Let me start by saying I know this is neither radical nor revolutionary. Millions upon millions of women go about their daily business without wearing make-up ALL THE TIME. It’s more of a personal whim, taken up in a moment of boredom at the end of the festive season. At the beginning of another day slobbing around the house, I considered getting ready to go to the park, and how much faster it would be if I skipped the make-up part of getting ready. One thought led to another and after a barefaced selfie on Instagram, the decision was made. I will wear no make-up for the month of January.
As I pondered the decision, I saw a fabulous picture of Nadiya Hussain from Bake Off wearing the most beautiful make-up, and looking stunning. I thought about red lipstick. Do I really want to do this? Is not being able to brighten up my face making a dull month even duller? The word on social media this New Year is celebratory, rather than punitive. Giving things up is out, celebrating yourself is in. So this is not in the spirit of giving things up, not the make-up equivalent of dry January, more a challenge to feel (even) more comfortable in my own skin. And the great thing is I might even get a few more minutes in bed out of it.
Today, the second of January, this is No Big Deal. I’ve been to Lidl and a local playground, both things I regularly do without make-up. I will return to work on Wednesday 4th January: I don’t always wear a full face for work but will always at least do mascara and a bit of blusher. I feel I will somehow appear less professional by not wearing make-up, that I will look a little scruffier, not as well presented. This is exacerbated by the fact that my hair is in the no man’s land mess of growing out an undercut, so will not be able to restore order in any way. On a day to day basis, I come into contact with only a handful of people at work, but there will be several days I will be attending meetings with a large number of people from across the organisation. Normally, on such days, I would up my make-up game: bit more eye shadow, maybe a bright lipstick. I gain confidence from that. Where will the confidence come from without it? From within. Hopefully.
I am from the North East of England and I live in Ireland. I am a pale skinned creature. Always, always when I go make up free, people will tell me I look tired. Ask if I am unwell. No, thank you, I am fine, this is just my face. But I suppose that’s one of the reasons I do wear make-up. Constantly being asked if you are unwell when you reveal your naked face is a little demoralising. When people ask if I am feeling OK this month, as they undoubtedly will, I will simply say ‘Yes. Great, actually,’ and avoid further explanation.
I enjoy it, too, wearing make-up and I don’t think it needs to be over analysed, although of course you could certainly do that. No doubt as the month goes on I’ll explore my thoughts around it a little further, but for now it’s a personal challenge.
So wish me luck. I’m not tired. This is my face.