"...after going makeup free for a couple of months, I found that my insecurities related to makeup boiled down to a familiarity issue. The more I saw my natural face, the more I came to like it, and the more I liked my natural self, the more confidence I had to show up as my authentic self - not just on the outside but also within."
Hopefully you’ve already had a chance to read about how less makeup directly benefited my skin health. Going from a ~5 days/week makeup cadence to ~1 day/week schedule seriously helped my skin find its natural glow and vitality. But ladies…the positive effects of going makeup free on my soul were even more profound.
During my 5 days/week makeup days, when I imagined myself in my head, it would be with a full face of makeup on. During this time, on the rare occasion I would go out bare faced and bump into someone I knew on the street, I felt like hiding. This is how self-conscious I felt. To say the least, I was uncomfortable in my natural skin.
At first, I attributed my attachment to makeup to the natural aging process. Society had told me that past the age of 40, I would look less attractive and would have to work harder to look presentable – which presumably should include more makeup. But after going makeup free for a couple of months after I started working from home, I found that it boiled down to a familiarity issue. The more I saw my natural face, the more I came to like it, and the more I liked my natural self, the more confidence I had to show up as my authentic self not just on the outside but also within.
Have you ever had an experience where you see an actor for the first time and you don’t think he’s attractive…but the more you get used to this face, one day, he’s on your hottie list? Well, this will happen for yourself as well. There have been various scientific studies that prove that people find familiar faces more attractive - the brain connects familiarity with attraction. If you don’t give yourself the full chance and opportunity to familiarize yourself with your makeup free face, you’ll like it less and cover up more.
Getting used to my makeup-free face past the age of 40 was huge for my confidence levels and sense of authenticity. I realized the more makeup I put on, slowly but surely, I was becoming more attached to that version of myself as my natural face became less familiar to me. Going mostly makeup free for a couple of months got me comfortable with bumping into people on the street with no makeup on. From there, the next step was to experiment with going bare faced to more intimidating settings. I started teaching my law school class makeup free. I went to business meetings dressed professionally, but bare-faced. For birthday parties and even weddings, I tried no makeup. And you know what – the more I grew used to my natural face, the more I liked it, regardless of setting.
I think it’s especially important for us to actively think about our relationship to makeup as we get older. Relying on makeup to cover up wrinkles, blemishes and anything else deemed an imperfection is a dangerous slippery slope. One day you might wake up not recognizing or fully appreciating the beautiful face you have underneath it all and that would be a shame. If this is new for you, try experimenting with just a day or two on the weekends. Also, sticking to a daily skincare routine can improve the quality of your skin and help build courage to leave the makeup at home more often.
I still love putting on makeup once in a while – like I love wearing a sparkly dress or crazy high heels on occasion (actually, the heels not so much these days!). But when I do, I’m no longer putting it on coming from a place of insecurity or doubt. It’s coming from a place of joy and exploration for fashion, style and self-expression... and at the end of the night, I’m always happy to come back to my makeup free self.