Well, check us out, all no-make-up-ed!
This is the gallery put together today by No More Dirty Looks. You should also head over and check out the fine folks at Rabbit Write, where Rachel (the brains behind all of us going barefaced) has a whole week of awesome No Make-Up posts like this video with Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross.
For me, going about without a stitch of makeup on felt simultaneously familiar (as I said last week, my pre-Beauty U days were no makeup, all the time) and strange — because now that I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing even just a little here and there, it felt a bit like I was leaving the house without my keys or my shoes on. But I realized something else in the process: Me eschewing makeup for all those years before wasn’t necessarily proof that I was A) sooo confident in my appearance or B) sooo willing to flaunt our culture’s beauty norms. It was just that I expended that energy in other directions. Like impractical shoes. Or expensive hair straightening products. Or outfits carefully curated to ensure I never look bigger than I am and when particularly successful, make me look smaller than I am, too.
A lot of us have been raving about how awesome it is to go without makeup. In fact, the industry is even a little worried about it. Because here’s your Price Check moment: 2010 usage of makeup products is actually down 5 percent from 2008, among women aged 18 to 64, says the new NPD Makeup In-Depth Consumer Report. Among women who do wear makeup, a growing number are down to just one product per day.
But I want to make sure we don’t let declining foundation sales or the current vogue for less-is-more beauty (which means less caked-on anything) distract us from the real issue at hand. Sales of skin care products and other designed-to-fix-you beauty products are holding steady or even up. Which says to me, we’ve shifted the way we enforce the beauty rules (buying anti-aging creams like they’re going out of style instead of stocking up on concealer and blush). But we’re still playing the same game.
And I think sometimes those of us who are so darn keen to push against beauty standards like to rilly rilly celebrate it when we ditch just one. Like, ick, makeup, who even wears that?! Or ugh, styling products, my hair is sooo much happier without them! We talk like that a lot round these parts because a lot of us have been working to clean up our cosmetics, or feel better about our bodies and what have you. And this all well and good and positive. Hooray for getting yourself away from that particular standard and accepting yourself. I love it.
But. Sometimes we’re so busy celebrating that one victory, that we forget about all the other standards we’re still holding ourselves too. Shaving our legs. Toning away our muffin tops. Covering our grays. We’ve all got something that we do to adhere to Beauty Myth, and pretty often, this is work that makes us feel bad about ourselves as we come naturally. I’m not saying you have to ditch all beauty standards in a day, or that following certain beauty rules automatically means you hate yourself. We get to pick and choose and there are probably some (leg shaving or waxing is one of mine) that we’ll always want to keep. There are even some that may make us feel genuinely good about our faces and bodies just the way they are. (I can’t think of an example. But I’m sure that’s true for someone!)
But I was interested to find that going without makeup didn’t set me quite as free as I expected. I still worried about whether I looked fat in a certain dress. I still wanted my hair to be frizz-free. And I realized those things were just as familiar (because they’re the voices I hear in my head every day when I get dressed and figure out how to fit my body into our wide world of beauty expectations) as not having makeup on my skin. So I wanted to be honest about that, as much as I’m celebrating the joy of no makeup-ness (and I am! so much!).
Because the last thing we want to do in the quest to escape feel-bad-about-yourself beauty standards is set up some other kind of unattainable ideal of just how good you have to feel without them.
So, I’m off to enjoy another makeup-free weekend. But I also know I have a lot more work to do. What about you?