SCENE: At the office. As you arrive, you’re greeted by your best friend at work.
“Hey, good morning! Good to see you! You look great! Oh wow, are you having a bad hair day, though? Yeah, the frizzies get pretty crazy sometimes. You’ve heard about the Brazilian blowout, right? Just a couple of hundred bucks, and it totally straightens it out. For a month — then you have to go back. I’m pretty sure the industrial chemicals they use are safe. And while you’re already putting caustic substances on your scalp, might as well get some highlights, too. They make you look younger if you’re old, and older if you’re young. Or the other way around, I’m not sure.
“Come to think of it, I was looking at your forehead, and noticed that those wrinkles are getting kinda deep. Y’know, one shot of botox totally takes care of that for a few months. You won’t be able to raise your eyebrows, so your smile and other emotional expressions may be a little off. But who cares! You’ll look 3.5 years younger at least.
“Speaking of eyebrows — y’know, I noticed yours were looking a little bushy. Have you gotten them plucked and shaped recently? That’s pretty important. You totally want to get the perfect arch. I mean, I’m not even sure why eyebrows are there in the first place — might as well rip it all out with electrolysis and just tattoo in the proper shape. So much easier.
“And speaking of tattoos — you should totally get an eyeliner tattoo, too. Will save you so much time every morning. But I see that your eyelashes are looking pretty wispy. Maybe more mascara would help. And now you can get these totally awesome eyelash extensions! You just glue them on, and boom, they’re twice as long. Goes almost all the way up to where your former eyebrows were.
“Of course, you can also get Latisse. That stuff totally works! Makes your eyelashes, like, a third longer. And it’s only $240 for 3 bottles. Total bargain. Guys go ape over long eyelashes.
“And you’ve got such a nice, dark brown eyes. But have you considered those new colored contact lenses? They almost look realistic these days, and only cost $300 or so. With your skin coloration, which is frankly a little on the ethnic side, it would totally make your eyes pop. So much you can do with that — just for variety, y’know. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with them.
“By the way, do you wear sunglasses a lot? Oh, honey, you should. You’d have so many fewer of those little wrinkles under and around your eyes. And you really shouldn’t smile so hard — crow’s feet are a bitch. There’s this really nice eye cream I know which works miracles, though. The company’s in Beverly Hills. Only $75 for a bottle which has fully 4 tablespoons of the stuff in it. Lasts you the whole month. You should try it.
“You have a nice nose. You should powder it every half hour or so, though. It’s already starting to look a little shiny. And did you know that your nose and your ears are the only two parts of your body that keep growing till the end of your life? ‘Cause they’re made of cartilage and stuff. That’s why old fogies have huge ears and noses. Or just look at pictures of Madonna from when she was young, versus now that she’s in her fifties. Ooomigod. Anyway, when it’s time, I know this really great plastic surgeon who’ll shave off just enough to make it small and perky again. Nobody’ll even notice!
“You know, I’m pretty convinced that people’s lips just get flatter as they get older. I mean, yours look great and all. But a little extra poutiness never hurts! This doc I know is a magician with Restylane and Juvederm — he’ll just do a quickie injection, and 15 minutes later, you can float a boat on them they’re so puffy! And it’s only $750 a shot. For being noticed from across the room, it’s so worth it. Not that there’s anything wrong with your lips, of course.
“Now it does look like your parents gave you a really nice complexion. But we’ve all got those little acne scars from our teenage years, y’know? Why live with them when you can just to a dermabrasion and get it looking all glassy-smooth again? It’s not even that painful — they’ll just freeze the top layer of your skin with liquid nitrogen, then use this thing that’s kind of like a sandblaster to gently rip off that epidermis. It’ll look a little raw for a few days, but the results! Perfection. Gets rid of uneven pigmentation and stuff, too, and it’s only a couple of thousand bucks.
“Or you could go for the glycolic acid peel, which is cheaper. What’s that? Painful? Acid on your face? No no, it’s not like the stuff the Taliban throw in women’s faces or anything. This is safe acid.
“I see you’ve recently whitened your teeth, eh? So glad you listened to me! You missed a couple of them, towards the back, though, which makes you look a little like a hillbilly with missing teeth. Go get them done at a proper dentist — I know the best one in town, no more than 300 bucks — and then keep on buying those whitening strips. No, just because it’s called bleaching doesn’t mean they have Clorox bleach in them. Nobody’s died using them yet, so I’m pretty sure they’re safe. Probably.
“So have you heard of pouchy neck syndrome? It’s when the skin on your neck kind of pooches out, either because of rapid weight loss or just sun damage. I’m not saying you’ve got it, but, y’know, it’s just something to think about. It’s so unappealing when it happens, so it’s just good to be on the lookout. Put on lots of sunscreen, wear turtlenecks. You can always go to my surgeon and trim the turkey skin when it happens, though. Forewarned is forewarned, or something.
“Oh my, but you’ve got such great boobs! I’m so jealous. I just decided to take care of mine. Just got some general anesthesia, and put a couple of plastic bags of salt water in there. A few weeks later, didn’t even have any soreness. When they’re as great as yours, though, it’s just a shame for them to be asymmetrical like that. Oh, nobody’s told you that? It’s not a big deal really. So slight — almost unnoticeable. But yeah, my doc does those too. He’s really an artist. Sculpts in his spare time. You really should meet him. Because of our special relationship, he can probably do yours for only $5000. He’d totally do that for me. He knows how highly I think of you.
“Cause you know, darling, it’s all about proportion. So you’ve got this nice, um, womanly body, y’know? And if you were to just get a little liposuction around the waist — you know they can now freeze that fat off too, right? — you’d just get that va-va-voom hourglass figure that guys go ga-ga over. You’d be unstoppable. I mean, I’ve only heard of one person throw a clot to her brain while getting it done, and she’s almost talking and walking again after a year of rehab, so I don’t even know why people make such a big fuss of it. Totally safe.
“Now this is girl talk, right? We can talk about these things. Have you heard of labioplasty? I mean, in the health club locker room you’ve probably seen women with these huge labia flapping all over the place. It’s just so — inelegant. Anyway, these surgeons specialize in turning those ungainly meat curtains into dainty little flaps, like miniature saloon doors or something. And while you’re at it, they can do a vaginoplasty, too — tighten up the whole machinery, y’know. For a month you’ll be sore when you pee, but then — you could turn rock coal into diamond down there. For a just a couple of thousand bucks, you could lock down any guy.
“By the way, have you heard that they do butt implants over in Brazil? My god, they’re obsessed down there. And they actually want to make them bigger! You’d be totally popular there, though. Not that you should worry about it or anything. In a pinch, though, Spanx can be a solution, and it’s not totally uncomfortable, I hear.
“Did I mention that I really like your outfit, by the way? Everything just works together so well. One thing, though — the shoes have got to go. You want Jimmy Choo, Louboutin or Manolo Blahnik only. Best 600 bucks you’ll ever spend. So what if your feet will be killing you and you’ll get blisters tonight and bunions and back problems down the road. Stop being such a sissy! When you wear these puppies, you are ready to conquer, girlfriend! They will hear the clackety-clack of your heels and just make way like the Red Sea did for Moses. You should be fine as long as you don’t walk on grass. Or soft ground. Or over a grating. Or train tracks. Or on pavement cracks, or uphill, or downhill. Or dance. Or run. And if you need to run away from someone sketchy, just take the shoes off — not only will you run faster, but you won’t ruin the shoes.
“Well, anyway, I’ve got to run now. Just one more thing: I was noticing your toenails, and I’m thinking we should totally go get a pedicure at this new place on Main St. Yeah, the one with the Vietnamese ladies wearing the masks! Yeah, I’m pretty sure that totally protects them from the fumes they’re inhaling all day — I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Anyway, it’s not like I’m saying there’s anything wrong with your toenails, but a little buffing up, a little pampering — never hurts to look your best. Love you! Don’t change.”
Or maybe, just maybe, instead of there being something wrong with every single one of your body parts from head to toe, there’s actually nothing wrong with you.
That’s the version I prefer. Because if you started out as a single cell and are now 60 trillion of them all working at the same time — that’s 50,000 times the population of China — then I’m going to say that’s miracle enough.
If you’ve survived every bus barreling down the road, every crazy freeway driver, every childhood disease, junior high, high school, college, jobs, crazy coworkers, and are here to read this letter on your computer, with working internet and electricity and running water and a roof over your head, that’s miracle enough.
See, if you were to attend to every perfectly functional body part’s perceived flaws, and listen to what advertising and social pressure ask you to do to make them ‘right’, there would be no time or energy left to give your gift to the world.
Because your gift to the world is your energy, your presence, your ability to elevate, to nurture, to create, to build, to heal, to connect. Your gift is to be Marie Curie, Clara Schumann, George Sand, George Eliot, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Florence Nightingale, Zaha Hadid, Margaret Atwood, Joan Didion, Yoky Matsuoka — to fully express your gift in service to the world.
Girlfriend! You are too busy to have time to worry about your forehead, eyebrows, eyelashes, makeup, wrinkles, butt shape and toenails all at the same time. Sure, a shower every once in a while is a fine idea, and brushing your teeth, and trimming your nails. We’re all for basic hygiene.
But you have to realize that this madness has been going on for too long. There was lead-laden kohl that Egyptian women put in their eyes 4000 years ago and millions of women still use and poison themselves with. There were whalebone corsets in Victorian times that were cinched so tight that they actually punctured women’s livers and killed them. There was foot-binding in ancient China that was not only excruciatingly painful, but also left the foot a rotted, stunted, tangled mess unsuitable for walking.
The madness certainly hasn’t abated, so ask yourself: what form does it take in 2013? I gave a partial list above, in the form of the monologue from your best friend at work.
And do you know who she is? She’s the cosmetics and advertising industry. In the guise of being your best friend, trying to make you look good, she’s subtly cutting you down, costing you time, self-esteem and a crapton of money. She does not support you. But you, for some strange reason, have agreed to support her.
So here’s the experiment I propose: for one week, opt out. Just refuse to wear any makeup. Refuse to put industrial chemicals in your hair, on your skin, on your nails, anywhere. No prosthetic anything. Soap, shampoo and toothpaste are fine, but no conditioner (do you even know what is in there?). No Spanx, no push-up bras trussing you like a dinner turkey, no heels altering your gait and destroying your feet.
In other words, a week of natural beauty. You can return to your old ways on Valentine’s Day.
Now, I’ve never been a woman, but I have a sense that this no makeup thing must be hard to do. No makeup at work? At a party? Are you serious?
Yeah, the first day’s going to be tough. You’ll probably feel naked without your foundation, mascara, blush and lipstick. But that’s why it’s so important to at least give this a shot.
Because I want you to feel what it’s like to be free of this stuff for a week. To have 15min extra in the morning to sleep, or meditate, or read. To not have to worry about painful feet, or reapplying your lipstick, or powdering your nose.
I promise you the world will not come to an end. I’m pretty sure they won’t fire you at work unless you’re a TV news anchor or a member of Cirque du Soleil. And I promise you will feel things you haven’t felt before, and make realizations you didn’t have before. It just might be a little liberating.
So there it is — The 7-Day Natural Beauty Challenge. If you’re doing it, say so in the comments so others know they’re not alone. And spread the word. The more women do it and support one another in it, the more effective it will be. Let’s see the real you, shall we?
Awesome article. “Ooomigod,” I’m going for it.
Thanks so much for this post. Alleluiah! I’m in my 50’s and where a sunscreen/lotion product on my face. That is the only makeup I’ve ever worn aside from chap stick for my lips. And people have always thought That I wear makeup; and don’t believe me when I tell them I don’t.
Sorry Dr. Ali, I really truly enjoy your books and advice, but this is one exercise I just won’t try! I love makeup and conditioner, heels and push-up bras. I love being a womanly woman and there’s nothing quite like a dash of red lipstick and a good stiletto when I’m feeling blue or need to command a boardroom. I know plenty of others will disagree!
What’s unwomanly about not wearing makeup or push up bras? Still have boobs and a vagina, no?
Yes, I do love those things, but the challenge is to give them up for 7 days.
I take on your “Natural beauty – No makeup” challenge until V-day; letting the naked window to my soul be exposed!
Ok, I cheated a little, let me elaborate …
I did not wear makeup today, but honestly I generally only use an eye liner, I feel like it frames my eyes, and gives definition to the window to my soul, adding some depth & mystery, and truly it has gotten to the point that when I don’t wear eye-liner I feel exposed, vulnerable yet invisible …
So where I cheated was that I actually wore my frame glasses instead of my contacts to “hide” somehow my naked eyes under them …
However, I did receive a comment along the the lines of “I noticed something was different about you today, beautiful but slightly different in a good way, couldn’t put my finger on what”…
Granted this person is a guy that likes me already so he may be wearing the rosy colored glasses when he sees me anyway ;)
I finally went all out, no make up, no frame glasses …. And I did consider wearing a hat, bandana or flashy jewelry to have something to pull the attention to anything other than my naked face, but I had to see a patient in the afternoon and that wouldn’t have worked!
Anyway, the insight yesterday was that unless I caught my reflection in a mirror I actually completely forgot that I wasn’t wearing any makeup at all, and you have to understand I am in those pre-mentrual days where Pimples like to come out and greet the world despite my reticence.
… I will go hiking then bowling this afternoon and am making now the conscious decision of while being aware that I am not wearing any makeup experiencing feeling beautiful on my own and while in other people’s presence. I’ll report Day 3 later and tell you how it went.
Got my period, hike & bowling raincheck. Caught up on phone calls, and just had a date with myself to celebrate the beginning of the Chinese New Year – Snake (I’m a Yin Fire Snake).
So “No makeup” challenge was no real challenge today; I realized that while I’m in my kingdom I am not too worried about what my reflection in the mirror says … I plan to take that attitude to tomorrow’s day ;)
Work, meetings, gym, errands … All “Al Natural”, a bit self-conscious (I even asked someone I trusted if I looked ok, funny because what was she going to say?!) mostly at first, but I must also admit add that by the end of the day I completely forgot about it.
As an insight I felt the most comfortable with not wearing any makeup when I was working out.
Later today I’ll get to see someone I used to have a crush on, I warned him a few days ago about the no makeup challenge, he is the type of guy that likes a girl all “dolled up” so it promises to be an interesting experience …
Nobody’s biting, huh? I go natural a lot. Then I have my day’s where I wear makeup. But, I wear toned down colors…nothing too bold.
I’m doing it. 7 days is very do-able. I rarely wear makeup to work and dislike the whole concept of high heels. It works for me! The only real challenge would be going out at night
Dr Ali your message in your article is very clear . I appreciate you as a male acknowledging the pressure that women are constantly under in public to live up to a certain popular media image. There are plenty of women out there who choose to be free to choose the way they want to be; whether that is wearing makeup, high heels and having cosmetic surgery or not. There are plenty of women who are loved and appreciated for themselves; in my experience that is more the case than not. We are still doing a fabulous job as mothers, sisters, daughters and leaders regardless of what challenges we face…we keep nurturing humanity and we are so good at it!!!!
Hey Ali, I live my life this way already. So I’ll pass on the challenge. :)
Me too. No need to take a week off. However….I think self care and beautifying from a place of self care and self respect is positive. Not because you need to fix anything about yourself. But because I feel really sexy when I wear red lipstick etc…so on an so forth. Adorning ourselves as women to celebrate our beauty is different than compulsively fixing or changing yourself to fix low self esteem. But good point sir. And I am open to hanging out by the Pond of men that are initially attracted to women for who they are on the inside not their looks (lmao) That pond isn’t on planet earth though.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Hi Dr. Ali,
Well I normally like your emails but this one’s crawling under my skin!!
I just had to reply and give you my two cents. This is not an insult towards you but I will be upfront and say that I disagree with you for a few reasons.
And I have to say ABSOLUTELY NOT to your challenge. You have a point with the advertising and negative subliminal messaging aimed at lowering women’s self esteem and keeping on the never ending beauty train, but on the flip side your email rings of Dove’s campaign for “real beauty” that showed pictures of fat and unkempt women plastered on billboards all over the place from highways, buses, benches, and anywhere else you could fit them. Yes, there is a need for basic self acceptance and healthy self-esteem but often it seems like living in a place like L.A. for 9 years has tainted your view of how women look, dress, and act.
Another problem is you ignore those of us who have flaws like acne that we must cover up. You have no idea (or maybe you do, in that case I am sorry for you too) how many times I’ve thought… one day this problem will be over and I’ll be able to go makeupless and ‘au natural.’ Or how something I hate looking in mirror because I don’t like what I see.
The reality is that for every L.A. dime there’s an “empowered woman” somewhere claiming she doesn’t need a man and refusing to put any effort into her appearance. And at every campaign that promotes real beauty or body acceptance, there’s always a whole slew that look like total slobs and wonder why no one can accept them for how they are or why they don’t get asked out on dates. And for all this talk about being feminine, radiant, and shing our lights you have listed women who while talented and brilliant didn’t necessarily epitomize this.
Hillary Clinton once said during the 2008 campaign that she doesn’t want to do an interview and pose for some magazine because it would make her seem “too feminine and you know more then I do but didn’t Marie Curie die from to too much exposure to radiation?? Somehow formaldahyde (chemical found in the keratin treatment) doesn’t seem so bad.
Look, I know you’ve been there – dateless, low self-esteem, no “game” or much less any chutzpah to go up to the girl you like and ask her out – and you’ve changed it all for yourself. That’s why I respect you so much and read your stuff and share it with my friends.
The majority of these coaches are full of it (you and I both know it’s true) and I value your material because it’s usually practical, solid, and it comes from a person with our best interests in mind.
But right now I’m questioning if you practice what you preach.
– Would you approach a woman who is plain and dull?
– What did your last serious girlfriend look like?
– Are you really telling me you don’t like it when your woman dresses up for you, grows her hair long, and takes care of herself?
– Now that you’re in SF versus LA and you see all the hipster women (and lesbians – no offense some are great people – but a lot are very well, butch) you actually think that hipster glasses, flat shoes, and oversized shirts are attractive?
I don’t need to neglect makeup or a flat iron for a week to come to a revelation. I already know that by solving my acne problem – not even the goal – but the journey, and by hitting the milestones (beauty or otherwise) that I want to, I will be equipped with the confidence and skills and no one can take away. That’s how I think it’s earned, not by “being yourself” or refusing to wear makeup for a week.
Anyways, I know that this was a lot and I thank you for reading. I’m definitely open to hear your thoughts and feedback.
Do I practice what I preach? Well, I don’t wear makeup, push-up bras or high heels. Except on Halloween.
I LOVE your challenge! I’m not going to follow your suggestions to a t, because I can’t comb my hair out without conditioner, and I love my tinted sunscreen moisturizer (which also protects my skin). And my perfume.:-) But I think it is cool that you are trying to promote self-love and natural beauty in the face of the constant messages we women receive that we aren’t good enough or beautiful in and of ourselves.
I’ve come to believe that a good night’s sleep, eating right, and regular yoga do more to improve my looks than anything I can buy at a drugstore. And people regularly guess me to be 10 or more years younger than I am, so I think I’m doing OK.
I want to tell you that I’ve been reading a lot of relationship and dating advice lately, and I believe that you are one of the smartest and coolest people in your field.
Just felt the urge to send you some appreciation!
I love this! Thank you. The other thing to note is that if a “friend” actually spoke to us like that, she wouldn’t be our friend for long, yet this is the way we speak to ourselves practically every day. It’s about time we treated ourselves like we do our best friends and take a look at ourselves with rose coloured glasses I say! We love our friends for the beautiful women that eminate from within,why can’t we love ourselves the same way?
Thank you thank you thank you!
Terrific! Good politics, good goal (eeek, no eyebrow pencil?) and I’m doing it!
Hi. Other than a few months when I was sixteen and seventeen and experimenting with makeup and hair, I’ve gone native my whole life. (I’ll be 61 in a few days). My thinking on all of this female beauty agenda is why would I put so much energy into looking a certain way for a man when I never see men going out of their way to do the same for my gender. That said, I want you to know that I go out regularly and date and I’ve been told many times throughout my life that one thing the man really appreciates about me is the fact that I don’t wear any makeup.
Truthfully, it’s one’s energy that attracts or repels people. If you’re generally a positive, friendly person than people are going to respond to you in a like fashion. They are going to want to be around you and it’s got nothing to do with cosmetics.
One last thing that men appreciate is a woman’s being real. Real in the sense that she’s herself and very noticeably comfortable in her body. There’s no pretension. A guy can be himself around you. They like it when they can talk to you straightforwardly with no game playing. Just be yourself and enjoy your life.
I went cosmetic free a year ago. My fiancee says he loves me for me not my make up and I’ve saved a ton of money towards my daughter’s college education.
Loved your article. Discovered I can live as happily without makeup and savings is significant. People like me for my inner light that radiates.
I LOVE THIS ARTICLE…..Thank You …Thank You…Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!
The very same sentiments could also be directed towards all the toxic household chemicals some consumers still choose to use and also the big pharma drugs which poison us from the inside out.
So, wow, thank you for reminding myself and others to give ourselves a BREAK already!!! :)
……………and yeah, heels ARE evil…….
Rock on Ali !!!!!!!!!! :-)
Hello Dr. Ali
Thank you for you weekly articles..I find them amusing, and whimsical
Interesting article. I’ve been wearing make-up for a long time now and as I get older and wiser I realize that less is more. I for one am all for more natural beauty. To me natural=sincerity=easier to be in integrity=less to worry about=more authenticity and happiness. So yes today I am throwing away my $43.00 blush… which I wasn’t sure I should have bought in the first place, mainly because I do agree with something you wrote and have realized for some time that the majority of modern beauty companies do not love, support me, nor have they any idea what I look like and it at this point in my life it really feel ridiculous to give them my money.
I’ve always been low-medium maintenance and I don’t see myself giving up wearing light, natural, make-up to emphasize my natural beauty, it’s just part of what makes me feel feminine and soft. What man can argue with that?
LOL… Thanks, I think I’ll pass. Several studies have shown that well groomed (inc. well applied make up, clothing and hair) are taken more seriously in a career environment. I haven’t spent 20 years building up my career to do some random experiment from someone on the Internet that I wouldn’t know if I tripped over him in my tea…. And quite frankly I have two words for anyone who would…. Baa Baa.
Putting on makep ups my oxytocin!!! I agree that there is no need to go crazy spending thousands of dollars on enhancements that make everyone look the same but for me there is something wonderful, fun and creative about putting on makeup!
guess what turns men on the most? it’s confidence…. how confident do you come across when he or she (if you are gay) sees that you feel insecure about something on your person? like small breast? isn’t it sexier to love your body just the way it is?
I’m in! I recently have been simplifying my life and took the whole month of January to go through my house drawer by drawer, closet by closet and room by room to release what I no longer need or use. I found the bathroom was one of the rooms with the most stuff (and that’s with moving and purging some already). When I listened deep inside as to why I had all this stuff, what came up was I thought if I bought enough beauty products I would be beautiful. As in, I am feeling inadequate as you mention and in need of this stuff to be OK. I use face make-up on a daily basis, so it does feel a little vulnerable to jump in and say yes to this…it’s scary, so I believe it will stretch me to do it. Today was already day 1 as you see I had to try it to really commit to it. Weird thing is, no one treated me differently. I am tuning into my own inner beauty. Thanks for this opportunity!
Ahh. Just one of these makes the whole endeavor worthwhile. Go get ’em, Kathy!
Hi Ali, Just wanted you to know that I blogged about my no make-up or hair products experiment that you encouraged us to try. Check it out at http://www.the3rdchapter.me I got a lot out of it and am so glad you posed it as a challenge!
No way, Dr Ali. We must disagree on this one. I know you have exaggerated to make a point but no make-up? Sometimes a dusting, sometimes a painting, but my make-up is most definitely part of my divine feminine and I love it.
I loved the article. I have already taken on a more natural approach for some time now. I am almost totally gray, no chemicals in my hair, no makeup at work, and natural nails. I do wear eye makeup and neutral color lipstick and lipgloss when I dress up. I must admit it is still challenging, trying to embrace my natural beauty. There are days when I want to color my hair and get a perm, but then I tell myself that those things don’t define who I truly am on the inside. It’s all about how you feel. So, thanks for the article. It makes me want to embrace my natural beauty even more!
I understand where you’re coming from with this….. but I just feel better when I wear my sunscreen/moisturizer, powder & lipstick. It takes less than 2 minutes to apply in the mornings. I don’t consider that a waste of my time at all, in fact it protects my skin & lips from sun damage. And what’s more fun than getting “dolled up” for a special evening out? Honestly, that’s one of the things I love best about being a woman.
After reading some of the comments I got the feeling that women thought that not wearing makeup would make them ugly or look like a slob. I don’t agree. I am not planning on giving up work outs, eating healthy and taking good care of the way I look or dress, I just don’t want to be dependent on those things to feel good about myself. Also, I was on a camping trip for all an girls weekend before a friend got married. One of the girls I worked with wore a lot of make up and I had never seen her with out it. On that camping trip I did and she was so much prettier with out it, she said I was too.
Anyway, today is day 2. Easy because I won’t be seeing *the man* until Monday.
I have spent the whole weekend make up free. It was difficult at first but by Sunday afternoon I was loving it! I’m not sure I would make it through 7 days but you never know, this was a great start…. Thanks Ali!
I SO needed to read this today, even though it’s been sitting in my inbox 5 days now.. Due to my work schedule (16hrs a day between 2 jobs) I’m a jeans, tshirts, sneakers and no makeup kinda girl… BUT… 10 days ago I reconnected with a guy I dated and lost touch with 24 YEARS ago. I fly to Texas this Thursday to spend the weekend with him and I’ve been totally stressing over the hair, clothes, and makeup.. I *know* he doesn’t care about all that.. and in all reality I don’t either (our connection is crazy) but there’s still that insecure part of me that my hair has to be perfect, makeup looking great, new clothes, etc etc etc.. He told yet AGAIN this am.. that while he understands my wanting to look good and stuff that he just doesn’t care.. it’s not about the outside.. it’s about what INSIDE..
Thanks for a great eye opening article..
Awesome day today and no makeup. I love the freedom of not wearing it and feeling good. I’m learning a lot about inner beauty and it is so much better. When this 7 day challenge is up I may wear it on occasion, but for now it’s good to know I don’t need to.
yeah I will totally do this after V day because I just read about the challange. I won’t give up my conditioner though, sorry Doc! I know what is in there, it’s all natural and because I don’t use shampoo I’m thinking it’s okay :)
I agree about the conditioner because shampoo strips all the oils out of your hair, so until I can clean my hair without doing that I’ll continue to use it. I’m still using lip balm too because I don’t like chapped lips, but it is colorless.
I totally thought this challenge would be a breeze because I don’t always wear makeup and when I do, I don’t wear a whole lot of it–usually just eyeliner, mascara, and a bit of concealer. I also don’t wear heels or use a whole lot of chemicals in my personal products.
Nevertheless, it’s been hard. I do use an organic eco-friendly conditioner to protect my hair from the dryness of winter . I do wear moisturizer, lotion, and lip balm because it protects my skin. But not wearing even a little eye make up is making me feel naked to some extent.
I think for me part of what’s challenging is thinking about how people at work perceive me. Ultimately, I know my friends, my partner, and the folks in my department don’t really care but I do wonder/worry what colleagues outside of my department think. I am woman of color and I think a lot of pressure gets placed on women and especially women of color to “look professional.” Women of color have to assimilate more to standards of beauty in order to be taken seriously–that’s why black and other women with curly hair go to all kinds of lengths to straighten their hair, for example. Curly hair is perceived in many work environments as unprofessional. I personally don’t believe this is true but I know that is what some folks may think. Similarly, not wearing makeup at work or even heels can be viewed as a sign that you are unprofessional because you are not presenting your “best” self.
While we can say all we want about not caring what others think about our appearance and embracing natural beauty–doing so may affect you in the work place (depending on where you work) in terms of being taken seriously, getting hired, or even promotions. I remember sitting on a hiring committee once and one of the candidates did not wear heels to the interview and even though that was not a factor in why she was not hired, it was upsetting to hear my other colleagues tearing her apart for not wearing heels. I defended her choice (maybe she has foot problems or back problems? Maybe she feels more comfortable and more confident in flats? And more importantly that has nothing to do with whether or not she is qualified for the position.) but it shocked me that this was even a point of discussion.
Additionally, I am about to be 30 but I look very young for my age–which can be great in certain circumstance and at work has its ups and downs. I work with college students so looking young works well for me since it makes them feel like they can relate to me more (so they have said) which is wonderful for connecting with students BUT can backfire when students make passes at me or think they don’t need to listen to me because they think I am their age. The same goes with colleagues who don’t know me very well and think that I am far younger than they are even though at times they are younger than me. Not wearing make up exacerbates this as I look even younger without it.
I am not trying to justify wearing makeup and heels or to advocate for the continuation of the type of culture that creates insecurities about appearance (and consequently insecurities about our inner selves) but I did want to make the point that the difficulty of this challenge may not necessarily have to do with whether or not we feel beautiful with or without makeup but rather the potential social and professional consequences of not adhering to mainstream ideas of beauty maintenance.
I just wanted to respond and give you support in taking this challenge because it does bring up all our insecurities. That’s part of the challenge and remember, it’s only for 7 days. You can do it! I’m not saying we should all go back to what we did before the challenge but we may want re-evaluate.
I’ve found the content of your website interesting, so far. But leave the make-up at home? Never gonna happen. Well, at least not on purpose. I work outside in the summer, so I do skip all but my eyes while at work. But one day last summer, I’d rushed out the door without doing my eyes and my client couldn’t quite put it together that I wasn’t wearing eye make-up (top/bottom liner & mascara), but he did say I looked exhausted. I looked in a mirror and realized I’d rush out without it, and without anything in my purse! So, good for those who will take on the challenge, but I’m out! :)
In most cases people can see that you wear makeup
Im like cher I applause those who take the challenge
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