I Tried It: I Went Makeup-Free for a Week

makeup free selife with kidsFor some people, going makeup-free is no big thing. For me -- lover of liquid winged eyeliner and the blackest black mascara -- it was. I have plenty of makeup-free moments, but I rarely leave the house without a bit of something on -- clothes and makeup. And so going makeup-free for a whole week was a challenge and taught me something.


I learned that it is very hard to go makeup-free for a week. Very, very challenging -- at least it was for me. But it also confirmed that we get used to the way we look with makeup, and that change is hard, but once a change becomes more regular, we get used to that, too. Sort of.

More from The Stir: I Tried It: I Went On a Date ... With Myself

Working from home made it easy to not put on makeup. For day one, I was makeup-free the whole day by myself in front of my computer working away. When the school bus arrived to drop off my kids, I went outside without any makeup on. My kids didn't notice. They see me without makeup all the time. But when we decided to go out to dinner and I looked in the mirror, I realized I just couldn't do it. Maybe just a little powder, I thought. Just to control the shine. A tiny bit of mascara. A little tinted lip balm. It was almost makeup-free ... but not really.

On day two, I was determined to try again. It was sunny and my tired-looking eyes (especially without makeup) could be shielded by sunglasses. When I stopped into the coffee shop to grab a cup to go, I kept them on. And that's when I realized that my makeup is my security blanket. My woobie. My shield of armor in the form of a cat eye. I had a problem: I was addicted to wearing makeup, so used to seeing my face with it that I didn't like the way I looked without it. It reminded me of that terrible phase I went through in the late '80s when I wore my hair higher than high and stiffer than stiff. On the rare occasion when I would get a haircut, I'd cry because no stylist ever made it high enough and I thought I looked weird without at least four inches of hair height. I wouldn't even go swimming. Sigh. Silly me.

Blame my teenage years and all the issues that go along with it, but my mind was warped and it may have had something to do with all the hairspray fumes. I thought I didn't look good without that ridiculous '80s hair. While my current makeup is arguably fairly mundane with just a little heaviness with the liner, I do feel not myself when I'm not wearing it. Which is truly warped because I couldn't be more "myself" when in my natural state. But, hey, being addicted to makeup isn't the worst addiction I could have, so I relish in it.

More from The Stir: I Tried It: Wearing a Bikini in Public for the First Time -- at 37!

Still, day two and three made me want to not face the world. And thankfully I didn't have any big plans with anyone. The weather was rainy so the kids played inside after school and I spent time playing with them or working on a home project. No makeup was NBD.

On day four, something changed. My face looked better than I remembered without my makeup. Because of those couple of days without it, I got used to how I looked without thicker lashes and berry lips. And as long as I was having a good hair day, the makeup didn't seem to matter as much. Though ... full confession. I did put on a little face powder, but it was only to control my oil and shine.

Okay, okay. I guess I hadn't gone completely makeup-free, but I'd say it was 95 percent free.

For the remaining three days, I didn't wear makeup but I gave up looking at myself in the mirror for too long. I wore clothes I loved and curled my hair (something I only do once in a blue moon). I needed to feel good about the other things happening with my personal appearance in order to substitute my strong desire to Cleopatra my eyes. But I also realized that smiling was a great makeup substitute. If I looked at myself in the mirror with my resting bitch face (I am afflicted), I didn't look so great without the extra color on my face. But with a smile ... not so bad. Walking around with a perma-grin would be a little weird, but it reminded me that smiling is a really good thing, and while my kids were makeup-free, they were mostly always happy faced -- and despite the massive age difference, that happiness really does make you look better.

I know I don't need makeup, but I sure do like it. For me, it's like putting on your favorite dress or wearing those earrings that you love. But going makeup-free for the week made me see that it's not that I look terrible without it -- it's that I just like to decorate myself a bit ... for me. And the best "makeup" is a smile.


Image via Michele Zipp

Read More >