March 29, 2012 –This week, USA Today highlighted the quest of two women from Charlotte, N.C., ages 51 and 27, who vowed to go without makeup – and virtually any beauty product at all – for two months. They call their effort The Naked Face Project, and they urge other women to follow in their footsteps.
Taking on the challenge also means they’ve stopped styling their hair, painting their nails, wearing jewelry and high heels, and shaving. Pretty scary stuff for many women.
After 60 days, both women claim they are pleased with the results. Not only was the experience liberating, they say, but their skin has never looked better. They also say it made them take notice of other women who do not wear makeup, and that it’s much more common than they thought.
So, it got me thinking, could I do the same?
Yes, I could go without makeup for 60 days. I wear much less these days than I used to when I was younger, and often skip it on weekends all together, unless I’m going somewhere dressy. I’ve never been one of those “don’t leave home without makeup on” women.
As a jewelry fan, giving up my baubles would be difficult, but doable. I like funky jewelry, and not fine gems like diamond and emeralds, so at least my habit isn’t too expensive.
I could also ditch the high heels, and while I do like painted nails, it wouldn’t break my heart to give them up.
It would be more difficult for me to stop styling my hair. While I don’t use hair styling products, I color my gray, I’m fussy about my shampoo and conditioner, and I blow dry every day. If I didn’t, I would be stuck with weird waves and flat salt and pepper hair (except in the humidity when it would expand and frizz).
I’d also have a difficult time giving up lipstick/gloss/balm, which is the one product I always carry with me. It may fall into the makeup category as outlined above, but I consider it different because it’s beneficial to the moisture level of my lips, and makes them feel better.
Not shaving may present a problem, too. I’ve never had hairy legs, so you probably wouldn’t even notice if I stopped shaving them, but underarm hair is another matter. It’s a personal preference to remove it, and even though I am from the school of thought that believes if it grows, it must be there for a reason, I feel better if it’s gone. After many years, shaving has become habitual thinking; I realize that many women around the world go au natural and seem to exist just fine. Men also have underarm hair that they don’t remove, so obviously one of those crazy things we inflict on women in our society. A little research indicates that shaving is a beauty routine related to youth. Women began shaving and wearing wear eye makeup to make their eyes appear larger to look like young girls. That’s a little disturbing, isn’t it?
Don’t even think about taking my skin care products. While I’m not naïve enough to believe anti-wrinkle creams will keep me looking 25 forever, they do make my skin feel better in the moment. Dry skin is uncomfortable, so why have it if we don’t have to? Sure, genetics and health habits play a bigger role in the way our skin looks, but I love my skin care products and see no reason to give them up.
In the grand scheme of things, this experiment may seem silly, especially with all of the problems in the world. But the premise of the experiment is a good one. Women shouldn’t have to be slaves to beauty or beauty products and we’ve created unreachable goals for ourselves because we often are. I applaud these women for their efforts.
Still, why go to extremes and give it all up if you feel comfortable with it? We need to be happy for who we are and what we bring to the world, and if looking a certain way makes us feel better, go for it.
For me, if I can’t commit to a project 100%, it’s better to skip it.
To learn more about The Naked Face Project, visit their website.