Making Habits, Breaking Habits: A Week of No Make-Up

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A week without makeup seemed like a fairly manageable task, as it essentially involved no effort on my part. I am not a morning person, and I often opt for an extra fifteen minutes of ignoring my alarm clock over applying considerable amounts of makeup anyway, so how hard could this be? The first couple of days were easy, but day three followed a serious session of ‘studying’ Broadchurch until the early hours of the morning, and when I woke up I looked as though I’d just crawled in off the set of The Walking Dead. The bags under my eyes could have rivalled a year seven’s rucksack in size, and I was about to grab some concealer when I remembered my challenge, resulting in a number of concerned comments as to my wellbeing because, ‘you look so … tired’ (translation: you look as though you were assaulted by the ugly tree after seventy two hours of sleep deprivation torture).

Since starting writing my column I have had to break several habits, and I’ve realised that only when you actively deprive yourself of something do you appreciate what you take for granted. When it came to the prospect of a makeup-free night out, I began to question for whom I actually wear makeup. If the only reason I wear it is to feel good in myself, then why would I care how other people perceive me? I started to wander whether I value myself based on how I think others see me, and if that therefore meant my self-approval is based on the approval of others. In the end, I didn’t go out, and in hindsight I regret this decision. I regret that I placed vain considerations of my appearance over spending a night with my friends. I am saddened that I felt others might be judgemental enough to care whether or not I wore make up, and I realise now that whatever decision I made, if I did so with self confidence, no one would notice, much less care. For the rest of the week I took up any opportunity that arose to socialise, and stopped apologising for looking like Shrek with a pigment disorder. People stopped commenting on how tired I looked, though whether this was down to my more positive attitude, or the increased amount of sleep I’d had, I’m not sure.

At the end of the challenge, a friend suggested I tried ‘natural’ looking makeup. On emptying my makeup bag onto the floor, I realised that ‘natural’ looking makeup is a fallacy propagated by cosmetics companies to pasty fools such as myself. If I wanted to look as nature intended, I wouldn’t be wearing makeup. After several tutorials, my body weight in concealer, foundation, highlighter, blusher, ‘natural’ eyeshadow, mascara, and eyeliner, I realised that I was wearing easily as much, if not more, on my face than I would if I weren’t attempting to look ‘natural’. I feel as though my week sans makeup did do favours for the condition of my skin, and I no longer plan on apologising to people for how I look when I decide to go out bare faced. Unfortunately, while I don’t feel compelled to wear makeup in public, I am not yet ready to renounce it completely because, thanks to my unnaturally black hair and the current vogue for emulating Alistair Darling in the eyebrow department, I am not yet ready to part ways with my good friend L’Oreal Brow Artist Super Liner.

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