they are. The event is on Friday 30 August and is supporting The Butterfly Foundation who is dedicated to bringing about change to the culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and negative body image.
I’ve written a piece on the campaign for The Modern Woman’s Survival Guide which you can read here. And I’d encourage you to get involved and give it a go. You deserve to feel pretty, worthy and comfortable in your own skin without all those layers protecting your true identity. So do it for yourself – what have you got to lose?